Asian markets open on Monday have tumbled in connection with fears of the coronavirus, with the death toll reaching 80 and heightened concern over the virus spreading further.
Japan’s Nikkei index lost two per cent, reportedly its biggest fall within one day in five months. Markets in China, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong were closed for lunar new year holiday. A Tokyo-listed China proxy, the ChinaAMC CSI index, shed 2.2 per cent. Commentators expect European shares to open more than one per cent down.
The week-long lunar new year holiday has been extended by three days to 2nd February and while the Chinese government also put in place further restrictions on public transport, hoping to stem the flow of people across the country.
The head of the World Health Organisation is holding special meetings with high-ranking officials I Beijing on Monday with the aim to discuss containing the coronavirus. More cases have been confirmed outside of China, reaching several Asian countries as well as Europe, North America and Australia.
Official figures show that more than 400 people are critically ill while 2,700 are known to be infected in China. A public health expert at Imperial College warned that as many as 100,000 people could be infected. Health officials have warned that it could take some time for infected people to show symptoms.