The number of new coronavirus infections within China, the source of the outbreak, was surpassed for the first time by new cases in other countries on Wednesday (26), when US markets retreated for fears of the rapid global spread of the disease.
Asia recorded hundreds of new cases, Brazil confirmed the first infection in Latin America and the new disease, covid-19, also affected Pakistan, Greece, Algeria, Norway and Romania. The global food conglomerate Nestle has suspended all business travel until March 15.
US health officials, where there have been 59 cases so far, most of them among returnees from a cruise ship in Japan, said a global pandemic was likely.
But President Donald Trump has accused cable TV channels of “doing everything possible to make the (coronavirus) look the worst possible, leaving markets in a panic.” Stock markets around the world lost $3.3 trillion in four days, as measured by the global MSCI index.
Wall Street reversed initial gains on Wednesday afternoon, fearing the virus would spread across the United States, and oil prices have fallen to their lowest level in more than a year.
Health officials said dozens of people who had been in China were being monitored on the outskirts of the crowded New York City.
“So far there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference, urging the federal government to intensify testing for visitors from several countries where the virus is spreading.
The origin of the new coronavirus is believed to have been in a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year. The disease has already infected around 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, most in China.#CoronaVirusUpdates
While radical quarantine measures have helped to slow the transmission rate in China, it is accelerating elsewhere.
Germany, which has about 20 cases, said it was already impossible to trace all chains of infection, and Health Minister Jens Spahn asked regional authorities, hospitals and employers to review their pandemic planning.
“Numerous people have had contact with patients, and that is a big change for the 16 patients we had so far, where the chain could be traced back to the origin in China,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that China registered 412 new cases on Tuesday, while there were 459 records in 37 other countries.
However, WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised diplomats in Geneva on Wednesday not to mention a pandemic, which WHO defines as the worldwide spread of a new disease.
“Using the word pandemic carelessly does not bring tangible benefits, but it does have a significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma and paralyzing systems,” he said. “It could also signal that we can no longer contain the virus, which is not true.“