World blockade to combat COVID-19

Many countries in Asia, Europe and America have taken measures to blockade, close borders or apply curfew to prevent the COVID-19 epidemic.

Yesterday, March 17, the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Philippine Banking Association announced to stop trading bonds, securities and currencies until having new notices, becoming the first country to close the financial market to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Reuters.

Restricted travel, curfew

The announcement came a day after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte required nearly 55 million people on the main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, to stay home for a month. The Luzon blockade order, effective March 17, does not allow people to work or use public transportation.

Mr. Duterte warned those who combat the blockade order would be arrested. However, the new measure still allows people to leave home to buy supplies and go to work in some fields, according to AFP.

In Malaysia, the government will begin to take a partial blockade from March 18 to 31, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Specifically, Malaysian citizens will be banned from traveling abroad and all companies will be closed, except for food and staple stores. Visitors are restricted from entry into Malaysia, but foreigners are still allowed to leave the country.

On March 16, French President Emmanuel Macron called on people to stay home for 15 days from March 17, except to go buy food, go to work or see a doctor. People who violate this travel restriction order will be fined up to 135 euros (3.5 million). The government will deploy 100,000 police, set up checkpoints to enforce travel restrictions. Meanwhile, the military will mobilize support troops to take COVID-19 patients to the hospital.

In the US, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that since the evening of March 16, all unnecessary retail and entertainment activities in the state were closed after 20 hours. Unnecessary and non-emergency travel is also limited from 8 pm to 5 am the next morning, according to Reuters. Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez asked all residents to stay indoors 24/7 until March 30. This is the first US territory to apply drastic anti-COVID-19 measures, according to AFP.

In Ecuador, President Lenin Moreno announced that he would impose a curfew order from the evening of March 17 and suspend most normal activities.

Close the border

Also from yesterday, the EU closed the border to the rest of the world for 30 days. The decision was made by European leaders on the morning of March 16. Under the ban, the exempted subjects are people who work in the fields of medicine and science related to COVID-19.

In Latin America, Colombian President Ivan Duque said this country closed the border on March 17, which could last until May 30, according to Reuters.

TASS also yesterday reported that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decision to impose a ban on entry to foreign nationals and non-nationals from March 18 to May 1. The ban does not apply to diplomatic staff, members of official delegations, holders of diplomatic passports and some other subjects.

Similarly, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday announced they would close the border to non-citizens or permanent residents of the country. However, Mr. Trudeau said that US citizens, diplomats, and some other subjects are exempt from the ban, according to SCMP.

Last month, a North Korean health official told Choson Sinbo or the government of this country would maintain a ban on entry to foreigners until COVID-19 disease could be diagnosed, treated and cured in the right way.

The New York Stock Exchange is temporarily closing trading floors

The New York Stock Exchange is temporarily closing trading floors because the employee infected with COVID-19, moving to fully electronic trading

The New York Stock Exchange is temporarily closing trading floors from March 23 and moving to fully electronic trading next week to prevent the spread of coronavirus, exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc said Wednesday.

The ICE comes shortly after the NYSE sent an update to traders informing them that two people — a member of the trading floor community and an NYSE employee — tested positive for COVID-19.

This is the first physical trading activity at Big Board, nicknamed NYSE, which is temporarily closing while electronic trading continues.

The NYSE had implemented coronavirus screening procedures for anyone wishing to enter the building. Both individuals who tested positive were screened on Monday and not allowed to enter the building.

The NYSE said both individuals who tested positive for coronavirus were last in the Exchange building on March 13, and the building was sanitized the following day.

The facilities to be closed include the NYSE equities trading floor and the NYSE American options floor in New York, as well as the NYSE Arca trading floor in San Francisco. All-electronic trading will begin at the market open on the next Monday.

Previously, the US stock market was closed at some point, such as during World War II and after November 9 in 2001. However, this is the first time the physical exchange closed independently while the electronic trading continues.

It is known that NYSE was acquired and operated by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in 2012. As the electronic trading on Wall Street is increasing, NYSE has also adapted to it and more and more transactions are no longer being performed on the exchange.

However, for many years, the company thought that trading activities were still very important, especially at the time of opening and closing, and trading floors should not be closed even when the number of actual trading professionals decreased. Another major US stock exchange, Nasdaq, has no physical exchange.


On Wednesday, the Dow Jones index closed below the 20,000 points for the first time since February 2017. The S&P 500 index is now decreased by nearly 30% from a record high in the previous month.

As of Wednesday evening, more than 7,500 Americans had been infected with coronavirus and more than 110 had died.