Statement on the Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Go back »

2020-02-01 | All chapters

The most important consideration is that practical steps are taken to contain the virus in order to bring the situation under control, and that individuals continue to monitor government and World Health Organisation (WHO) updates and heed professional, medical advice.

Nevertheless, the potential economic and financial costs could be considerable, as happened with SARS in 2003 when consumer-facing businesses suffered serious downturns in demand. It is possible that the economic cost this time around will be slightly higher, due to the increased weight of China in global GDP terms, the now stronger role of private consumption in China and the virus breakout having been more easily spread during the Chinese New Year period. Logically, the economic impact will also be different per region, with Wuhan and it's province of Hubei being hit harder than, for example, Beijing or Guangdong province. Outside of China, economic ripples may hit Europe through everything from supply chain disruptions to a sharp drop in tourists. 

A positive difference compared to the SARS outbreak, is that the capacity of China’s health authorities and medical professionals is far greater than two decades ago, and the government has already taken steps to be more transparent with the spread of the virus, as well as critical details like its complete genome. 

With stronger communication, increased knowledge of how to control viral outbreaks, greater preparedness in terms of resources and people, and deeper ties with international groups like the WHO, the European Chamber is confident that this outbreak can be contained much quicker than SARS was.


Distribution of 2019-nCoV Cases in China



2019-nCoV Epidemic Curve