UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The new coronavirus is progressing inexorably: it has landed in Latin America, hitherto spared the epidemic, entering it through Brazil, while continuing to spread in Europe and Asia, stoking anxiety in the whole world.
The Sao Paulo stock exchange, the largest megalopolis in Latin America with 12 million inhabitants, immediately reacted, falling by more than 5% in mid-session. The Brazilian patient, a sixty-something man from Sao Paulo, had stayed in Italy, the most affected European country.
Pakistan, a border country with both China and Iran, where deaths are the most numerous, also announced its first two cases on Wednesday. “No need to panic, things are under control,” wanted to reassure the Prime Minister’s health adviser, Zafar Mirza.
In the United States, so far relatively spared, President Donald Trump has planned to speak on the “Coronavirus” (sic) at 23:00 GMT, but he has already accused his democratic opponents and some media of fomenting “panic” and panic the markets, while the American health authorities are planning a spread on American soil.
In Europe, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, North Macedonia and Greece are now affected, and France announced on Wednesday its first French death who had not traveled to a risk zone.
– Lull in China –
The Covid-19 now concerns, apart from China, about forty nations. But the epidemic seems to have peaked in China: authorities announced Wednesday 52 new deaths in 24 hours, the lowest figure for more than three weeks.
The new coronavirus has caused some 80,000 infections (including nearly 2,800 outside of China) and more than 2,700 deaths worldwide, according to figures released Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Italy, with more than 370 cases and 12 deaths, is increasingly seen as a platform for the spread of the virus, which has led many countries on the continent to strengthen their prevention and containment systems.
French citizens returning from the affected Italian regions were therefore invited to avoid “all non-essential outings” for two weeks after their return. London has asked travelers returning from the affected areas in northern Italy to isolate themselves at home and to inform the authorities.
Several countries have advised their citizens not to go to the affected regions of Italy, including Spain, Britain, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Romania .
While Rome has taken drastic measures, including the quarantine of 11 cities in the North, the country’s economic lung, companies have had to adapt quickly, notably by developing telework.
– The economy –
“We have closed our sports hall and canteen, people cannot eat face to face. Employee travel is also prohibited, unless expressly authorized by management, which led to the development of video conferencing,” said explained AFP the CEO of a Lombard faucet company, Aldo Bonomi.
The concern is palpable also outside companies: “The problem is the economy. We can see the figures, this crisis is bringing the country to its knees”, worries Daniele Vaccari, a young pastry chef from Secugnago , a small village in the north.
But others are taking advantage of the crisis: disinfectant masks and gels are now selling at high prices in the peninsula, which led the police to seize documents and computer data from Amazon and eBay. “Super news! It is a national disgrace to speculate on the skin of Italians”, welcomed the president of the National Consumers Union Massimiliano Dona.
Africa is not spared either: an Italian who arrived on February 17 in Algeria has become the second infected person on the continent after a first case in Egypt.
Another side effect of the epidemic, the rugby match of the Six Nations Tournament between Ireland and Italy, scheduled for March 7 in Dublin, has been postponed sine die due to the epidemic.
– “Coordinate” –
“We must not panic,” however, urged European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides on Wednesday in Rome, while calling on European countries to “prepare for an increase in cases and coordinate well”.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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