What you need to know about the coronavirus today


(Reuters) – Here are today’s developments on the coronavirus epidemic:

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

China’s Xi goes to Wuhan

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, on Tuesday, the first time he has done so since the epidemic began and a sign that Beijing believes its control efforts are at a turning point, as new cases tumble.

Markets come up for air as stimulus hopes stem rout, for now

Asian shares bounced and bond yields rose from historic lows on Tuesday as speculation of coordinated stimulus from global central banks and governments calmed panic selling.

Japan will boost its special financing for small and mid-size firms hit by the coronavirus to 1.6 trillion yen ($15.3 billion), up from the roughly 500 billion yen previously announced, according to a government document seen by Reuters, while Australia said it would soon announce stimulus measures as well.

The spread:

There are over 114,300 cases of coronavirus and 4,026 deaths across 112 countries and regions as of Tuesday at 0200 GMT, according to a Reuters tally. Almost 4,300 cases and 199 deaths were reported in the past day.

There are now seven countries outside China reporting over a thousand cases, and three reporting over 7,000, which are Italy, South Korea and Iran.

Italy added 1,797 cases and 97 new fatalities in the past day. The total number of deaths linked to the virus in Italy are now 463, accounting for 52% of fatalities outside of China.

New coronavirus cases were reported in Burkina Faso, Brunei, Cyprus, the Channel Islands and Mongolia. Chile reported its first fatality.

Italy impact

With all of Italy under lockdown, reeling financial markets and rioting prisoners, it remains to be seen how the country can cope. Over 9,000 people have become infected in Italy in little over two weeks, lending weight to the stringent measures announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday.

Businesses, including bars and restaurants, have been told they can only remain open if they can guarantee customers remain a metre apart.

“That is the least of my worries. The real problem is there is no one here,” said Franco Giovinazzo, who runs Spazio Caffe in Rome and had sold just six coffees in the normally busy breakfast period on Monday.

‘Washing hands is super’, Lego disinfectant dispenser says

Elementary school students in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung have gotten creative over the coronavirus, building their own robot that dispenses alcohol disinfectant from Lego bricks.

The robot is equipped with a sensor that can tell when a pair of hands is in front of it, and even has a recorded voice that says “Washing hands is super”, after it dispenses the disinfectant.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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