Its ski resort operators enter the spring with no reserves, and its spring and summer tourist industry facing a monumental decline. Most European countries are in no better a position, with borders being closed, airline fleets grounded, and cruise ships berthed indefinitely in docks.
The one glimmer of hope is that China is reporting a drop in the number of new cases. But how long will it be before normality returns there? With China being the central manufacturing hub of the world, any global road to recovery will surely need paving there first. Until then, the throttling back of high-tech Chinese manufacturing will continue to hit even the world’s most successful organisations, with Apple issuing a profit warning and acknowledging a $9 billion drop in sales this quarter.
The scale of these financial adjustments makes the mass consumer hysteria seem really rather puerile. Widespread panic buying has seen large supermarkets being cleaned out of toilet paper, hand sanitiser, tinned foods and pasta. In response, retailers are being forced into restricting sales on certain items.
Whilst food retailers margins may be protected by media-fuelled FORO (fear of running out), the travel industry has been brought to its knees in a series of body blows, first with traveller nervousness, then with Presidential decrees, and now with travel insurers one by one withdrawing protections.