The deadly coronavirus outbreak is costing travel firms billions of pounds due to cancellations and lost bookings.
Cruise firms are facing a £500million hit if they have to axe dozens more Far East voyages in the wake of the outbreak in China.
And airlines predict huge losses of £23billion this year after cancelling 100,000 flights in the past month because of the virus.
The outbreak has also led to 300,000 fewer shipping containers leaving China each week, with experts warning this will lead to a worldwide shortage in goods if the outbreak cannot be contained soon.
Meat supplies are spoiling at sea, with ships unable to dock in Chinese ports as berths are full, while Jaguar Land Rover has even resorted to flying out Chinese-made car parts in suitcases.
In England, NHS Supply Chain bosses are rationing face masks after a run of orders from hospitals. An official note states that excessive and multiple orders may be cancelled.
So far the global epidemic has killed 2,458 people and infected 78,572.
Yesterday, South Korea reported that new cases in the country had more than doubled in one day, raising the total to 433.
And officials in Italy last night confirmed the first deaths of Europeans from the virus, after two pensioners died. Neither had travelled to China, adding to fears the virus could spiral out of control.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said his government was maintaining 'an extremely high level of precaution' after 45 people were diagnosed with the virus.
The Italian authorities placed 50,000 people in lockdown in ten towns in Lombardy and Veneto, telling them to remain indoors.
Meanwhile, 32 British and European passengers who had spent two weeks trapped on the virus-riddled Diamond Princess cruise liner off the coast of Japan were flown back to Britain yesterday.
The evacuees landed at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, before being bussed to the Wirral, where they will spend the next two weeks in quarantine.
But fears are growing for one British couple who contracted coronavirus on the ship.
David and Sally Abel – who had posted video updates from the vessel – have both developed pneumonia and are being treated in a Japanese hospital that their son Steve claimed was 'like a prison'.
The ship's owner Carnival Cruises – which accounts for half the world's £35 billion-a-year cruise industry – is warning the outbreak will cost the firm millions.
Carnival said it had cancelled China sailings on all of its Costa Cruises ships until mid-March, while other boats have been rerouted to avoid Chinese ports.
The company warned costs will soar to up to £264 million if it has to cancel all of its Asia operations until the end of April.
And Norwegian Cruise Line, with ten per cent of global capacity, has cancelled or amended 40 sailings until late summer at a cost of £123 million.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.