The recent outbreak of Covid-19 “coronavirus” is set to be a major focus of discussion at the upcoming G20 meeting. According to the Governor of the Bank of Japan, the epidemic has affected the 20 major economies, amid rising risks to global growth.
Japan and Singapore are on the brink of recession and South Korea on Friday said its exports to China slumped in the first 20 days of February as the outbreak upends global supply chains.
Chinese officials say the declining rate of new infections shows they are succeeding in keeping the virus contained to Hubei, with severe restrictions on travel and movement imposed at great cost to the world’s second-biggest economy.
Speaking in Geneva, the World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged the apparent slowdown in Chinese infections but warned the flu-like virus could still spread rapidly in China and beyond. “We are encouraged by this trend but this is no time for complacency,” Tedros told reporters.
To date, 25 other countries have reported 1,076 cases to the WHO, and while that was very low compared with more than 75,400 inside China, Tedros said: “That may not stay the same for long”.