A deepening health crisis became an economic one too Friday, with the virus outbreak sapping financial markets, emptying shops and businesses, and putting major sites and events off limits.
As the list of countries hit by the illness edged toward 60 with Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands reporting their first cases, the threats to livelihoods were increasingly eyed as warily as the threats to lives.
“It’s not cholera or the black plague,” said Simone Venturini, the city councilor for economic development in Venice, Italy, where tourism already hurt by historic flooding last year has sunk with news of virus cases. “The damage that worries us even more is the damage to the economy.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said the outbreak “has pandemic potential,” but whatever terminology officials used, the rippling effects were clear.
Attractions including Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan announced closures and events that expected tens of thousands, including a tour by the K-pop group BTS, were called off.
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