Health and Science

Germany seals off borders; Spain's number of cases jumps almost 1,000

Key Points
  • Italy's health ministry said a total of 1,809 people have died as of 6 p.m. local time on March 15; the death toll jumped from the 1,441 fatalities reported a day earlier.
  • French luxury conglomerate LVMH said factories that produce perfume and makeup for brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy will be making hand sanitizer starting Monday.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it is urging organizers to cancel or postpone in-person events with 50 people or more in attendance throughout the United States.
  • China's National Health Commission said another 14 people have died, all of them in Hubei province where the infection was first detected. 
Global coronavirus cases now exceed 174,000—Here's what experts advise the public to do now
Global coronavirus cases now exceed 174,000—Here's what experts advise the public to do now

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 153,648, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
  • Global deaths: At least 5,746, according to 
  • the latest figures from the WHO

All times below are in Beijing time.

8:18 pm: IMF says it's ready to 'mobilize its $1 trillion lending capacity' to fight coronavirus

The International Monetary Fund on Monday said it "stands ready" to use its $1 trillion lending capacity to help countries around the world that are struggling with the humanitarian and economic impact of the novel coronavirus.

"As a first line of defense, the Fund can deploy its flexible and rapid-disbursing emergency response toolkit to help countries with urgent balance-of-payment needs," wrote Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. — Franck

7:59 pm: Germany seals off borders as European countries report record jump in coronavirus deaths

Germany is the latest European country to seal off its borders in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak, as the number of deaths in Europe jumped overnight.

As of Monday morning, Germany had shut its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. Only German citizens, those that reside in the country and work in a neighbouring nation and vice-versa, and physical goods, can cross the German border. Though Berlin is not the first European capital to impose restrictions at its borders, the move marked a sharp U-turn in Chancellor Angela Merkel's policy — Amaro.

7:55 pm: Roughly 5 million people in China lost their jobs in the first 2 months of 2020

Roughly 5 million people in China lost their jobs amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the first two months of this year, according to data published Monday.

China's official, but highly doubted, urban unemployment rate jumped in February to 6.2%, its highest on record, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That's up from 5.3% in January and 5.2% in December. — Cheng

6:56 pm: Spain's coronavirus cases rise to 8,744, death toll up at 297

The number of coronavirus cases in Spain has risen to 8,744 on Monday and the number of fatalities is up to 297, according to Fernando Simon, the head of the country's health emergency center, Reuters reported. The previous tally was 7,753 cases on Sunday, with 288 fatalities.

Spanish ministers said earlier Monday that a state of emergency which has shut down much of the country will have to be extended beyond an initial 15-day period. The government is also considering closing borders. Spain is suffering Europe's second-worst outbreak after Italy. — Ellyatt

6:21 pm: UK government asks manufacturers to make ventilators, health equipment

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday will ask manufacturers to support production of essential medical equipment, such as ventilators, for the National Health Service, as the country prepares for the coronavirus outbreak to worsen.

"Preparing for the spread of the coronavirus outbreak is a national priority and we're calling on the manufacturing industry and all those with relevant expertise who might be able to help to come together to help the country tackle this national crisis," a Downing Street spokesperson said late Sunday.

"We need to step up production of vital equipment such as ventilators so that we can all help the most vulnerable, and we need businesses to come to us and help in this national effort." — Ellyatt

5:28 pm: Coronavirus impact will last at least until third quarter, Germany's economy ministry says

The German economy ministry said the impact of the coronavirus meant it no longer expected an economic upswing in the first quarter, Reuters reported. The ministry added that the economy was unlikely to stabilize before the third quarter at the earliest.

"The strength and duration of the impact cannot yet reliably be forecast," the ministry said. "But given the very rapid pace of developments we have to anticipate significant economic impacts." — Ellyatt

4:48 pm: 'Where is Boris?': The UK government's cautious coronavirus strategy provokes a public backlash

Many members of the British public have vented their frustration at the U.K.'s government's apparent cautious approach when it comes to containing, and now delaying, the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Sunday, the U.K. has a total of 1,395 positive cases of coronavirus and 35 people have died, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. — Ellyatt

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service in Colindale on March 1, 2020 in London, England.
WPA Pool

4:46 pm: European shares slide 8% and airline stocks tank as regional coronavirus shutdown widens

European markets plunged on Monday as much of the continent went into shutdown mode to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.  The pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 8% near the start of trading, travel and leisure stocks plummeting 14.3% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses slid into the red. — Smith

3:30 pm: Asia markets dive with Australia leading losses

Asia markets dived even after the Federal Reserve announced a massive monetary stimulus campaign to curb slower economic growth in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian markets led losses in Asia Pacific as it plunged nearly 10%. Mainland Chinese stocks dropped as well, with the Shanghai composite 3.4% lower, while the Shenzhen composite slipped 4.834% and the Shenzhen component plunged 5.34%. 

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also fell 4.38%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined around 5%. 

"Ironically, markets might have perceived the Fed's response as panic, feeding into its own fears; especially as COVID-19 cases spike globally, prompting harder border controls," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. — Eustance Huang

2:40 pm: Australia's two largest casinos to shut half their poker machines

Melbourne-based Crown Resorts, and Sydney's Star Entertainment Group said they would ensure sufficient distance between gamblers by shutting half their poker machines, and limit the number of players at tables, according to a Reuters report.

Those two companies operate more than 4,000 machines, mostly in Melbourne and Sydney, the report said. Crown shares closed down 11.22%, while shares of Star Entertainment Group plunged 23.57% by the close. — Weizhen Tan

1:30 pm: Warren Buffett's daughter, Susie Buffett, is in self-quarantine

Susie Buffett, Warren Buffett's 66-year-old daughter, is in self-quarantine for 14 days, the Omaha World-Herald newspaper reported.

She sat next to someone at a meeting who returned from Spain, according to the report. The person developed symptoms the following day and later tested positive, the newspaper reported.

Susie Buffett and Warren Buffett.
Paul Morigi | WireImage | Getty Images

Susie Buffett said she has not been near her billionaire investor father —the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway — since being exposed, according to the report. — Weizhen Tan

1:15 pm: US recession still a risk but the central bank's moves deserve applause, says former Fed official

The U.S. Federal Reserve's latest moves — which include cutting interest rates to zero — deserve applause, even though the American economy could still head into a recession given the uncertainty around the coronavirus outbreak, a former Fed official said.

"I think recessionary conditions are definitely a risk and we're dealing with so much uncertainty now on how this virus situation unfolds and what the economic impact turns out to be, nobody really knows," Dennis Lockhart, Atlanta Fed president from 2007 to 2017, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Monday.

The Fed on Sunday announced a suite of measures aimed at cushioning the U.S. economy from the virus outbreak. — Yen Nee Lee

The Fed has 'spent all of their bullets' in terms of rate cuts, says former Atlanta Federal Reserve president
The Fed has 'spent all of their bullets' in terms of rate cuts, says former Atlanta Federal Reserve president

1:00 pm: China's Hainan Airlines resumes all flights departing from Hainan province

Hainan Airlines announced Monday they've resumed all flights departing from the island province on March 15. About 500 flights a week, fly between 39 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Changsha. — Lilian Wu

12:22 pm: Alphabet's Verily launches a limited coronavirus testing website

Users can take an online COVID-19 "screener survey" on this website, and if they meet eligibility requirements for testing, they will be directed to "mobile" testing sites "based on capacity," where they will complete a nasal swab test, Verily said. Once tested, individuals will be informed of their test results "within a few days."

The company described their collaboration in a blog post Sunday, explaining how the tool was meant to help with "screening and testing for people at high risk of COVID-19. "The tool will triage people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk into testing sites based on guidance from public health officials and test availability." — Jennifer Elias

11:41 am: Jack Ma says first shipment of test kits and masks are leaving for the US soon

Alibaba founder Jack Ma said on Twitter that the first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits is headed for the United States soon. "All the best to our friends in America," Ma tweeted.

Ma's philanthropic organization, Jack Ma Foundation, along with the Alibaba Foundation recently announced their collaboration to source and donate scarce supplies to countries severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak including Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran. The organizations said they had readied for shipment 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to be donated to the United States. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

Jack Ma tweet: The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America.

10:28 am: New York City to limit restaurants, bars and cafes to serve only take-out and delivery

New York City will limit restaurants, bars, and cafes to serve only take-out and delivery, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Nightclubs, movie theaters and small theater houses as well as concert venues have been ordered to close. Those measures will go into effect starting March 17 at 9 a.m. local time. 

"The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together. We have to break that cycle," de Blasio said in a statement.

"This is not a decision I make lightly," he added. "These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality." 

The city's public school system will also begin temporarily shutting down this week to help combat the spread of infection. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:08 am: Germany tries to stop US from luring away firm seeking coronavirus vaccine

The U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac, according to German government sources, Reuters reported. A local newspaper had reported that President Donald Trump offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay, the news wire said. The original report said President Trump was trying to acquire the scientists' work exclusively for the United States, according to Reuters, but later the American ambassador to Germany said on Twitter the story "was wrong" while another U.S. official described it as "wildly overplayed." — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:05 am: Coronavirus dominates early stage of the Biden-Sanders Democratic debate

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders aimed to project preparedness to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic in a presidential debate Sunday night dominated by a crisis that has upended life and rattled economies around the globe. 

Biden spent time highlighting the coronavirus response plan his campaign released. He also looked to undercut one of Sanders' core arguments during the crisis: that a universal "Medicare for All" health care plan would equip consumers to afford care for the coronavirus. Sanders, for his part, said: "this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system." — Jacob Pramuk

9:44 am: United Airlines cuts capacity by 50%

United Airlines is increasing its capacity cuts in April and May to 50% after previously announcing a 20% reduction. Current CEO Oscar Munoz and United's president, Scott Kirby, who becomes CEO in May, wrote in a letter that in the first two weeks of March, the airline flew one million fewer customers than the same period last year. That was despite March being United's busiest month of the year. Munoz and Kirby said that the company is currently projecting that revenue for the month will be $1.5 billion lower year-on-year. 

"The bad news is that it's getting worse. We expect both the number of customers and revenue to decline sharply in the days and weeks ahead," they wrote. — Phil LeBeau, Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:27 am: South Korea reports 74 new cases, no additional deaths

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional 74 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the country's total to 8,236. No new deaths were reported, with the total number of fatalities staying at 75. The number of confirmed infections reported each day in South Korea has seen a general downward trend from several weeks ago when the outbreak spread rapidly; more than half of the confirmed cases in South Korea came from the city of Daegu. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:55 am: MGM Resorts temporarily closes Las Vegas properties

MGM Resorts International said it is temporarily suspending operations at its Las Vegas properties until further notice. The move will go into effect on March 17. Casino operations will close a day earlier, followed by hotel operations, according to the company. 

"Despite our commitment to dedicating additional resources for cleaning and promoting good health, while making difficult decisions to close certain aspects of our operations, it is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression," Jim Murren, chairman and CEO at MGM Resorts, said in a statement. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:36 am: China reports 16 new cases, 14 additional deaths

China's National Health Commission said as of March 15, there were 16 new confirmed cases; 12 of them were attributed to travelers from overseas, bringing the total number of imported cases to 123. Another 14 people have died, all of them in Hubei province where the infection was first detected. The total number of cases in China stands at 80,860, of which 67,749 were cured and 3,213 people died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:27 am: Wynn Resorts will temporarily close Wynn Las Vegas 

Wynn Resorts said it has decided to temporarily close Wynn Las Vegas and Encore hotels and casinos as part of the company's efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It said it has committed to pay all full-time Wynn and Encore employees during the closure, which will be effective Tuesday, March 17 at 6 p.m. local time. The closure is set to stay in effect for at least two weeks. — Contessa Brewer

8:04 am: US futures sink, Australia's ASX 200 tumbles 5%

U.S. stock futures plunged even after the Federal Reserve announced a massive monetary stimulus campaign to curb slower economic growth in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by more than 1,000 points, which triggered a limit down level. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also at their downside limits. 

In Asia Pacific, the situation appeared mixed: Australia's ASX 200 fell almost 5% in morning trade. Japan's Nikkei 225  opened in positive territory, as did South Korea's benchmark Kospi index. — Fred Imbert, Saheli Roy Choudhury

An operator of Amiat (Multiservice Environmental Hygiene Company Turin) wears a respiratory mask prior to sanitizing streets in Via po, Turin in Italy.
Nicolò Campo | LightRocket | Getty Images

7:40 am: CDC recommends cancellation of events with 50 or more people

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it is urging organizers to cancel or postpone in-person events with 50 people or more in attendance throughout the United States. "Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing," the CDC said in a statement. "When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual." There are at least 3,244 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. — Dawn Kopecki

7:20 am: Death toll in Italy jumps by more than 360

The number of deaths in Italy jumped by more than 360 from a day earlier, with the country's health ministry saying a total of 1,809 people have died as of 6 p.m. local time on March 15. The total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 24,747 and, among them, 2,335 people have recovered. Outside China, Italy remains the worst affected country after seeing a massive spike of infection cases in recent weeks and is in complete lockdown at the moment. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:12 am: LVMH to use perfume and cosmetics factories to produce free hand sanitizer for France

French luxury conglomerate LVMH said factories that produce perfume and makeup for brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy will be making hand sanitizer starting Monday. LVMH will deliver the free disinfectant to French authorities and the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, the largest hospital system in Europe. "Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus," the company said in a statement, adding it will honor the commitment "for as long as necessary." — Emma Newburger

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:50 pm:  Trump administration says 'all options on the table' including suspension of domestic air travel

The Trump administration is leaving "all options" on the table for further travel restrictions, including an outright suspension of domestic air travel, a senior official said Sunday.

Such a drastic measure hasn't been instated since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and it would raise questions about U.S. airlines' chances for survival without government support.

"We continue to look at all options and all options remain on the table," said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in a press briefing when asked about the possibility. —Leslie Josephs

6:20 pm: California Gov. Newsom shuts down bars, nightclubs, brewpubs to slow the outbreak

California Governor Newsom on Sunday directed all "non-essential" businesses such as "bars, nightclubs, wineries and brewpubs and the like" be closed in the state.

"We believe this is a non-essential function … And we believe this is appropriate under the circumstances."Newsom stopped short of asking all restaurants in the state to close down as Ohio and Illinois have done."We have more concerns and considerations ... We don't believe ultimately we need to shut them down," Newsom said.
Newsom called for restaurants to socially distance patrons within these establishments. "We're directing we reduce current occupancy by half and require social distancing," he said.

Newsom also called for the home isolation of all seniors in California as well as those with chronic health conditions. — Riya Bhattacharjee

6:14 pm: Trump says 'relax,' urges against hoarding as cases soar and Fed cuts rates to zero

President Donald Trump urged Americans not to hoard food on Sunday during a White House press conference that came just minutes after the Federal Reserve announced new steps to shield the American economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"You don't have to buy so much," Trump said. "Take it easy. Relax."

In brief remarks, Trump cautioned against panic buying and said that food supply chains remained intact. He noted that earlier in the day he had met with executives from consumer and grocery companies including Target, Campbell's and Costco.

"They have asked me to say, 'Could you buy a little bit less please.'" Trump said. "I thought I would never hear that from a retailer." —Tucker Higgins

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Fed slashes rates, New York governor wants Trump to mobilize the military

— CNBC's Leslie Josephs, Riya Bhattacharjee, and Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.