Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says the economic risk of the coronavirus is greater than SARS, as the infection rate surges and countries shut their borders.
Dr Lowe said there were hopes the number of cases would fall and the economy would bounce back but he said “it is possible the number of cases escalates and so does the interruption to China’s economy”.
The number of cases of the virus has risen by up to 20 per cent each day this week. There are now almost 30,000 confirmed cases from the flu-like disease, including 14 in Australia. On Monday there were 14,550. Of those, 565 people have died and 1382 have recovered.
Dr Lowe said the response from China compared to the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in 2003 is “much more extensive”. The SARS epidemic cost the global economy $60 billion and hit Australian tourism and export sectors, but China only accounted for 5 per cent of global GDP at the time. It is now worth more than triple that.