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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Concern on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

Fears grew on Monday that the coronavirus outbreak in China will grow into a pandemic with disruptive and deadly consequences for countries around the world, after sharp rises in infections in South Korea, Italy and Iran.

  • The virus has killed 2,442 and infected 76,936 people in China, and slammed the brakes on the world’s second-largest economy.

  • International worries about the spread of coronavirus outside China grew, with the World Health Organization (WHO) expressing concern about the number of cases with no clear epidemiological link.

  • Outside China, there have been more than 1,400 cases in 28 countries, the WHO said on Saturday. That includes one confirmed case on the African continent, in Egypt.

  • Italy is battling the largest flare-up of the disease yet seen in Europe, with three people dying of the illness since Friday and more than 150 cases reported.

  • Almost a dozen towns in Lombardy and Veneto with a combined population of some 50,000 have effectively been placed under quarantine as authorities struggled to find out how the outbreak started.

  • South Korea reported 161 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infected patients to 763 on Monday, a day after the government raised its infectious disease alert to its highest level.

  • Iran, which announced its first two cases on Wednesday, said it had confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths. Most of the infections were in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom.

  • Hong Kong said it had 74 confirmed cases, up from 69 on Saturday. The death toll is three.

  • South Korean airlines said they are suspending flights to Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city with the largest number of coronavirus cases, for the time being.

  • Austria suspended train services over the Alps to Italy for about four hours late on Sunday before restarting them after two travellers tested negative for coronavirus.

  • New Zealand has extended a ban on arrivals from mainland China into a fourth week to contain the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

  • A third passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan died on Sunday.

  • Four passengers tested positive for coronavirus in England after being evacuated from the virus-infected cruise ship.

  • The Trump administration has backed off plans to quarantine patients from the cruise ship at a federal facility in Alabama.

  • Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund predicted the outbreak would lower China’s growth this year to 5.6% and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth.

  • Finance chiefs of the world’s top 20 economies vowed to monitor the virus impact on global growth and act if needed, as they said loose monetary policy and easing trade tensions would prompt a pick-up in 2020 and 2021.

  • China will step up policy adjustments to help cushion the blow to the economy from the virus that authorities are still trying to control, President Xi Jinping said.

  • China’s trade council says 3,325 force majeure certificates have been issued to protect firms from legal damages stemming from the virus outbreak as of Feb. 21, covering a total contract value of around 270 billion yuan ($38.43 billion).

  • Argentine beef exports to its top buyer China fell almost a third in January due to a price dispute with Chinese importers and the effects of the outbreak.

  • Beijing’s containment measures look set to delay the rollout of 5G as tenders for six big projects have been postponed since Jan.31.

  • Global shares and oil slid while safe-haven gold surged as the spread of the coronavirus outside China darkened the outlook for world growth.

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