The coronavirus is set to be on the G20 agenda this weekend as finance leaders from around the world gather in Saudi Arabia. The risk the virus poses to the global economy is set to be discussed as the number of cases continues to creep up and those outside of China multiply.
China confirmed the number of cases had reached 75,400 on Friday. It comes after more than 200 people tested positive for the disease in two prisons outside of the Hubei province, where the outbreak occurred.
The 889 new cases and 118 deaths reported for Thursday was up on the previous day, although most occurred in the city of Wuhan, which remains on lockdown. The total death toll stands at 2,236, Chinese officials have said.
But there are also concerns that the outbreak appears to have reached the next phase, as the virus spreads more rapidly outside of China. There are more than 150 cases in South Korea, which has seen a five-fold uptick, largely in the city of Daegu.
The number in Singapore and Japan has topped 85, while there are the 600-plus from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan. Asian stocks have suffered as a result with investors fleeing to sheltered US assets. It has seen the dollar rise to a three-year high. Japan and Singapore are both on the brink of recession, while South Korea has seen exports to China suffer.
“We’re watching the impact with grave concern and keeping a close eye on downside risks,” Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told the Japanese parliament.
Meanwhile, the IMF has said it is too early to tell how long-lasting the coronavirus impact will be.
“We are still hoping that the impact will be a V shaped curve” with stocks rebounding following the containment of the virus, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has said. “But we are not excluding that it might turn to be a different scenario like a U curve where the impact is somewhat longer.”
China’s commerce ministry said it is looking into more financial measures to support companies. The wait for a vaccine goes on however, with the earliest one is likely to be submitted for clinical trials dated as the end of April.