Disruptions caused by the coronavirus will cause the world’s economy to shrink if the outbreak continues, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said this week. “If this is not contained within the next few months, we will see a big shrinking in the economy because, imagine a country like China, its people not able to go and travel and do commerce and do deals,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Wednesday.
China has confirmed over 78,000 cases and 2,700 deaths, while South Korea, Italy and Iran have seen spikes in cases. These countries have been the targets of travel advisories and, in some cases, bans. “Imagine a company like Huawei, who now cannot go and serve its clients,” said Sawiris, who was formerly chief executive of Orascom Telecom. “It’s going to be a big impact.”Noting that many people cross the border between Italy and Switzerland for work, he said it would be a “worrying situation” if the former has to close its borders.
He also warned that Africa would not be able to contain the situation if the virus reaches the continent. “If for any reason this virus spreads to Africa, they’re totally unprepared for this,” he said. ”(They) don’t even have hospitals to treat the normal influenza.” “I’m feeling that if they don’t come up with antidotes and the vaccine very, very soon, for sure, the economy of the whole world will shrink,” he said.
The world economy will shrink if the coronavirus outbreak isn’t contained: Egyptian billionaire, CNBC, Feb 26