Health and Science

Coronavirus: New Zealand, Nigeria report first cases, China's death toll over 2,700

Key Points
  • China's National Health Commission reported 327 new confirmed cases and 44 new deaths as of Feb. 27.
  • Altogether, China has 78,824 confirmed cases and the death toll was at 2,788.
  • South Korea reported 571 cases of the coronavirus on Friday, Yonhap news agency reported, bringing the country's total number of infections to 2,337.
What does the coronavirus mean for China's economy?
What does the coronavirus mean for China's economy?

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 U.S. team.

All times below are in Beijing time.

8:50 pm: Iran's health minister reportedly says all schools to temporarily close over coronavirus concerns

Iran's health minister has said all schools in the country will close from Saturday to Tuesday, Reuters reported, amid intensifying concerns over the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The decision comes less than 24 hours after Japan's government asked all elementary, junior high and high schools to close from March 2 through to spring break.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Iran's health ministry has confirmed 34 people have died because of coronavirus infections. (See 6:40 p.m. update). — Meredith

7:45 pm: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand and Nigeria all confirm first coronavirus cases

Five further countries have reported their first cases of the coronavirus, with the deadly flu-like illness now reported in every continent except Antarctica.

Azerbaijan, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand and Nigeria all confirmed their first cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with the latter marking the first known case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.

On Thursday, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned that the international spread of the virus showed it had "pandemic potential." — Meredith

7 pm: WHO warns coronavirus outbreak could soon reach every country in the world

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reaffirmed its warning that the fast-spreading coronavirus could soon reach most, "if not all" countries around the world.

Speaking at a news briefing in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said the outbreak was "getting bigger" and reiterated the organization's warning that the deadly flu-like virus could spread worldwide.

His comments come shortly after Nigeria confirmed sub-Saharan Africa's first case on Friday, with Brazil reporting Latin America's first COVID-19 infection less than 48 hours earlier.

On Tuesday, the WHO had warned countries around the world to be prepared for the coronavirus to be "literally knocking at the door." — Meredith

6:40 pm: Iranian health minister reports death toll rises to 34, total number of coronavirus cases at 388

A spokesperson for Iran's health ministry has confirmed 34 people have died because of coronavirus infections, Reuters reported on Friday, citing an announcement on state television.

The total number of infections in the country has climbed to 388, the spokesperson added.

Iran is at the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East, having recorded the highest number of coronavirus fatalities outside China. — Meredith

5:50 pm: UK health authorities confirm 19 coronavirus cases nationwide

The U.K. has 19 cases of the coronavirus, health authorities said on Friday, after Wales and Northern Ireland both confirmed their first cases of COVID-19.

"The virus was passed on in Iran and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres at the Royal Free Hospital," England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in a statement.

"The total number of cases in England is now 17. Following confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of U.K. cases is 19," he added. — Meredith

People wearing face masks for protection against the Coronavirus epidemic on 31st January 2020 in London, England, United Kingdom.
Mike Kemp

5:40 pm: Switzerland bans large-scale events to prevent spread of coronavirus

The Swiss government has moved to ban events expected to gather crowds of more than 1,000 people to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

"In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Council has categorised the situation in Switzerland as 'special' in terms of the Epidemics Act," the cabinet said in a statement.

"Large-scale events involving more than 1000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March."

As of Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Switzerland. — Meredith

4:55 pm: European airlines issue profit warnings as coronavirus fears escalate

British Airways-owner IAG and Finland's Finnair joined a growing number of European airlines to warn of a hit to full-year earnings on Friday, as a result of travel disruption due to the coronavirus.

IAG, which owns British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, said Friday that ongoing uncertainty of the impact and duration of the COVID-19 outbreak meant it could not give accurate profit guidance to its investors. However, it did warn the fast-spreading flu-like virus would hit earnings this year.

Shares of IAG tumbled over 8% Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Finland's national airline said Friday that it expects a significant fall in operating profit in 2020. Finnair also said it would scrap its capacity growth target, investigate cutting costs by up to 50 million euros ($55 million) and consider measures including temporary layoffs.

Shares of Finnair were down 3% Friday morning. — Meredith

A British Airways plane takes off from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

4:40 pm: European stocks fall another 3% and sink further into correction territory as coronavirus grips markets

European stocks extended a historic week of losses on Friday morning as the coronavirus outbreak continues to pummel global markets into correction territory.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 3% in early trade, travel and leisure stocks dropping 3.5% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses slid sharply into the red.

European stocks entered correction territory on Thursday, falling 10% below the record highs seen on Feb. 19 last year, as the rapid spread of the coronavirus beyond China caused global markets to nosedive. — Smith

4:35 pm: South Korea reports 571 more coronavirus cases, bringing total number of infections to 2,337

South Korea reported 571 cases of the coronavirus on Friday, Yonhap news agency reported, bringing the country's total number of infections to 2,337.

The outbreak — which has killed 13 people in South Korea — is the largest outside of China, where the epidemic started at the end of last year.

South Korea's Kospi was among the seven major Asia-Pacific markets in correction territory by Friday's close. — Meredith

Correction: This blog post was updated to show South Korea's KOSPI fell into correction territory on Friday.

Commuters wearing protective face masks board a bus in the Yeouido financial district at dusk in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

4 pm: Germany reportedly quarantines 1,000 people at home as coronavirus cases spread

German media reported on Friday that around 1,000 people have been quarantined at home in the west German town of Heinsberg.

It is thought to be a precautionary measure as part of efforts to contain the outbreak of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

As of Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) had confirmed 21 cases of COVID-19 in Germany, with no deaths. Germany has the second-largest number of cases of the deadly flu-like virus in Europe.

Italy has confirmed 400 cases of the coronavirus so far, with 12 deaths. — Meredith

3:22 pm: Chinese stocks drop 5%

Markets across Asia tumbled by the close on Friday afternoon, as viral fears spooked investors.

China's Shenzhen stocks led losses among major markets regionally as they closed sharply lower. The Shenzhen component fell 4.8% while the Shenzhen composite tumbled nearly 5%. The Shanghai composite was down 3.71%.

Japan, South Korean and Australian markets dived. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 3.67% while the Topix index fell 3.65%. South Korea's Kospi was down 3.3%, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia plunged 3.25%. — Weizhen Tan, Eustance Huang

2:50 pm: Seven major Asia-Pacific markets have tumbled into correction territory

A surge in coronavirus cases outside China has sent stock markets across the world tanking, with Wall Street's major indexes dropping into correction territory on Thursday.

Stocks in Asia, the continent with the highest number of confirmed cases globally, have certainly not been spared.

Here's a list of indexes currently in correction territory, as of Friday afternoon trade:

12:50 pm: New Zealand reports first case of coronavirus

New Zealand confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday, according to its health ministry.

In a statement, it said that first case is a person who returned from Iran, and arrived in Auckland on an Emirates flight on Feb. 26.

The New Zealand dollar fell around 1% against the U.S. dollar, on the back of that news. — Weizhen Tan

Passengers arriving wear protective masks at the international airport on January 29, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Dave Rowland/Getty Images

12:40 pm: Odds of a coronavirus pandemic have doubled to 40%, says Moody's Analytics

With cases of the new coronavirus disease rising quickly beyond China, the odds of the outbreak turning into a pandemic have now doubled — from 20% to 40%, Moody's Analytics said in a report.

Our previous assumption that the virus will be contained in China proved optimistic, and the odds of a pandemic are rising," wrote economists from the research and consultancy arm of Moody's Corporation.

They had earlier predicted a 20% chance of a pandemic. — Lee

12:10 pm: Hyundai Motor closes factory after worker tests positive

Hyundai Motor has shut a factory in South Korea's city of Ulsan, after a worker tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to a Reuters report.

The South Korean automaker has five car factories in Ulsan, which accounts for nearly 30% of its global production, the report said. Ulsan is less than an hour away from Daegu, where a large number of cases in the country was traced to.

Cases in South Korea have continually spiked, surpassing 2,000 on Friday.

Shares of Hyundai Motor were last down nearly 5%. — Weizhen Tan

11:50 am: Korean Air says won't allow passengers with temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius to fly to US

All flights departing from Seoul's Incheon International Airport to the U.S. will now be required to check the temperature of passengers, a Korean Air spokesperson told NBC News.

"Passengers with a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit), which is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, will be denied boarding," she said. Thermal imaging cameras and handheld thermometers will be used. — Weizhen Tan, NBC's Stella Kim

11:15 am: Malaysia announces $4.7 billion stimulus to soften economic hit

Malaysia's interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced on Thursday a 20 billion ringgit ($4.7 billion) stimulus package to counter the hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

Measures announced include tax breaks and relief for companies in affected sectors such as tourism, loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as cash handouts to individuals.

The Southeast Asian economy, which in the middle of a political turmoil, is expected to grow at a slower pace of 3.2% to 4.2% this year — down from the government's previous estimate of 4.8%, said Mahathir.

Malaysia has reported 23 cases of the coronavirus disease, 22 of which have been discharged from hospitals, according to the health ministry — Lee

11:03 am: South Korea culture minister asks religious groups to suspend services

Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korea's culture minister has asked groups "to refrain from any religious services and gatherings for a while" in order to limit the further spread of the new coronavirus.

The report comes as a large portion of cases in South Korea have been traced back to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu. — Wang

10:52 am: Tokyo Disney to close from Feb. 29 to March 15

Tokyo Disney Resort operator OLC Group said it will close the park from Saturday until March 15. The leisure and tourism company said it made the decision after taking into account the risk of infection from public events that attract large crowds.

The announcement comes after Japan on Thursday suspended all elementary, junior and high schools in the country from March 2 through spring break (typically around the end of March). — Wang

Update: This entry was updated with further context.

10:30 am: Nigeria confirms first case

9:48 am: BTS cancels 4 concerts in Seoul

South Korean boy band BTS cancelled four concerts, originally scheduled for April 11, 12, 18 and 19 at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.

In a statement, the band's label Big Hit Entertainment said the coronavirus "has made it impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak during the dates of the concert in April." It said ticketholders will receive full refunds.

Big Hit Entertainment said it had expected 200,000 people to attend those shows.

9:10 am: South Korea reports additional 256 cases

South Korea confirmed an additional 256 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country's total to 2,022, according to its Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. The agency did not report any new fatalities, leaving the death toll unchanged at 13 people.

Of the new cases, 182 were located in the southeastern city of Daegu, according to KCDC data. More than half of the cases in South Korea have been tied to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, the country's fourth-largest city. — Wang

8:44 am: Companies report 'major decrease' in demand from China, survey finds

Many big companies say they've already taken a big hit in 2020 from the coronavirus with a "major decrease" in demand from China cited by 40% of chief financial officers responding to a flash survey of the CNBC Global CFO Council.

A majority of chief financial officers on the Global CFO Council say the coronavirus known as COVID-19 has created either a supply or demand effect on their business, but it is the demand drop from China that is the biggest impact. In all, 62.5% say they have seen a decrease in Chinese demand — 21.9% of companies surveyed described a "slight decrease" in demand.

The CNBC Global CFO Council represents some of the largest public and private companies in the world, collectively managing more than $5 trillion in market value across a wide variety of sectors. — Rosenbaum

7:58 am: China reports 44 additional deaths, most of them in Hubei

China's National Health Commission reported 327 new confirmed cases and 44 additional deaths as of Feb. 27. Among the new confirmed cases of infection, 318 were reported in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, while 41 people also died there from illness related to the virus. Beijing also reported two deaths.

Altogether, China has 78,824 confirmed cases and the death toll was at 2,788. — Roy Choudhury

A South Korean health worker sprays disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a residential area near the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu on February 27, 2020.
JUNG YEON-JE | AFP via Getty Images

7:48 am: Moody's says a pandemic would result in global and US recession in first half

Moody's Analytics said in a Thursday note that there is a 40% chance that the coronavirus outbreak turns into a pandemic — when an epidemic spreads globally and affects a large number of people worldwide — and that if such a situation arises, then it would "result in global and U.S. recessions during the first half of this year."

"The economy was already fragile before the outbreak and vulnerable to anything that did not stick to script," Moody's said, adding that the new virus which came out of nowhere is "way off script." The ratings agency said that the virus poses downside risk to the U.S. economy and though there are limits to monetary policy, the Federal Reserve "may need (to) eventually step in." That said, an emergency rate cut from the Fed is unlikely, Moody's said. — Roy Choudhury

7:36 am: Global stock markets sold off, Dow fell almost 1,200 points

Global stock markets sold off on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting nearly 1,200 points — its biggest one-day point drop ever. U.S. stock indexes entered correction territory, alongside European shares. On Friday morning, futures pointed to declines in Japan as Australia's ASX 200 dropped more than 3% in early trade.

"Extreme moves are forcing closure of long positions and uncertainty over the duration and economic impact of COVID-19 continues to grow," analysts at ANZ Research wrote on Friday morning. "Uncertainty is rife, feeding volatility, but the simple maths as COVID-19's spread outside China means worsening virus news to come." — Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:03 pm: CDC to test more suspected cases after revising guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it revised its guidelines to allow clinicians across the U.S. to test more people suspected of carrying the new coronavirus. Under the prior federal guidelines, clinicians could test suspected COVID-19 patients if they had traveled recently from China or had been in contact with someone known to be infected. Some lawmakers criticized the CDC's previous guidance as too restrictive. The new guidelines, which were posted to the CDC's website Thursday, appear to place more power in the hands of local health practitioners to determine who should get tested. — Feuer

4 pm: Goldman Sachs asks some clients to skip New York conference

Goldman Sachs is asking customers to skip a conference hosted by its investment bank next week if they've recently traveled to countries worst hit by the coronavirus. The warning, for Goldman's eighth annual housing and consumer finance conference held at the bank's New York headquarters, was just added to the event's registration website. "In light of the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Goldman Sachs has enacted several precautionary measures to ensure the wellbeing of our clients and our people," the bank said. — Son

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: California monitoring 8,400 people; stocks continue free fall

— CNBC's Yen Nee Lee, Eric Rosenbaum, William Feuer and Hugh Son contributed to this report.