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Front Pages 25 Feb, 2020 Follow News


The coronavirus is having global effects beyond what might have been previously expected or planned for.

Over 30 countries have reported the presence of the disease in addition to China where the outbreak started.

Over 2,500 persons are known to have died from the disease there with close to 80,000 infected.

Although the rate of spread is now reported to have stabilised in China due to drastic containment measures by the government, elsewhere has seen a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases.

Correspondingly, concerns about the disease being a pandemic are mounting as even though the mortality rate is low compared to the SARS and MERS of a few years ago.

But, its spread is now more rapid and the new coronavirius (COVID-19) is 10 times deadlier than the flu.

With global health authorities and the pharmacuetical industry now grappling with the challenge to come up with a vaccination, individual responsibility has become an equally important weapon in the fight back against the outbreak and to minimise the risk of spreading the disease.

Worldwide measures to restrict the spread of the contagion are faced also with a major challenge; the spread of inaccurate information via the worldwide web, especially on a social-media.

The viral spread of misguided information is just as much a malaise as the real malady.

Another worrying development that's already almost outpacing the creeping global spread of the virus and misinformation is the increasing rate of stigmatisation of people from areas associated with the outbreak.

It makes it all the more important to follow the guidelines of the international health authority, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national health agencies.

In a short space of time, the new coronavirus outbreak (CoVID19) while still not yet declared a pandemic, is already having global economic effects.

China is hardest hit clinically, socially and economically.

That country’s recent acceleration as a global economic power and exposed certain vulnerabilities in the increasingly interconnected global market.

The supply chain impacts are already been felt.

The adage 'when the US sneezes the world catches a cold’ might need to be rewritten to reflect the current global phenomenon of the coronavirus's outbreak in China and its knock-on effect on the world economy.

Global growth projections are already being scaled back directly related to the disease.

The stock markets are already taking a hit. So too is the travel and tourism industry especially.

The travel industry has taken the first early hits with a number of major major airlines scaling back or altogether halting their flights to China.

Some parts of the cruise industry have also felt the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak highlighted by high-profile quarantining of the Diamond Princess cruiseship in Japan.

Elsewhere the cruise industry has been put on high alert.

Governments around the are rapidly adjusting policies and public health advisories. In addition to China several countries have resorted to placing large areas on lockdown and have instituted travel warnings, state and self-quarantining steps.

While China struggles to cope with it, despite what were regarded previously as admirable efforts in its response, questions are now being raised over how much China knew, when it knew, and what it did or didn’t do to avert this crisis.

The country has also postponed its massive annual ruling party Congress seen as making a huge political statement matching the scale of the crisis.

On a wider scale, the present economic disruption and potential for further knock-on effects from this new coronavirus remain a cause for concern for the global economy...and global health.

Even though up to press time the WHO had not officially declared this new coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, the pan-global response to the virus is already underlining the seriousness of the situation across the world.

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