What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

FILE PHOTO: A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication together with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a model structurally representative of a betacoronavirus which is the type of virus linked to COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus linked to the Wuhan outbreak, shared with Reuters on February 18, 2020. NEXU Science Communication/via REUTERS

Olympics in the balance

After Canada and Australia confirmed they would not send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics if it went ahead this year, other nations are now going public with calls for a delay. Poland said it was impossible in the current situation for athletes to train properly, and Ireland’s Olympics chief has suggested next year is now a more viable time slot.

That came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged for the first time the Games may need to be postponed if they could not be held in their “complete form”.

Shares of Dentsu Group, the marketing agency for the event, jumped as much as 12.4% on relief over suggestions the International Olympic Committee was looking to delay the Games, not cancel them outright.

Relief bill stymied in U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate’s drive to pass a $1-trillion-plus coronavirus response bill was stymied late on Sunday, as Democrats held out for more money to help state and local governments and hospitals, while Republicans urged quick action to give financial markets a sign of encouragement.

Following two successful emergency aid bills, this latest effort includes financial aid for regular Americans, small businesses and critically affected industries, including airlines.

Shut down and prepare to rebound

U.S. stock index futures tumbled on Monday on fears of economic damage from a growing number of national lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic, with Goldman Sachs estimating a 24% plunge in U.S. real GDP in the second quarter.

Speaking to Reuters, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard however invited markets to view things from a different perspective: well-executed shutdowns should be saluted as an investment in public health that lays the groundwork for a rapid rebound. In the meantime, policy should do two things: Match any lost wages; Match any lost business.

The spread

Globally, there are now more than 337,500 cases of coronavirus and more than 14,650 deaths related to it, according to a Reuters tally at 0200 GMT on Monday.

Italy remained the country hardest-hit outside mainland China, registering 651 deaths in the last day. Spain registered almost 400 deaths, while over 100 people died in France, Iran and the United States each.

In mainland China, where the outbreak began, there were 39 new confirmed cases on Sunday, all travellers arriving from abroad.

(For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.)

Three’s a crowd, Merkel says before going into quarantine

Germany has banned public meetings of more than two people unless they live together in the same household or the gathering is work-related, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, one in a bundle of stricter curbs on social interaction.

Merkel herself was later announced to be going into quarantine after coming into contact with a doctor who had tested positive for the coronavirus, her spokesman said.

Complied by Karishma Singh and Mark John; Editing by Nick Tattersall

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