Stocks fell again on Friday after continuing fears over the coronavirus, which has spiked volatility.
While the virus has largely been concentrated in China, the World health officials said Friday the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has extended to Iran, where health officials confirmed 18 new cases and 4 deaths in just two days, which is “very worrisome.”
Earlier in the day, Iran confirmed 13 new coronavirus cases, raising its national tally to 18. Seven people with the flu-like virus were diagnosed in Qom, four people in Tehran and two in Gilan.
The thus far modest contagion in Iran has been tied to a case in Canada and another infection of a 45-year-old woman in Lebanon after those patients traveled to the Middle East nation.
“The cases that we see in the rest of the world, although the numbers are small, but not linked to Wuhan or China, it’s very worrisome,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Friday at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “These dots are actually very concerning.”
Health officials are receiving information about the patients in Iran, but “we have to engage them even more,” Tedros said.
World health officials still have the opportunity to contain the virus, he said, but that likelihood is decreasing every day.
“The window of opportunity is still there, but our window of opportunity is narrowing,” he said. “We need to act quickly before it closes completely.” He also cautioned: “This outbreak could still go in any direction.”
Outside of China, there are 1,152 cases across 26 countries and eight deaths, Tedros said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded as much as 316 points lower as of 11 A.M. EST, or 1.1%, to break below 29,000 for the first time since Feb. 10. The S&P 500 as fell 1.1% as