Health and Science

France closes most stores on coronavirus fears, Spain imposes lockdown, US restricts UK travel

A tourist wearing a protective mask takes a selfie outside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on March 11, 2020 after Spain banned all air traffic from Italy, closed schools and blocked fans from football matches after being caught off-guard by a near tripling of coronavirus infections in less than 48 hours.
Lluis Gene | AFP | Getty Images

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.

  • Global cases: More than 147,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University
  • Global deaths: At least 5,539, according to data from Johns Hopkins University
  • U.S. cases: At least 2,174, according to data from Johns Hopkins University
  • U.S. deaths: At least 47, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

Here are today's key headlines:

9:10 pm: Walmart reduces hours at all 24-hour stores in US

Walmart is reducing hours at its U.S. stores to allow more time to replenish shelves and clean and sanitize stores. The national retailer said its stores will be open from 6 am to 11 pm until further notice. The new hours take effect Sunday.

Walmart has more than 4,700 Walmart and Neighborhood Market locations in the U.S. The shortened hours affect about 2,200 stores across the country that are open 24 hours a day.

Other grocers are taking different steps to deal with a surge of shoppers stocking up on food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other items. Some, including H-E-B, are limiting customers' purchases of food and cleaning supplies. Others like Kroger are advertising immediate job openings to keep up with heightened demand. — Melissa Repko

7:54 pm: Georgia becomes second state to delay presidential primary

Georgia will delay its presidential primary scheduled for next week over concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Democratic Committee confirmed to CNBC. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday said he was declaring a public health state of emergency in response to a growing number of coronavirus cases. He also encouraged faith-based organizations and similar entities to consider canceling public events and services

The state will now hold its presidential primary on May 19 instead of March 24.

Georgia's decision follows a similar move by Louisiana, which announced Friday it will push back its presidential nominating contests planned for April 4 to June 20.

7:48 pm: Trump tests negative for the coronavirus

President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, according to the White House physician. 

Trump opted to take the test after the press secretary for Brazil's president tested positive for the virus. Trump dined with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his press secretary at Mar-a-Lago. Bolsonaro said Friday that he tested negative for the virus. 

According to the note from the White House physician, "last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed."

"This evening," the White House physician said, "I received confirmation that the test is negative."

The White House physician added that he has been in "daily contact" with the Center for Disease Control and White House Coronavirus Task Force.

"We are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation," he said. —Lauren Hirsch

6:31 pm: Delta to offer pilots partial paid time off

Delta Air Lines and the union that represents its more than 14,000 have agreed to let the carrier offer partially paid time off for aviators through June, and possibly longer, as coronavirus devastates travel demand.

Delta and other carriers are scrambling to cut costs, instituting hiring freezes, asking employees to take unpaid leave and other measures to save cash.

The Atlanta-based carrier on Friday announced it would cut its flying by 40% in the next few months, the biggest cuts in the airline's more than 90-year history.

Some executives have told CNBC that they expect further cuts from other airlines. —Leslie Josephs

5:18 pm: North Carolina closes schools

North Carolina is closing its K-12 schools for at least two weeks starting Monday, Governor Roy Cooper announced.

As part of the executive order, events with more than 100 people are banned, Cooper said on Twitter.

The state has 23 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Cooper. The state joins Ohio and Illinois and others in statewide closings, with major school districts in cities like Los Angeles also being shuttered. —Jesse Pound

5:13 pm: Grocers limit food purchases, Kroger ramps up hiring

Texas grocery chain H-E-B is limiting purchases of at least a dozen popular food items, including eggs, milk, bread and boxed pasta. Limits vary by item. Eggs, pasta and milk, for example, are limited to four units per customer.

Kroger said it's ramping up hiring across the country to keep up with the spike in demand. —Melissa Repko

4:39 pm: Spain imposes nationwide lockdown

Spain's government is placing tight restrictions on movements and closing restaurants and other establishments in the nation of 46 million people as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

According to the government decree, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to medical centers and banks, or take trips related to the care for the young and the elderly. Those limitations are effective immediately.

Effective immediately, Spain is also closing all restaurants, bars, hotels, schools and universities nationwide, and other non-essential retail outlets, a move some of the hardest-hit communities have already carried out. --Associated Press

3:50 pm: Israel orders hotels, restaurants to close

Israel will impose a partial shutdown of its economy beginning Sunday and implement anti-terrorism technology to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Malls, hotels, cafes, restaurants and theaters will shut down, employees should not go into their workplaces if not necessary while vital services, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks will continue to operate.

Subject to cabinet approval, anti-terrorism monitoring tools will be used to isolate people carrying the virus, Netanyahu said at a news conference in Jerusalem. — Reuters

3:19 pm: France closes restaurants, cafes, movie theaters, other nonessential shops

A man sits in a cafe near Place de la Republique wearing a face mask as cases of Coronavirus rise in France on March 1, 2020 in Paris, France.
Kiran Ridley

France will close all nonessential stores in order to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus in Europe, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced in a press conference. 

The order applies to restaurants, cafes, movie theaters and nightclubs, Philippe said. Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open to the public.  

There are at least 3,667 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. —Spencer Kimball

3:11 pm: GOP Chairwoman awaiting test results

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, is awaiting results from a coronavirus test, the RNC's communications director said on Twitter.

McDaniel tested negative for the normal flu and strep throat, and she and her family are self-quarantining, according to the statement.

McDaniel is the latest high-profile Republican to either take a test or self-quarantine because of the virus. President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has also taken the test and is awaiting results. Several Republican senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, are self-isolating after coming into contact with people who contracted the virus.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were at a major RNC donor event in Florida last weekend—Jesse Pound

2:54 pm: Second Amazon employee in Seattle tests positive for the coronavirus

Amazon notified employees Friday that an employee in Seattle tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The employee has not returned to the office since they were diagnosed with the virus. Amazon employees at the company's Seattle and Bellevue, Washington offices have been working remotely since March 5. 

It marks the second known case of an Amazon employee contracting the coronavirus. Amazon confirmed March 3 that an employee working out of its Brazil office building in Seattle tested positive for the virus. —Annie Palmer

2:25 pm: Trump considers domestic travel restrictions

Speaking at a coronavirus briefing on Saturday, President Donald Trump said further travel restrictions, possibly within the United States from places with high numbers of cases, is possible.

"If you don't have to travel, I wouldn't do it," Trump said, when asked whether people should travel domestically. His administration is considering domestic travel restrictions "from certain areas," he said, without elaborating. "We're working with the states and considering other restrictions."

1:26 pm: Trump says he has the right to remove Powell as Fed chair 

President Donald Trump launched another barrage of criticism at the Federal Reserve, saying Saturday that the central bank is behind its global peers in the economic fight against the coronavirus.

He said he is not yet looking at removing Jerome Powell as chairman, though he believes he has the right to do so. He has harshly criticized Powell previously, saying the Fed should be more aggressive in easing the stance of monetary policy.

"I have the right to remove him. No, I'm not doing that," Trump said. "I also have the right to put him in a regular position and put someone else in charge, and I haven't made any decisions on that." —Jeff Cox

1:19 pm: NY will require insurance companies to waive co-pays for telehealth visits

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the State Department of Financial Services will require insurance companies to waive co-pays for telehealth visits.

The new policy will encourage people to seek medical help from their homes, reduce strain on the healthcare system and prevent the virus from spreading, according to the governor.

New York has also been authorized to open a drive-through testing center on Long Island in the coming week. New Rochelle, N.Y., which has a containment zone in response to multiple cases of the virus, had a mobile testing facility open Friday.

Cuomo also confirmed 100 additional cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 524 confirmed cases. —Hannah Miller

12:56 pm: US extends travel restrictions to UK and Ireland

The U.S. will add the U.K. and Ireland to travel restrictions as the coronavirus spreads, President Donald Trump said Saturday, discouraging the broader public from traveling unless necessary.

Trump earlier this week announced that foreigners who have been in 26 European countries over the last two weeks won't be allowed in to the U.S. for 30 days. Vice President Mike Pence said the rules will take effect midnight Monday. —Leslie Josephs

12:48 pm: Trump says he took the coronavirus test as a precaution

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has taken a test for the coronavirus and that results are pending. 

"I had my temperature taken coming into the room … I also took the test last night. And I decided I should based on the press conference last night," Trump said.

Trump said the test was sent to a lab and he doesn't know when he will get the results. —Jesse Pound

12:22 pm: The White House is taking temperature checks for people near Trump and Pence

The White House is taking new precautions to prevent the coronavirus from spreading to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, according to a statement from Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere.

"Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President," Deere said.

The temperature checks are also being given to members of the press. —Hannah Miller

11:53 am: New York state confirms first coronavirus death

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported the state's first death due to the coronavirus. The individual was an 82-year-old woman in New York City who had emphysema. 

11:46 am: Massachusetts is temporarily suspending operation at its casino properties

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to temporarily suspend operation at the state's three casino properties: Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino.

"This decision will be re-assessed in two weeks," the commission said in a statement, "while an orderly shutdown process is actively underway." It expects the gaming floor to be closed to patrons at 5:59 a.m. on March 15, 2020. — Kathleen Elkins

11:32 am: Vice President Mike Pence to hold press conference on coronavirus response at noon ET

Vice President Mike Pence and the coronavirus task force will hold a news conference at noon eastern time on Saturday to discuss the pandemic, according to the White House press secretary.

This will be the first press conference from the administration since the House of Representatives passed a relief bill. The Senate has not yet voted on the bill. —Jesse Pound

11:10 am: MGM is temporarily closing Empire City Casino in NY, furloughs and layoffs to come next week

MGM will temporarily close Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York, effective today. It also suspended operations of all nightclubs and day clubs, and all spas and salons will be suspended as of Monday.

In a letter to employees, Bill Hornbuckle, President and COO of MGM Resorts International, announced that furloughs and layoffs will begin next week.

"As the nation grapples with the effort to contain the coronavirus, the travel industry has been challenged, and our company is no different," he wrote. "Business demand has decreased significantly."

The letter came after "several of our employees have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus, and we expect that there will be more in the coming days," added Hornbuckle.  — Kathleen Elkins

10:55 am: Deaths in England rise by 10

Health authorities in England announced a further 10 deaths caused by coronavirus, almost doubling the number of fatalities in Britain since Friday.

"I am sorry to confirm 10 further patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in England have died," Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said in a statement. "All 10 individuals were in the at-risk groups." — Reuters

10:29 am: Trump attending meetings at White House

President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he is attending meetings on the coronavirus at the White House and will issue a report later.

The federal government is working with state and local governments, Trump said.

The president declared a national emergency for the pandemic on Friday, releasing up to $50 billion that can be used in relief efforts. 

The U.S. House of Representatives has also passed a relief package, which includes more money for Medicaid, but the Senate has not yet voted on the bill. Trump said on Twitter that the bill showed "good teamwork" by Democrats and Republicans.  —Jesse Pound

10:06 am: Students may not get refunds after colleges close early because of coronavirus

More than 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. have closed in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

College administrators find themselves in a chaotic situation with little precedent. Still, many families who find their children sent home early from college will want to see a refund for the meals and housing their children won't be able to use.

Many colleges have swiftly devised plans to pay back familiesErin Kramer, associate vice president for news, communication and media at Duke University, said the college is "planning to reimburse residential students for paid but unused housing and dining fees."

Other colleges aren't making it so easy

"Some colleges do not mention refunds," said Mark Kantrowitz, a higher education expert. "I would not be surprised if colleges that refuse to provide room and board refunds will face class action lawsuits." —Annie Nova

9:54 am: Italians are singing songs from their windows to boost morale

People look out of their apartment windows as part of a flashmob organised to raise morale during Italy's coronavirus crisis in Turin, Italy, March 13, 2020.
Massimo Pinca | Reuters

Videos have been shared on social media of Italian citizens singing and dancing during a nationwide lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The videos, from various cities and towns, show people singing from balconies and windows in an attempt to boost morale, with all non-essential shops and services still closed in the country.

Italy is one of the worst affected countries in the world by COVID-19, with 17,660 confirmed cases and 1,266 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. That's the largest outbreak outside of China. —Matt Clinch

9:31 am: Spanish government to impose nationwide lockdown

Spain's government is set to announce Saturday that it is placing tight restrictions on movement and closing restaurants and other establishments in the nation of 46 million people as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

The Associated Press has access to the draft of the battery of measures that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will announce in a nationally televised address.

According to the draft of the government order, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to medical centers and banks, or take trips related to the care for the young and the elderly. Those limitations will take hold at Monday at 8:00 a.m.

Effectively immediately, Spain is also closing all restaurants, bars, hotels, education centers nationwide, and other non-essential retail outlets, a move some of the hardest-hit communities have already carried out.

Health authorities in Spain said Saturday that coronavirus infections have reached 5,753 people, half of them in the capital, Madrid. That represents a national increase of over 1,500 in 24 hours. —Associated Press

9:08 am: Trump cheers Friday's stock bounce, which came after the worst drop in three decades

President Donald Trump praised the Friday rebound in stocks, which came amid an ongoing bear market stemming from the coronavirus crisis and a day after the worst decline since the 1987 Black Monday market crash.

"Biggest stock market rise in history yesterday!" Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

The S&P 500, the U.S. stock market benchmark, jumped 9.2% on Friday, its biggest climb since October 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 9.4%, also for its biggest gain since October 2008. Its 1,985-point rise was its biggest point gain ever.

The bounce in stocks follows a 10% plunge in the Dow of 2,352.60 points. Thursday's drop was its worst percentage decline since the 1987 crash and its biggest point decline ever.  On Thursday, the S&P 500 plunged 9.5% and entered an official bear market, down more than 20% from its high. —John Melloy

8:44 am: Restaurants, cafes and concert venues are getting pummeled 

Servino Ristorante, an upscale Italian restaurant in Tiburon, California, is a short drive or ferry ride from San Francisco, where scores of software and internet companies have emerged over the past decade. 

Normally the 42-year-old restaurant, with picturesque views of the Bay, benefits from the thriving local tech economy. But with companies including Google, Facebook and Salesforce instructing their employees to work from home amid concerns about the spreading coronavirus, Servino has to figure out how to survive a looming crisis.

Corporate events in the banquet hall have all been canceled, said Natale Servino, general manager of the family-owned business. And there's been a big dip in diners coming in from San Francisco.

For people with full-time salaried jobs that come with health coverage and paid leave, the current state of affairs is very inconvenient, and many retirement accounts are looking scary. But for those working at businesses like Servino, who are facing either dramatically reduced income or the prospect of having to find childcare should their kids' school close, the potential impact of the coronavirus is dire. It may be hard to pay rent or put food on the table. —Ari Levy

8:30 am: Hospitals are canceling elective surgeries to make space for a potential flood of patients 

Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts started calling patients earlier this week to reschedule elective procedures, such as knee and hip replacements and even annual physical exams, so it could prepare for an influx of patients with coronavirus. 

"As we began to see that we were going to face a significant issue with the pandemic, we started to look at what we could do to slow down the cases with social distancing," explained the health system's CEO Michael Apkon by phone. 

"We also saw a reality of limited stock, including personal protective equipment, across the industry," he continued.

Hospitals in the U.S. are facing mounting pressure to stop performing elective and non-urgent procedures, which represent a major chunk of their annual revenues. Public health officials fear that if these surgeries continue, they'll sap important supplies and resources that might be needed for the most serious coronavirus cases. — Christina Farr 

4:37 am: Florida reports 25 new cases and 1 additional death

Florida said there were 25 new people who tested positive for the coronavirus, and one additional death.

"One Orange County, FL resident tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling and has died in California," the health department tweeted.

According to the latest data from the health department, at least 3 Florida residents have died from the flu-like disease that has spread rapidly across the world. —Joanna Tan

2:55 am: Apple to temporarily shut all stores outside Greater China

A picture taken on March 14, 2020 shows the Apple Store closed in Grote Houtstraat in Haarlem. - Apple is closing all of its stores outside China until March 27 in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak, CEO said.
Olaaf Kraak | AFP | Getty Images

Apple will be temporarily closing its stores outside Greater China until Mar. 27 but its online stores will still be open.

In a tweet, CEO Tim Cook said that "we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19." He added that the iPhone-maker will also be committing $15 million to help with the recovery

As of Friday, all of Apple's stores in China were set to open after the outbreak forced a prolonged closure of its retail locations. The U.S. technology giant has 42 stores in China and while all have opened their doors, some are operating on limited hours. —Joanna Tan

12:56 am: House passes relief bill, sending it to Senate

The House passed a coronavirus relief plan early Saturday after hours of talks between Democrats and the Trump administration on how to blunt the economic damage of the global pandemic.

The chamber approved the 110-page bill to provide relief to consumers and workers walloped by the outbreak less than an hour after text was released. The measure passed in an overwhelming 363-40-1 vote.

The legislation now heads to the Senate. The upper chamber left Washington for the weekend and will not have a chance to approve it until next week. (See updates at 7 p.m. ET and 7:50 p.m. ET) —Jacob Pramuk

12:15 am: White House physician says Trump shared table with guest who tested positive

Donald Trump was at the same dinner table as a guest who later tested positive for COVID-19, the president's physician said Friday. The incident took place last weekend, while Trump was hosting a delegation from Brazil at Mar-a-Lago, where he was briefly in contact with the press secretary of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro who also tested positive after the event.

In the second case, Trump shared the dinner table with the guest who "was symptom-free until this morning," Dr. Sean Conley said in a statement which did not mention the name of the guest.

"There is no indication for home quarantine at this time" as the interactions would be considered low risk for transmission, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he added. —Joanna Tan

Read CNBC's coverage from its international team overnight: Jakarta closes all schools, Apple shuts stores outside China

— CNBC's Spencer Kimball, Lauren Hirsch, Jeff Cox, Leslie Josephs, Annie Palmer, Matt Clinch, John Melloy, Ari Levy, Christina Farr, Jacob Pramuk and Joanna Tan contributed to this report.