The government is dividing the country outside Hubei and Beijing into three 'risk' tranches, and will mandate that those in the lowest tranche get back to work, school or whatever they were doing before the virus hit. Investors are clearly concerned that, instead of the 'v'-shaped recovery promised by the IMF, the economic bounce-back from the coronavirus might be closer to a "u"-shape. On top of that, as cases proliferate in South Korea, Italy and the US, pundits are beginning to worry that the rest of the world is where China was two months ago - in other words
Throughout the day, South Korea confirmed 144 more cases, bringing the country-wide total to 977, the highest number outside China. As the Korean government warns that foreigners shouldn't travel there, Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines, to South Korean airlines, said they would halt flights to Daegu until next month, leaving the door open to a longer shutdown. On Tuesday afternoon, South Korean President Moon Jae-in traveled to Daegu, the city where more than half of the country's cases have been detected, and advised its residents to stay indoors but pledged to avoid the draconian restrictions Chinese authorities implemented in Wuhan. Outbreak-related news in Seoul took on a more morbid tone Tuesday following reports in the local press that a civil servant from the Ministry of Justice's Emergency Safety Planning Office jumped off a bridge in Seoul at around 5 am local time Tuesday. The official was one of several individuals charged with overseeing the government's response to the virus. As cases soar and hysteria mounts, we suspect this news won't exactly help quiet the public's nerves.
A Singaporean government minister warned that the city-state could impose sweeping travel restrictions targeting South Korea if the outbreak gets worse. Minutes ago, Italian authorities confirmed another 8 coronavirus cases, 54 of which have been confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total to 283. More than 100,000 Italians in 10 villages are under lockdown in the 'red zone' in northern Italy, where the military has been deployed and people have been told to stay inside. Fears about the virus spreading throughout the region were validated yesterday when Spain reported a third case, an Italian traveler. On Tuesday, Reuters reports that Spanish authorities have closed the Tenerife Hotel on the Canary Islands and are testing all of its occupants. Most of the cases have been recorded in Lombardy (200+), while Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Bolzano, Trentino and Rome have all confirmed at least one case. The UK government warned that any British travelers in northern Italy should self-isolate, according to the Washington Post. In Japan, the "J League", Japan's professional soccer league, has announced that it will postpone all games until at least March 15, saying in a statement that it's "fully committed" to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The decision followed a government recommendation to cancel all public events and gatherings. Embracing a markedly different approach from Beijing, Japan has announced a new policy on Tuesday designed to focus medical care on the most serious cases, while urging people with mild symptoms to treat themselves at home.
According to the FT, the new strategy of containment announced by a panel overseeing the virus response acknowledged that simply testing everyone potentially exposed to the more than 100 cases outside the 'Diamond Princess' would overwhelm its health-care system. It is radically different approach from that adopted by China, Though it hasn't announced new cases in a day or so, Japan has confirmed 840 cases of novel coronavirus so far, with nearly 700 of them linked to the 'Diamond Princess' cruise ship. Iran's 'official' death toll climbed to 14 on Tuesday, with 61 cases confirmed so far.