March 16, 2020 / 8:03 AM / 5 months ago

What you need to know about the coronavirus

March 16 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about coronavirus today:

More money, more easing, but no pleasing markets

Japan and New Zealand followed the Fed with sweeping emergency cuts in interest rates and offers of cheap dollars. But the measures did little to calm equity markets, which fell sharply.

"Market reactions to each surprise monetary policy easing have been sell first and ask questions later," said Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank in Singapore.

EU finance ministers will hold a video call on Monday, to discuss measures to shore up their economies, while G7 world leaders will hold a teleconference at 1400 GMT. .

Germany tries to persuade vaccine company to stay

Berlin is trying to stop Washington from persuading German company CureVac from moving its research to the United States, a report by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, which was confirmed by the country's health ministry, said.

The privately held company based in Tuebingen, Germany, is working on an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus and hopes to have it ready by June or July, after which it will seek regulatory approval for human testing.

The spread

At least 6,509 people have now died from coronavirus and 169,444 have been infected globally, according to a Reuters tally. There are now more cases outside mainland China than within it.

Mainland China reported an overall drop in new coronavirus infections on Sunday, with 16 new confirmed cases, down from 20 a day earlier. The only locally transmitted new infections were in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Italy, Iran, South Korea and Spain recorded the highest numbers of deaths over the last day.

(Open in an external browser, to see an interactive graphic of the coronavirus spread)

Social distancing

Switching off some gambling machines, dedicating certain shopping hours for the elderly and restricting the number of people allowed in lifts, are some of the measures being adopted by casinos and supermarkets in Australia, and by Chinese companies.

Apple Inc reopened its 42 stores in mainland China while closing others elsewhere in the world, but required customers to wear masks and be subject to temperatures checks upon entry.

Locked down, but not out

Italians took to the balconies of their apartments over the weekend to conduct mass singalongs of "Azzurro", a song by Adriano Celentano, one of Italy's most popular singers, and to applaud the doctors and nurses at the front line of the crisis.

Fuelled by social media, handpainted banners proclaiming "Andra tutto bene" ("Everything will be alright") and "io resto a casa" ("I'm staying at home") were draped from windows and balconies in several cities.

As the death toll has risen to the highest in the world outside China, there has been widespread acceptance of the unprecedented series of government controls on public gatherings and travel.

Compiled by Karishma Singh

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