Wall Street falls on pandemic fears as Italy faces virus impact

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Wall Street falls on pandemic fears as Italy faces virus impact

A sudden increase of people infected by the fast-spreading coronavirus in Italy including several Middle Eastern countries reignited market fears of a global pandemic.

The World Health Organization stated that while limited outbreaks abroad China were expected, the surge in cases escalating from 3 to 220 from February 23 to 24 alone was cause for concern. Market tensions rise as fears of another supply chain and air disruption similar to China could transpire.

Italian authorities have already quarantined the worst-hit areas, shut down shops, closed off schools, and have postponed the carnival in Venice.    

The Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 reported their biggest 1-day loss in over 2 years following the reports of new cases beyond China. Meanwhile, Nasdaq underperformed to its worst since December 2018. All three indexes traded at 3% lower after it had gained record highs last week.

The U.S. government is currently considering to ask lawmakers for funding in case of an outbreak in the country, according to a White House spokesperson on Monday. The Washington Post and Politico speculated that the amount requested could be around $1 billion.

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