Update (0740ET): German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has been pushing for Germany to defy its constitutional “debt break” and bolster spending. Now, he’s taking his rhetoric up a notch and defying the WHO to declare the coronavirus outbreak a “global pandemic.”
- GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKER GERMANY WOULD HAVE “ALL THE STRENGTH” TO COUNTER IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS IF EPIDEMIC PLUNGED WORLD ECONOMY INTO CRISIS – SOURCES
- GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKERS GOV’T IS PREPARED AND READY TO ACT DECISIVELY TO COUNTER CORONAVIRUS – SOURCES
- GERMANY’S SCHOLZ TELLS LAWMAKERS ANY FISCAL MEASURES TO COUNTER CORONAVIRUS IMPACT WOULD BE “TIMELY, TARGETED, TEMPORARY” – SOURCES
The FinMin has encountered resistance from within the ruling coalition, and if he’s going to succeed in delivering the fiscal stimulus that Europe so desperately needs, he’s going to need to outmaneuver his rivals.
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Update (0722ET): Japan has confirmed 9 more cases in Osaka.
JAPAN CONFIRMS NINE NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES IN OSAKA AND FIRST IN MIYAZAKI PREFECTURE – KYODO
And Nikkei rising.. ridiculous.
— Cookie Trader (@cookie_trader) March 4, 2020
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As we reported last night, Tuesday marked a major shift in the coronavirus outbreak: For the first time, more deaths were reported outside China than inside. And already on Wednesday, we’ve seen some unfortunate firsts: Iraq reported its first death after the virus leaked across the border from Iran.
The EU’s decision not to close borders and impose travel restrictions has come back to bite it: Just a few minutes ago, the European Union confirmed the first case of the virus at EU offices in Brussels. It appears to be tied to the European Defense Agency.
First case of #coronavirus in the EU institutions: the European Defence Agency has cancelled all meetings until 13 March after a senior official tested positive for #COVID_19, according to an internal mail seen by EURACTIV.@gerardofortuna reports.https://t.co/T8mHPm0u4A
— EURACTIV (@EURACTIV) March 4, 2020
Brussels only confirmed its first case in the city a couple of days ago.
Last night, China reported 119 additional coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths for March 3. That’s compared with 125 additional cases and 31 new deaths the previous day. The new cases bring the total number of mainland cases to 80,270 and death toll at 2,871.
South Korea reported 809 additional coronavirus cases and 4 additional deaths, bringing its total cases to 5,621 and death toll to 32, while Italy’s total cases rose to 2,502 from 2036, and its death toll increased to 79, up from 52 earlier in the day on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, over in Japan, a part-time worker at a McDonald’s in Kyoto has tested positive, prompting the restaurant to close. The cashier attended music events in Osaka on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, where investigators believe he may have been infected.
Last night, Japanese officials raised the possibility of delaying the Olympics. NTV reports Wednesday morning in the US that Japan would scale back Olympic Torch relay events.
Unsurprisingly, an a global Ipsos poll highlighted by the Guardian showed that a majority of Italians would accept quarantines of cities and towns, though that number climbed to 74% for the UK and 91% for Vietnam.
Q. Are you willing to accept quarantines of cities and towns to manage #coronavirus risk?
Italy 60% pic.twitter.com/OBvnYk9IU5
— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) March 4, 2020
As we reported yesterday, Ireland has recorded a second case of coronavirus. However, officials are still planning to go ahead with St. Patrick’s Day festivities when the holiday arrives in a couple of weeks.
While the WHO has embraced alternative greetings, Public Health England, the agency in charge of the UK outbreak, said that while it might recommend people stop shaking hands, “we’re not there yet.
Elsewhere in Europe, Bloomberg reports that Italy’s government is weighing a closure of all schools nationwide to contain the coronavirus outbreak. A closure could last 15 days and start this coming Monday, or the Monday following. This comes after officials reportedly considered cancelling all sports games in the country for a month.
Over at the ECB, the central bank has cancelled travel for all members of the Christine Lagarde-led executive board, as well as other employees judged to be non-essential, until 20 April 2020, at which time the central bank will reassess the situation.