The epidemic, which first emerged in China, is spreading quickly in northern Italy, increasing fears of a larger-than-expected impact on the European and global economy.

However, Reuters cites Paolo Gentiloni saying that an assessment and a serious forecast is not yet possible, acknowledging that there had already been "a partial materialization" of the downside risks raised by the epidemic.

Mr. Gentiloni also added that more government spending to address the worst economic effects of emergencies was possible under EU fiscal rules. However, the conditions for countries to use that leeway will be analyzed over the coming months.

The new coronavirus has cost the lives of 2.801 people, while confirmed cases exceed 82.168. What is more, except from China, coronavirus cases have been reported in other countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and Japan, in Australia, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, the US and Canada, among others.

How the virus spreads

This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.