The U.S. stock market plunged as fears of the spreading coronavirus frightened investors along with markets worldwide on Monday morning.
The Industrial Average of Dow Jones fell over 965 points or 3.33 percent after news broke out of victims of viruses well beyond China, where the deadly virus originated. Similarly, the S&P 500 dropped 3.29 percent just days after reaching a record high, and the Nasdaq composite fell 3.79 percent. Moreover, in seven years, gold soared to its highest level.
At least 2,592 deaths of 77,150 confirmed cases of the virus so far in China.
On Monday, a slew of new countries announced their first virus outbreaks. Italy has introduced stringent containment measures as at least 219 cases of the virus reported, up from 152 the day before. In Italy, six people died from the virus.
The country deployed police and military forces in ten northern towns to enforce a lockdown of around 50,000 people.
Officials have confirmed more than 800 infections and seven deaths in South Korea and President Moon Jae-in has put the country on its highest possible warning.
After the first case of the virus was confirmed there, Afghanistan declared a state of emergency and Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, and Oman announced on Monday their first confirmed cases.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, temporarily shut down one of its plants in South Korea over the weekend after one worker became infected with the coronavirus.
A respiratory disease, the virus causes pneumonia-like symptoms although many cases are as mild as flu. The U.S. has identified 14 people in the U.S. who were infected with the virus, all but two of whom traveled abroad to contract it.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, warned Monday that countries will “do whatever we can to prepare for a possible pandemic.”