Published On: Tue, Mar 24th, 2020

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Endless stimulus pitted against economic reality

In its latest drastic step, the U.S. Fed offered to buy unlimited amounts of assets to steady financial markets and expanded its mandate to include corporate and municipal bonds.

The promise eased some strains in markets in Asia although Wall Street seemed unimpressed. Analysts cautioned it would do little to offset the near-term economic damage done by mass lockdowns and layoffs.

Business surveys scheduled to be issued on Tuesday are expected to demonstrate the devastation on the global economy of the virus. In Japan, the services sector shrank at its fastest pace on record this month, and similarly grim forecasts are expected from the euro zone and the United States later on Tuesday.

A worker sprays disinfectant at a mosque, which is closed during the movement control order due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 24, 2020.

The spread

Confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of 0200 GMT on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, with over 16,500 deaths linked to the virus.

Almost 40,000 cases and over 1,800 deaths were reported in the past day. It took exactly 30 days for the first 40,000 cases to be reported, and then 15 days for the second 40,000.

Of the top 10 countries by case numbers, Italy has reported the highest fatality rate, at around 10%, which is reflective of its older population. The fatality rate globally is around 4.3%.

While new infections remain low in China, the country has seen a noticeable rebound in cases over the past week, largely from people returning the country. On Tuesday it reported 78 new cases, roughly double the number reported on Monday, as restrictions ease.

Grounded planes look for a parking space

Taxiways, maintenance hangars and even runways at major airports are being transformed into giant parking lots for more than 2,500 airliners, the biggest of which takes up about as much room as an eight-storey building with a footprint 3/4 the size of an American football field.

The number of planes in storage has doubled to more than 5,000 since the start of the year, according to Cirium data, with more expected to be parked in the coming weeks as carriers like Australia’s Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines cut flight schedules.

All around the world, leaders urge ‘go home, stay home’

Police in Britain have the power to disperse gatherings, and overseas Britons have been advised to return home immediately. In Canada, officials have said that people ignoring advice to self-isolate could be fined or arrested, and on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appealed to New Zealanders for their help.

“This plan will only work if you help us,” she said in an interview to state broadcaster TVNZ. “You may feel resilient and well, but it’s not just about you. It’s about everyone around you.”

Reuters

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