The Group of Seven (G7) developed countries will take “concerted action” to limit the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on economic growth and their finance ministers will discuss by phone this week how best to act, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday.
“There will be a concerted action. Yesterday I spoke with the G7 president, the United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and this week we will have a meeting by phone of the finance G7 ministers to coordinate our responses,” Le Maire told France 2 television.
He also said eurozone finance ministers would be in touch with each other and that he would speak with European Central Bank (ECB) chief Christine Lagarde.
“We must act so that this impact that we know will be important on growth, be as limited as possible,” he added.
Le Maire said that when the coronavirus outbreak was limited to China, he had expected the crisis to shave 0.1 percentage points from French economic growth this year.
“Now that the outbreak is reaching other countries, the impact on French growth will be much more significant,” he said, adding it was too early to provide a new figure.
He reiterated that the hotel, restaurant, air transport and event industries were the worst-hit sectors in France.
As of Sunday, France had 130 confirmed cases of coronavirus, said Jerome Salomon, head of the public health service, raising the count from 100 a day earlier.
Germany, another G7 country, must not allow the coronavirus outbreak to infect its economic growth, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told the ARD public broadcaster on Monday.
“That’s what we’re talking about in the government,” Altmaier added.
Asked about economic stimulus proposals by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Altmaier said he was open to tax incentives and enhanced write-down measures for companies.
Separately, sports apparel maker Nike will reportedly close its European headquarters in the Netherlands on Monday and Tuesday after an employee was infected with the coronavirus.
Dutch news agency ANP, citing an internal email, reported overnight that the office in Hilversum would be disinfected. The employee was staying home in isolation for 14 days, it said.
“The place is on lockdown,” a security guard at the location told Reuters.
Roughly 2,000 Nike employees from 80 countries work at the site.
Dutch health authorities have reported 10 coronavirus infections since February 28.