The Wuhan coronavirus has had a significant human toll. More than 100 people have died and nearly 3,000 are known to be infected, including some in Australia. The number actually infected will be higher. People experiencing only mild symptoms often don’t report them.
The economic cost is as hard to tease out as the health cost, but there are clues.
They suggest the coronavirus will have little impact on the global economy, quite a bit in China, and some in Australia, which will most likely be short-lived.
The impact in China is already apparent, with 35 million people under effective lockdown, air travel curtailed, and some tourist destinations closed. In a sign the virus might spread, five million people reportedly left Wuhan before the lockdown.
While China’s steps to contain the coronavirus will hurt its economy in the short term, in longer term they might contain the damage.
But because the event coincided with the recovery from a global recession, the effect is hard to estimate. Other estimates are less pessimistic.
The economic impact was limited, with little impact outside of China and Hong Kong, as Australia’s Treasury noted at the time.