What is the coronavirus doing to our economy - COVID-19

What is the coronavirus doing to our economy - COVID-19

02 Mar 2020

Coronavirus Business Support

The European Union has raised its coronavirus risk level from "moderate" to "high", EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.

The world economy faces its worst downturn since the global financial crisis as coronavirus continues to spread, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

There have been almost 90,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with the numbers outside China now growing faster than inside China.The OECD said governments and central banks must fight back in order to avoid an even steeper decline.

The OECD has warned that the coronavirus is the gravest threat to the global economy since the financial crisis - as global markets saw fresh volatility in response to the outbreak.

The Paris-based international body slashed its already-weak outlook for world GDP growth and said that if not contained soon the virus could tip a number of economies into recession. It came as global markets struggled to rebound following last week's sharp fall in response to the outbreak.

London's leading share index was up to 3% higher - more than 190 points - in early trading but later lost most of those gains. It was about 40 points, or 0.6%, higher in late morning trading.

The Bank of England has vowed to help stabilise financial markets, joining other central banks in promising action to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus.

London's FTSE 100 index soared almost 3% in early trading, before falling back to trade flat.
There were signs of a knock-on effect in the UK where - despite manufacturing output accelerating to a 10-month high in February - there were "rapidly emerging" signs of supply chain disruption.

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Markets in Germany and France also rose sharply on opening - following a rally for Asian shares, particularly in China - but later turned flat.

In an assessment on the impact of the crisis published on Monday, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said the virus was already causing economic disruption.

Japanese electronics giant Sharp is to use a TV factory to make surgical masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Global Growth

That would see global GDP growth of 2.4%, down from a currently expected 2.9% - and UK growth of just 0.8%, down from 1%. But if the impact of the virus proves longer-lasting and more intensive, it could push several economies including Japan and the euro area into recession.

The government in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries outside mainland China, has pledged €3.6bn (£3.1bn) to help companies.

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Last week saw major stock markets suffer their worst weekly performance since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. But investors are now hoping that central banks around the world will now work in unison to support financial markets as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.

Over the weekend senior officials in President Donald Trump's administration also tried to soothe concerns about the impact of the outbreak, highlighting the US economy's underlying strength.


Medical Director Prof Paul Cosford said the country must be prepared. 

Boris Johnson speaks after Cobra meeting
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the virus is "likely to become more significant in the days and weeks ahead". Speaking after chairing a Cobra meeting on coronavirus, he said the government was taking steps to try to stem the spread of the virus.

He also told people to make sure to wash their hands regularly to help contain the disease.

Senior ministers and health advisers will be told that the virus will present a "significant challenge".

The official government plan on how to tackle the spread of the virus will be finalised and signed off at the talks. Boris Johnson will say the NHS is well-prepared and the government will "stop at nothing" to fight the virus.

Prof Cosford said the extent of infection in other countries suggested the UK needed to prepare for more widespread infection. Pressed on whether this was now inevitable, he told BBC Breakfast: "I wouldn't say anything is inevitable but it is now highly likely."


Recent Updates:

Ocado faces 'exceptionally high demand' as shoppers panic buy
Ocado, a British online supermarket, has advised its customers to place orders earlier due to "exceptionally high demand".

It comes amid reports of shoppers bulk buying food products in anticipation of the coronavirus outbreak worsening. In an email sent to customers on Friday, Ocado advised its customers to order two or three days before, saying: "More people than usual seem to be placing particularly large orders. As a result, delivery slots are selling out quicker than expected."

BMW staff member tests positive
German carmaker BMW says a member of its staff at a factory in Munich has tested positive for the new coronavirus and is receiving treatment. Operations in Munich are not affected and the premises affected were closed off and disinfected.



The symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to those of a cold or flu. It seems to start with a fever, and is then followed by a dry cough. After a week it leads to shortness of breath.

The incubation period - between being infected and showing symptoms - is up to 14 days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However some researchers say it could be as long as 24 days.

Chinese scientists say some people may be infectious even before their symptoms appear.
Based on data from 44,000 patients with this coronavirus, the WHO says:
81% develop mild symptoms
14% develop severe symptoms
5% become critically ill
Between 1% and 2% die from the disease


The NHS website Today explains:

How to self-isolate if you're asked to
If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).

This means you should:
stay at home
not go to work, school or public places
not use public transport or taxis
ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
try to avoid visitors to your home – it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.

The NHS recommend you Call 111 if you need to speak to someone for medical help or advice, regarding COVID-19 which is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.


Monday 2/03/2020 – Breaking News Updates

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