PARIS, March 13 - Global stock markets went on a rollercoaster ride on Friday over the surging coronavirus crisis that is upending events across the planet and affecting people from all walks of life, including sports stars, celebrities and world leaders.
The death toll from COVID-19 jumped over 5,000 on Friday as the number of cases around the world topped 1,34,000, according to an AFP tally.
Europe is bearing the brunt of increasing infections, but Iran clocked more deaths on Friday and cases were reported in Kenya and Ethiopia, the first in east Africa.
Across the globe, governments are imposing draconian measures never before seen in peacetime � sealing off borders, closing schools and cancelling public gatherings.
The virus has also torn up the sporting and cultural calendar, with top-flight events from Broadway to English Premier League football scrapped. Financial markets are reeling on fears that the pandemic will catapult the world into a deep recession, with central banks taking emergency measures to try to contain the economic fallout.
Asian stocks tumbled in volatile business following the worst day on Wall Street since the crash of 1987 as traders scrambled to sell, wiping trillions off market valuations.
But European stocks and oil prices recovered on what analysts said were hopes of a US stimulus package.
The virus, which first emerged in China in December, has spread relentlessly around the world even as cases in Asia have levelled out in recent days.
South Korea � once grappling with the largest coronavirus outbreak outside China � saw newly recovered patients exceed fresh infections for the first time, as it reported the lowest number of new cases for three weeks. China earlier this week claimed �the peak� of the pandemic had passed its shores, but infections and deaths have jumped dramatically in Italy, Spain and Iran.
COVID-19 is sparing no-one. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he was in self-imposed quarantine after his wife tested positive.
Australia�s Home Minister Peter Dutton announced he had tested positive, while as leaders in Brazil and the Philippines await test results.
France � the world�s most visited country � has ordered schools and universities closed until further notice and announced it was banning gatherings of more 100 people, following similar moves in many other countries.
President Emmanuel Macron said it was �the worst health crisis in France in a century�.
The measures came after Italy � second worst hit in the world � imposed the continent�s toughest response to the outbreak, shutting all shops except for pharmacies and groceries in the hope of stemming contagion and easing the burden on overstretched hospitals.
With nations imposing travel bans and closing borders, global tourism has ground to a halt, throwing the aviation industry into chaos and leaving travellers stranded. � AFP