24 March 2020

ISA Risk Alert: The Coronavirus Crisis (24th of March)


Daily Summary

The number of known cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) rose to more than 392,000 globally, while the number of deaths attributed to this outbreak has risen to more than 17,100.  More than 200,000 of these cases were found in Europe.

While the number of new coronavirus cases in Italy declined for the second consecutive day, the number of new cases in Spain and France soared yesterday.  Meanwhile, the number of deaths from the coronavirus in Europe surpassed 10,000, which is more than three times the number of fatalities from the virus in China.

The number of new cases of the coronavirus being discovered further from its hotspots in China and Europe continued to rise, with sizeable increases in the number of cases found in places such as Southeast Asia, Australia, South Africa and Israel in recent days.

A series of manufacturing and service sector indices and surveys were released this week and they revealed declines in economic activity that were at least as great as those during the height of the global financial crisis in 2009, with some of these indicators falling to their lowest levels since the Second World War.  This added to the expectation that the global economy will fall into a deep recession in the first half of this year.


Key Developments

Wartime FootingMore and more countries are beginning to expand the usage of their industrial sectors, armed forces and other such entities as they attempt to utilize means that are generally reserved for wartime to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Ravaging the ElderlySo far, the average age of those of have died from the coronavirus in Italy (home to 35% of the fatalities in this crisis) is 80, while in most other countries, the average age of those who have died is well over 70. 

Trend to Watch

The debate over when to ease restrictions on travel and public gatherings is already intensifying in many parts of the world, even though, apart from China and South Korea, most other countries are still in the early phases of the first wave of the crisis.


The Coming Days

A number of countries have had to postpone local, regional and national elections that were scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.  However, upcoming elections and referendums in South Korea, Poland and Russia are still scheduled to take place.