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Coronavirus a ‘game changer’ for globalisation: French minister

AthensGreece | AFP | The new coronavirus is a “game changer” that will require a rethink of global supply networks especially in the health, medicine, and auto industries, the French finance minister said on Tuesday.

“The coronavirus epidemic is a game changer for globalisation,” Bruno Le Maire said during a visit to Athens, adding that the outbreak had highlighted an “irresponsible and unreasonable” reliance on China.

“We cannot continue to rely on China for 80 to 85 percent of pharmaceutical active ingredients,” said Le Maire.

And the resulting industrial slowdown in China would have a “direct impact” on industrial resupply, he said.

The minister said the virus that has killed nearly 2,600 people worldwide would affect global and European growth and have an impact on travel, given the number of Chinese tourists to Europe.

France alone attracts over 2.5 million Chinese visitors a year, an “important” share of the French tourism sector, Le Maire said.

In France, one person has died from the virus so far — an elderly Chinese tourist.

Eleven have been hospitalised, of whom 10 have recovered.

On Monday, a bus that arrived in the French city of Lyon from Milan was confined for several hours over fears of a case of infection on board.

Milan is the capital of Italy’s Lombardy region, which is at the centre of Europe’s biggest outbreak of the new coronavirus.

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