European shares plummeted again on Friday as a British man quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan became the latest to die from COVID-19.
Japan’s health ministry said the dead man had been isolated at Yokohama but did not identify him.
In Britain, the FTSE 100 index plunged 224.14 points, or 3.3%, shortly after opening — deepening days of losses — while Germany’s DAX was down 3.2%, extending the pain of the worst week since 2008.
Tokyo’s benchmark plummeted by 3.7% while Sydney and Seoul dropped by more than 3%. In China, Shanghai and Hong Kong both recorded drops of over 2.5%.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the world is at a “decisive point” in the battle against COVID-19. The disease has continued to spread to new countries, spooking global financial markets.
The coronavirus has now killed 54 people in 44 countries outside China and still has “pandemic potential,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva.
“If you act aggressively now you can contain this virus,” he said, urging governments around the world to follow WHO advice such by preparing isolation units and introducing health checks at borders.
“The most important thing is to calm down and do the right things,” he said.
In other COVID-19 updates:
- Stock market shares fell significantly due to coronavirus worries
- France had a significant increase in the number of cases from 18 to 38.
- Northern Ireland confirmed its first case bringing the UK total to 16
- Japan ordered all schools to be closed after this weekend
- Saudi Arabia banned travel to Mecca, just months before the annual Hajj pilgrimage
- A woman in California tested positive without having travelled to a zone at risk
- Facebook cancelled its F8 developer conference due to the outbreak
As countries scrambled to contain the virus, many adopted new measures. In Germany, landing cards were issued to passengers arriving from countries most hit by the virus, while Cyprus added more police and health workers at crossing points at the self-declared Turkish Cypriot state in the north.