Coronavirus' "whatever it takes" moment?
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde may have had some
communication misfires at her last news conference but the overnight
action from the ECB is being widely seen as the bank's bid for a
"whatever it takes" moment in the coronavirus era. The commitment to
buy up assets worth 750 billion euros by year-end comes on top of
the "mere" 120 billion announced last week and the 20 billion a
month the bank is already feeding into the system. Added up, that's
1.1 trillion euros for the year.
On top of that was the open-ended commitment to "do everything
necessary within the mandate" of the ECB to stabilize the situation.
Although not quite as snappy as the three words her predecessor
Mario Draghi uttered in 2012 to draw a line under the euro debt
crisis, the message was clear. Yet even that has not been enough to
put a floor on the market rout of recent days, which continues to
smash assets across the board except the dollar.
There are almost 219,000 cases of coronavirus reported globally, and
over 8,900 deaths linked to the virus.
Over 20,000 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, over 5,000
more than China reported during the peak of the virus in Wuhan.
China now accounts for less than 40 percent of global cases, with
Italy reporting over 35,000 cases. Germany, Iran and Spain are
reporting over 12,000 cases each, while 12 other countries are
reporting between 1,000-10,000 cases each.
The virus has now been confirmed in 172 countries and territories,
reaching an increasing number of remote and sparsely populated
areas, including Bermuda, Iceland and several Caribbean islands.
Almost 40% of cases – around 86,000 – have been reportedly cured,
including over 70,000 Chinese patients who were ill during the
virus' initial peak on the mainland in mid-February.
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(Open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser, to see an interactive
graphic of the coronavirus spread)
UK braces for lockdown
The United Kingdom is bracing for the virtual shut down of London as underground
train stations across the capital close and Prime Minister Boris Johnson mulls
tougher measures to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
After finally ordering the closure of schools across a country that casts itself
as a pillar of Western stability, Johnson has said the government - initially
reluctant to go down the social distancing route - was ruling nothing out when
asked whether he would bring in measures to lock down London.
Malaysia seeking 2,000 Rohingya
Malaysian authorities are scrambling to track down about 2,000 Rohingya men who
attended a Muslim religious gathering that has led to a big spike in coronavirus
cases across Southeast Asia.
More than 100,000 Rohingya live in Malaysia after fleeing from Myanmar, but they
are considered illegal immigrants, which would likely make many of them
reluctant to identify themselves to get tested for the coronavirus even if they
showed symptoms, other sources in the Rohingya community said.
This search highlights the challenge for governments trying to track the virus
among communities living without official papers and wary of authorities.
(Click https://www.reuters.com/live-events/coronavirus-6-id2921484 to see a
selection of curated coverage about the coronavirus outbreak.)
(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Compiled by Karishma Singh and Mark John; Editing by
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