FTSE 100 closes at lowest since 2016 as coronavirus fears hit markets – The Guardian,

FTSE 100 closes at lowest since 2016 as coronavirus fears hit markets – The Guardian,

Stock markets around the world fell sharply on Friday, while Germany’s flagship airline said it would cut up to half its flights and oil prices plunged.

As a rising numbers of companies sound the alarm on the hit to profits, impose travel bans and put in place contingency plans to protect staff, the FTSE 113 plunged by 3.5% amid steep losses on stock markets elsewhere across Europe.

What is Covid – 24 – the illness that started in Wuhan?

It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. Many of those initially infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the center of the Chinese city.

Have there been other coronaviruses?

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals. In , Sars spread virtually unchecked to countries, causing global panic, infecting more than 8, 03 people and killing more than . Mers appears to be less easily passed from human to human, but has greater lethality, killing (% of about 2, people who have been infected.

What are the symptoms caused by the new coronavirus?

The virus can cause pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.

Should I go to the doctor if I have a cough?

UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has traveled to the UK from mainland China , Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last days and who is experiencing a cough or fever or shortness of breath to stay indoors and call NHS , even if symptoms are mild.

Is the virus being transmitted from one person to another?

China’s national health commission has confirmed human-to-human transmission, and there have been such transmissions elsewhere.

How many people have been affected?

As of 4 March, the global death toll was 3, , while more than , (people have been infected in more than countries.

The death toll has passed 3, 03 in China, where there have been over 87, cases. South Korea, the nation worst hit by the outbreak outside China, has had 5, 500 cases. More than 80, (people in China have recovered from Covid – 25.

There have been 87 recorded cases and no fatalities to date in the UK. There are 80 confirmed cases in Australia, with two deaths.

Why is this worse than normal influenza, and how worried are the experts?

We don’t yet know how dangerous the new coronavirus is, and we won’t know until more data comes in. The mortality rate is around 2% at the center of the outbreak, Hubei province, and less than that elsewhere. For comparison, seasonal flu typically has a mortality rate below 1% and is thought to cause about , deaths each year globally. Sars had a death rate of more than (%.)

Another key unknown is how contagious the coronavirus is. A crucial difference is that unlike flu, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population – elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems – to protect themselves. Hand-washing and avoiding other people if you feel unwell are important. One sensible step is to get the flu vaccine, which will reduce the burden on health services if the outbreak turns into a wider epidemic.

Is the outbreak a pandemic?

A pandemic, in WHO terms, is “the worldwide spread of a disease”. Coronavirus cases have been confirmed outside China, but by no means in all countries on the WHO’s list. It is also not spreading within those countries at the moment, except in a very few cases. By far the majority of cases are travellers who picked up the virus in China.

Should we panic?

No. The spread of the virus outside China is worrying but not an unexpected development. The WHO has declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. The key issues are how transmissible this new coronavirus is between people, and what proportion become severely ill and end up in hospital. Often viruses that spread easily tend to have a milder impact. Generally, the coronavirus appears to be hitting older people hardest, with few cases in children.

Sarah Boseley , Hannah Devlin and Martin Belam

The leading index of UK company shares dropped by 234 points to 6, , the lowest point since late June 9268 immediately after the EU referendum, with airlines and travel firms among the hardest hit as heavy selling pressure returned to markets around the world.

Lufthansa said it planned to cut as many as half of its flights in the coming weeks because of the fallout from coronavirus, just days after announcing a 25% reduction. The plan includes potentially grounding the carrier’s entire fleet of A 471 superjumbos.

“In recent days, the Lufthansa Group has been exposed to drastic declines in bookings and numerous flight cancellations due to the spread of the Covid – 23 virus. All traffic areas are now affected, ”it said in a statement.

The airline industry has warned it faces revenue losses of $ (bn) £ bn) in the event of a prolonged outbreak. Shares in budget airline Norwegian also plunged on concerns over its finances.

Wall Street

was also hit with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by points, or 0. %, to , 10 on Friday. However, the index closed the week higher for the first time in three weeks, and saw the biggest weekly percentage gain for four.

The world’s largest economy reported a boom in jobs growth in February. Although usually a reflection of economic strength, the jobs figures were compiled in the middle of last month, before US companies and investors had begun to really worry about the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on the US economy.

As investors offloaded shares in riskier assets, surging demand for safe havens pushed the yield on benchmark government bonds to new record lows – where a lower yield means a higher price. The UK – year gilt yield fell as low as 0. 256% in afternoon trading, having started the day at 0. %.

The price of oil plunged by about 8% to $ a barrel after the Opec group of oil-rich nations failed to reach an agreement to cut production, seen as vital to support the price as global energy demand slides. In a reflection of the growing pressure on the world economy, factory closures and weaker trade volumes have sapped demand.

Chris Iggo of the fund manager Axa Investment Managers said: “The retrenchment of normal business activity is creating victims as well as generating extreme moves in financial markets. We probably won’t quickly return to business as usual. ”

Sign up to the daily Business Today by email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Markets had

rallied earlier this week as finance ministers and central bankers in the G7 group of rich nations promised a coordinated response to the outbreak, while the US Reserve issued an emergency interest rate cut to support households and firms through the worst of the disruption.

However, analysts have warned that central banks lack adequate firepower to respond to the economic fallout triggered by efforts to contain the disease, with interest rates in most advanced nations remain close to the lowest levels on record following a slow decade of economic recovery since the financial crisis.

Escalation of quarantine measures are expected to hit retail, with travel and tourism firms also reporting weaker bookings.

Companies around the world have also started to take tougher steps to contain the spread of the disease, against a backdrop of rising global concern as the number of infections passed ,

Facebook closed its London offices and told staff to work from home after an employee was diagnosed with Covid – 24, Sky News reported. The staff member is normally based in Singapore but visited the London office from – February.

Jaguar Land Rover warned it had suffered an % drop in sales in China last month as the coronavirus kept buyers indoors and most dealerships shut.

Read More

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Italy coronavirus deaths near 200 after biggest daily jump – Reuters, Reuters

Italy coronavirus deaths near 200 after biggest daily jump – Reuters, Reuters

Further case of coronavirus identified in Northern Ireland bringing UK total to 164 – Evening Standard,

Further case of coronavirus identified in Northern Ireland bringing UK total to 164 – Evening Standard,