Health and Science

Britain goes into lockdown; Spain death toll jumps more than 500 in a day

Key Points
  • Italy's health ministry said as of 6 p.m. local time on March 23, there were a total of 63,927 confirmed cases in the country.
  • China's National Health Commission said there were 78 new confirmed cases, of which 74 were imported.
  • Chinese leaders remain concerned about a resurgence of the coronavirus within the country, even as the number of new confirmed cases has dwindled, with most coming from travelers returning from overseas.
  • The state of Washington on Monday issued a stay at home order effective immediately, Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a series of tweets. 
Military vehicles cross Westminster Bridge after members of the 101 Logistic Brigade delivered a consignment of medical masks to St Thomas' hospital on March 24, 2020 in London, England.
Leon Neal | Getty Images

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  • Global cases: At least 382,108, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 16,574, according to the latest figures.

All times below are in Beijing time.

7:46 pm: Spain reports almost 6,600 new coronavirus cases and more than 500 dead in a day

The number of new coronavirus cases in Spain jumped on Tuesday to 39,673 from 33,089 cases registered on Monday, the health ministry reported on Tuesday, marking a rise of 6,584 cases.

The number of deaths rose to 2,696 from 2,182 the previous day, the ministry said. - Holly Ellyatt

5:41 pm: Coronavirus outbreak leads to largest collapse in euro zone business activity ever recorded

The euro zone economy suffered "an unprecedented collapse" in business activity in March as the coronavirus outbreak intensified, according to provisional purchasing manager's index (PMI) survey data from IHS Markit.

The data, released Tuesday, showed that the "flash" euro zone composite PMI collapsed from 51.6 in February to 31.4 in March. The survey measures business activity in the services and manufacturing sector in the 19-member euro zone.  A reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

This is the largest monthly fall in business activity since comparable data were first collected in July 1998. The prior low was seen in February 2009, when the index hit 36.2. — Holly Ellyatt

5:20 pm: Indonesia reports sharpest daily spike in coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported an additional 107 cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, according to the country's health ministry, marking the biggest daily increase for the Southeast Asian nation.

It takes the country's total number of COVID-19 infections to 686.

Seven further deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours means the nationwide death toll now stands at 55. — Sam Meredith

5:00 pm: UK wakes up to life under lockdown after government tightens coronavirus restrictions

The U.K. government has tightened restrictions on the British public in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

As of Tuesday morning, all nonessential public buildings and places are closed, ranging from libraries to churches, outdoor gyms and playgrounds, and all social events including weddings and baptisms have been stopped.

The public has been told to stay at home and can now only leave home for essential trips to buy food or medicines, to provide essential care, travel to work if absolutely necessary or to exercise once a day. — Holly Ellyatt

4:25 pm: Laos records first cases of the coronavirus 

Laos has reported its first two cases of the coronavirus, Reuters reported Monday, citing Thai media. 

It comes shortly after the WHO warned the global outbreak is picking up the pace, with almost every country in the world now recording cases of the flu-like virus. 

As of Tuesday, more than 382,000 people worldwide have contracted COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with 16,574 deaths. — Sam Meredith

3:45 pm: Thailand to declare one-month emergency

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the country will be in "emergency" mode for one month starting Thursday in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, reported Reuters. 

An emergency decree allows the prime minister executive power to implement additional measures, including giving officials more authority and allowing the setting up of checkpoints to reduce movements of people, according to the report. More details of the emergency measures will be announced later, the report said.

Thailand reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths, reported Reuters, adding that the country now has 827 cases and four deaths.

In a separate report, Reuters said the Thai government has approved 107 billion baht ($3.3 billion) in additional stimulus to cushion the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak. — Yen Nee Lee

A worker disinfects Hua Lamphong Railway Station to avoid the spread of the COVID-19.
Adisorn Chabsungnoen | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

3:23 pm: 'Not unreasonable' for China's economy to shrink 10% in the first quarter, independent survey shows

An early look at Chinese business conditions in March shows little indication the economy has recovered much from the shock of the coronavirus in the first two months of the year, according to the China Beige Book.

The firm conducts an independent survey of more than 3,300 Chinese businesses every quarter. Its primary indicators for the first quarter have fallen to their lowest level in nearly 10 years of tracking China's economy, according to an early look brief.

"Crucially the results continued to deteriorate into mid-March when most firms were re-opening and supposedly 'back to work,'" the report said. — Evelyn Cheng

3:10 pm: Cases in Taiwan top 200, all new cases are imported

Taiwan Centers for Disease Control said it has confirmed another 20 cases, bringing the total to 215 so far.

All the new cases were imported, involving people who had traveled to places including the U.S., U.K., Turkey and Indonesia, according to a statement by Taiwan's CDC.

Several economies across Asia — including Singapore and China — have reported an increase number of imported COVID-19 cases in recent weeks as travelers return from overseas. But Beijing remains concerned about local outbreaks in China. (See 10:42 am update) — Yen Nee Lee

2:58 pm: Credit Suisse names 'safe-haven' stock picks

The current coronavirus outbreak has been called a true "black swan" event, meaning an improbable and unforeseen event. It has roiled markets, including those across Asia Pacific, which have declined 10% to 12% from recent highs. Many have fallen into bear territory.

"Historically, the market has reacted most negatively to unknown diseases, given the uncertainty associated with them. This can be seen in the recent reaction to COVID-19, as well as the SARS outbreak in 2003," Credit Suisse said in a report released earlier this month.

Here are some "safe-haven" stocks the bank's analysts picked out for investors looking to "insulate their portfolios from the additional COVID-19 downside." — Weizhen Tan

1:50 pm: Germany reports 4,764 more cases

Germany reported an additional 4,764 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the country's total to 27,436, according to the Robert Koch Institute, a German federal government agency responsible for disease control and prevention.

The country's total deaths from the virus have increased by 28 to 114, the institute said. — Yen Nee Lee

Dr Roxana Sauer, dressed in a protective suit, demonstrates the procedure of taking a nasal swab from a visitor in his car to test for possible coronavirus infection at the Kreissklinik Gross Gerau regional clinic on March 9, 2020 in Germany. The clinic began offering the drive-in service as a means to prevent possibly infected patients from coming in contact with other hospital visitors or staff.
Alex Grimm | Getty Images

1:20 pm: Hubei lifting travel restrictions on Wuhan city in two weeks

Hubei, the province at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, said travel restrictions on the capital city of Wuhan will be removed starting April 8, which would end a lockdown that began on Jan. 23.

The province said travel restrictions for the rest of the province will be lifted starting Wednesday, while schools will remain closed until further notice.

Hubei has reported the majority of COVID-19 cases and deaths in China, with most of them in Wuhan. The virus first emerged in the city in late December. — Evelyn Cheng

1:10 pm: IMF says Middle East, Central Asia are facing 'intertwined shocks'

Countries in the Middle East and Central Asia are facing "substantial" impact from the plunge in oil prices and spread of the coronavirus disease, the International Monetary Fund said in a blog post.

Such a challenge facing those economies could intensify in the coming months and would hit hard "the region's fragile and conflict-turn states" such as Iraq, Sudan and Yemen, said the IMF.

At present, about three-quarters of those countries have reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 and some — such as Iran — are dealing with "a major outbreak," said the fund.

"Beyond the devastating toll on human health, the pandemic is causing significant economic turmoil in the region through simultaneous shocks — a drop in domestic and external demand, a reduction in trade, disruption of production, a fall in consumer confidence, and tightening of financial conditions," the blog post read.

"The intertwined shocks are expected to deal a severe blow to economic activity in the region, at least in the first half of this year, with potentially lasting consequences," it added. — Yen Nee Lee

12:40 pm: Trump's reelection depends on how he handles the virus outbreak, says expert

The U.S. presidential elections in November will be a referendum on President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the world's largest economy, said Steve Okun, senior advisor at consultancy McLarty Associates.

But while Trump's reelection chances may appear dim now, it's too early to count the president out, Okun told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia."

"A week is a lifetime in politics, the election is 34 weeks away," he said.

"If the economy comes back, if the virus has been contained, if things start to get back to normal, Donald Trump will run on his record of having gotten the country through it and maybe he could win," he added. "So we really needs to see what happens in the next 34 weeks."

Other experts have previously said that Trump's reelection chances have been diminishing as the coronavirus outbreak is threatening the U.S. economy and stock market. Some have also criticized the Trump administration's slow response to the outbreak. — Yen Nee Lee

11:47 am: Macao to ban visitors from the Greater China region who traveled abroad in the 2 weeks prior

Macao will not allow entry for visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have traveled abroad in the 14 days prior, according to Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng. The decision is set to go into effect starting March 25 midnight Hong Kong time. 

Last week, the gambling destination had banned all non-resident visitors from outside the Greater China region.

Visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan make up more than 90% of Macao's tourists, Reuters reported. Though Macao's casinos have reopened after a two-week suspension in February, revenues have dropped by almost 90%, the news wire added. 

Macao has 25 confirmed cases, with 10 of them discharged. — Vivian Kam, Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:42 am: China says risk of local outbreaks hasn't gone away

Chinese leaders remain concerned about a resurgence of the coronavirus within the country, even as the number of new confirmed cases has dwindled, with most coming from travelers returning from overseas, according to official reports.

"The risks for sporadic infections and localized outbreaks have not gone away," according to an official English-language press release regarding a meeting Monday of China's leading group on responding to the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

"With the pandemic rampaging across the world, the situation remains complex and challenging," the release said. "There is every need to maintain cool-headedness and not (be caught) off guard."

Premier Li Keqiang chaired the meeting, which also emphasized that provinces should "restore normal economic and social order" if the spread of the virus has remained low for many consecutive days. — Evelyn Cheng

10:33 am: South Korea reports 9 new deaths, 76 new cases

Another nine people have died in South Korea, bringing the country's death toll to 120, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. There were also 76 new cases reported as the infection rate appeared to have relatively stabilized in recent days.

Still, the total number of cases crossed 9,000 and stood at 9,037. A series of stringent measures, including mass testing and quarantine efforts, appeared to have slowed down the spread of the coronavirus in South Korea.

Last week, the country strongly recommended all religious, sports and entertainment places to shut down for 15 days. It also advised its citizens to avoid socializing and traveling for that period, Korea's prime minister announced in a televised address, according to a Reuters report. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:41 am: Moody's Analytics says coronavirus outbreak has created a global 'economic tsunami'

Moody's Analytics said the coronavirus outbreak has created a "worldwide economic tsunami" and that the global economy is "engulfed in a serious downturn." The virus has caused significant parts of Asia, Europe, and the U.S. to shut down or significantly reduce economic activities. 

"More financial pain is quickly coming as layoffs mount, businesses curtail investment, and retirement nest eggs evaporate," Chief Economist Mark Zandi said in a report. "Central banks have responded aggressively but are running out of room to maneuver as interest rates hit the zero lower bound. The onus is now on governments to quickly provide substantial financial support to hard-pressed households and businesses."

Zandi added the extent of the outbreak's economic damage depends on the trajectory of the virus, and how governments respond to it. 

In the U.S., economists are predicting layoffs can range from 500,000 to 5 million just in April. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:54 am: Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issues stay-at-home order 

The state of Washington on Monday issued a stay at home order effective immediately, Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a series of tweets. The order says Washingtonians must stay at home except for essential activity, which includes grocery shopping, doctor appointments and essential work duty. People can still go outside for a walk, a bike ride or to garden, but they must remain six feet away from others at all times, Inslee said. 

A growing list of states is telling residents to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis, as COVID-19 takes hold in the U.S. — Salvador Rodriguez, Hannah Miller, William Feuer

8:28 am: California will need an additional 50,000 hospital beds to respond to coronavirus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will need an additional 50,000 hospital beds to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The state will expand provision for the needed beds through a variety of means, Newsom said. The hospital system alone will provide for an additional 30,000 beds through its surge plan. The state has also acquired three hospitals that will provide an additional 3,000 beds. 

California will seek to acquire the remaining 17,000 beds through a variety of means, including the use of hotels, motels, fairgrounds, convention centers and other facilities, Newsom said. — Salvador Rodriguez

8:21 am: China reports 78 new cases and 7 additional deaths

China's National Health Commission said there were 78 new confirmed cases, of which 74 were imported. Another seven people died, all of them in Hubei province where the COVID-19 disease was first detected. The city of Wuhan reported an additional case after China said in the past few days there were no new cases in that area.

Altogether, China had 81,171 confirmed cases, where 73,159 of them have recovered and 3,277 people have died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:56 am: No more votes expected Monday after US Senate coronavirus stimulus bill fails again

There will be no more Senate votes Monday on a massive stimulus package as Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate terms, two Senate aides told CNBC.

The measure, which has a price tag well over $1 trillion and is intended to limit the economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak, failed a key procedural vote in the Senate on Monday afternoon.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had warned that a deal would not pass until Republicans agreed to key changes. He said that negotiations would continue even while the Senate took the procedural vote. — Lauren Hirsch, Jacob Pramuk

7:48 am: S&P says global light vehicle sales will decline by almost 15% in 2020

S&P Global Ratings said it predicted light vehicle sales worldwide to decline by almost 15% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and sharply lower global growth. Many automakers have announced temporary production halts at their plants due to a decline in demand for their vehicles. 

"In our updated scenario, global light vehicle sales will likely decline to less than 80 million units in 2020 versus 90.3 million in 2019," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Vittoria Ferraris in a statement. "We expect this decline will be particularly severe in the second quarter of the year, only gradually recovering thereafter provided that restrictive measures are effective in slowing contagion." — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:34 am: Italy's death toll above 6,000

Italy's health ministry said as of 6 p.m. local time on March 23, there were a total of 63,927 confirmed cases in the country. The one-day rise in the number of new infections was the smallest increase for five days, Reuters reported earlier.

At least 7,432 people have recovered from the respiratory disease, COVID-19, and about 6,077 people have died.

People wearing protective mask walk near Piazza del Popolo during the Coronavirus emergency on Mar. 14, 2020, in Rome, Italy. The Italian government has taken the unprecedented measure of a nationwide lockdown by closing all businesses except essential services such as, pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores and tobacconists and banks, in an effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Antonio Masiello | Getty Images

As it attempts to tackle the virus outbreak, the Italian government has practically shut down most of the country. Movements are restricted as people are only allowed outdoors on essential business; restaurants, bars, cafes, and other public places are closed.

Recently all industrial production and almost all private and public offices were ordered to shut. Only what officials consider to be "essential products" are going to be developed. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:18 pm: What people are buying as they heed stay-at-home orders

In the weeks since the U.S. confirmed its first case of COVID-19, consumer habits have been shifting

Medical masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and toilet paper have flown off shelves in the U.S., as more people began to look to protect themselves and prepare for long stints isolated in their homes. But, those aren't the only items that consumers are spending money on in stores and online.

In addition to medical supplies, such as cold medicine, thermometers and tissues, and items for the pantry, such as canned goods and bottled water, people have begun shelling out money for entertainment. Board games, puzzles and video games have become popular items. —Sarah Whitten

7:04 pm: Updated map of US coronavirus cases, which total 43,214

6:59 pm: Volunteers from tech companies like Amazon, Apple and Google build coronavirus-tracking site in six days

In the last week, a group of thirty volunteers from tech companies like AppleAmazon and Alphabet put together a website called "covidnearyou" that aims to track the coronavirus as it spreads

The idea started when Prem Ramaswami, the head of product at Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, and his wife, started feeling sick more than a week ago. When he tried to get a test for the coronavirus, his doctor told him that would not be possible. According to Ramaswami, he was denied access to the test because he hadn't been in touch with anyone who had tested positive.

Ramaswami, who previously worked on health projects at Google, wondered how he could help others in the same boat. —Christina Farr

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: US cases top 43,000, Florida institutes New York and New Jersey travel rules