Health and Science

Coronavirus: Vatican reports first case; 'Impossible' to cancel Tokyo Olympics

Key Points
  • South Korea reported an additional 309 cases of the coronavirus on Friday, taking the country's total number of infections to almost 6,600.
  • Australia shut down its first school, after a 16-year-old student in Sydney tested positive for the new coronavirus.
  • San Francisco health officials announced the first two cases of COVID-19 in the city, and said they were unable to determine the source of the infections.
What the coronavirus means for business
What the coronavirus means for business

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  • Global cases: At least 95,270, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
  • Global deaths: At least 3,280, according to the latest figures from the WHO

All times below are in Beijing time.

8:50 pm: 60 staff at Cork University Hospital self-isolate

A community transmission case in the Republic of Ireland has led to 60 staff at Cork University Hospital being asked to self-isolate.

Broadcaster RTE said Friday that the hospital had taken steps overnight, including visitor restrictions and the curtailment of some elective procedures and outpatient services. — Clinch

8:40 pm: Singapore reports biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections

Health authorities in Singapore reported their largest daily jump of coronavirus infections on Friday, with the total number rising by 13 to 130.
The figures included a cabin crew member from Singapore Airlines, according to Reuters, with officials saying he had not gone to work since the onset of symptoms. — Clinch

7:55 pm: Egypt health authorities report 12 new coronavirus cases on Nile cruise ship, state media says

Egypt's health ministry confirmed 12 people had contracted COVID-19 on a Nile cruise ship heading to the southern city of Luxor, state television reported on Friday.

The cruise ship was traveling from the city of Aswan.

As of Thursday, Egypt had reported three cases of the coronavirus nationwide. — Meredith

7:35 pm: Iran says death toll rises by 17 to 124 people

Iran, which has one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks outside of China, reported a rise in its death toll to 124 people on Friday.

A health ministry spokesman said in Tehran that there were 1,000-plus new infections, according to Reuters. — Clinch

An Iranian woman wearing a mask walks past a mural displaying her national flag in Tehran on March 4, 2020.

6:35 pm: Netherlands confirms first coronavirus-related death

The Netherlands' National Health Institute on Friday confirmed the country's first fatality as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

An 86-year-old man infected with COVID-19 died in the port city of Rotterdam, health authorities said.

As of Thursday, the WHO reported 38 cases of the coronavirus in the Netherlands. — Meredith

6:30 pm: China invokes 'force majeure' to protect businesses — but companies may be in for a 'rude awakening' 

Widespread disruption brought on by the coronavirus outbreak has hammered global supply chains and spurred Chinese companies to declare "force majeure" — a provision that exempts them from contractual obligations.

But experts warn that such a move may not work.

According to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, a government-linked entity, China has issued 4,811 force majeure certificates as of Mar. 3 due to the epidemic.

They covered contracts worth 373.7 billion Chinese yuan ($53.79 billion), state media Xinhua reported. — Tan

5:40 pm: Vatican City reports first coronavirus case

The Vatican confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on Friday, Reuters reported, with health authorities confirming outpatient services in Vatican City clinics had been suspended to sanitize areas.

A spokesperson for the city-state added that Italian authorities had been informed of the confirmed case.

As of Thursday, Italy had reported 3,089 cases of COVID-19, with 107 deaths. — Meredith

Tourists wearing protective masks walk in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, on March 3, 2020.

5:20 pm: Iran minister says US is 'lying' over offer to help with coronavirus

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has accused Mike Pompeo of "lying" after the Secretary of State said the U.S. had offered to help Tehran with the coronavirus outbreak.

"We haven't received any important assistance from any country — especially the United States is lying," Zanganeh told CNBC's Dan Murphy in Vienna, Austria on Friday.

The minister claimed that broader sanctions on Iranian goods and services were preventing the country from accessing vital food and medicine for its citizens.

"When he says, the secretary of state ... we have no sanction(s) against food and drugs, it is not correct, because with which money we are going to buy food and drugs when all our exports (are) under sanction?"

The State Department was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC Friday morning.

As of Thursday, the WHO had confirmed 2,922 cases of the coronavirus in Iran, with 92 deaths. — Meredith

4:55 pm: Cancellation of Olympic Games is 'impossible,' Tokyo 2020 chief says

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee has reportedly said that it would be "impossible" to cancel the Games as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Yoshiro Mori also confirmed the Olympic torch handover ceremony in Greece on March 19 and the arrival ceremony in Japan on March 20 would both be held without children, Reuters reported.

Mori's comments come amid heightened fears about the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has already impacted the staging of sporting events worldwide.

As of Thursday, the WHO reported Japan had 317 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with six deaths. — Meredith

4:40 pm: South Korea reports additional 309 coronavirus cases, taking total number of infections to nearly 6,600

South Korea reported an additional 309 cases of the coronavirus on Friday, taking the country's total number of infections to almost 6,600.

Most of the new confirmed cases came from the southeastern city of Daegu, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To date, 42 people have died in the country as a result of the flu-like virus. — Meredith

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear, spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Guryong slum on March 3, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.
Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images

4:15 pm: European stocks tumble amid coronavirus volatility

European stocks fell sharply Friday morning as the coronavirus outbreak keeps impacting businesses worldwide.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 tumbled 1.5% at the start of trading, travel and leisure stocks shedding 3.2% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses slid into the red.

Global stocks have been hit by ongoing concerns over the outbreak. In Asia, equities traded mostly lower, with the main Japanese market down by more than 3%. Stateside, 78% of S&P constituents closed in correction territory on Thursday. — Amaro

2:35 pm: Two Microsoft employees test positive

A Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC late on Thursday that two employees in Washington state, including one remote employee working on LinkedIn, have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Both employees are located in Puget Sound, the area that includes Microsoft's Redmond headquarters, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in an email on Thursday evening. — Novet

1:25 pm: Japan markets drop more than 3%

Japan markets led losses across Asia as investors continued to fall back amid virus fears.

The Nikkei 225 and the Topix index both fell around 3%. Australian and South Korean stocks also plummeted more than 2%.

Shares of airlines in the region declined on Friday as the outbreak hit air travel. Australia's Qantas Airways dropped 7.1% while Japan's ANA Holdings fell 3.76%. Over in South Korea, Korean Air Lines' stock plummeted 5.58%. Hong Kong-listed shares of China Eastern Airlines also slipped 4.08%. 

"One succumbs to the sheer fear of community spread, prospects of deep economic impact from sharp drop off in demand for travel and seizures in supply-chains," said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank. — Tan, Huang

1:05 pm: Taxi rides, ride hailing trips in China plummet 85%

Trips involving taxis and online ride-hailing in China plummeted 85% in February, according to the country's transport ministry.

Railway, highway and air passenger volume fell nearly 80% in February, it added. — Cheng

12:40 pm: Facebook tells Bay Area employees to stay home and cancel any trips amid coronavirus outbreak

Facebook is telling employees in the San Francisco Bay Area that they should stay home after the coronavirus outbreak touched down locally. That includes its Menlo Park, California headquarters.

"Based on guidance from Santa Clara County today, we are strongly recommending that all Bay area employees and contingent staff work from home starting tomorrow, Friday, March 6th," Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison Thursday evening said in a statement to CNBC.

The company has several offices and thousands of employees across the region. It is also scrapping all events in the Bay Area and recommending employees cancel all business travel in and out of the region. — Elias

10:50 am: Microsoft will pay hourly workers regularly even if they spend less time on the clock because of coronavirus

Microsoft on Thursday committed to paying normal hourly wages to non-employees providing services to Microsoft workers, like bus drivers and cafeteria workers, who might otherwise receive less pay while many of the company's employees spend the next few weeks working from home to avoid exposure to the coronavirus.

"We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post on Thursday. "As a result, we've decided that Microsoft will continue to pay all our vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs. This is independent of whether their full services are needed. This will ensure that, in Puget Sound for example, the 4,500 hourly employees who work in our facilities will continue to receive their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced." — Novet

Are paycuts and layoffs looming?
Are paycuts and layoffs looming?

10:30 am: NYC educators, health-care workers and first responders required to undergo testing

New York City has made it mandatory for all educators, health-care workers and first responders to get tested for the new coronavirus if they are ordered to, according to a directive from its health commissioner.

They would be required to undergo testing if they are determined to "present a danger of infection to others." These workers would also not be allowed to return to work until they test negative for the virus or when they no longer pose a danger of infection to others, according to the order.

The city may also order any of those workers to quarantine themselves at home or other locations if they refuse to submit for such testing. If they do not comply with this order, they may be subject to penalties such as a fine or imprisonment. — Tan

9:55 am: Gap shuts down New York City office after an employee tests positive

Gap has closed its New York City headquarters after an employee tested positive for the new coronavirus, the apparel maker told CNBC. The company said it was asking its employees to work from home until further notice.

"We learned today (March 5) that one of our employees in our Gap headquarters building in New York is confirmed to have Coronavirus. The individual was not in the office today and is currently recovering at home. As a result of this information, we have decided to close our New York office and are asking employees to work from home until further notice," Gap said in a statement. — Ruggiero, Tan

9:37 am: China reports 143 new cases, 30 more deaths

China's National Health Commission reported 143 new confirmed cases as of March 5, and 30 more deaths. Of the new cases, 126 were from the epicenter of Hubei, and 29 of the 30 additional deaths were from that province. That brings the country's total to 80,552 confirmed cases, and 3,042 deaths. — Tan

9:25 am: South Korea reports 518 new cases, 7 more deaths

South Korea reported 518 new cases as of Friday morning, bringing its total to 6,284 cases. There were seven more deaths, bringing the country's total to 42 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most cases have been from Daegu, South Korea's fourth-largest city and where many cases were traced back to the Shincheonji church group. Hospitals in Daegu were scrambling to accommodate the surge in patients, with 2,300 people waiting to be admitted, according to a Reuters report on Thursday. —Tan

9:00 am: South Korea slams Japan's decision to quarantine visitors from its country

South Korea called Japan's decision to impose a two-week quarantine for visitors from its country "unreasonable, excessive and extremely regrettable," according to a Reuters report. Seoul's foreign ministry will summon the Japanese ambassador on Friday to lodge a complaint, it said, according to Reuters. — Tan

8:15 am: Crisis could wipe out $211 billion from Asia Pacific economies, S&P says

The coronavirus crisis could knock $211 billion from economies throughout Asia Pacific, S&P Global Ratings said in a report.

It will particularly affect Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand which will "enter or flirt with recession," the report said. S&P Global Ratings also trimmed its growth forecast for China from 5.7% for 2020, to 4.8%. — Tan

7:45 am: First school closure in Australia

Australia ordered its first school closure, after a 16-year-old student in Sydney tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to Reuters.

The Epping Boys High School in Sydney will be closed for at least a day, while almost 1,200 students and staff will be put under quarantine, the report said. Australia has 60 cases so far, and two deaths. — Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

5:56 pm: Santa Clara County confirms 7 community transmission cases

Santa Clara County public health officials have confirmed six new cases there, bringing the total number of infections in the northern California county to 20. Seven of the 20 cases have "no known travel or direct contact with other known cases," James Williams, director of emergency management, told reporters at a press conference.

Santa Clara County Public Health Department Director Dr. Sara Cody said the county is recommending the cancellation of mass gatherings and other big events to help slow the spread of the outbreak. There were 53 cases in California as of Wednesday, according to the state health department, with dozens of new cases announced by public health officials Thursday. 

"Our cases to date indicate to us that the risk of exposure to the virus in our community is increasing," she said, adding that the number of cases are expected to rise.

Employers are being asked to suspend all non-essential employee travel, keep employees from working more than arms-length from each other, allow more flexible sick leave policies and increase tele-commuting. —Kopecki

4:46 pm: San Francisco health officials say COVID-19 is 'spreading in the community'

San Francisco health officials announced the first two cases of COVID-19 in the city, and said they were unable to determine the source of the infections.

The first patient is a man in his 90s who has underlying health conditions and is in "serious condition," San Francisco public health director Dr. Grant Colfax told reporters Thursday. The second person is a woman in her 40s who is in "fair" condition.

"We do not know at this point how they were exposed to the virus, which suggests it is spreading in the community," he said in a statement. "We expected that to happen and are further investigating the circumstances of these patients' exposure." —Feuer

4:27 pm: Almost 300 million kids missing school because of the coronavirus, UNESCO says

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the education of nearly 300 million students across the world and could threaten their future educational rights, according a UNESCO report released Wednesday.

The U.N. organization that monitors global education said the number of children missing school globally is unprecedented. 

"While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement. —Bursztynsky 

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Starbucks' China sales drop, US cases jump to 197

— CNBC's Eustance Huang, Jennifer Elias, Jordan Novet, Ryan Ruggiero, Dawn Kopecki, William Feuer and Jessica Bursztynsky contributed to this report.