Foreign Desk Report
SINGAPORE: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Australia’s minister for home affairs and a Chelsea soccer player are among new cases of the coronavirus that has infected almost 135,000 people and killed more than 4,900 worldwide.
Governments and central banks readied more emergency measures to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus on Friday, helping financial markets pare some of their steep losses, while more major events were canceled or postponed. U.S. lawmakers and the White House neared agreement on a coronavirus economic aid package, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she hoped to announce a deal on Friday.
Experts warn that due to a lack of testing and unreported cases, many more people may be affected by the outbreak that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
Health authorities around the world face the prospect of services being overwhelmed.
“We’re anticipating 20% of the population in the first wave to be affected,” Kerry Chant, the chief medical officer for the New South Wales (NSW) state government. Home to more than 7 million people, NSW is Australia’s most populous state, and Chant said models suggested 5% of the state’s population – some 350,000 people – would need hospital treatment as a result of coronavirus. Australia has recorded nearly 160 infections and three deaths from the flu-like disease. Among the infected is one of its highest-profile government ministers, Peter Dutton, who is in charge of home affairs. He said he was feeling fine.