Health and Science

Coronavirus live updates: Outbreak is 'grave concern' as infections spread beyond China

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Coronavirus leaves streets of Beijing and Wuhan, China, nearly deserted

The coverage on this live blog has ended — but for up-to-the-minute coverage on the coronavirus, visit the live blog from CNBC's Asia-Pacific team.

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:50 pm: Chinese officials confirm death toll rises to 170

China's National Health Commission confirmed an additional 38 deaths and 1,737 new cases. Officials said that brings their total to 170 deaths and 7,711 cases. They also said 170 people had been cured and discharged.

5:52 pm: Amazon restricts employee travel to China 'until further notice' as coronavirus spreads

Amazon has started restricting employee travel to China as the coronavirus continues to spread, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC. "We place tremendous value and focus on the well-being and safety of our employees," an Amazon spokesperson said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting business travel to and from China until further notice and encouraging our employees to follow the health and safety guidelines provided by international health agencies such as the CDC and WHO."

5:35 pm: Hubei health officials say 37 additional deaths reported in province

The Hubei Health Commission said that the number of coronavirus deaths in the province rose by 37 to 162 at the end of Jan. 29. A total of 1,032 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the province.

4:52 pm: Microsoft tells employees in China to work from home

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the company is advising its employee to work from home and cancel all non-essential business travel until Feb. 9 based "on the evaluation of risk communicated by global health authorities." "The health and safety of our employees and their families is a top priority," the spokesperson said.

4:35 pm: Delta cuts weekly flights to China in half

Delta is temporarily reducing the number of weekly flights it operates between the U.S. and China due to significantly reduced customer demand prompted by global health concerns related to Coronavirus. To maintain options for customers, the airline will continue to operate from all current U.S.-China gateways. Delta currently operates 42 weekly flights between the U.S. and China. The airline will reduce this schedule to approximately 21 weekly flights, offering three to four weekly flights on the same routes. The reduced schedule will be reflected on Delta.com beginning Feb. 1 and will be effective February 6 through April 30.

3:50 pm: Google temporarily closing China offices

Google is temporarily closing its China offices and restricting travel amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC. The shutdowns, first reported by The Verge, will affect Google's offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The company has also placed temporary travel restrictions on workers flying to China and Hong Kong. Google has at least four offices in China's mainland and five in Taiwan, according to its website.

3:36 pm: Flight carrying US citizens from Wuhan arrives in California

A flight carrying U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, safely arrived in California earlier Wednesday. The CDC said the flight landed at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. A team of CDC medical officers screened the nearly 200 passengers upon their arrival. The flight was carrying U.S. State Department personnel as well as American civilians. The plane departed from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport and touched down in Anchorage, Alaska to refuel before continuing on to California.

2:56 pm: Powell says Fed is 'monitoring' coronavirus, but won't speculate on economic impact

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is keeping a close watch on the outbreak. "It's a very serious issue and I want to start by acknowledging the significant and considerable human suffering that the virus is already causing," he told reporters at a press conference, adding that it's too early to speculate on how it might impact the global economy. "There is likely to be some disruption to activity in China and possibly globally based on the spread of the virus to date and the travel restrictions and business closures that have already been imposed."

2:17 pm: France confirms fifth coronavirus case

France has confirmed a fifth case of the coronavirus — the daughter of an 80-year old man already hospitalized with the disease, according to French health minister Agnes Buzyn. France confirmed its first three cases of the Wuhan coronavirus on Friday and a fourth case on Tuesday. A first flight to repatriate French nationals from the Chinese town of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, was leaving France Wednesday night and a second flight would occur Thursday or Friday, she said.

2:09 pm: Boeing concerned virus could impact air travel

Boeing raised concerns on Wednesday about the outbreak as airlines cut back service to China. Global air traffic growth in November rose by just 3.3% from a year earlier, reflecting "the continuing influence of slower economic activity, geopolitical tensions and other disruptions," according to the International Air Transport Association. Boeing CFO Greg Smith noted the slower-than-usual growth, saying the "impact of the coronavirus on near-term traffic growth is clearly a watch item this year."

1:54 pm: Major US companies warn about the potential impact of the coronavirus on earnings calls

The outbreak is starting to worry some of the world's biggest companies. The word "virus" or "coronavirus" was mentioned by 27 different S&P Composite 1500 companies on earnings calls this week, according to data compiled by CNBC using FactSet. Despite Apple's blowout earnings on Tuesday, the company's range of guidance for next quarter is wider than typical. CEO Tim Cook attributed this change to uncertainty caused by the deadly coronavirus, which has shut down travel in parts of China.

11:51 am: Coronavirus concerns increase demand for Dow cleaning products

The coronavirus outbreak is driving up demand for some of Dow's cleaning products that are used in household cleaning items, CEO Jim Fitterling told CNBC. Fitterling said Dow's cleaning products are seeing increased demand due to the rapidly spreading virus. "We've seen some demand pull from coronavirus on things like cleaning materials for disinfectants, like you would use in household cleaners; non-wovens for masks and wipes and those kinds of things," Fitterling said. "And I think as you see people stay at home and use more food from the grocery store, you're going to see a pull on packaging as well."

11:27 am: WHO officials say coronavirus spread outside of China is of 'grave concern'

The spread of a fast-moving virus outside of China is of "grave concern" and is what's prompted the World Health Organization to reconvene an emergency meeting this week to decide whether it's a global health emergency. The coronavirus has spread to a handful of people through human-to-human contact outside of China, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's health emergencies programme, said at a press conference at the organization's Geneva headquarters Wednesday.

11 am: WHO officials hold press conference on coronavirus as outbreak worsens

WHO is holding its third press briefing at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the flu-like coronavirus that has now killed at least 132 people and infected more than 6,150 people in more than a dozen countries around the world. WHO was expected last week to announce whether the new virus was a global health emergency but officials said they postponed its decision to gather more data. Executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Program Dr. Michael Ryan and head of WHO's Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis unit Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove are scheduled to speak. Watch the live press conference here.

10:45 am: WHO will reconvene emergency committee Thursday

Director-general of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he will reconvene the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to discuss the coronavirus. The committee will help determine "whether the current outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern," Tedros said in a tweet.

10:37 am: Starbucks could close more stores in China

Starbucks has closed more than half of its Chinese locations and won't hesitate to close more to keep its employees safe, CEO Kevin Johnson told CNBC. It's a "very dynamic situation," he said, "when there's a concern, we will close stores."

10:30 am: Finland confirms first coronavirus case

Finland on Wednesday confirmed its first coronavirus case on a Chinese traveler from Wuhan, China, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said. The traveler is in isolation in Lapland's central hospital in northern Finland, it said in a statement, adding some 15 other people may have been exposed.

9:00 am: GM extends manufacturing shutdown in China through Feb. 9

General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker in China, told employees there that it will keep its Chinese factories shut down through Feb. 9, a company spokesman said in an email to CNBC. China's factories have been closed as part of a nationwide manufacturing break to celebrate the Lunar New Year, but were originally due to reopen this week. Chinese officials have extended the plant shutdown to Feb. 9 as the nation tries to contain the coronavirus outbreak. GM's decision follows on Honda's announcement late Tuesday that it was keep motorcycle factories in China closed to Feb. 9. Automakers across the globe have been evacuating employees and restricting travel to China.

Commuters wearing protective masks walk through Hong Kong Station, on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.
Paul Yeung | Bloomberg | Getty Images

7:36 am: Death toll of coronavirus climbs to 132, China cases now exceed SARS epidemic

The total number of cases of the coronavirus reached more than 6,100 worldwide with 132 deaths in China, Chinese and international health authorities said Wednesday. Since the first patient was identified in Wuhan on Dec. 31, the number of coronavirus cases in China has mushroomed to more than 6,060, exceeding the total number of SARS cases in that country during the 2002-2003 epidemic. There were 5,327 SARS cases in China and 8,000 across the world between Nov. 1, 2002, and July 31, 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

6:36 am: International Ski Federation cancels first official Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 test event

FIS, the Chinese Ski Association and its Yanqing Local Organizing Committee, have canceled the men's Audi FIS World Cup races scheduled for Feb. 15 to 16 in the northwestern part of Beijing. It would have been the federation's first Alpine Ski World Cup in China and the first official test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper. "Although the risk level in Yanqing is low, the health and welfare of the athletes and all participants must take priority," Kasper said in an online statement.

5:18 am: British Airways cancels all flights to and from mainland China

British Airways has stopped all direct flights to and from mainland China because of the coronavirus outbreak. The airline said the suspension would be implemented "with immediate effect" following the viral outbreak that has caused 132 deaths and infected more than 6,000 people.

4:42 am: Swiss pharmaceutical giant warns finding a coronavirus vaccine will take over a year

The chief executive of Novartis believes it will take at least 12 months to find a new vaccine to treat the coronavirus, with the fast-spreading nature of the outbreak a threat that must be taken "really seriously."

[To see updates from Asia overnight, click here.]

—Reuters and CNBC's Christine Wang, Phil LeBeau, Jordan Novet and Annie Palmer contributed to this report.