The number of infections by the coronavirus continues to grow in South Korea, Iran and Italy, while the World Health Organization said today that although at this time you cannot talk about a pandemic, it is “time to prepare for it.”
South Korea, with 800 infected and eight dead, is the second most affected place after China, while in Iran there are already 12 dead and 64 affected; In Italy there are more than 224 infections and the death toll is six.
The expansion of the coronavirus outside of China and the intensity of the epidemic in Italy, one of the great European economies, has punished the stock markets around the world on Monday, especially that of Milan, has sunk the price of oil, and It has shifted investment to refuge assets such as gold or sovereign debt of sanitized countries.
A HISTORICAL CHALLENGE
The numbers of contagions outside of China, which already have 77,150 affected and 2,592 dead from China, are still low in other countries but are of concern to WHO, which announced Monday that it will send scientific missions to Italy and Iran with the intention of Help its authorities to implement the necessary containment measures.
Two weeks ago, a WHO mission arrived in China to study the epidemic and evaluate the measures taken by the Asian giant.
Today the head of the mission, the Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward gave a positive assessment of the performance: “There is no doubt that China’s attitude to the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of what it was, and continues being, an epidemic that was expanding rapidly and was deadly. “
“They are probably the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment measures in history,” he added.
Aylward tried to dispel doubts about the reliability of the official data offered by China: “On the ground there are many statistics and data that support the decline (of new cases). They are falling, and they are falling for the actions that have been carried out “.
A day earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping had declared that the coronavirus epidemic is the most serious health crisis the country has experienced since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
Aylward has called for an end to the transport and trade restrictions that some countries have established with China: “China is the most experienced country in the world against this disease … If countries put barriers to China, they are only going to jeopardize everyone’s ability to solve this. “
THE FEAR OF THE NEIGHBORS
In the absence of a vaccine, isolation has so far been the most recurrent and expeditious means of stopping contagion.
In Italy, since Sunday there are eleven communities in quarantine, ten in Lombardy and one in Veneto, which affects about 50,000 people.
It is the so-called “red zone” of Italy, where the two outbreaks of contagion have taken place and to which hundreds of law enforcement officers have arrived to monitor the access roads; violation of this decree would involve fines and up to three months in jail.
The fear of contagion also provokes reactions from neighboring countries. Austria suspended several hours of rail traffic with Italy because of the warning that some travelers were ill.
The European Commission (EC) has stepped out: we do not recommend that member states close their borders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Interior Community spokesman Adalbert Jahnz on Monday.
“When we talk about measures, including border controls, they should be based on a credible risk assessment and scientific evidence, they should be provided and taken in coordination with others,” he said in a press conference this morning, the European Commissioner for Management of Crisis, Janez Lenarcic.
Meanwhile, Iran was isolated on Monday when its neighbors decided to close the borders due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus.
Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Armenia have closed their land borders with Iran, while other countries in the region such as Kuwait, Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have taken measures to prevent the arrival of people from the Islamic Republic.
THE MULTITUDINARY EVENTS ARE SUSPENDED
In Italy, due to the coronavirus they have suspended all fairs, events, cultural and sports events and closed museums, schools and universities in the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.
Even the Venice Carnival has been suspended and some fashion shows in Milan have been held behind closed doors.
THE UNCERTAINTY THAT DAMAGES THE ECONOMY
The damage to the economy is measured every day in the fall of oil and the rise of gold, refuge value. The London Stock Exchange closed today with widespread losses, with a decline of 3.34%, influenced by fears between investors to a global pandemic of the Chinese coronavirus (COVID-19).
Uncertainty about the scope that the coronavirus can have in Italy also penalizes the economy of the Lombardy and Veneto regions, which represent a third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the blocking of productivity in these areas can lead to country to a recession, as explained by Efe the economist Andrea Giuricin, who has been a consultant for the World Bank.
“The two regions are worth 550,000 million euros on their own, the equivalent of 31% of Italy’s GDP, and represent 40% of exports. If we divide those 550,000 million by twelve months and talk about blocking productive activity during just one month, we are referring to losses of billions of euros, “he said.
The Italian Federation representing tourism companies and travel agencies (Fiavet) has asked the Italian Government to develop a plan that relieves tourism operators from the burden they will suffer, because this situation greatly impacts tourism at a traditionally fruitful moment for the country, with school trips for Carnival, White Week,
Meanwhile, the French company Novacyt, creator of the test to detect COVID-19, the coronavirus causing the epidemic originated in China, continues its explosion in the Paris Stock Exchange, where profits so far this year are close to 1,000%. Waiting for mask sellers to make August.