Health and Science

Ireland to shut schools, universities until March 29 due to virus

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump said the United States will suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days, and that the new rules are going into effect on Friday midnight.
  • Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanks confirmed via Instagram Wednesday.
  • China's National Health Commission said there were 15 new confirmed cases on Mar. 11, with 8 of them in Hubei province.
  • Australia unveiled a 17.6 billion Australian dollar ($11.4 billion) stimulus package to tackle the economic impact of the global pandemic.
WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a pandemic
WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

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.

  • Global cases: At least 124,519, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
  • Global deaths: At least 4,607, according to the latest figures from the WHO
  • US cases: At least 1,312, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

All times below are in Beijing time.

7:44 pm: Ireland to shut schools, universities until March 29 due to virus

Ireland is to shut all schools, universities and childcare facilities until March 29 in response to the spread of the coronavirus, acting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday.


Ireland has 43 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. — Ellyatt

7:11 pm: Europe responds to Trump's travel ban

European leaders have responded to President Donald Trump's decision to impose restrictions on travel to the U.S. from 26 countries in Europe, saying that the coronavirus pandemic is a "global crisis" and not limited to "any continent."

"It requires cooperation rather than unilateral action," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel said in a statement Thursday.

"The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation," they said, adding that the EU is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus. —Amaro and Ellyatt

6:53 pm: UK's chief medical officers signal possible shift in virus approach

The U.K.'s chief medical officers have said that doctors in the country may need to "depart significantly from established procedures to handle the coronavirus outbreak."

This might be needed "in order to care for patients in the highly challenging but time-bound circumstances of the peak of an epidemic," the chief medical officers of the U.K.'s individual nations said in a joint letter to doctors, Reuters reported. — Ellyatt

6:50 pm: Death toll in Iran from coronavirus reaches 429, health official says

Iran has reported 75 new deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, according to Reuters. That brings the death toll there to 429.

"We have identified 1,075 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, meaning that there are 10,075 infected people in the country. The death toll is 429," Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state television. — Ellyatt

5:42 pm: Trump bans travel from Europe to US — here's what you need need to know

The U.S. is banning entry to those travelling from the 26 European countries which form the so-called Schengen Area, where there are no passport checks between internal borders. 

Most people who have been in these countries in the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival in the United States will not be allowed into the country. This two-week limit means those affected can't get around the rules by changing flights in a non-European airport. — Amaro

A picture taken on March 12, 2020 shows empty Air France and Delta Airlines check-in desks at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport after a US 30-day ban on travel from Europe due to the COVID-19 spread in Roissy-en-France.
Bertrand Guay | AFP | Getty Images

5:12 pm: South Africa reports first case of local transmission of coronavirus

South Africa reported the first case of local transmission of the coronavirus on Thursday, Reuters reported. There are concerns that African health systems could be overwhelmed if local transmission accelerates, the news agency added.

South Africa's Health Ministry said a 32-year-old man contracted the virus after contact with a Chinese businessman. The country has not reported any deaths from coronavirus. — Ellyatt

4:41 pm: European markets slide 6%; travel stocks fall 9% after Trump bans travel from Europe

European markets plunged Thursday morning as investors reacted to President Donald Trump's decision to impose restrictions on travel to the U.S. from many countries in Europe.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 6% in early trade, with travel and leisure stocks plummeting 9.3% following Trump's announcement of a ban on European travel. — Smith

4:19 pm: Italy wakes up to mass closures as coronavirus death toll jumps 30%

Italy has tightened its nationwide lockdown further in response to the rising death toll from coronavirus, ordering all non-essential shops and services to close.

Announcing the measures Wednesday evening, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said supermarkets and pharmacies will be the only retailers to remain open in Italy. — Ellyatt 

4:11 pm: More businesses resume work in China

The resumption of work rate for key enterprises in foreign trade is near or at 100% in 19 provinces and municipalities, including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai, Li Xinggan, director of the department of foreign trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday at a press conference, according to a CNBC translation of his remarks.
For foreign trade enterprises generally in eight provinces and municipalities, including Shandong, Anhui and Liaoning, the resumption of work rate has topped 80%, Li said. — Cheng

4:09 pm: 29 dead in collapse of hotel used for quarantine in Fujian

Twenty-nine people have died in the collapse of a hotel in Fujian province this past weekend, Pei Wentian, head of a security department within the National Emergency Management Department, said Thursday at a press conference. That's according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

The hotel was used to quarantine people who had recent contact with coronavirus patients.

All 71 people who were trapped in the collapse are now accounted for, Pei said, noting the hotel in question was built illegally and illegally renovated multiple times. — Cheng

3:40 pm: Japan's Nikkei 225 joins Dow in bear market

Japan's Nikkei 225 plunged more than 4% to close in bear market territory, more than 20% off its 52-week closing high.

HSBC Private Banking's James Cheo told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" that markets are likely in for a "rollercoaster ride" and its "too early to add aggressively to risk." — Huang

3:30 pm: China's air passenger traffic plunged in February

Air passenger traffic in China plunged 84.5% year-over-year in February to 8.34 million trips, according to the country's aviation authority.

The civil aviation industry lost 24.59 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) in February alone, of which airlines lost 20.96 billion ($3.03 billion), the largest single-month loss on record, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. — Cheng

2:55 pm: California recommends canceling or postponing gatherings until end of March

Large gatherings in California should be canceled or postponed until at least the end of March, said Gavin Newsom, the state's governor. 

"Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person," Newsom said in a late-Wednesday statement.

"Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines," he added. — Lee

2:40 pm: China's recovery from virus outbreak will likely be hurt by surging global cases

Coronavirus infections in China have markedly declined in recent weeks, but the Asian giant's economic recovery may be held back by the global outbreak, as countries around the world struggle to contain the rapidly spreading disease.

"It seems that we're beginning to be on the back side of this now here in Asia, given that the number of infections is down. In China, the infections still remain fairly isolated in Hubei province, that's a very good thing," said Steve Cochrane, chief Asia Pacific economist at Moody's Analytics, referring to the epicenter of the outbreak in China

"But I don't see the recovery in China really coming on any more faster than we might have expected."

He explained that's due to softening demand from the rest of the world, where cases are surging. Italy, Iran and South Korea have reported more than 7,000 cases each, while France, Spain and Germany each reported more than 1,200 cases, according toe the World Health Organization's latest figures. — Tan

2:30 pm: Stocks of Asia Pacific airlines fall 

Stock prices of airlines in Asia Pacific fall after President Donald Trump announced a ban on travelers to the U.S. from Europe. (See 9:06 am entry)

Australia's Qantas Airways was among the biggest losers after plunging by 9.90%, while Japan's ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines were down by 5.63% and 7.03%, respectively. Korean Air also fell by 4.62%. — Lee

1:35 pm: Trump's travel ban hits airlines already reeling from outbreak

Airlines had been gearing up for the peak spring and summer travel season, the most lucrative quarters of the year. But the coronavirus outbreak is now threatening to keep travelers at home for months, and U.S. travel restrictions could exacerbate travelers' fears about going abroad months down the road, said Henry Harteveldt, a former airline executive and founder of travel consulting firm Atmosphere Research Group.

"A lot of people who were considering a trip to Europe may no longer do so," he said. Many European travelers might also avoid the U.S. this summer out of fear of "being caught if restrictions are reinstated," he added. — Josephs

1:15 pm: Japan, Hong Kong stocks drop more than 3%

Asia stocks fell sharply in afternoon trade after the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged into bear market territory overnight, as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 3.3% while the Topix index fell 3.27%. The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 104.18 following an earlier high of 103.08. South Korea's Kospi also plummeted 3.04%.

Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 5.51%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 3.81%. — Huang

1:05 pm: Chinese food delivery giant offers customers paper 'shield'

Food delivery is a huge business in China and it has become even more important during the coronavirus outbreak in China.

With people slowly starting to return to work, Meituan, one of the country's biggest delivery firms, has launched a new product it feels will help keep people protected from the virus.

A Chinese office worker eats their meal surrounded by one of Meituan's fold out protective "shields". The company says that this free cover can help protect people from catching coronavirus in densely populated areas like offices and canteens.

It's a piece of cardboard that folds out into a 20-inch "independent space." Diners can eat their meals with their heads tucked into the shield. Meituan said the cover can effectively prevent meals from any water droplets that may come from their colleagues, particularly when people are eating in densely packed areas like office canteens.

So far, the shield initiative is being tested with eight restaurant chains across Shanghai and Beijing. — Kharpal

12:15 pm: 6 charts show the virus impact on the global economy and markets so far

The ongoing spread of the new coronavirus has become one of the biggest threats to the global economy and financial markets.

"From an economic perspective, the key issue is not just the number of cases of COVID-19, but the level of disruption to economies from containment measures," Ben May, head of global macro research at Oxford Economics, said in a report.

"Widespread lockdowns such as those imposed by China have been enacted in some virus hotspots," he said, adding that such measures — if taken disproportionately — could induce panic and weaken the global economy even more.

CNBC presents six charts that show the impact the outbreak has had on the global economy and markets so far. — Lee

11:45 am: US State Department asks citizens to 'reconsider travel'

The U.S. State Department issued an advisory on its website advising citizens to "reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19."

"Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions," the notice said.

"Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice," it added.

The advisory came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on travelers to America from Europe starting Friday midnight. (See 9:06 am entry) — Lee

11:15 am: Malaysia is tracking down 5,000 people who attended religious event

Malaysian authorities are trying to track down 5,000 citizens who may have been exposed to the new coronavirus at a religious event in the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

A 53-year-old man from neighboring Brunei, who had attended the event, was confirmed on Tuesday to have been infected by the virus, according to the report. That's Brunei's first reported infection, the report said. The religious event took place at a mosque between Feb. 27 and Mar. 1, according to Reuters. 

Malaysia has reported 149 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, of which 26 have been discharged from hospitals, said the country's health ministry. — Lee

Malaysia's health ministry tweet: #COVID19 20 new cases were reported in Malaysia, Mar 11.

11:10 am: Beijing-based businesses must provide $440 a month per worker stranded in Hubei, city says

Beijing's municipal government announced late Wednesday a plan for subsidizing some workers' daily living expenses as Beijing is not allowing people from Hubei province — the epicenter of the new coronavirus — to return to the Chinese capital city.

Beijing-based businesses must provide individual support of at least 3,080 yuan a month ($440) for employees stranded in Hubei and are unable to work, the municipal government said. It noted that figure is double the city's standard for basic monthly living expenses. The plan is effective this month and will last until the restrictions on travel from Hubei to Beijing are lifted, according to the policy.

Businesses contributing to the government's social insurance plan can apply for subsidies to cover half of the payout, or 1,540 yuan ($221 per worker, the policy said. — Cheng

10:42 am: Staffer in Sen. Maria Cantwell's DC office tests positive

A staff member in Senator Maria Cantwell's office in Washington, D.C., has tested positive for the new coronavirus. It is said to be the first confirmed case of infection on Capitol Hill. The individual has been in isolation since starting to show symptoms. The office has been closed for deep cleaning and the affected individual has had no known contact with the senator or other members of Congress, according to a statement. – Wilkie

10:38 am: Twitter makes work from home policy mandatory

The tech company told its 4,900 global employees to work from home. The move is mandatory as Twitter said it has a "responsibility to support our communities, and those who are vulnerable." It added that it will continue to pay contractors and hourly workers who are not able to perform their duties while working from home.  Farr

10:16 am: Dow futures drop 1,000 points 

U.S. futures indicated sharp declines on Wall Street again after an address from President Trump failed to ease investor worries over the global pandemic. Dow futures were down 1,067 points, indicating a loss of about 1,027 points at Thursday's open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also sharply lower. The move comes after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended its historic 11-year bull market run by closing in a bear market.  Imbert, Roy Choudhury

10:05 am: India suspends almost all visas and closes land border with Myanmar

India's health ministry said a high-level group of ministers met on Wednesday and decided on the following:

  • Most existing visas will be suspended until Apr. 15 from Friday 1200 GMT at the port of departure. Exemptions include diplomatic and official visas as well as employment visas. 
  • Visa-free travel for foreigners of Indian origin will also be suspended till Apr. 15. 
  • Any foreign national intending to travel to India has to contact the nearest embassy. 
  • Incoming visitors, including Indian nationals, who arrive or have visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, and Germany after Feb. 15 will be quarantined for at least 14 days. 

On Tuesday, the chief minister of the state of Manipur said on Twitter that India has closed its border with Myanmar as "precautionary measures." Manipur shares border with Myanmar.  Roy Choudhury

Correction: This blog entry has been updated to reflect that India will suspend most existing visas from Friday 1200 GMT.

9:47 am: Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson test positive

Actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanks confirmed via Instagram Wednesday. They were in Australia for the pre-production of Baz Luhrmann's currently untitled Elvis Presley film from Warner Bros. Hanks is set to play Presley's longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker.  Whitten

9:40 am: NBA suspends season after a player tests positive

The NBA said it is "suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice." The decision came after a player on the Utah Jazz was said to have preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19 before a Wednesday night game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. That game is now canceled and the affected player was not in the arena, according to the NBA. It also said that it will use the hiatus to figure out the next steps for moving forward.  Roy Choudhury

9:35 am: South Korea reports 114 new cases, 6 additional deaths

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Thursday morning, there were 114 new cases and six additional deaths, bringing the country's total number of infected to 7,869 and fatalities to 66. A majority of the new confirmed cases were reported in the city of Daegu, where the infection rate spiked in recent weeks Roy Choudhury

9:06 am: Trump says US will suspend all travel from Europe for 30 days

President Donald Trump said all travel from Europe to the U.S. will be suspended for 30 days, and that the new rules are going into effect on Friday midnight. "These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground," Trump said, adding that those measures would not apply to the United Kingdom. He also said that the U.S. is monitoring the situation in China and South Korea and that it may reevaluate restrictions and warnings currently in place about those countries if their situation improves.  Roy Choudhury

President Trump suspends all travel from Europe for 30 days
President Trump suspends all travel from Europe for 30 days

8:47 am: China reports 15 new cases, 11 additional deaths

China's National Health Commission said there were 15 new confirmed cases on Mar. 11, with 8 of them in Hubei province — where the disease was first detected. Six of the new cases were attributed to travelers returning from abroad. All but one of the 11 additional deaths were reported in Hubei. 

Altogether, the total number of confirmed cases to-date in mainland China stands at 80,793 — among them, 62,793 cases have been cured and 3,169 people have died.  Roy Choudhury

8:05 am: Italy cases top 12,000

Italy's health ministry said as of 6 p.m. local time on Mar. 11, there were a total of 12,462 cases, including 1,045 people who have recovered and 827 who have died. The country is in a complete lockdown at the moment, with most non-essential businesses, including bars and restaurants, closed. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte earlier this week told people to "stay at home." Outside China, Italy is the worst-affected country.  Roy Choudhury

7:53 am: Australia announces fiscal stimulus measures

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a 17.6 billion Australian dollar ($11.4 billion) stimulus package to tackle the economic impact of the global pandemic by keeping people employed and helping small and medium-sized companies stay in business.

Morrison said up to 6.5 million individuals and 3.5 million businesses would be directly supported by the measures. That includes a one-off 750 Australian dollar payment to pensioners and other income support recipients as well as providing cash flow assistance to businesses. The government is setting aside 1 billion Australian dollars to support sectors, regions, and communities that have been disproportionately affected, including those that rely heavily on tourism, agriculture, and education. 

"This plan is about keeping Australians in jobs. This plan is about keeping a business in business, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. This plan is about ensuring the Australian economy bounces back stronger on the other side of, and with that, the budget bounces back with it," Morrison told reporters.

A day earlier, Morrison had announced a health package worth 2.4 billion Australian dollars to fight the virus.  Roy Choudhury

7:27 am: US travel industry could lose $24 billion as virus outbreak cripples tourism

The U.S. travel and tourism industry could lose at least $24 billion in foreign spending this year because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, according to data produced by Tourism Economics and first seen by CNBC. That would be equivalent to about seven times more than the industry lost during the SARS outbreak in 2003, according to the data. The figures also imply 8.2 million lost visitors in one year, which would be even more than the 7.7 million international travelers lost in 2001 and 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Hirsch

7:21 am: Trump to address the nation at 9 pm ET

U.S. President Donald Trump said he will address the nation at 9 p.m. ET (9 a.m. Beijing time). Earlier, the president met with Wall Street executives to discuss ways to support small businesses and the market. 

Trump tweet: I will be addressing the Nation this evening at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern) from the Oval Office.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday and the director-general criticized some countries for failing to act quickly enough or drastically enough to contain the spread.  Roy Choudhury

A man wearing head covering with a protective visor sits in the arrival hall at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

All times below are in Eastern time.

5:22 pm: Italy expands shutdown to nearly all stores

Italy's premier says all stores except pharmacies and grocery stores are being closed nationwide in response to the country's coronavirus outbreak.

Premier Giuseppe Conte thanked the public for cooperating with the already unprecedented travel and social restrictions that took effect Tuesday.

But he said Wednesday night on Facebook Live that Italy must "go another step″ by closing all shops and businesses except for food stores, pharmacies and other shops selling ″essential″ items.

The tighter restrictions on daily life are the government's latest effort to respond to the fast-moving crisis that took Italy's number of cases from three to 12,462 in less than three weeks. – The Associated Press

5:12 pm: Up to 150 million Americans are expected to contract the coronavirus, congressional doctor says

Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, said he expects 70 million to 150 million people in the United States will become infected with COVID-19, NBC News reported, citing two sources.

Monahan made the comments to Senate staff during a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon, according to NBC News. The meeting did not include senators and was for administrative office staff and personnel from both parties, NBC News reported. – Lovelace

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Trump meets with Wall Street execs, March Madness closed to fans

— The Associated Press and CNBC's Weizhen Tan, Leslie Josephs, Eustance Huang, Arjun Kharpal, Evelyn Cheng, Christina Farr, Christina WilkieFred Imbert, Sarah Whitten, Lauren Hirsch and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.