Japanese and European stocks plunge as Italy implements lockdown


Italy has shut down all its ports and airports, disrupting financial markets and showing how the coronavirus has affected social and economic aspects globally.

Major European stock markets plunged over 7%, Japanese indexes slipped 5%, and US markets lost more than 7% after Saudi Arabia started an oil price war with Russia, causing investors to back out of trading in a market already harmed by the epidemic.

The Italian government has moved to drastic measures in an attempt to contain the virus: instructing citizens not to travel across the country unless it was for emergency or for work. The government has also canceled sporting events and public gatherings.

In Milan’s Lombardy region, number of deaths spiked 25% in one day, at 333, while national death toll rose 97, at 463, making Italy the highest number of deaths outside China.

The total confirmed cases globally reached 113,000, with 9,000 infections recorded in Italy. The global death toll had amounted to 4,000, mostly from mainland China, as of Tuesday.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed that as the virus had affected more than 100 countries, the threat of pandemic is becoming more imminent.

Tedros said that there was no problem with Italy’s drastic measures, and noted that 93% of cases globally was tallied in four countries—China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea.

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