This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.
- Global cases: 2,630,005
- Global deaths: 183,489
- Most cases reported: United States (842,624), Spain (208,389), Italy (187,327), France (157,135), and Germany (150,648).
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 3:31 p.m. Beijing time.
All times below are in Beijing time.
4:42 pm: Merkel says ‘things will remain hard for a very long time’ as pandemic is not over
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the end of the coronavirus pandemic is not yet in sight and that we will have to live with the virus “for a long time.”
Speaking to Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday, Merkel said “we are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning.”
“We have won time,” Merkel said, according to a Reuters translation, adding that this had been used to bolster Germany’s health-care system. — Holly Ellyatt
4:30 pm: Euro zone business activity crashes to ‘shocking’ lows on coronavirus pandemic
Euro zone business activity hit another record low during April in another sign that the coronavirus pandemic is causing severe economic damage across the region.
The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures both the services industry and manufacturing, dropped to 13.5 in April, according to preliminary data. In March, the same index had already recorded its biggest ever single monthly drop to 29.7. A contraction in PMI numbers — a figure below 50 — indicates a likely fall in economic growth overall.
“April saw unprecedented damage to the euro zone economy amid virus lockdown measures coupled with slumping global demand and shortages of both staff and inputs,” Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement. — Silvia Amaro
3:46 pm: Singapore preliminarily confirms 1,037 new cases
The number of coronavirus cases in Singapore jumped by 1,037 to 11,178, according to preliminary data by the Ministry of Health. A vast majority of those cases were migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said. (See 10:18 am update)
Singapore is the first country in the Southeast Asia to report cumulative cases of above 10,000, according to the tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University. — Yen Nee Lee
3:22 pm: Virus precautions by Facebook Marketplace in the UK are falling short of its rivals
Facebook Marketplace is one of the biggest second-hand buying and selling platforms in the world. But its efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus pale in comparison to those of rival apps.
On March 24, one in five people worldwide were in some form of lockdown, with many people only able to go out to pick up essentials (food and medicine), or to get some exercise. Things remain largely unchanged. “Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.” That’s the message U.K. citizens are hearing over and over again. Popping to someone’s house to pick up a second-hand this or that probably isn’t a great idea right now.
However, a host of Facebook Marketplace users in the U.K. told CNBC that they were still completing face-to-face transactions over the platform. Some of them said they’re taking their own precautions by wearing masks and gloves, but not all. The company has said that users should follow government advice and it was monitoring the situation. — Sam Shead
2:55 pm: Fintech firms race to plug gaps in UK’s coronavirus relief measures
Britain’s financial technology industry is racing to fill gaps in the government’s coronavirus business relief measures, by offering loans quickly to those struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.
Several of the country’s top fintech firms have been pushing for accreditation from the state-backed British Business Bank (BBB) to be able to provide loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Initially only 40 banks — including the major high street lenders Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS — were accepted onto the program. But in recent weeks newer digital lenders such as Starling, OakNorth and Funding Circle have been approved as well. — Ryan Browne
2:30 pm: Credit Suisse sets aside more than $580 million for potential loan losses
Credit Suisse reported a 75% rise in first-quarter net profit Thursday, in new CEO Thomas Gottstein’s first earnings report since taking the helm.
The bank reported a net income of 1.31 billion Swiss francs ($1.35 billion) for the three months up to March 31, up from 749 million for the same period last year.
However, the Swiss lender set aside 568 million Swiss francs ($584.9 million) for potential loan losses, mainly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and warned it expected “COVID-19-related uncertainty to persist.” For comparison, in the first quarter of 2019, the bank set aside 81 million Swiss francs for potential loan losses. — Elliot Smith
2:10 pm: China’s cash-strapped poor seek more debt as virus hits job prospects
Demand for consumer loans is picking up in China, especially among the less affluent, highlighting a group that some say could use more support during the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.
The disease, officially called Covid-19, emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has since spread rapidly around the world, killing more than 183,000 people, including over 4,600 in China.
While the coronavirus’ outbreak has stalled within the country, China is still trying to recover from the economic shock of weeks-long shutdowns, both domestically and now from export destinations.
Official and third-party data show that China’s poorest households are the hardest hit. — Evelyn Cheng
1:52 pm: Europe could opt for ‘helicopter money’ as the pandemic destroys economic growth, experts predict
It has never been implemented in the euro zone, but ultimately the European Central Bank could reach a point where so-called “helicopter money” is its best option amid the coronavirus crisis, two analysts told CNBC.
The term, coined by 20th century economist Milton Friedman, refers to an unconventional monetary policy, where a central bank prints additional money and distributes it directly to its citizens. The idea — which evokes the image of money being thrown out of a helicopter to the people below — is to boost consumer spending, and thus an economic recovery, during a recession. However, there are a range of ideas as to how central bankers could go about this.
European nations have been some of the hardest hit by Covid-19, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a GDP contraction of 7.5% for the euro area this year. — Silvia Amaro
1:35 pm: Thailand’s confirmed cases rise by 13 to 2,839
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand rose by 13 to 2,839, according to the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control.
The country reported one more death to bring its tally to 50 since the outbreak, the department said. It added that 2,430 patients have recovered so far.
Thailand’s important tourism industry has taken a hit as many countries globally closed borders and restricted travel. (see 9:50 am update) — Yen Nee Lee
12:45 pm: Germany reports 2,352 new cases, 215 more deaths
Germany reported another 2,352 cases of the coronavirus disease, taking its tally to 148,046 since the outbreak, according to the latest data by Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention.
The country’s death toll increased by 215 to 5,094, said the institute. — Yen Nee Lee
11:20 am: Japan reports 14 more cases on Italian cruise ship docked in Nagasaki
Japan has confirmed 14 more coronavirus cases on the Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica currently docked in the western Japanese city of Nagasaki for repairs, reported Reuters.
At least 48 cases of infections have been identified on the ship, including cooks and staff members serving food to the crew on board, according to the report. The cruise ship is reportedly carrying 623 crew members and no passengers.
Nagasaki officials said they plan to test all on board the ship within the next few days, according to a report by Japanese broadcaster NHK. — Yen Nee Lee
10:45 am: South Korea posts worst quarterly economic contraction since 2008
South Korea’s gross domestic product fell by 1.4% in the first quarter compared to the previous three months, according to advance estimates by its central bank. That’s a slightly smaller contraction compared to the 1.5% decline projected by economists in a Reuters poll.
Reuters reported that the quarterly decline in GDP was South Korea’s worst since the fourth quarter of 2008.
The economic contraction was led by declines in private consumption as well as trade of goods and services, data by the Bank of Korea showed.
On a year-on-year basis, the South Korean economy grew by 1.3%, said the central bank.
South Korea on Thursday reported eight new cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing its tally of confirmed infections to 10,702 since the outbreak, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country’s death toll increase by two to a total of 240, said KCDC. — Yen Nee Lee
10:18 am: Why Singapore’s push to contain coronavirus among migrant workers is so difficult
Previously a poster child for its efficient handling of the coronavirus spread, Singapore is now back in the spotlight as it struggles to contain a new outbreak among a section of its population — migrant workers.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the city-state has spiked in the past month — from about 1,000 cumulative cases on April 1 to more than 10,000 today. Most of the newly infected patients are foreign migrant workers residing in dormitories, who hail from countries including India and Bangladesh.
There is “aggressive testing” underway inside migrant worker dormitories — even among migrant workers who are not sick, and who do not display any symptoms, which could explain the high numbers of cases being reported everyday, according to Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s minister for national development, at a virtual press conference. This could suggest the infections have been occurring for some time, he added. — Audrey Cher
9:50 am: Foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand dip 76.4% in March
Arrivals of foreign tourists into Thailand fell by 76.4% in March from a year earlier, reported Reuters, citing the latest data from the country’s tourism ministry.
The report also said that Chinese visitors, Thailand’s largest source of foreign tourists, plunged 94.2% year over year last month.
Tourism is an important contributor of growth for the Thai economy. Last year, foreign tourist receipts accounted for 11% of the country’s gross domestic product, said Reuters.
Globally, companies in the tourism and leisure industry have been among the hardest hit in the coronavirus pandemic as many countries restricted travel and closed borders to curb the spread of the virus. — Yen Nee Lee
8:55 am: China reports 10 new cases, no deaths
China reported just 10 new cases as of April 22, according to its National Health Commission (NHC) — a decline from the 30 new cases reported the day before. Six were attributed to travelers coming from overseas. That takes the country’s total to 82,798 cases, according to govenrment data.
For the eighth straight day, there were no new deaths, with total fatalities remaining at 4,632, according to the NHC.
Separately, there were 27 new asymptomatic cases, where people tested positive for the virus but did not show any symptoms. That brings its number of asymptomatic cases currently under medical observation to 984, the NHC said. — Weizhen Tan
8:30 am: New cases in Italy jump again
Even as recoveries rose and deaths dropped in Italy, the number of new cases in the country jumped again Wednesday. Italy reported 3,370 new cases, that’s more than the 2,729 new cases reported Tuesday.
The country also reported 437 additional deaths, less than the 534 deaths reported Tuesday, according to Reuters. There were also fewer people in intensive care, 2,384 as of Wednesday compared with the 2,471 on Tuesday.
A worker wearing protective garments sanitizes the Duomo square, during the coronavirus disease outbreak in central Milan, Italy.
Flavio Lo Scalzo | REUTERS
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said this week that the country will start lifting lockdown measures from May 4, but that the re-opening will be cautious and gradual, according to Reuters.
To date, Italy has reported a total of 187,327 cases, 54,543 recoveries and 25,085 deaths. — Weizhen Tan
8:10 am: Confirmed cases in Mexico top 10,000
The number of confirmed cases in Mexico soared past 10,000, according to its health ministry, a Reuters report said. The country has seen 970 fatalities, according to the report.
Mexico has unveiled $25.6 billion in increased spending on social programs and infrastructure, in a bid to boost the ailing economy which had been hit by the pandemic. — Weizhen Tan
All times below are in Eastern time.
7:01 pm: Trump says he ‘disagrees strongly’ with Georgia governor’s plan to reopen businesses
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he strongly disagrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s “phase one” plans to allow non-essential businesses to re-open in his state at the end of the week.
The re-opening of businesses, which begins Friday, includes tattoo parlors, spas, hair salons or barbershops, movie theaters and bowling alleys. They will be allowed to open their doors to the public, as long as they, and their patrons, follow physical distancing orders and other OSHA guidelines, Kemp announced on Monday.
Trump said he told the governor, “I disagree strongly,” adding that the governor “has to do what he thinks is right.” —Lora Kolodny
6:29 pm: Trump says CDC director’s coronavirus warning was ‘totally misquoted’
5:40 pm: Two pet cats in New York test positive for the coronavirus, CDC says
The coronavirus has infected two cats in New York state, making them the first pets to test positive for the virus in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.
One of the cats was tested after it showed mild respiratory signs, although its owners were not confirmed to have Covid-19. The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home, the CDC said.
The owner of the second cat had tested positive for the coronavirus and the animal was also tested after showing signs of respiratory illness. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Harvard will not accept stimulus funds, California to start scheduling certain surgeries again