Global deaths top 160,000; Germany adds 2,400 new cases

People enjoy the evening sun in the park next to the Schoeneberg town hall in Berlin on April 18, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

Odd Andersen | AFP | Getty Images

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: More than 2.32 million
  • Global deaths: At least 160,700
  • Most cases reported: United States (735,086), Spain (194,416), Italy (175,925), France (152,978), and Germany (143,724). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 1:16 p.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

1:48 pm: UK appoints ex-Olympic chief to look into manufacturing PPE

The United Kingdom has hired former Goldman Sachs investment banker, Paul Deighton, to organize the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers treating Covid-19 patients, Reuters reported.

The British government has been under tremendous pressure over shortages of protective gear for doctors and health-care workers as supplies run low for masks, gowns and equipment for those on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak.

Deighton was previously the chief executive of the 2012 London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was appointed on Sunday by Health Minister Matt Hancock, Reuters said.

“He will lead a singular and relentless focus on PPE as the country’s top manufacturing priority, with the full weight of the government behind him,” Hancock was cited as saying. Deighton will not be paid for the role, Reuters said.— Joanna Tan

12:49 pm: Germany adds another 2,400 cases bringing total close to 140,000

Germany added another 2,458 new cases which brought its total number of infections to 139,897, the latest data from the country’s public health institute showed on Sunday. The latest number of new cases reported was much lower than the 3,609 infections announced on Saturday and 3,380 announced on Friday.

According to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, the death toll now stands at 4,294 after 184 more people died.

Germany has the fifth largest number of reported infections world-wide, but its death toll stands relatively low compared to Italy, Spain and France which have reported at least 19,000 fatalities each, data from Johns Hopkins University showed. — Joanna Tan

A couple dancing on their balcony on April 18, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Spain is beginning to ease strict lockdown measures to ease its economy,

Carlos Alvarez | Getty Images

11:52 pm: Spanish prime minister to call for longer but less restrictive lockdown

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is set to ask the parliament to extend Spain’s lockdown until May 9, extending restrictions for another 15 days, Reuters reported. “We have left behind the most extreme moments,” Sanchez said at a press briefing, the news agency said. These achievements are still insufficient and above all fragile. We cannot put them at risk with hasty solutions.”

Spain has reported 194,416 cases of infection and 20,639 deaths so far, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. It has the second highest number of deaths in Europe, after Italy — the number of fatalities in Spain surpassed the 20,000 mark for the first time on Saturday. The government imposed lockdown measures on March 14 and the nation started easing some of those restrictions earlier this week by allowing some sectors like manufacturing to reopen, Reuters said. — Joanna Tan

10:26 am: Global death toll rises to exceed 160,000, data from Johns Hopkins shows

The total number of deaths related to the new coronavirus has reached 160,518, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States accounts for the highest number of fatalities worldwide, and has so far reported 38,835 fatalities, of which 13,517 were from the U.S. epicenter of New York City, the data showed.

Italy has the second-highest number of deaths, reporting 23,227 fatalities while Spain’s death toll currently stands at 20,639, Hopkins’ data showed. — Joanna Tan

10:09 am: China says there were 16 new cases of Covid-19

China’s National Health Commission said Sunday that there were 16 new diagnosed cases of Covid-19, of which 9 came from those returning from overseas. The country, where the new coronavirus was first reported in the city of Wuhan, has reported 4,632 deaths and 82,735 cases so far.

There were 44 new asymptomatic infections, where people tested positive for the coronavirus but showed no symptoms. China started reporting asymptomatic cases in April. Factories and businesses are re-opening again after weeks of lockdown in varying degrees throughout the mainland. A slew of economic data on Friday showed that consumers are still wary of spending as the country reported its first quarterly GDP contraction since at least 1992. — Joanna Tan

9:33 am: South Korea reports first single digit increase in new cases for the first time in 2 months

South Korea reported 8 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed. It was the first single digit daily increase for the first time in two months, according to Reuters. That brings the total number of reported cases in the country to 10,661.There were 2 additional deaths reported, bringing the total fatalities in the country to 234. — Joanna Tan

Foreign workers are seen outside their dormitory room at Cochrane Lodge I, which was declared as an isolation area on April 16, 2020 in Singapore. Singapore government reported a record of 447 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on April 15, 404 of which are cases linked to the foreign worker dormitories, bringing the country’s total to 3699.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

9:11 am: Singapore reports a record high of 942 cases

Singapore added another 942 new coronavirus cases as of noon on April 18, bringing the total number of cases in the city-state to 5,992. It was the highest number of cases recorded in a single day for the Southeast Asian nation. 

Of those infected, 4,162 were from dormitories housing foreign workers, data from the Ministry of Health showed. The men are typically from other Asian nations and most of them work in the construction sector. The country has reported 11 deaths related to Covid-19.

Since April 7, Singapore has been under new “circuit breaker” measures aimed at cutting down transmissions. Those measures include shutting down of schools and restriction of movements except for essential and urgent matters including buying food and groceries, seeking urgent medical help and exercising at safe distances. — Joanna Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

5:52 pm: Trump says Texas and Vermont will start reopening Monday

President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to reopen on Monday while still observing coronavirus-related precautions and Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday.

“We continue to see a number of positive signs that the virus has passed its peak,” Trump told reporters at a daily briefing.

Some state governors have warned, however, that they will not act prematurely to reopen their economies until there is more testing.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Friday that some retailers will be able to resume “to go” services, or pickup and delivery, and that restrictions on elective surgeries would be eased. State parks will reopen on Monday for visitors wearing face masks, with social distancing required, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont announced that in certain low-contact professional services industries, firms could bring two people each back to work, starting Monday. Property management and construction firms can also operate with two-person crews, per the governor’s order, according to the VT Digger

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that his state will begin to open up next week but did not provide details. —Associated Press and Tucker Higgins

3:40 pm: Israel set to relax some lockdown restrictions

Israel will gradually ease its coronavirus lockdown from Sunday by letting some businesses reopen and relaxing curbs on movement after a slowdown in infection rates, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Authorities have steadily tightened a partial lockdown imposed on March 14, shuttering offices, closing schools and ordering people to stay mostly at home.

The measures have battered Israel’s economy, forced many businesses to close and sent unemployment above 25%.

But in televised remarks, Netanyahu said Israel had “succeeded in (its) mission so far” in combating the pandemic and argued that the restrictions had “proven themselves in a slowdown” in infection rates.

Israel has reported at least 164 deaths and nearly 13,300 cases of COVID-19, as of Saturday evening. However, infection rates have generally declined over the past two weeks, according to Israeli health ministry data. —Reuters

In this screengrab, Lady Gaga performs during “One World: Together At Home” presented by Global Citizen on April, 18, 2020. The global broadcast and digital special was held to support frontline health-care workers and the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, powered by the UN Foundation.

Getty Images for Global Citizen

2:55 pm: Lady Gaga’s One World: Together At Home is underway

Singer songwriter Lady Gaga partnered up with the World Health Organization and Global Citizen to organize a star-studded six-hour live concert to raise money for fighting coronavirus. The event started streaming on YouTube at 2 p.m. ET and a curated selection will be broadcast on all NBC networks, ABC, ViacomCBS Networks, The CW and iHeartMedia channels starting at 8 p.m. ET. Late night show personalities Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmey Kimmel will host the broadcast.

Performers such as Billie Eilish, Lizzo, John Legend and Taylor Swift are slated to appear. The proceeds will support WHO and frontline health care workers. —Elisabeth Butler Cordova