(Reuters) – Here are today’s developments on the coronavirus epidemic:
Bank of England leads coronavirus charge
Once not too long ago, the burning question in the UK was about how Brexit would impact the economy. Whereas that concern wasn’t quite enough to tip the Bank of England into an interest rate cut, the coronavirus outbreak clearly is: witness its surprise half-percentage point cut on Wednesday.
In what looked very much like a move choreographed with Boris Johnson’s government, the bank announced the cut and further support for bank lending just hours before the unveiling of an expected budget splurge designed to stave off a recession. Whether it will be enough remains to be seen.
Trump plan still in the works
Meanwhile as U.S. coronavirus cases rose steadily, Donald Trump is under growing pressure to deliver on his promises to safeguard the economy. The White House and Congress are deep in negotiations but there is still no sign of a deal. The challenge, simply put, is how to get money into the pockets of ordinary Americans quickly.
The president has been pushing for a broad payroll tax cut but others inside the White House want a targeted response that benefits industries and areas hardest hit by the virus, advisers say. Trump will also meet with the heads of some of the largest U.S. banks on Wednesday.
There are over 119,000 cases of coronavirus globally and 4,296 deaths linked to the virus as of early Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally.
There were over 4,800 cases and 270 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, with the vast majority of cases now being reported outside of China. Almost half of all new global cases were reported by Italy, Iran and Spain. Fatalities were up over 26% globally from a day earlier, with Italy and Iran reporting 168 and 54 deaths respectively.
Over 55% of cases have been reportedly cured, including roughly 61,400 of China’s total 80,909 cases.
For an interactive graphic of the spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
An Olympian test
For weeks, Olympic organizers have relentlessly pushed a consistent message: The Summer Games in Tokyo will not be canceled or postponed. But behind the scenes, sponsors who have pumped billions of dollars into the Games are increasingly nervous about how the coronavirus will impact the tournament.
A delay of one or two years would be the “most feasible” option if the Tokyo Olympics cannot be held this summer, a member of the organizing committee’s executive board told Reuters – a suggestion that Tokyo has dismissed out of hand, for now.
See a selection of coronavirus coverage from Reuters here: https://www.reuters.com/live-events/coronavirus-6-id2921484
(Compiled by Mark John; Editing by Peter Graff)