US deaths soar past 1,000, Spain deaths spike

People line up outside Elmhurst Hospital to get tested due to coronavirus outbreak on March 24, 2020 in Queens, New York City.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | Getty Images

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  • Global cases: At least 416,686.
  • Global deaths: At least 18,589.
  • Top six countries with the highest number of reported cases: China (81,869), Italy (69,176), U.S. (51,914), Spain (39,673), Germany (31,554), Iran (27,017).
    The data above was compiled by the World Health Organization.

All times below are in Beijing time.

1:05 pm: Cases in Thailand cross 1,000

Thailand reported 111 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its tally to 1,045, Reuters reported. 

A nationwide state of emergency took effect in Thailand from Thursday and is expected to last until April 30, according to a statement by the government public relations department. During the period, non-resident foreigners are not allowed into the country and large gatherings are banned, the statement read. 

The emergency declaration also allows the government to impose more stringent measures to control the spread of the virus, the statement said. — Yen Nee Lee

12:55 pm: Hong Kong to boost domestic tourism

The Hong Kong Tourism Board is using the current lull to review its positioning, said Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Tourist arrivals to Hong Kong have been hit by the double whammy of anti-government protests and the coronavirus outbreak.

Cheng told CNBC that visitor numbers have fallen from 200,000 on any given day in early 2019 to fewer than 200,000 in the entire month of Feb 2020.

The Chinese special administrative region closed its borders to most non-residents recently as it sees a second wave of infections from imported cases.

“It might seem ridiculous, Hong Kong is such a small place, how to do domestic tourism?” said Cheng.

But Hong Kongers are keen travelers over long weekends, so these people can now take the opportunity to discover hidden gems in the city after the situation stabilizes, said Cheng.

“The first phase (of the tourism drive) is more like rekindling our love of Hong Kong, and the pride of Hong Kong, and hopefully rekindling the spirit of Hong Kong,” said Cheng. — Huileng Tan

12:40 pm: US Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus package

The Senate passed a historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package Wednesday night, as it tries to stem the destruction the pandemic has brought to American lives and wallets.

The chamber approved the mammoth bill in a unanimous 96-0 vote after days of furious negotiations, partisan sniping and raised tempers on the Senate floor. The bill now heads to the House, which will push to pass it by voice vote Friday morning as most representatives are out of Washington.

The 880-page legislation includes direct payments to individuals, stronger unemployment insurance, loans and grants to businesses and more health care resources for hospitals, states and municipalities. It includes requirements that insurance providers cover preventive services for the coronavirus disease COVID-19. — Jacob Pramuk

11:30 am: US deaths soar past 1,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data

The number of deaths in the U.S. has reached 1,041, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

New York City has the highest number of fatalities at 280, followed by 100 in King County, Washington State. The total number of cases in the U.S. was at 68,960, according to the data. — Weizhen Tan

10:30 am: McDonald’s is pulling its all-day breakfast menu as it limits options amid pandemic

McDonald’s is pulling its all-day breakfast menu to simplify operations as the coronavirus pandemic strains restaurant operations.

“To simplify operations in our kitchens and for our crew, and ensure the best possible experience for our customers, we are working with our franchisees and local restaurants to focus on serving our most popular choices and will begin temporarily removing some items from the menu over the next few weeks,” Bill Garrett, the senior vice president of McDonald’s U.S. operations, said in a statement.

McDonald’s said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that the virus could have a “material” impact on its business. In the United States, “substantially all” locations are operating with only drive-thru, takeout or delivery options, the filing said. Some locations may have limited hours. — Amelia Lucas

9:55 am: White House health advisor Fauci says US needs to be prepared for second cycle

Americans need to prepare for a second cycle of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, a White House health advisor said Wednesday.

“What we’re starting to see in the Southern Hemisphere of Southern Africa and the Southern Hemisphere countries, is that we’re having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, said at a White House press briefing. “If they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we’ll get a cycle a second time.” — Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

9:40 am: South Korea reports 104 cases, 5 deaths

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a jump of 104 cases and five more deaths. That brings the country’s total to 9,241 cases and 131 fatalities.

U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly asked South Korea this week for medical supplies to combat the pandemic, driving up the stocks of South Korean coronavirus test kit makers for a second day on Thursday. South Korea has been praised for its swift and effective response to COVID-19, marked by rapid mass testing. — Weizhen Tan, Tucker Higgins

9:35 am: Singapore expects its economy to shrink in 2020

Singapore’s economy contracted by 2.2% in the first quarter from a year ago, official preliminary data showed, and authorities further downgraded their GDP forecast for 2020 as countries around the world battle the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said Singapore economy is now expected to shrink by between 1.0% and 4.0% this year. That’s worse than its forecast last month for a change of between -0.5% and 1.5% in annual gross domestic product.

The Southeast Asian economy is one of the earliest to release data on gross domestic product in the first quarter, providing a glimpse on how the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could affect economies around the world. — Yen Nee Lee

9:15 am: China’s resumption of work rises

The resumption of work rate for small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the country reached 71.7% as of March 24, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology disclosed Wednesday. The ministry also noted the figure marked an increase of 42.1 percentage points from a month ago. — Evelyn Cheng

8:55 am: LA Mayor Garcetti says city to receive $1.1 billion for airport, metro system

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package will give the city receive $400 million for its airport and $700 million for its metro system. The package will also provide Los Angeles with “tens of millions” in community development block grants to aid the worst off, like seniors and unemployed, Garcetti said.

Los Angeles will also receive $32 million in emergency solution grants to help house the homeless. “I call this an economic survival bill because while it’s not enough, it maybe will ensure that some folks will be able to get through the next month or two,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti also said that Los Angeles will not shut off water or power or impose any late fees for those bills during this time. Additionally, he said that the city will relax enforcement of parking tickets and that Los Angeles Police Department will not give tickets to any individuals driving with expired drivers licenses. “Everyone of these changes is about the same principle — that you are safer at home,” Garcetti said. — Salvador Rodriguez

8:05 am: China reports 67 new cases, 6 more deaths

China’s National Health Commission reported it had 67 new confirmed cases, and six more deaths as of March 25.

All the new cases were imported, meaning people who traveled from overseas, with the overall number of imported cases at 541. None of the additional cases were in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, but all six deaths were in the province.

That brings China’s total case count to 81,285, and its death toll to 3,287. — Weizhen Tan (This entry has been corrected to reflect that China’s total number of cases is at 81,285.)

7:55 am: Spain’s death toll spikes in biggest daily jump, now overtakes China

Spain reported 738 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours — its highest daily death toll yet, according to Reuters. Its total number of confirmed deaths was 3,434 as of Wednesday, and overall infections were at 47,610. 

A Spanish soldier stands next to beds set up at a temporary hospital for vulnerable people at the Fira Barcelona Montjuic centre in Barcelona on March 25, 2020, during the new coronavirus epidemic.

Pau Barrena | AFP | Getty Images

Spain’s death toll has now surpassed China, days after Italy overtook China. Italy’s confirmed fatality count was last at 6,820 according to data from the World Health Organization. Both countries have been among the worst-hit in Europe, and now account for the highest numbers of fatalities globally, according to the report.— Weizhen Tan

7:45 am: India needs to help its most vulnerable survive a 3-week lockdown

India’s move to put its 1.3 billion people in a 21-day lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak will disproportionately hurt the informal sector, experts told CNBC. 

The whole nation was placed under lockdown on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that people would not be allowed to leave their homes for three weeks after the order went into effect.

The impact of the lockdown on India’s informal sector, which includes many street vendors as well as taxi and auto drivers, will be huge, Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale, told CNBC. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:04 pm: FDA warns consumers against fraudulent coronavirus tests, vaccines and treatments

Consumers should beware of buying or using products that sellers claim will help diagnose, treat, cure or prevent COVID-19 as the coronavirus continues to sweep across the country, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. 

Some companies are trying to profit from the pandemic by selling unproven and illegally marketed products and falsely claiming they are able to prevent or cure the coronavirus, the FDA said.

“Because COVID-19 has never been seen in humans before, there are currently no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat” the coronavirus that have been approved by the FDA, the agency said. “These fraudulent products that claim to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19 haven’t been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness and might be dangerous to you and your family.” —Noah Higgins-Dunn

6:41 pm: Futures point to gains at the open, building on two-day rally

U.S. stock futures moved modestly higher in early trading and pointed to gains at the open on Thursday, building on recent strength in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.

The two indexes have just posted their first back-to-back gains since February. Fueling the rally is the hope that the White House and Senate will soon agree to a stimulus package to prop up markets as the coronavirus outbreak rages on.

Dow futures rose 161 points, indicating a gain of 107 points at the open. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also set to open higher, with gains of 0.8% and 1%, respectively. —Pippa Stevens

4:44 pm: California sees one million unemployment claims in less than two weeks

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Wells Fargo, Citi, JPMorgan, and U.S. Bank all agreed to grant a 90-day waiver for mortgage payments “for those impacted by COVID-19.” The announcement came after he said that one million Californians have applied for unemployment insurance since March 13. Newsom also announced measures the state is taking to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients. The state has ordered 100 million new masks, he said, and the state is ramping up its number of available hospital beds and ventilators, a potentially life-saving device that helps patients breathe. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Hundreds flood NYC hospital ICU, ERs; global coronavirus cases top 466,000