Although health officials have not termed the rapidly spreading coronavirus a pandemic yet, new deaths and infections reported in the Middle East and Europe on Tuesday triggered concern and fear of further global supply chain disruption.
"For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this coronavirus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death," World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
However, he added that countries should be doing everything to prepare for a potential pandemic.
In Iran, the government said 14 people had died nationwide, while five neighbouring countries – Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan – reported their first cases of the virus.
The disease spreading to the Middle East raises worries for Bangladesh because the major part of its expatriate workforce is currently working in the region. One Bangladeshi has already been infected by the coronavirus in the UAE.
Five Bangladeshis have been infected in Singapore. There are about 150,000 Bangladeshis in Singapore, according to the Bangladeshi High Commission there.
Bangladesh has no restrictions on travel to or from Singapore or the Middle East at the moment.
The virus has infected more than 80,000 people worldwide, and has killed more than 2,700. There are at least 2,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than 35 countries and territories outside mainland China, including 37 deaths.
The WHO on Monday said that there was a steep decline in newly-reported cases of COVID-19 in China. But infections seem to be on the rise elsewhere in the world.
At least 977 cases have been confirmed in South Korea, up from 31 a week ago. The country reported 10 deaths till Tuesday.
At least 229 people have been infected with the virus, and seven people have died in Italy. Officials announced sweeping restrictions over the weekend for parts of the regions of Lombardy and Veneto, effectively putting around 100,000 people in quarantine, reports CNN.
Thailand, Singapore and Kuwait also reported additional cases on Tuesday.
In the US, there are now 35 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Although the White House initially took a measured approach to handling the virus, administration officials earlier this month issued travel bans, quarantine orders and increased mandatory screenings, according to CNN.
The US government Tuesday also requested $1.25 billion in emergency funding from Congress, part of an effort to direct as much as $2.5 billion in total funds to bolster its response to the growing global crisis.
An economic pandemic?
On the economic front, the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic is exacting a growing toll worldwide.
On Monday, Diane Swonk, the chief economist at Grant Thornton, said on Twitter, "It may not be called a health pandemic yet but it is an economic pandemic."
The Dow Jones index lost more than 1,400 points in the last three trading days, wiping out any gains for the year so far. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also fell, and Asian markets have been suffering due to the virus and fears of a wider economic downturn, reports CNN.
In China, the biggest consumer market and a factory for the world, manufacturing facilities have closed, disrupting production, logistics and sales for businesses.
The virus also poses risks of substantial damage to economies that were growing at a much slower pace than China, or – as in the cases of Germany, Italy and Japan – already at risk of recession.
Japan shrank 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 as the country was slammed by a sales tax hike and a powerful typhoon. Another quarter of contraction will put the world's third biggest economy into recession.
Germany, the biggest economy in Europe and the fourth in the world, ground to a halt right before the coronavirus outbreak set in, dragged down by its struggling factories. German companies rely on China to buy cars and other products, and economists said Monday they now expect the economy to contract in the first quarter of 2020.
Official data published on Tuesday confirmed that Germany's GDP did not grow in the final three months of 2019.
Oxford Economics thinks that an international health crisis could be enough to wipe out more than $1 trillion from the global GDP, in the form of more days of leave from work, lower productivity, sliding travel, disrupted supply chains and reduced trade and investment.
The global supply chain, already under pressure from US President Donald Trump's trade war, also faces further strain now.
According to a report by credit insurance firm Euler Hermes, coronavirus will have a greater impact on global trade than the US-China trade war, knocking off $26 billion a week in lost exports.
It estimates that the weekly loss will be equivalent to a rise in the world import tariff on goods by 1 percentage point – more than the effect of the trade spat last year, which was 0.7 percentage points.
A slew of companies including Apple have warned that the coronavirus will prevent them from meeting sales or profit targets for Jan-March 2020. The International Air Transport Association also warned last week that coronavirus could cost global carriers nearly $30 billion in lost revenue.
Major central banks have used up much of the ammunition they would typically deploy to fight economic downturns since the 2008 financial crisis, and global debt levels have never been higher. Those factors could limit the response by policymakers around the world, reports CNN.