Markets Slide As Europe Scrambles To Contain The Coronavirus

Topline: The growing outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy has been linked with new cases of the pneumonia-like virus in three neighboring European countries, and in Brazil, the first time Covid-19 has been detected in Latin America.

  • The 108-room Grand Hotel Europa in the Austrian ski town of Innsbruck is on lockdown after an Italian couple contracted the virus when they visited Italy’s Lombardy region, which is at the centre of the Italian outbreak. The woman works as a receptionist at the hotel.
  • In Switzerland, a man in his 70s was placed in isolation after testing positive for the illness in Lugano, the southern, Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. He is believed to have contracted the virus during an event in Milan earlier this month.
  • Croatia is the first Balkan country to report a case, after a man who recently travelled from Milan showed milder symptoms of the illness, the country’s health minister said.
  • European stocks slid further on Wednesday, with the continent’s Stoxx 600 down 2% on Wednesday morning. Germany’s Dax 30, France’s CAC 40 and London’s FTSE 100 are also down.
  • Coronavirus has now jumped to Latin America and Africa with two people who recently travelled from Italy to Brazil and Algeria testing positive for the coronavirus.
  • The U.S. military has also reported its first case, a 23-year-old man based in South Korea who had recently travelled to a military camp in Daegu, the Korean city at the centre of the country’s outbreak. The U.S has around 28,500 troops garrisoned in South Korea and the risk level remains high, the New York Times reports.

Crucial comment: Oliver Baete, CEO of Europe biggest insurer Allianz, has said the markets overreacting to coronavirus is unwarranted. “It’s not like the world will end tomorrow,” he told Bloomberg.

Elsewhere around the world: Spain – 1,000 guests at a hotel in Spain’s canary islands has been on lockdown since Monday, with four people now testing positive for the virus, while the first case on the Spanish mainland was confirmed in Catalonia earlier this week.

Italy – At least 325 cases and 11 deaths have been recorded, while northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto remain on lockdown and new cases have now been reported in Rome. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: “We need to stop the panic.”

South Korea – More than 900 cases have now been reported in the largest cluster of cases outside mainland China, with more than half of cases linked to a Christian church sect.

China – Some 78,000 people have been infected and 2,700 people have died in the country at the centre of the outbreak.

U.K. – Thirteen people have tested positive for the virus, some of which were aboard the Diamond Princess.

France – Fourteen people are infected, while one has died and 11 have recovered.

Additional fact: Hong Kong has handed $1,280 to every adult permanent resident in a bid to stimulate its flagging economy which has been weighed down by months of protests, and the coronavirus.

Key background:The coronavirus crisis has now entered a new global phase after attempts to contain the outbreak in China failed despite unprecedented quarantine measures and travel restrictions that severely impacted the world’s second largest economy. More than 80,000 people worldwide, mostly in China, have been infected with the pneumonia-like virus and businesses around the world are taking stock of the prospect of further disruption in major economies like Italy and South Korea, or a global pandemic. Airlines, travel and luxury stocks have been some of the most impacted by this week’s sell-off as investors pivot to safe-haven assets. Scientists are scrambling to find a vaccine, with the the World Health Organization coordinating the efforts. The illness has also impacted Japan’s corporate culture, with thousands of employees being asked to work from home there.

Tangent: Some 300 workers at the Chevron offices in London’s Canary Wharf financial district were told to work from home after a worker presented with flu-like symptoms and is being tested for coronavirus.

Further reading: Here’s Every State And Country With A Confirmed Coronavirus Case (Lisette Voytko)

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I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at isabel.togoh@forbes.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: Markets Slide As Europe Scrambles To Contain The Coronavirus

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