The coronavirus outbreak’s impact on the world economy grew more alarming amid plunging business confidence, empty shops and amusement parks, cancelled events and drastically reduced trade and travel.

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“This is a case where in economic terms the cure is almost worse than the disease,” said Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“When you quarantine cities... you lose economic activity that you’re not going to get back.”

The list of countries touched by the illness has climbed to nearly 60 as Mexico, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Iceland and the Netherlands reported their first cases.

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“I think this is a reality check for every government on the planet,” WHO emergencies programme director Michael Ryan said on Friday after the agency raised its alert level.

More than 84,000 people worldwide have contracted the illness, with deaths topping 2800.