Health and Science

Coronavirus: EU raises risk level to high, Iran cases exceed 1,500

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Key Points
  • China's National Health Commission reported 202 new cases, and 42 additional deaths, as of March 1.
  • Macao's gaming revenue plunged 87.8% in February as compared with a year ago, according to Reuters.
  • Factory activity in China plunged far worse than expected in February as the country dealt with the economic impact of the virus outbreak, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday. 
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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.

7:55 pm: EU coronavirus deaths reach 38, bloc raises risk level to high

The president of the European Commission said Monday that the EU's disease prevention agency had raised the bloc's risk level to high, as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference in Brussels that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control had raised its risk level up from moderate, with more than 2,100 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in 18 of the 27 EU states. 

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides confirmed Monday 38 EU citizens had died as a result of the flu-like virus. — Meredith

Tourist wearing a protective respiratory mask outside the Coliseum in Rome on February 28, 2020.
Andreas Solaro | AFP | Getty Images

6:50 pm: Iran's health ministry says 66 people have died due to coronavirus, infections exceed 1,500

Iran's health ministry said Monday that the total number of those infected with the coronavirus had climbed to 1,501, Reuters reported citing state television, with 66 deaths nationwide.

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

6:05 pm: India, Iraq and Iceland all report further cases of coronavirus

Iceland has confirmed three more cases of the coronavirus, with India and Iraq also reporting two additional infections on Monday.

Iceland's Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management confirmed Monday that three patients had tested positive for the flu-like virus over the weekend. All of them had recently spent time on holiday in northern Italy — the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

Meanwhile, India reported two further cases of COVID-19, taking the country's toll to five. One of the new cases was in New Delhi, while the other was in Telangana, the government said.

Elsewhere, Iraq's health ministry said Monday that two people had contracted the flu-like virus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 21. — Meredith

5 pm: Nike temporarily closes European headquarters due to coronavirus case

Nike's European headquarters (EHQ) in the Netherlands will remain closed for Monday and Tuesday after an employee was found to have contracted the coronavirus.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a deep cleaning of the EHQ campus," Nike said in a statement to CNBC, confirming it was aware of an employee coronavirus case.

"All EHQ buildings and facilities will be closed until Wednesday."

Approximately 2,000 Nike employees from 80 countries are estimated to work at the site.

As of Sunday, the WHO had confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 in the country, with no deaths. — Meredith

A picture of Nike's European campus in Hilversum, Netherlands.
Robin van Lonkhuijsen | AFP | Getty Images

4:30 pm: South Korea reports 123 further cases of coronavirus, takes the country's total over 4,300

South Korea has reported an additional 123 cases of the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking the country's total number of infections up to 4,335.

South Korea has the highest number of infections outside mainland China. The dramatic rise in the country's cases stems from the city of Daegu, and specifically, a secretive religious group called Shincheonji.

Earlier in the day, (see 1:20 p.m. update), the mayor of Seoul announced he had launched legal proceedings against key leaders of the Shincheonji religious group. — Meredith

4:15 pm: Japan confirms five further cases of virus in Hokkaido

Japan has confirmed five more cases of the coronavirus in Hokkaido, according to a report from public broadcaster NHK, bringing the country's total number of COVID-19 infections to 77.

It comes shortly after the northern island, which has a population of roughly 5 million people, declared a state of emergency late last week.

As of Sunday, the WHO had confirmed 239 cases of the coronavirus in Japan, with five deaths. — Meredith

3:05 pm: Australia reports first community spread of coronavirus

Australia on Monday said a male doctor as well as a woman are the first cases of community transmissions in the country, according to a Reuters report citing health officials. Community spread means there are cases with no relevant travel history or clear link to another infected person or at-risk group.

The country on Sunday reported its first death of a coronavirus case. It has imposed travel bans on any foreigners traveling from China or Iran in the two weeks before arriving in Australia. — Tan

2:40 pm: 'We're already in a pandemic situation,' says health expert

The world is already in a "pandemic type situation" even if the World Health Organization has not classified it as such, a health expert told CNBC on Monday.

"As of today, there are already over 60 countries reporting cases of coronavirus disease ... we're already in a pandemic situation, this has gone to many countries," said Syra Madad, senior director for System-wide Special Pathogens Program Office at NYC Health and Hospitals.

"Whether the World Health Organization classifies it as a pandemic or not, I think we're already in a pandemic type situation," she said. "We just need to continue to plan for the worst case scenario."

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Madad said this outbreak is hopefully a "good wake-up call" for countries whose health care systems are not up to scratch.

"When the coronavirus disease ends whenever that will be, there's going to be another one right behind it," she said. "We can't predict when they are going to happen, we absolutely know they are going to happen." — Tan

2:05 pm: Japan's auto sales down 10%

Auto sales in Japan tumbled 10% in February, as the virus outbreak led to production disruptions, according to a Reuters report.

That has caused difficulty in acquiring parts from China due to the outbreak, it said. — Tan

1:20 pm: Seoul mayor sues South Korea religious group for 'murder' and 'injury'

The mayor of Seoul has sued key leaders of the Shincheonji religious group at the center of South Korea's sudden surge in the number of confirmed cases for the new coronavirus. 

Mayor Park Won-soon said on Facebook he was suing the key leaders of Shincheonji "for murder, injury and violation of prevention and management of infectious diseases," according to a translation from NBC News.

A woman wearing a face mask walks in front of the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu on February 27, 2020.
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea has the highest number of infections outside mainland China. Contributing to the exponential rise in cases was the city of Daegu, and specifically, the secretive religious group called Shincheonji, according to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. — Roy Choudhury

1:05 pm: JPMorgan cuts China 2020 growth forecast to 5.2%

JPMorgan cut its 2020 growth forecast for China from 5.4% to 5.2%, pointing to slower-than-expected work resumption at factories.

It cited obstacles such as labor shortage and transportation disruptions.

"Policymakers face two trade-offs at this juncture: between virus control and production resumption, and between reviving activity and maintaining a disciplined approach to easing," the Wall Street firm wrote in a note on Monday.

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12:20 pm: Indonesia confirms first two coronavirus cases

Indonesia has confirmed its first two coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters report, citing Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Meanwhile, Singapore reported Sunday that two of its new cases have been to Batam, Indonesia. They did not have any travel history to China or South Korea. — Tan

11:30 am: US investigates faulty coronavirus test kits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that it's investigating a manufacturing defect in some initial coronavirus test kits, according to a Reuters report.

That has sparked some states to seek approval to use their own kits, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday said it would allow some labs to use tests they have developed, in order to speed up testing capacity, the report said.

In New York, where the first case in Manhattan was just reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state has sought approval to begin using its own test kit. — Tan

10:38 am: Second coronavirus death in the US 

Health authorities in Washington confirmed a second death in the U.S. from the new coronavirus on Sunday.

The patient was a man in his 70s, who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth, a hospital in Washington State, according to Seattle and King County Department of Public Health. — Tan

10:01 am: First coronavirus case confirmed in New York City

The first coronavirus case in Manhattan has been confirmed, a woman who recently traveled to Iran and is currently isolated in her home, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed the state's first case on Sunday, without specifying where the patient lives. (see  8:50 a.m. update

In a statement on Sunday night Eastern Time, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said: "From the beginning, we have said it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of coronavirus in New York. Now our first case has been confirmed."

He added: "Our health authorities have been in a state of high alert for weeks, and are fully prepared to respond. We will continue to ensure New Yorkers have the facts and resources they need to protect themselves." — Kopecki

(This post has been updated to include the statement from New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio)

9:50 am: South Korea reports 476 more cases

South Korea reported a jump of 476 cases on Monday morning, bringing the country's total to 4,212 cases. 

There were four more deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 22, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. — Tan

9:40 am: Foreign firms in China still face challenges getting back to work

Surveys of foreign businesses released this week indicate many people in China still haven't returned to work, especially in factories, adding to revenue losses.

Travel disruptions to the flow of people and goods are a top challenge for foreign companies in China right now, Greg Gilligan, chairman of the Beijing-based American Chamber of Commerce in China, said in a phone interview Friday. "There's still a very large number of people who are still sheltered in place and cannot return to their (city) of residence." — Cheng

8:50 am: New York reports first case

New York State has its first confirmed case, a woman in her 30s who traveled to Iran, said Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York. 

The patient "is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York," he said in a statement. 

Andrew Cuomo tweet

California's Santa Clara County also confirmed three new cases, bringing its total to seven. — Tan

8:29 am: China reports 202 new cases, 42 more deaths

China's National Health Commission reported 202 new cases, and 42 additional deaths, as of March 1.

Of those new cases,196 were from the epicentre of Hubei, as were all the 42 additional deaths.

That brings the country's total to 80,026 cases and 2,912 deaths. — Tan

8:20 am: Australian, Japan shares fall

After sliding most of last week, Australian and Japanese markets continued to fall on Monday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 tumbled more than 2.5%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.86% in early trade. 

Factory activity in China plunged far worse than expected in February as the country dealt with the economic impact of the virus outbreak, and U.S. markets saw their biggest weekly declines since October 2008 on the back of virus fears. — Huang

7:57 am: Macao's casino revenue plunges nearly 88%

Macao's gaming revenue plunged 87.8% in February as compared with a year ago, according to Reuters. Casinos in the Chinese territory were shut for two weeks as authorities scrambled to contain the virus outbreak. 

Macao is heavily dependent on casinos, earning more than 80% of its revenue from gaming, but visits from tourists have practically dried up, according to the report. — Tan

Pedestrians wear face masks as they walk outside the New Orient Landmark hotel in Macau on January 22, 2020.
ANTHONY WALLACE | AFP via Getty Images

7:51 am: Asia markets set to continue falling

Markets in Asia were set to continue tumbling on Monday after plunging Chinese manufacturing activity and U.S. markets seeing their biggest weekly declines since October 2008 on the back of virus fears.

Factory activity in China plunged far worse than expected in February as the country dealt with the economic impact of the virus outbreak, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday. — Huang

All times below are in Eastern time.

5:26 pm: France's Louvre Museum closed

The spreading coronavirus epidemic shut down France's Louvre Museum on Sunday, with workers who guard its famous trove of artworks fearful of being contaminated by the museum's flow of tourists from around the world.

Almost three-quarters of the Louvre's 9.6 million visitors last year came from abroad. The world's most popular museum welcomes tens of thousands of fans daily in Paris.

"We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere," said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative.

"The risk is very, very, very great," he said in a phone interview. While there are no known virus infections among the museum's 2,300 workers, "it's only a question of time," he said.

A short statement from the Louvre said a staff meeting about virus prevention efforts stopped the museum from opening as scheduled Sunday morning. — Associated Press

2:43 pm: United postpones new pilot class and warns of additional flight cuts

United Airlines is postponing start dates for some new pilots this month and warned about further flight reductionsthe carrier confirmed Sunday.

A 23-person class of pilots that was supposed to start training this week has been postponed. CNBC had reported the schedule change earlier on Sunday. The delay comes as the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads, prompting United and its competitors to scale back some international routes. Pilot training can take several months before aviators start flying for the airline.

The coronavirus is a new challenge for airlines that have been dealing with slower-than-expected growth because of the nearly yearlong grounding of the Boeing 737 Max after two fatal crashes. — Josephs 

11:22 am: US investigating whistleblower complaint that staff was inadequately protected from virus, health secretary says

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is looking into a whistleblower's complaint that staff had inadequate protection from the coronavirus, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. 

"We are looking into these allegations. I am personally involved in doing so," Azar told CBS' "Face the Nation."

A whistleblower has said workers from HSS were sent, without proper training and gear, to retrieve the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus.

Those workers were deployed in California, the person said. Azar said Sunday: "There was no spreading of the disease from this." — Thomas

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Two more coronavirus cases confirmed in Seattle, Houston energy conference canceled

— CNBC's Saheli Roy ChoudhuryDawn Kopecki, Evelyn Cheng, Eustance Huang, Leslie Josephs and Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.