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World struggles to come to terms with new realities after coronavirus toll tops 6,500

The novel coronavirus, first detected in December in Wuhan, China, has now killed over 6,500 people and affected almost 2 lakh worldwide, in over 141 countries. The World Health Organisation declared it a pandemic after Italy and Iran became the new the epicentres of infections and deaths.

ET Online|
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2020, 12.57 PM IST
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coronavirus
In the biggest aid package in the country’s post-War history, KfW, Germany’s state development bank, has announced a loan of $610 billion to ensure companies survive and shield workers.
Coronavirus

COVID-19 CASES

Confirmed
190,535
Deaths
5,394
Daily life has come to a grinding halt across much of the world amid new travel restrictions, border shutdowns and sweeping closures of restaurants and bars — emergency measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The novel coronavirus, first detected in December in Wuhan, China, has now killed over 6,500 people and affected almost 2 lakh worldwide, in over 141 countries. The World Health Organisation declared it a pandemic after Italy and Iran became the new the epicentres of infections and deaths.

As for India, 110 people have tested positive so far. Twelve people have recover while two have died. Worldwide, China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Spain have recorded the most infections.

For most people, the novel coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Sealing borders
Countries across the world have stepped up measures to curb the spread of the disease and also to develop a vaccine. Italy has been entirely put under lockdown. Similar steps are being taken in United States as well.

India has locked down its borders, suspending all visas. Any person entering the country is being put under mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Foreign tourists have been barred in parts of the country, with the North-east states disallowing any non-national from traveling within.

Spain was under lockdown amid a two-week state of emergency.

France, which has seen over 4,500 infections and 91 deaths, went ahead on Sunday with nationwide elections to choose mayors and other local leaders despite a crackdown on gatherings. The government ordered poll authorities to keep a 1-meter (3-foot) gap between people and provide soap or sanitising gel and disinfectant wipes for voting machines.

Britain, which has not yet restricted everyday activities, says it plans to set out emergency powers this week, including potentially requiring people over 70 to self-isolate for up to four months and banning mass gatherings.

Economies fight back
As the virus takes over the globe, economic fightback has also begun, with countries stepping up efforts to cushion the economic fallout from the health emergency.

In the biggest aid package in the country’s post-War history, KfW, Germany’s state development bank, has announced a loan of $610 billion to ensure companies survive and shield workers.

Italy has announced a €25-billion package, with payments on mortgages suspended, and lenders offering debt moratorium to small firms and households.

EU has pledged to establish a €37-billion investment initiative. It will also give member states flexibility on budget deficits and state aid, and guarantee €8-billion in loans.

Britain launched a £30-b stimulus plan soon after Bank of England slashed interest rates. President Trump also signed off a $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to combat spread of virus and develop vaccines. In the latest move to placate markets, the US Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to near zero.

(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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