Global stock markets endured a whipsaw session Friday over the surging coronavirus crisis that is upending events across the planet and affecting people from all walks of life including sports stars, celebrities and world leaders.

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Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe Photo: AFP / Tiziana FABI

The virus has infected more than 130,000 people and killed nearly 5,000. It has disrupted sport, schools and society and spares no one, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the latest to announce he was in self-imposed quarantine after his wife tested positive.

It has also forced the sealing off of entire countries, draconian government measures not seen in peacetime, and the scrapping of global sporting and cultural events from Broadway to basketball.

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The virus has infected more than 100 countries Photo: AFP / Luis ACOSTA

Japan's stock market plunged more than 10 percent at its low on Friday, following the worst day on Wall Street since the crash of 1987 as traders scrambled to sell everything on fears the virus will catapult the world into a deep recession.

But the Nikkei rallied to close six percent down on huge volatility as traders weighed emergency big-bang measures by central banks in the United States and eurozone, and government fiscal stimulus packages.

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The virus is spreading rapidly Photo: AFP / Simon MALFATTO

An extraordinary session in Australia saw the main stock market close higher by four percent after falling by eight percent at one point, with some players apparently seeing buying opportunities in the carnage.

Forager Funds' Steve Johnson described the day's trade as "completely and utterly nuts".

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The virus has sparked chaos on financial markets Photo: AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

And with sentiment reversing, European markets surged higher at the open, with London's FTSE-100 up six percent a few minutes after the opening bell and Paris and Frankfurt sharply up.

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Graphic showing the spread of coronavirus worldwide and the countries with the highest historical caseloads so far, as of March 11. Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

The virus, which first emerged in China in December, has spread relentlessly around the world even as cases in Asia have levelled out in recent days.

Novel Coronavirus
After suffering its worst session in more than 11 years at the beginning of the week, the Dow Jones Index in New York bounced back significantly, rising five percent Photo: AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

China claimed "the peak" of the pandemic had passed its shores, but infections and deaths jumped dramatically in Italy, Spain and Iran, which announced 75 new deaths on Thursday.

Australia's home minister Peter Dutton announced he had tested positive, joining other public figures such as actor Tom Hanks who have been infected as leaders in Brazil and the Philippines await test results.

Allianz Stadium
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces that the country's top-flight football league, along with all sporting events in the country, will be suspended until April 3 as Italy grapples with the coronavirus crisis. Duration:00:44 Photo: AFPTV / Arman SOLDIN

French President Emmanuel Macron said it was "the worst health crisis in France in a century" as he ordered schools and universities closed "until further notice" -- following similar moves in many other countries.

With countries imposing travel bans -- Australia was the latest to recommend citizens reconsider foreign travel -- global tourism has ground to a halt, and many people have been left stranded as dream holidays turned to nightmares.

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Curtains close on cultural life in virus-hit New York as Broadway suspends performances for a month in the city's efforts to stem the coronavirus outbreak Photo: AFPTV / Eleonore SENS

Betul Akcagoz, a tourist from Turkey on holiday in Vienna, told AFP: "So bad. There is nothing to do. I hope we can go back to Turkey because in our country, they said they might close the borders too."

"I hope they won't because we don't want to be stuck here."

The chaos extended to Europe's airports, where confused passengers scrambled to redraw their plans after US President Donald Trump this week banned all travellers from mainland Europe for the next 30 days.

"We just got off our plane and we're going to go straight back -- we can't believe it," said 29-year-old Tiara Streng, queueing with three friends at London's Heathrow Airport for a return flight to Colorado.

The virus has cut a swathe through sporting events around the planet.

The NBA basketball league in the United States was this week shut down for 30 days.

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix became the latest high-profile casualty on Friday, with the event cancelled just hours before the action was due to start after a McLaren team member tested positive.

In England, Chelsea's players and coaching staff were ordered into isolation as Callum Hudson-Odoi became the first Premier League player confirmed positive, as doubts swirled over the rest of the season.

The virus has placed a major question mark over the "Greatest Show on Earth", the Tokyo Olympics, with Trump saying "maybe they postpone it for a year", sparking furious denials from officials in the Japanese capital.

He later praised Tokyo's Olympic preparations and their "magnificent" venue on Twitter, adding there were "Lots of options".

With authorities warning large gatherings should be avoided during the outbreak that the WHO has officially classified as a pandemic -- entertainment venues like Disneyland have been closed and the curtain this week also came down on Broadway.

"I think it's not as bad as they say but I guess you've got to stop it somehow. I think everybody's getting a little bit crazy," he told AFP.

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