Coronavirus threatens global economy as experts caution no country will be spared

Coronavirus threatens global economy as experts caution no country will be spared

GENEVA/BEIJING (Reuters) – Hopes the coronavirus would be contained to China disappeared on Friday as infections spread rapidly all over the world, nations began stockpiling medical equipment and financiers took flight in expectation of an international economic downturn.

People using masks queue to buy masks at a pharmacy in Tokyo, Japan February 28,2020 REUTERS/Issei Kato

Share prices were on track for the worst week because the international financial crisis in 2008 as virus-related disruptions to global travel and supply chains sustained worries of economic downturn in the United States and the Euro zone.

The U.S. stock market fell under correction area with the benchmark S&P 500 index down more than 4%on Thursday, extending a market rout that has actually now sliced more than 10%off of its closing peak on Feb.19 Asian stocks on Friday tracked Wall Street’s plunge.

” The coronavirus now appears like a pandemic. Markets can cope even if there is big danger as long as we can see completion of the tunnel,” said Norihiro Fujito, primary financial investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

” But at the minute, no one can inform for how long this will last and how severe it will get.”

Mainland China – where the infection stemmed late last year – reported 327 brand-new cases on Friday, the lowest given that Jan.23

But with new infections reported all over the world now going beyond those in China, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated countries must prepare.

” This infection has pandemic capacity,” Tedros stated. “This is not a time for worry. This is a time for acting to prevent infection and conserve lives now.”

A Reuters tally showed about 10 countries reported their first infection cases in past 24 hours, consisting of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and the first case in sub-Saharan Africa.

U.S. investment bank BofA cut its world development projection to the lowest level since the peak of the financial crisis, and scores agency Moody’s stated a coronavirus pandemic would activate international and U.S. recessions in the first half of the year.

MEDICAL STOCKPILING

In addition to stockpiling medical products, federal governments purchased schools shut and canceled huge events, consisting of sports events, to attempt to halt the spread of the flu-like illness called COVID-19

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was considering invoking unique powers to rapidly broaden U.S. production of protective gear, two officials informed Reuters.

In Europe, France’s number of reported cases doubled, Germany alerted of an impending epidemic and Greece, a gateway for refugees from the Middle East, revealed tighter border controls.

” We have a crisis before us. An epidemic is on its method,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.

The death toll in Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, rose to 17 on Thursday and the number of individuals who tested positive for the illness increased by more than 200 to650 Germany has about 27 cases, France around 18 and Spain15

Tedros informed reporters in Geneva that Iran, Italy and South Korea were at a “definitive point” in their efforts to avoid a wider break out.

KNOWN UNKNOWNS

South Korea, which has the most cases outside China, reported 256 new infections on Friday, bringing the total number of contaminated in the nation to 2,022

Korean Air Lines Co Ltd (003490 KS) said will examine temperatures of guests taking a trip to the United States and would not permit anyone with a temperature level greater than 37.5 Celsius (995 Fahrenheit) to fly. Among its flight attendant who dealt with Seoul-Los Angeles flights has evaluated positive.

The country’s leading airline company stated it also prepared to expand these treatments to other routes.

There is particular concern over a case in Japan in which a woman tested favorable for the virus for a 2nd time. 2nd favorable tests have likewise been reported in China and might indicate contracting the disease does not give resistance.

Researchers warned that much remains unknown about the virus, including the length of time it can survive on surfaces.

Hong Kong quarantined a family pet dog of a coronavirus patient after it showed “weak positive” results for the infection, despite the fact that it did not have any symptoms. Further tests would be conducted to validate if the pet dog had actually been infected.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Avoidance (CDC) director Robert Redfield said the firm was evaluating how long coronavirus might be infectious on surfaces.

” On copper and steel its lovely normal, it’s pretty much about 2 hours,” Redfield told a House of Representatives hearing. “However I will say on other surfaces – cardboard or plastic – it’s longer, therefore we are taking a look at this.”

He said infections contracted from surfaces instead of through the air could have added to the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan, where about 700 travelers and team caught the illness.

TOKYO OLYMPICS FUTURE

Japan is arranged to host the 2020 Olympics in July but the head of the WHO’s emergency program, Dr. Mike Ryan, stated discussions were being held with organizers about whether it ought to go on.

The coronavirus has played havoc with global air travel and tourism as airlines cancel flights, nations prohibit visitors from locations and anxious travelers postponed travel.

California-based Facebook Inc ( FB.O) said it would cancel its annual designer conference and Microsoft Corp ( MSFT.O) did the same by withdrawing from a gaming conference arranged for next month.

The WHO’s Ryan said Iran’s break out may be worse than recognized. It has suffered the greatest death toll outside China, with 26 dead from 245 reported cases.

U.S. intelligence agencies are keeping an eye on the spread of coronavirus, including in Iran and India, sources familiar with the matter said.

The infection has so far generally damaged China, causing almost 80,000 infections and nearly 2,800 deaths, according official Chinese figures. It has actually infected another 46 countries, where about 3,700 cases and 57 deaths have actually been reported, according to the WHO.

There is no treatment for the coronavirus, which can lead to pneumonia, and a vaccine might use up to 18 months to develop.

Interactive graphic tracking worldwide spread of coronavirus: here

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Ryan Woo in Beijing, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Michel Rose in Paris, Crispian Balmer and Gavin Jones in Rome, Lisa Lambert and Mark Hosenball in Washington, Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf, Marius Zaharia in Hong Kong, Amal S, Ayanti Bera and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru, Katie Paul, Stephen Nellis and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Composing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Michael Perry

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