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  • Coronavirus deaths have overtaken that of the Sars epidemic in 2003.
  • A slight stabilisation in the number of cases.
  • Risk-off remains in play, supporting USD and yen.

The number of coronavirus deaths has overtaken that of the Sars epidemic in 2003, according to the BBC.

In China’s Hubei province alone, the epicentre of the latest outbreak, the death toll now is put at 780 by regional health officials. All but two of the overall total of 813 deaths have so far been in mainland China. In 2003, 774 people were killed by Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in more than two dozen countries.

In an article published on Sunday 9th, the BBC notes that more than 34,800 people have been infected with the new coronavirus worldwide, the vast majority in China.

Health officials in Hubei reported 81 new fatalities on Saturday, bringing the death toll in the region to 780. There now have been 811 deaths in mainland China, with one each in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

A positive outlook

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Saturday the virus was still concentrated in Hubei, and that over the previous four days there appeared to have been a slight stabilisation in the number of cases.

However, he said it was still too early to say whether or not the virus has plateaued, as epidemics can often slow down before accelerating again.

But he added the slowdown was “an opportunity” for them to work to contain the virus,

the BBC wrote. 

In other news, we are hearing that the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus is progressing well, according to a US health official and as reported by the Global Times. 

Additional reported cases globally increasing

A fourth person in England has tested positive for coronavirus, having contracted the illness from a previously confirmed British patient in France, England’s Chief Medical Officer said on Sunday. On Saturday, France confirmed five new cases in its Haute-Savoie region, including a nine-year-old boy, which brings the total of infected people in the country to 11.

FX implications

Investors are nervous nonetheless and risk-off flows are likely to dominate, potentially weighing on AUD which has otherwise enjoyed a respite from the downside pressures of late. The USD and yen are favourites in the FX space at times of uncertainty. A close eye will be left on the Chinese economy and contagion throughout EMs and proxies such as Australasia.