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The BBC have reported that a case of coronavirus has been diagnosed in Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency has said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said the patient had come from northern Italy via Dublin.

He said the patient had contacted a GP and had taken steps to self-isolate.

He said the case had showed a presumptive positive result and in line with established protocols, it had been sent to laboratories in England for verification.

“Our health service is well used to dealing with such infections and I want to reassure the public that we are prepared,” Dr McBride said.

“The risk to population of NI has not changed as a result of this presumptive positive test result.”

BBC NI health correspondent Marie-Louise Connolly said any confirmed case would likely be taken to an isolation unit in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

The news also reports that earlier on Thursday, two more patients tested positive for coronavirus in England, which brought the total to 15 before the NI case.

FX implications

The coronavirus continues to grip markets, weighing heavily on financial and commodity markets. So far, more than 80,000 people in more than 40 countries have now been infected and the World Health Organisation is expected to raise the profile of the virus to a pandemic which has seen investors run to the safe havens, sending US yields to the lowest levels on record, the W&P 500 down around 8% this week and gold firmly in the $1,600s (24th Feb high, $1,689.30). 

As for currencies, betting on weakness in a nation’s currency that has been hit by the virus it is not necessarily a high conviction one. We have seen the euro, for instance, rally hard this week despite the contagion risk on the continent due to Italy being the third-highest nation of reported cases on record, behind S.Korea and China.

Instead, it would be more prudent to analyse the currency on a macro basis, taking into consideration the impact on the global economy that the virus will have, in the early stages at least. Indeed, nations such as the UK are more capable and ready to deal with an epidemic, than say, a third-world country. Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, has killed more than 2,700 people. Most of the deaths have been in China, where the virus originated in December.

GBP/USD is most likely to trade according to the US stock market, UK/EU trade negotiations and the UK budget in March. One of the most immediate risks to cable is how far the DXY has dropped and whether a potential upside correction could see DXY back towards the 99 handle, likely weighing even further on GBP in coming sessions.

DXY daily chart

On an upside correction in the US dollar, GBP/USD sell stops below 1.2850 could be triggered resulting in a sell-off through low volume nodes, (according to price-volume analysis) and open risk towards 1.2760 support ahead of 1.2580.