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- Global cases: At least 209,839, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
- Global deaths: At least 8,778, according to the latest figures from the WHO
All times below are in Beijing time:
1:05 pm: Cathay Pacific will cut passenger capacity by 96% in April, May
Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific said it will cut its overall passenger capacity by 96% in April and May as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has caused more governments to tighten travel restrictions.
“We need to take difficult but decisive measures as the scale of the challenge facing the global aviation industry is unprecedented,” Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific’s chief customer and commercial officer, said in a statement.
“We have no choice but to significantly reduce our passenger capacity as travel restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for our customers to travel and demand has dropped drastically,” he added. — Yen Nee Lee
12:45 pm: WHO working to ramp up test kit supply
The World Health Organization is working with coronavirus test kit makers and the private sector to scale up manufacturing and improve the supply chain.
“The supply chains are not able to keep up with the demand,” said Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the WHO. She added that the shortages are not just for the tests but include a range of products from swabs needed to take samples to commonly used lab materials.
Swaminathan said it was encouraging that China reported zero local cases for the second day in a row on Friday, but said it would be cautious to wait 14 days to be sure that local transmission has stopped.
“What we’ve heard is very encouraging, and it gives hope, I think, to the rest of the world that actions taken against this virus can yield results,” she said. However, “what we don’t know is how quickly or whether this virus will actually come back once people start moving around and going back to normal activities.” — Huileng Tan
12:20 pm: Vietnam expands foreign visa ban
Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa-free travel for citizens of Japan, Russia and Belarus starting Saturday, the country’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.
The Southeast Asian country had last week week announced that it was suspending visa waivers for nine European countries and South Korea in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Vietnam has reported 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19, reported Reuters, citing the country’s health ministry. — Yen Nee Lee
11:40 am: NASA temporarily shuts two facilities
U.S. space agency NASA said it is temporarily closing two rocket production facilities starting Friday after an employee working at one of the sites tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The two facilities are the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, NASA’s Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. He added that there’s been a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the local areas where the facilities are located.
The employee that tested positive was from the team at Stennis, the statement read.
The closure could affect the agency’s plans to send Americans to the moon again by 2024, reported Reuters. — Yen Nee Lee
11:20 am: Brazil bars citizens from some countries from entering
Brazil announced it will bar citizens from some countries affected by the outbreak, from entering its country. These include the European Union, China, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea, according to a Reuters report. The United States is exempted from the ban.
The number of infections in Brazil crossed 600 on Thursday, more than doubling in two days, the report said. — Weizhen Tan
10:40 am: India’s Modi announces one-day curfew to combat the virus
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi told residents to observe a one-day curfew on March 22, in a video address on Thursday night. He urged people to stay indoors from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
“The success of a people’s curfew on 22nd March, and the experience gained from it, will also prepare us for our upcoming challenges,” Modi said, according to an official English translation of his remarks.
India has at least 173 confirmed cases, out of which 19 have been cured and four people have died. Though worries have grown about an epidemic, given how densely populated India is, officials have said there has not been any evidence yet of community transmission. — Saheli Roy Choudhury
10:00 am: California governor issues statewide order to ‘stay at home’
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to ‘stay at home’ amid a coronavirus outbreak.
The stay home order is in place till further notice.
All dine-in restaurants, bars and clubs, gyms and fitness studios will be closed, according to the order. Public events and gatherings are also not allowed. Essential services will stay open, however, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks.
California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks. — Weizhen Tan
9:35 am: South Korea reports 87 new cases, 3 deaths
South Korea reported 87 new confirmed cases and three more deaths as of Friday morning.
That brings the country’s total to 8,652 cases and 94 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Daily new infections in the country have generally been on a downward trajectory over the past week.
8:55 am: Los Angeles issues emergency stay home order
Los Angeles issued a “Safer at Home” emergency order, meaning residents must “immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely essential,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
The order will take effect from 11:59 p.m. PT Thursday until April 19. Garcetti also said workers of “impacted businesses” have an additional 24 hours. — Weizhen Tan
8:21 am: Many of Mexico’s top bankers quarantined after convention attendee tests positive
Many of Mexico’s top banking and finance people have been put in quarantine or told to work from home, after attending a convention attended by hundreds where at least one later tested positive, according to a Reuters report.
Those who attended included Mexico’s president, finance minister and hundreds of senior bankers, the report said.
Banks whose employees attended the conference and were told to work from home after included Citigroup’s Mexican operations Citibanamex and HSBC, according to the report. Cases in Mexico leaped by 27% in the past day to 118. — Weizhen Tan
8:00 am: China reports 39 new cases
China’s National Health Commission reported 39 new confirmed cases and three additional deaths as of Mar. 19. China said all of the new cases were imported, meaning people who traveled from overseas. The NHC said that brings China’s total number of imported cases to 228.
China also said that there were no new cases in Hubei, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak. The country has reported a total of 80,967 confirmed cases and 3,248 deaths, while 71,150 people have been discharged. — Weizhen Tan
Staff members check the information of passengers entering China at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai on March 18, 2020.
Ding Ting | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
All times below are in Eastern time.
7:05 pm: California estimates more than half of the state will get the virus
California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks, according to a letter sent by Gov. Gavin Newsom to U.S. President Donald Trump.
“In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase. In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days,” Newsom wrote in a letter dated Wednesday. Newsom asked Trump to dispatch the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 to help with the influx of expected cases.
The state reported nearly 699 confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night, according to the California health department. Newsom said the virus is spreading in the community in 23 counties across the state. It is the third hardest-hit state in the U.S., behind Washington state which has 1,376 cases as of 6 p.m. EDT Thursday and New York which has at least 5,000 cases.—Dawn Kopecki
6:55 pm: Trump cancels in-person G-7 meeting set for June at Camp David
3:15 pm: Apple limits bulk online purchases of iPhones amid supply constraints
Apple is limiting bulk purchases of iPhones and other products as it faces supply constraints.
Apple‘s online store began limiting U.S. customers to two units of each iPhone model per person this week. Customers can still buy more than two iPhones in one order, but they would have to be different models — for instance, two iPhone 11s and two iPhone 11 Pros.
The restriction applies to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max.
Other products, including iPad Pro models announced on Wednesday, also have purchase limits. —Kif Leswing
Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: US now has more than 13,000 cases, California governor estimates 25.5 million residents will get virus