The World Health Organization announcement had a severe impact that spread panic on Wall Street on Wednesday, its main index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, fell 5.86% to 23553.22 points at closing: a decrease of more than 20% compared to its last record in February.
Since the virus first appeared last December in China, it has infected more than 125,000 people in 115 countries and regions, killing more than 4,600 people, according to the latest report prepared by AFP on Thursday.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei closed down 4.41% to 18559.63 points, thus losing more than 20% since the beginning of the year.
The yen, which is a safe haven for investors, rose significantly against the dollar and the euro, a move very unfavorable for Japanese export groups.
At about 8:30 GMT, the dollar was equal to 103.65 yen, compared to 104.42 yen on Wednesday after the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed.
The euro was exchanged for $ 1.1270 close to its exchange rate the previous day ($ 1.1279 on Wednesday at 19:00 GMT). On the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Hang Seng fell Thursday by 3.66%, while losses were limited in the mainland in China (-1.52% in Shanghai, -2.2% in Shenzhen).
Oil prices have also fallen sharply, as the suspension of flights for a month from Europe to the United States means a sharp drop in consumption of black gold, which is already recording weak demand.
At about 8:30 GMT, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 4.73% to 31.42 dollars, and the price of a barrel of Brent in London increased 4.55% to 34.16 dollars.
With the fall in crude prices, the Riyadh Stock Exchange fell 4.11% and financial markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi by Thursday, by 7.79% and 6.45%, respectively.
On Monday, the oil market recorded its worst decline since 1991, down by nearly 25%, after the failure of producer talks in the Gulf, led by Saudi Arabia with Russia, to cut production, which prompted Riyadh to start a price war.
“If this does not persuade Saudi Arabia and Russia to return to the negotiating table, I don’t know what can happen,” said Stephen Ennis of Axecorp about the suspension of flights from Europe.