Spectators wait to see the Olympic flame display ceremony in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan. Picture: Eugene Hoshiko/AP
Spectators wait to see the Olympic flame display ceremony in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan. Picture: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

What you need to know about the worldwide coronavirus outbreak right now

By Reuters Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

US spending blitz

US senators and Trump administration officials have reached an agreement on a massive economic stimulus bill to alleviate the economic pressure of the coronavirus outbreak, negotiators said on Wednesday. The Senate will vote on the $2-trillion package later in the day and the House of Representatives is expected to follow suit soon after.

Stand by: Tokyo Olympics postponed

In a blow to Japan and an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan's government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world and agreed to push back the Tokyo Summer Games until 2021.

Major corporate sponsors including Coca-Cola Co, Procter & Gamble Co and Samsung Electronics, said they were standing by the IOC after the postponement. Experts familiar with the deals said the companies would not likely seek the return of billions of dollars committed to the agreements.

Treat with caution: rocketing stocks not cause for comfort

Those pining for a bottom to the gut-wrenching stock market selloff may be disappointed to learn that mega one-day rallies, like the one on Tuesday, are typically not the start of a durable recovery.

Of the twenty past instances when the S&P rallied 8% or more in a single day, thirteen of them took place when stocks were in the embrace of a bear market.

The spread

There are over 420 000 cases of coronavirus reported across 196 countries, according to a Reuters tally at 0200 GMT on Tuesday. Almost 19 000 deaths are linked to the virus.

Italy reported over 5 000 infections in the past day, and total infections are now almost 70 000. Italy will overtake China's case load of 81 000 within days if the rate of infection continues at this pace.

The United States now has the third-highest number of cases globally, after it added almost 11 000 cases in the past day. The WHO warned it could become the virus' new epicentre.

Cases in India crossed 500 for the first time on Tuesday, as the world's second-most populous country began a three-week lockdown.

Symptom-free carriers raise fears of new infection wave

The existence of a substantial but unknown number of asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus in China has raised concerns among the public that people could still be spreading Covid-19 without knowing they are sick.

Asymptomatic cases are currently found through "contact tracing". China identifies people exposed to someone with a confirmed diagnosis, and if they test positive, they are quarantined whether or not they manifest symptoms.

However, some experts warn that undetected, asymptomatic patients could create fresh transmission routes once lockdowns are eased. 

Reuters

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