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Tents are set up outside of the Oglio Po hospital, where patients suffering from the coronavirus are treated, in Cremona, Italy, on Friday. Photo: REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
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Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China

31 Comments
By Guy Faulconbridge and James Mackenzie

The world's richest nations poured unprecedented aid into the global economy on Thursday as coronavirus cases ballooned in the new epicenter Europe, with the number of deaths in Italy outstripping those in mainland China, where the virus originated.

With over 242,000 infections and nearly 10,000 deaths, the epidemic has stunned the world and drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned that a global recession,"perhaps of record dimensions", was a near certainty.

"This is a moment that demands coordinated, decisive, and innovative policy action from the world's leading economies," Guterres told reporters via a video conference. "We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply."

Tourism and airlines have been particularly battered, as the world's citizens hunker down to minimize contact and curb the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness. But few sectors have been spared by a crisis threatening a lengthy global recession.

The United States is urging Americans not to travel abroad at all and could announce restrictions at the U.S.-Mexican border on Friday. They would be similar to the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic.

Markets have suffered routs unseen since the 2008 financial debacle, with investors rushing to the U.S. dollar as a safe haven. Wall Street tried to bounce back on Thursday. The benchmark S&P 500 closed up 0.5%, still around 30% off highs reached last month. U.S. oil prices posted their largest one-day gain ever, rising 25%.

Policymakers in the United States, Europe and Asia have slashed interest rates and opened liquidity taps to try to stabilise economies hit by quarantined consumers, broken supply chains, disrupted transport and paralyzed businesses.

The virus, thought to have originated from wildlife in mainland China late last year, has jumped to 172 other nations and territories with more than 20,000 new cases reported in the past 24 hours - a new daily record.

Cases in Germany, Iran and Spain rose to more than 12,000 each. An official in Tehran tweeted that the coronavirus was killing one person every 10 minutes.

LONDON LOCKDOWN?

Britain, which has reported 144 deaths, was closing dozens of underground stations in London and ordering schools shut from Friday.

Some 20,000 soldiers were on standby, Queen Elizabeth headed for sanctuary in the ancient castle of Windsor, and the Tower of London was to close along with other historic buildings.

"Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe," the 93-year-old monarch said in an address to the nation.

"I am certain we are up to that challenge," she added.

Italian soldiers transported corpses overnight from an overwhelmed cemetery in Europe's worst-hit nation where 3,405 people have died, more than in mainland China. Germany's military was also preparing to help.

Supermarkets in many countries were besieged with shoppers stocking up on food staples and hygiene products. Some rationed sales and fixed special hours for the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to severe illness.

Solidarity projects were springing up in some of the world's poorest corners. In Kenya's Kibera slum, volunteers with plastic drums of water and boxes of soap on motorbikes set up handwashing stations for people without clean water.

Russia reported its first coronavirus death on Thursday.

Amid the gloom, China provided a ray of hope as it reported zero new local transmissions of the virus, a sign of success for its draconian containment policies since January. Imported cases accounted for all 34 new infections in China.

In the United States, where President Donald Trump had initially played down the coronavirus threat, infections surged with over 11,500 known cases and at least 186 deaths.

The head of the U.S. National Guard said tens of thousands of its troops could be activated to help U.S. states deal with the outbreak now in all 50 states.

In a bewildering raft of financial measures around the world, the European Central Bank launched new bond purchases worth 750 billion euros ($817 billion). That brought some relief to bond markets and also halted European shares' slide.

The U.S. Federal Reserve rolled out its third emergency credit program in two days, aimed at keeping the $3.8 trillion money market mutual fund industry functioning. The Bank of England cut interest rates to 0.1%, its second emergency rate cut in just over a week.

China was to unleash trillions of yuan of fiscal stimulus and South Korea pledged 50 trillion won ($39 billion).

The desperate state of industry was writ large in Detroit, where the big three automakers - Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV were shutting U.S. plants, as well as factories in Canada and Mexico. Some automakers have pledged to help manufacture much needed medical supplies.

With some economists fearing prolonged pain akin to the 1930s Great Depression and others anticipating a bounceback, gloomy data and forecasts abounded.

In one of the most dire calls, J.P. Morgan economists forecast the Chinese economy to drop more than 40% this quarter and the U.S. economy to shrink 14% in the next. Ratings agency Moody's prepared for mass downgradings.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China.............according to the data provide by China.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

A sad news, though most victims in Italy were very old or chronically ill. Medical professionals were among them, too; another crucial factor for this fiasco. The situation could be different if they had been able to construct special hospitals or quarantine spaces at the early phase, just like ones in Wuhan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The data from China is not correct and manipulated to appease the world. Fake news, their fatality is much higher, haven't they proven that their numbers are fake how can they be trusted when they continue to break their word. Not saying I'm anti China, but its government is something quite different than the people of China.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I've heard some doctors in China are leaking out the information that coronavirus infection is still increasing, but not rapidly, kinda slowly though its government is saying no more infections there.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The data from China is not correct and manipulated to appease the world. Fake news!

Exactly what I expected!

Data that do not fit into your view of the world must be manipulated.

And of course, the only country that manipulates date on such scale is China under its great leader Trump. O sorry I must have mixed that up, Fake news producer Trump is not in China.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So the CCP says that means, we need to take it with a grain of salt.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In Italy even with the virus cases/deaths/lock down there has been no panic buying. Italy has done everything possible but continues to suffer badly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If the Italians would shut their windows and stop singing out of the windows releasing the virus into the air then maybe their infections rates would decrease.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

bass:

So the CCP says that means, we need to take it with a grain of salt.

Exactly, I trust the CCP as much as I trust the man-child in the white house.

So strange that the minions at fox news suddenly changed their minds as soon as trump does so. First, it was 'this is the time to travel because the airports are not crowded', 'go to restaurants, etc', 'a hoax and conspiracy', 'an attempt to attack turmp', blah blah blah. My, my, when the virus is knocking on your door, your tune sure changes.

So damn sick and tired of all the racist rhetoric by that petty, narcistic man-child which has done nothing to stop racist attacks on anyone looking East Asian. From being smashed in the face, hit unconscious, spat upon, vilified. The Italians joined in too but now the tables are turned and they're being ostracized - the shoe on the other foot ain't so nice, is it?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hawkeye I hope you are kidding...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Friends in China tell me that the draconian measures around movement and travel and so on continue.  Soon China will be calling this "Italian Respiratory Syndrome" or similar.  and no one likes IRS.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Italy is why nations are doing their darnest to flatten that curve and not be another Italy:

https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/flattening-curve-for-covid-19-what-does-it-mean-and-how-can-you-help

History shows that taking strong steps now to slow the spread of coronavirus will help communities and individuals.

Yes, infections will be spread into more months, but at least it won't overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system at any particular time. Thus, more lives are not needlessly lost

Dr. Fauci: And the fact is what I like to see is when people look at what we're doing and say, ‘you're overreacting.’ For me, the dynamics and the history of outbreaks is you are never where you think you are with the -- if you think you're in-line with the outbreak, you're already three weeks behind. So you've got to be almost overreacting a bit to keep up with it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-18/99-of-those-who-died-from-virus-had-other-illness-italy-says

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Luca

No I am not kidding. Italy has topped China's death toll. The more you interact then the more your chances of getting infected. What about social distancing to limit the airborne transfer of the virus. I am a descendant of Italians so this is not racist or targetting Italians. It's just an observation. Close your windows and doors because this is common sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I personally would never trust any government to protect me. I trust the medical professionals other than that, I trust in the 2nd amendment in these difficult times.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think 11 Italian doctors have died from the virus.

bass4funk

I personally would never trust any government to protect me.

So you don't trust the military and police forces?

I trust the medical professionals other than that, I trust in the 2nd amendment in these difficult times.

2nd amendment does not apply outside of America.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The life in London is becoming increasingly difficult by the day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@bass I trust the medical professionals other than that, 

Like Dr Fauci and his colleagues in the CDC? He's a career civil servant. I'd trust him and his colleagues way more than any medical professional working for a big pharma. Or any of the research organizations paid by big pharma.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Soon China will be calling this "Italian Respiratory Syndrome" or similar. and no one likes IRS.

”Italian Respiratory Syndrome”: a merger of Death and Taxes?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So you don't trust the military and police forces?

Not with the amount of hysteria that’s growing. I lived through the LA riots and that thought me a lot and one thing it taught me and as much as I love our military and law enforcement, you can’t 100% depend on them all the time to be there. Katrina showed me that as well. That’s why I would never put all my faith in them.

Like Dr Fauci and his colleagues in the CDC?

I do trust them, of course! Dr. Fauci has been around since Reagan. I always liked and respected the guy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A sad news, though most victims in Italy were very old or chronically ill. Medical professionals were among them, too; another crucial factor for this fiasco. 

It was a predictable one. Medical professionals became infected and died in other epidemics, notably SARS: that's one thing (it's not the only factor but it's certainly an important one) that can cripple the health system quickly.

I would assume most people, other than hardcore idiots, are eventually more aware that an epidemic can be a huge threat to them and their way of life. Kind of hard to ignore by this point. The information has always been there, but it's been widely ignored or misinterpreted by the general public.

That's why very recently, a commenter on this site suggested that the precautions seen in this photo seemed a bit extreme:

https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.619415.1582199854!/image/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.JPG

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China

Only if you assume that the data provided by the Chinese communist party are correct. Who does that, except our "mainstream" media?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

noriahojanen:

The situation could be different if they had been able to construct special hospitals or quarantine spaces at the early phase, just like ones in Wuhan.

You mean like the fake hospital photos taken from stock images? And what is "early phase".... perhaps the several months where the CCP jailed anybody who talked about the outbreak?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Only if you assume that the data provided by the Chinese communist party are correct

Info and data coming from any authoritarian regime, particularly a regime with iron-fist control over media, must be questioned. One more reason to openly resist all forms of authoritarianism and those pushing it.

Who does that, except our "mainstream" media?

Media outlets of all sorts, include the alt right's favorites RT and Breitbart, report data from Chinese sources. Some outlets accept it, some reject it, some question it. It's the responsibility of individuals to use their own filters to decide what to believe. Those making blanket attacks on the media are nearly as dangerous as the authoritarian leaders they support.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That is absolutely not true. Most conservatives don’t give RT a time a day, how that network even got into the US is astounding. Brietbart less, but there are more reputable conservative outlets to get information from, not nearly as many as liberal outlets, but quite good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Close your windows and doors because this is common sense.

Hawkeye - you may think so, but the medical profession disagrees with you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi

The life in London is becoming increasingly difficult by the day

I spent a week in London, returned to Tokyo three days ago. Everything was fine and calm, only football matches were cancelled. I was surprised to see only several people wearing masks, may be a dozen or two during my whole stay. Very contrary to Tokyo!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Asakaze

I spent a week in London, returned to Tokyo three days ago. Everything was fine and calm, only football matches were cancelled. I was surprised to see only several people wearing masks, may be a dozen or two during my whole stay. Very contrary to Tokyo!

My family and friends paint a different picture. Panic buying for all major items in the stores. Pubs and restaurants closed. People advised to stay at home. From today all school closed and will not reopen any time in the near future. Cancellations of those important GCSE examinations. "A" levels needed for university. Cut back on selective operations. End of major events and concerts. Theaters closed. A number of underground stations closed and less trains.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Makes sense that Italy leads all other European nations in the rising toll of virus victims considering whom its garment industry does business with.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Makes sense that Italy leads all other European nations in the rising toll of virus victims considering whom its garment industry does business with.

I'd need to drink a six-pack and about 8 shots before I could get that comment to make sense on any level at all.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

PTownsend - Media outlets of all sorts, include the alt right's favorites RT.....

"Favorites"? The only people I know who take RT seriously are Democrats who claim that RT speaks for the right wingers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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