Coronavirus: UK cases rise by over 600 to reach 2,626
The Department of Health has confirmed that there have now been 2,626 coronavirus cases in the UK, up from 1,950 cases yesterday.
It is the biggest daily surge of confirmed cases yet, as the government prepares for a surge in cases. The government said it had now tested 53,595 people for Covid-19.
On Twitter the Department announced that it would provide an update on the number of deaths later today.
Measures to halt the spread of coronavirus have been stepped up in the UK, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that schools in Scotland will close as a result of the outbreak.
Schools will be shut from Friday and may not open after the Easter break. All schools in Wales are also set to shut this week over concerns that the UK is moving into the peak period of infection.
Panic wipes out FTSE 100 gains
The FTSE 100 is down 3.64 per cent to stand at 5,102 points, as it wiped out the gains made yesterday.
Investors shrugged off stimulus packages from governments and kept selling risk assets as panic over the coronavirus continued.
The drop killed yesterday’s 2.8 per cent increase after chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £330bn in government-backed loans for British businesses and £20bn of handouts.
Sterling crashes to 1980s lows
Sterling crashed to its lowest level since 1985 as investors flocked to the dollar amid the coronavirus outbreak, as they brace themselves for an economic hit in the UK.
Sterling was last down 1.8 per cent against the dollar at $1.185. It had earlier fallen below $1.184, its lowest point since the economic turbulence of the 1980s.
“With investors desperately looking for something resembling a safe haven, the dollar has become a go-to for nervy traders, causing the pound to get absolutely pummelled,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at trading platform Spreadex.
UBS strategist Thomas Flury said: “The main reason for dollar demand is liquidity concerns: In volatile times, companies and investors need dollars to settle transactions.”
Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled emergency measures to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on business. He pledged a staggering £330bn lifeline for UK firms, and pledged a business rate holiday for all firms, in a bid to keep companies afloat.
Global cases surpass 200,000
Earlier today it was confirmed that the number of global cases had surpassed 200,000, and the death toll had reached 8,006, according to Johns Hopkins University.
China still has the most number of confirmed infections with 81,102, followed by Italy on 31,506, Iran on 16,169, Spain on 13,716 and Germany on 9,877.
More than a third of the total deaths from the virus have been in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the virus was first passed onto humans.
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