New Delhi: The novel coronavirus (nCov2019), which was first identified in Wuhan in December, has claimed 564 lives so far and affected more than 28,000 people in 27 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins university’s real time tracker of the disease, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

Of the 901 samples tested by the Indian Council of Medical Research so far, three were positive, all in Kerala.

According to WHO, containing the epidemic would require at least $675 million. Firms across the world are coming forward to help mitigate the impact of the health crisis that started in Wuhan.

Allianz (China) Insurance Holding, a Shanghai-based general insurance firm, recently announced setting up an emergency response fund to support China's fight against coronavirus. The fund's main goal is to support those working in areas most hit by the epidemic in China's Hubei province. The aid will consist of medical supplies, donations and insurance protection.

The initial pledge towards this fund is RMB 4 million (EUR 520,000), coming in part from Allianz SE's Disaster Recovery Fund and in part from Allianz's operating entities in China and the region. The corporate and specialty arm of the Allianz Group, AGCS, is monitoring the impact of the coronavirus on its corporate clients.

Health industry experts, along with economists, have raised concerns over the impact of the outbreak on trade and economy across the world, including India.

“India’s trade with China may also be impacted after the WHO declared the outbreak as a global public health emergency and several countries, including India, cancelling flights to the northern neighbour. Many Indian traders prefer Chinese goods over Indian goods as they are cheap and more profitable. Many of the orders for production of customized items for festivals are place in the first two quarters of the year," said Nilesh Sonawane, techno - commercial manager, Vetphage Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd.

India has cancelled flights to China to contain the rapidly-spreading virus. The health ministry has asked states to be alert, while urging them to review preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities to respond to any possible outbreak.

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