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COVID-19: Cases spike, stocks crash in Australia

16 March 2020 21:14

ANKARA. KAZINFORM The number of coronavirus patients in Australia is nearing 300 as the southeastern state of New South Wales (NSW) reported its highest increase in cases on Monday.

The rising tally also led to staggering losses at the country’s stock exchange, which posted its largest daily percentage fall on record, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to ABC News, a total of 37 coronavirus cases were reported in NSW on Monday, raising the state’s total to 171.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard also predicted an «exponential increase» in coronavirus cases over the coming days.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) data shows Australia has 279 cases and three confirmed deaths so far.

Market crash

The economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak triggered losses at Australia’s stock exchange, ASX 200, which posted its largest daily percentage fall on record.

«It is new territory, unfortunately, it is a record you don't want,» ABC quoted market analyst Evan Lucas as saying.

The report said ASX 200 was now down 30% from its peak on Feb. 20 this year.

All Ordinaries, Australia’s oldest index of shares, lost $165 billion in value as it closed 9.5% down, its largest single day fall since the 1987 stock market crash.

After emerging in Wuhan, China, last December, the coronavirus has now spread to at least 146 countries and territories, according to the WHO.

The global death toll is nearly 6,500, with around 165,000 confirmed cases.

While the WHO recently declared the global outbreak a pandemic, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation was controllable.

In his remarks at a March 3 briefing on COVID-19, the WHO director-general also pointed out that the mortality rate from the virus was around 3.4%.