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France braces for major economic shock like 2008 financial crash as coronavirus spreads

CORONAVIRUS will trigger a very high economic cost, a French economist has warned, as the deadly virus continues to sweep across the globe.

Governments across the globe are scrambling to respond to the outbreak, which has now killed more than 3,000 and infected 90,000 as it continues to run amok.The coronavirus crisis is set to deal a brutal blow to the French economy, economist Nicolas Bouzou warned on Monday, as the number of confirmed cases of the deadly flu-like illness in France rose to over 200. Mr Bouzou said in an op-ed piece published in French newspaper Le Figaro: The economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak will be very high.

There is no point in burying our heads in the sand: we are currently facing a major economic shock one comparable in scale to the 2008 financial crisis.

He added: This crisis will leave a permanent scar on the global economy.

The head of Frances public health service, Jerome Salomon, told reporters on Tuesday that France had 212 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, with four deaths.

The French government has also sounded the alarm bell about the economic impact of the disease, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying Paris expected solidarity and flexibility from all European economic authorities.

If there is a time we need to be flexible, it is when we are facing a crisis as important as the one we are facing today, Mr Le Maire told a press conference, as he underlined the importance of considering all options to soften the economic blow from the outbreak.

In an interview with the French news channel BFMTV on Wednesday, Mr Le Maire added that Europe had to be ready to use fiscal stimulus to deal with the impact of the epidemic on its fragile economy.

The eurozone will have to boost budget spending if the coronavirus crisis lasts and economic growth is impacted, he said.

Finance ministers from the G7 group of rich nations have also pledged to take action, including fiscal measures where appropriate, as concerns grow that the epidemic could harm the global economy.

In addition to clambering to respond to the deadly outbreak, governments and key financial institutions have sought to calm fears of widespread economic disruption.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement: We stand ready to take appropriate and targeted measures and commensurate with the underlying risks.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank issued a joint statement earlier this week promising to help countries cope with the fallout from the health crisis.

The lending institutions said: We will use our available instruments to the fullest extent possible, including emergency financing, policy advice and technical assistance.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Monday the global economy risked an outright contraction in the first quarter as it slashed its global GDP forecast by half a percentage point to 2.4 percent, the lowest rate since the 2008 financial crisis.

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It warned growth could slow to 1.5 percent if the epidemic is not brought under control in the coming months.

The virus continues to spread in South Korea, Japan, Europe, Iran and the United States, with several countries reporting their first cases.

The virus, which has spread to more than 80 countries, has killed more than 3,000 people and infected over 90,000.

Health officials have said the death rate is between 2-4 percent, depending on the country.

Jean-Paul Hamon, president of Frances Doctor Federation (FMF), tried to calm coronavirus fears on Tuesday, insisting that coronavirus is not the plague.

He told RTL radio: Some 98 percent of coronavirus patients make a full recovery only around 2 percent of those infected die.

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