March 17, 2020 / 12:03 PM / 3 months ago

Global economic policy response to virus needed - Singapore minister

Members of the multi-ministry taskforce, Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health Kenneth Mark, Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong and Liew Wei Li, Director of Schools, Ministry of Education, give a news conference after raising the coronavirus outbreak alert to Orange in Singapore, February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aradhana Aravindan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A coordinated global monetary and fiscal policy response is needed to the coronavirus outbreak, the minister heading Singapore’s virus-fighting taskforce said on Tuesday.

The pandemic has caused a meltdown in financial markets and threatens to trigger a world recession.

Lawrence Wong said the virus was a public health emergency as well as an economic one. “We do need major economies with policy space on both the fiscal and monetary front to do something promptly,” he said.

Wong also told reporters that Singapore was not planning for a lockdown but was not ruling it out. The city state has registered 243 coronavirus cases with no deaths.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku in Singapore; Writing by Aradhana Aravindan

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