ECB panic: Eurozone teeters on brink of recession as coronavirus panic escalates

Its president, Christine Lagarde, called an emergency meeting to escalate planning for the deadly virus, which threatens to plunge the Eurozone into recession. She warned: “The coronavirus outbreak is a fast developing situation, which creates risks for the economic outlook and the functioning of financial markets. “The ECB is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economy, medium-term inflation and the transmission of our monetary policy.

“We stand ready to take appropriate and targeted measures, as necessary and commensurate with the underlying risks.”

Coronavirus marks the Parisian’s first major challenge since taking over the European Central Bank’s most senior role last November.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention yesterday raised its threat warning level from “moderate to high” as the global death toll passed 3,000.

According to the World Health Organisation’s latest official statistics, a total of 54 deaths and over 2,000 infections across Europe.

Italy has been left teetering on the brink of recession after the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 35 people in the country, caused a partial shutdown of much of its industrial sector.

Rome is seeking support from Brussels to approve a £3.1 billion package to help businesses withstand the economic fallout.

This follows £783 million worth of financial relief measures for 11 towns in Lombardy and Veneto that are still under lockdown.

The EU Commission’s economy chief Paolo Gentiloni said Brussels would probably support the request.

“We will assess the requests of governments with a spirit of solidarity and understanding in these non-ordinary moments,” he said.

In a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus from Europe’s worst-hit country, airlines have scaled back or cancelled a number of flights.

Ryanair announced on Monday that it would alter its schedules after a significant drop in demand for flights to Italy.

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British Airways and easyJet have also cancelled a number of flights, and American Airlines has suspended flights to Milan until April 24.

Lombardy’s regional government has urged people over 65 to remain at home.

Local councillor Giulio Gallera said: “All those who have died are people over 65 with underlying health conditions, especially cardiovascular problems.”

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The country’s civil protection agency said a total of 2,036 have tested positive for coronavirus, up from 1,694 on Sunday.

“What is comforting is that 50 percent of the 258 people who tested positive have no symptoms or are being looked after at home,” Angelo Borrelli, head of the agency said.

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