DUBAI: The new coronavirus kills one person every 10 minutes in Iran, the health ministry spokesman tweeted yesterday, as the death toll in the Middle East’s worst-affected country climbed to 1,284.
“Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran,” Kianush Jahanpur tweeted.
The world’s wealthiest nations poured unprecedented aid into the traumatised global economy as coronavirus cases ballooned in the current epicentre Europe even as they waned at the pandemic’s point of origin, China.
With almost 228,000 infections and more than 9,200 deaths so far, the epidemic has stunned the world and drawn comparisons with painful periods such as the Second World War, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.
“This is like an Egyptian plague,” said Argentinian hotelier Patricia Duran, who has seen bookings dry up for her two establishments near the famous Iguazu Falls.
“The hotels are empty – tourist activity has died.”
Tourism and airlines have been particularly battered, as the world’s citizens hunker down to minimise contact and curb the spread of the flu-like Covid-19. But few sectors have been spared by a crisis threatening lengthy global recession.
Markets have suffered routs unseen since the 2008 debacle, with investors rushing to the US dollar as a safe haven, but European and US stocks made a tentative recovery yesterday and oil prices rebounded though the reprieve may be brief.
Policymakers in the US, Europe and Asia have slashed interest rates and
opened liquidity taps to try to stabilise economies hit by quarantined consumers, broken supply chains, disrupted transport and paralysed businesses.
The virus, thought to have originated from wildlife in mainland China late last year, has jumped to 172 other nations and territories with more than 20,000 new cases reported in the past 24 hours – a new daily record.
Cases in Germany, Iran and Spain rose to more than 12,000 each.
Britain, which has reported 128 deaths, was closing dozens of underground stations in London and ordering schools shut from today.
Italian soldiers transported corpses overnight from an overwhelmed cemetery in Europe’s worst-hit nation where nearly 3,000 people have died. Germany’s military was also readying to help despite national sensitivities over its deployment dating back to the Nazi era.
Supermarkets in many countries were besieged with shoppers stocking up on food staples and hygiene products. Some rationed sales and fixed special hours for the elderly.