Eurozone CRISIS: Coronavirus costing bloc ‘€1bn per month’ – ‘Recession almost certain’

The WHO, however, said the world was “not at the mercy of the virus”. The coronavirus outbreak, which is grounding Chinese tourists, is costing the European tourism industry around one billion euros per month in lost revenue, the bloc’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said on Sunday.  

The health crisis “is costing European countries one billion euros a month,” M Breton told France Info radio.

This loss in revenue stems from “the absence of Chinese tourists” since the start of the outbreak, which has led to a massive drop in hotel nights, he said.

He added: “The fact that Chinese tourists have stopped coming means two million [hotel] nights lost.

“That represents a loss of one billion euros per month since January.”

Europe’s tourism sector has benefited greatly from China’s economic rise over the past two decades and has been dealt a brutal blow by the outbreak that first emerged from China’s central city of Wuhan late last year.

M Breton, however, said it was “too soon” to predict the economic impact of the deadly epidemic, which has now infected more than 118,000 people in 111 countries and regions and killed over 4,200.

His comments came shortly after the UN’s trade agency, UNCTAD, warned the epidemic would likely cost the global economy $1trillion in 2020.

Richard Kozul-Wright, UNCTAD’s head of globalisation and development strategies, said in a report published on Monday: “We envisage a slowdown in the global economy to under two percent for this year, and that will probably cost in the order of $1trillion.”

“Few countries will be left unscathed by the outbreak’s financial ramifications,” he said, before warning that international financial markets currently reflected “a world that is extremely anxious”.

To tackle these fears, “governments need to spend at this point in time to prevent the kind of meltdown that could be even more damaging than the one that is likely to take place over the course of the year,” Mr Kozul-Wright insisted.

Commenting on Europe and the eurozone, he warned that its economy had already been performing “extremely badly towards the end of 2019” and was “almost certain to go into recession over the coming months”.

He said: “The German economy is particularly fragile, but the Italian economy and other parts of the European periphery are also facing very serious stresses right now.”

The World Health Organisation, for its part, said that although the threat of a global pandemic was now “very real,” the world “is not at the mercy of the virus”.

“Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

But “we need to remember that with decisive, early action, we can slow down the virus and prevent infections. Among those who are infected, most will recover… The bottom line is, we are not at the mercy of the virus,” he added.

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