In a video posted on social media, the German Chancellor can be seen arriving at a press conference following a migration summit with German migrants’ organisations, and offering her hand to Mr Seehofer to greet him. But the German Interior Minister refrains from taking Angela Merkel‘s up on her offer and holds his hand high to refuse the gesture. It comes as deadly coronavirus continues to spread across the world sparking fears it could become a pandemic.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 150 on Monday from 129 on Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said, adding that the risk from the virus in Germany is now “moderate”.
More than half of the cases, 86, are in the western region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, where several schools and daycare centres will be closed on Monday to try to prevent the spread of the virus after staff members tested positive.
Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said that of the 150 cases in Germany, the authorities had traced the origin of 140.
Vodafone confirmed that one of its German employees was infected with the virus.
“We can confirm that several of our employees in the UK have been in contact with a person visiting the office, who has tested positive for the coronavirus,” a Vodafone spokesperson added.
“As a precautionary measure, we have identified those employees and asked that they work from home.”
The deadly virus has plunged the world economy into its worst downturn since the global financial crisis of 2008, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned today.
The global economy is “at risk” as a result of the outbreak and growth could halve this year, the OECD said.
It became the first international organisation to sound the alarm about the financial impact of the pandemic and said the effect of the widespread closure of factories and businesses in China alone was likely to cut 0.5 percentage points from the global growth forecast in 2020, lowering its prediction from an already weak 2.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent.
The revised forecast puts the global economy on the verge of a recession, which is traditionally defined as growth below 2.5 per cent.
It warned a “longer lasting and more intensive coronavirus outbreak, spreading widely throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America” could see global growth drop as low as 1.5 per cent in 2020 – half the rate projected prior to the virus outbreak.
In the euro area, where the number of cases of coronavirus is rising fast, growth was put at 0.8 percent, down from 1.1 percent in November, with Italy seeing flat growth this year as it struggles to contain a jump in cases. Eurozone growth was seen rising to 1.2 percent in 2020.
The OECD urged governments to act “swiftly and forcefully” on health and economic effects.
It called for “supportive monetary and fiscal policies to restore confidence” while acknowledging economic policies cannot offset the immediate effects of shutdowns in business activity designed to slow the spread of the virus.
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OECD chief economist Laurence Boone said: “The main message from this downside scenario is that it would put many countries into a recession, which is why we are urging measures to be taken in the affected areas as quickly as possible.”
Ms Boone said governments needed to support health systems with extra pay or tax relief for workers doing overtime and short-time working schemes for companies struggling with a slump in demand.
She said Governments could give companies further financial relief by cutting social charges, suspending value-added taxes and providing emergency loans for sectors particularly hard, such as travel.
She said governments should not worry about spending caps while letting programmes like unemployment insurance do their job of softening the blow from the downturn.
And she suggested central banks could provide comforting signals to stressed financial markets that they stand ready to further ease monetary policy and provide liquidity to banks if needed.
Ms Boone said: “We don’t want to add a financial crisis to the health crisis.”
Published at Mon, 02 Mar 2020 12:55:00 +0000