Health and Science

Spain's death toll tops China's as new cases rise by over 8,000 in a day

Key Points
  • The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a jump of 104 cases and five more deaths. That brings the country's total to 9,241 cases and 131 fatalities.
  • China's National Health Commission reported it had 67 new confirmed cases, and six more deaths as of March 25. All the new cases were imported.
  • Spain has reported over 8,000 cases in the last 24 hours while its death toll has risen to 4,089, as of Thursday. Spain's death toll has now surpassed China, days after Italy overtook China.
Paramedics wearing suits along with face masks and goggles as a protective measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus stand outside the Alvaro Cunqueiro hospital in Vigo, northwestern Spain, on March 25, 2020. - As the global death toll soared past 20,000, Spain joined Italy in seeing its number of fatalities overtake China, where the virus first emerged just three three months ago.

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  • Global cases: At least 416,686.
  • Global deaths: At least 18,589.
  • Top six countries with the highest number of reported cases: China (81,869), Italy (69,176), U.S. (51,914), Spain (39,673), Germany (31,554), Iran (27,017).
    The data above was compiled by the World Health Organization.

All times below are in Beijing time.

6:44 pm: Spain reports over 8,000 new cases as death toll rises further

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Spain has risen by 8,578 in the last 24 hours, the country's health ministry announced Thursday. That takes the total number of cases in Spain to 56,188.

The death toll in Spain rose to 4,089 on Thursday, up from 3,434 the previous day. Spain's death toll has surpassed China's, where the official number of fatalities stands at 3,291. 

Spain's parliament voted to extend its state of emergency Thursday, extending its national lockdown by two weeks. — Holly Ellyatt


5:59 pm: Iran starts intercity travel ban as coronavirus spread continues

Iran has started an intercity travel ban, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference on Thursday, Reuters reported. The ban comes a day after Iran's government spokesman warned the country might face a surge of cases in the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials have been critical of Iranians who have ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20. Iran has recorded 27,017 confirmed cases of the virus, and has reported just over 2,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. — Holly Ellyatt

5:40 pm: UK retail sales fail to grow in February, even before coronavirus hit

British retail sales failed to grow at all in February, marking their weakest performance since 2013, official figures showed on Thursday.

When compared with the same month a year earlier, retail sales in the U.K. for February 2020 remained flat; the lowest year-on-year growth rate since March 2013, the Office for National Statistics said. 

The lackluster data reflects poor sales even before most retailers were forced to close because of the lockdown due to the coronavirus. — Holly Ellyatt

5:30 pm: US envoy blames China for endangering world with coronavirus

The U.S. ambassador to London said China had put the world by suppressing information about the coronavirus outbreak.

"First it tried to suppress the news," Ambassador Woody Johnson wrote in an article for U.K. newspaper The Times on Thursday. "Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease," the ambassador said. — Holly Ellyatt

4:50 pm: European stocks decline ahead of upcoming US jobs data

European markets retreated Thursday as global market sentiment sours once again, ahead of upcoming U.S. jobless claims data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1.6% in early trade, with oil and gas and basic resource stocks tumbling 3.4% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses slid into negative territory.

U.S. stock futures shed prior gains in early Thursday morning trading and in Asia, stocks were mixed as investors looked ahead to the latest U.S. jobless claims data expected to be out around 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday. It's expected to show a massive spike in unemployment claims after businesses stateside closed their doors to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. — Holly Ellyatt and Elliot Smith

4:26 pm: Italy's death toll rises above 7,000 — but number of new cases declines for the 4th day in a row

Italy's death toll from the virus passed the 7,500 mark on Wednesday, the country's Civil Protection Agency said, however it noted that the rate of new cases of contagion fell for the fourth day running.

It said 57,521 people are currently infected with COVID-19 in Italy, 3,491 more than Tuesday. The daily rise on Tuesday had been 3,612 while on Monday it had been 3,780 and on Sunday 3,957. — Holly Ellyatt

4:10 pm: Singapore plans a massive $33.2 billion to tide its economy through the coronavirus outbreak

Singapore has set aside another 48 billion Singapore dollars ($33.17 billion) to support its businesses and households after official preliminary estimates showed the Southeast Asian economy shrinking by more than expected in the first quarter of this year.

The additional spending on stimulus came just a month after the country announced 6.4 billion Singapore dollars ($4.4 billion) of economic and health-care measures to tide through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Singapore was one of the earliest outside China to report cases of the disease, and is one of the first to release data on gross domestic product, providing a glimpse of how the virus outbreak could affect the global economy. — Yen Nee Lee

3:55 pm: Governments should offer lifelines to airlines 'as fast as possible,'  IATA says

Government support "can't come soon enough" for airlines, the International Air Transport Association said Thursday. Many airlines in the region have reduced capacity dramatically as countries impose travel restrictions to stem the tide of coronavirus infections.

According to IATA, 75% of airlines only have around three months of cash cover. "So it's very, very important for the government to introduce these lifelines as fast as possible," said Conrad Clifford, regional vice president, Asia Pacific, of IATA. That could come in the form of cash injects, loans or tax relief, he said.

"But the most important thing is to do it as quickly as possible," he told CNBC's "Capital Connection." Clifford also estimated that the wider aviation and tourism industry accounts for about 30 million jobs in the Asia Pacific. "The impact on jobs is quite catastrophic," he said, adding that it will have an "enormous" effect on the well- being of countries in this region. — Abigail Ng

3:35 pm: Prince Charles didn't 'jump the queue' for a coronavirus test, UK says

Britain's heir to the throne, Prince Charles, who tested positive for the coronavirus, did not jump the queue to take a test, U.K. health authorities said, according to a Reuters report.

When asked why he had a test when millions of frontline health workers have not, Britain's junior health minister Edward Argar said that was because his symptoms met the criteria for a test, the report said.

"The Prince of Wales didn't jump the queue," Argar told Sky News, according to the report. — Weizhen Tan

3:05 pm: Singapore's central bank announces $60 billion funding for banks

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it will provide up to $60 billion of funding to banks in the city state as part of a previously announced currency exchange arrangement with the Federal Reserve. 

The Fed last week said it was extending the arrangement to more central banks, including Singapore's, as demand for the U.S. dollar intensifies. The program, known as dollar swaps, will be in place for six months. 

Singapore's economy contracted in the first quarter of 2020, preliminary estimates showed. (See 9:35 am update) — Yen Nee Lee

2:05 pm: Russia to suspend all international flights 

Russia has ordered the grounding of all regular and charter flights to and from the country starting Friday, reported Reuters, citing information from the government website.

Exceptions to the rule include Russian airlines flying to other countries to bring citizens back and flights authorized by special government decisions, according to Reuters. — Yen Nee Lee

1:40 pm: Germany reports close to 5,000 new cases

Germany reported another 4,995 cases of the coronavirus disease, with the country's total now standing at 36,508, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute. 

The institute is a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention. 

Fatalities from COVID-19 in Germany increased by 50 to 198, said the institute. — Yen Nee Lee

1:05 pm: Cases in Thailand cross 1,000

Thailand reported 111 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its tally to 1,045, Reuters reported. 

A nationwide state of emergency took effect in Thailand from Thursday and is expected to last until April 30, according to a statement by the government public relations department. During the period, non-resident foreigners are not allowed into the country and large gatherings are banned, the statement read. 

The emergency declaration also allows the government to impose more stringent measures to control the spread of the virus, the statement said. — Yen Nee Lee

12:55 pm: Hong Kong to boost domestic tourism

The Hong Kong Tourism Board is using the current lull to review its positioning, said Dane Cheng, the agency's executive director.

Tourist arrivals to Hong Kong have been hit by the double whammy of anti-government protests and the coronavirus outbreak.

Cheng told CNBC that visitor numbers have fallen from 200,000 on any given day in early 2019 to fewer than 200,000 in the entire month of Feb 2020.

The Chinese special administrative region closed its borders to most non-residents recently as it sees a second wave of infections from imported cases.

"It might seem ridiculous, Hong Kong is such a small place, how to do domestic tourism?" said Cheng.

But Hong Kongers are keen travelers over long weekends, so these people can now take the opportunity to discover hidden gems in the city after the situation stabilizes, said Cheng.

"The first phase (of the tourism drive) is more like rekindling our love of Hong Kong, and the pride of Hong Kong, and hopefully rekindling the spirit of Hong Kong," said Cheng. — Huileng Tan

12:40 pm: US Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus package

The Senate passed a historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package Wednesday night, as it tries to stem the destruction the pandemic has brought to American lives and wallets.

The chamber approved the mammoth bill in a unanimous 96-0 vote after days of furious negotiations, partisan sniping and raised tempers on the Senate floor. The bill now heads to the House, which will push to pass it by voice vote Friday morning as most representatives are out of Washington.

The 880-page legislation includes direct payments to individuals, stronger unemployment insurance, loans and grants to businesses and more health care resources for hospitals, states and municipalities. It includes requirements that insurance providers cover preventive services for the coronavirus disease COVID-19. — Jacob Pramuk

11:30 am: US deaths soar past 1,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data

The number of deaths in the U.S. has reached 1,041, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

New York City has the highest number of fatalities at 280, followed by 100 in King County, Washington State. The total number of cases in the U.S. was at 68,960, according to the data. — Weizhen Tan

10:30 am: McDonald's is pulling its all-day breakfast menu as it limits options amid pandemic

McDonald's is pulling its all-day breakfast menu to simplify operations as the coronavirus pandemic strains restaurant operations.

"To simplify operations in our kitchens and for our crew, and ensure the best possible experience for our customers, we are working with our franchisees and local restaurants to focus on serving our most popular choices and will begin temporarily removing some items from the menu over the next few weeks," Bill Garrett, the senior vice president of McDonald's U.S. operations, said in a statement.

McDonald's said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that the virus could have a "material" impact on its business. In the United States, "substantially all" locations are operating with only drive-thru, takeout or delivery options, the filing said. Some locations may have limited hours. — Amelia Lucas

9:55 am: White House health advisor Fauci says US needs to be prepared for second cycle

Americans need to prepare for a second cycle of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, a White House health advisor said Wednesday.

"What we're starting to see in the Southern Hemisphere of Southern Africa and the Southern Hemisphere countries, is that we're having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, said at a White House press briefing. "If they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we'll get a cycle a second time." — Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

9:40 am: South Korea reports 104 cases, 5 deaths

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a jump of 104 cases and five more deaths. That brings the country's total to 9,241 cases and 131 fatalities.

U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly asked South Korea this week for medical supplies to combat the pandemic, driving up the stocks of South Korean coronavirus test kit makers for a second day on Thursday. South Korea has been praised for its swift and effective response to COVID-19, marked by rapid mass testing. — Weizhen Tan, Tucker Higgins

9:35 am: Singapore expects its economy to shrink in 2020

Singapore's economy contracted by 2.2% in the first quarter from a year ago, official preliminary data showed, and authorities further downgraded their GDP forecast for 2020 as countries around the world battle the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said Singapore economy is now expected to shrink by between 1.0% and 4.0% this year. That's worse than its forecast last month for a change of between -0.5% and 1.5% in annual gross domestic product.

The Southeast Asian economy is one of the earliest to release data on gross domestic product in the first quarter, providing a glimpse on how the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could affect economies around the world. — Yen Nee Lee

9:15 am: China's resumption of work rises

The resumption of work rate for small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the country reached 71.7% as of March 24, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology disclosed Wednesday. The ministry also noted the figure marked an increase of 42.1 percentage points from a month ago. — Evelyn Cheng

8:55 am: LA Mayor Garcetti says city to receive $1.1 billion for airport, metro system

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said the federal government's COVID-19 stimulus package will give the city receive $400 million for its airport and $700 million for its metro system. The package will also provide Los Angeles with "tens of millions" in community development block grants to aid the worst off, like seniors and unemployed, Garcetti said.

Los Angeles will also receive $32 million in emergency solution grants to help house the homeless. "I call this an economic survival bill because while it's not enough, it maybe will ensure that some folks will be able to get through the next month or two," Garcetti said.

Garcetti also said that Los Angeles will not shut off water or power or impose any late fees for those bills during this time. Additionally, he said that the city will relax enforcement of parking tickets and that Los Angeles Police Department will not give tickets to any individuals driving with expired drivers licenses. "Everyone of these changes is about the same principle — that you are safer at home," Garcetti said. — Salvador Rodriguez

8:05 am: China reports 67 new cases, 6 more deaths

China's National Health Commission reported it had 67 new confirmed cases, and six more deaths as of March 25.

All the new cases were imported, meaning people who traveled from overseas, with the overall number of imported cases at 541. None of the additional cases were in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, but all six deaths were in the province.

That brings China's total case count to 81,285, and its death toll to 3,287. — Weizhen Tan (This entry has been corrected to reflect that China's total number of cases is at 81,285.)

7:55 am: Spain's death toll spikes in biggest daily jump, now overtakes China

Spain reported 738 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours — its highest daily death toll yet, according to Reuters. Its total number of confirmed deaths was 3,434 as of Wednesday, and overall infections were at 47,610. 

A Spanish soldier stands next to beds set up at a temporary hospital for vulnerable people at the Fira Barcelona Montjuic centre in Barcelona on March 25, 2020, during the new coronavirus epidemic.
Pau Barrena | AFP | Getty Images

Spain's death toll has now surpassed China, days after Italy overtook China. Italy's confirmed fatality count was last at 6,820 according to data from the World Health Organization. Both countries have been among the worst-hit in Europe, and now account for the highest numbers of fatalities globally, according to the report.— Weizhen Tan

7:45 am: India needs to help its most vulnerable survive a 3-week lockdown

India's move to put its 1.3 billion people in a 21-day lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak will disproportionately hurt the informal sector, experts told CNBC. 

The whole nation was placed under lockdown on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that people would not be allowed to leave their homes for three weeks after the order went into effect.

The impact of the lockdown on India's informal sector, which includes many street vendors as well as taxi and auto drivers, will be huge, Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale, told CNBC. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:04 pm: FDA warns consumers against fraudulent coronavirus tests, vaccines and treatments

Consumers should beware of buying or using products that sellers claim will help diagnose, treat, cure or prevent COVID-19 as the coronavirus continues to sweep across the country, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. 

Some companies are trying to profit from the pandemic by selling unproven and illegally marketed products and falsely claiming they are able to prevent or cure the coronavirus, the FDA said.

"Because COVID-19 has never been seen in humans before, there are currently no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat" the coronavirus that have been approved by the FDA, the agency said. "These fraudulent products that claim to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19 haven't been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness and might be dangerous to you and your family." —Noah Higgins-Dunn

6:41 pm: Futures point to gains at the open, building on two-day rally

U.S. stock futures moved modestly higher in early trading and pointed to gains at the open on Thursday, building on recent strength in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.

The two indexes have just posted their first back-to-back gains since February. Fueling the rally is the hope that the White House and Senate will soon agree to a stimulus package to prop up markets as the coronavirus outbreak rages on.

Dow futures rose 161 points, indicating a gain of 107 points at the open. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also set to open higher, with gains of 0.8% and 1%, respectively. —Pippa Stevens

4:44 pm: California sees one million unemployment claims in less than two weeks

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Wells Fargo, Citi, JPMorgan, and U.S. Bank all agreed to grant a 90-day waiver for mortgage payments "for those impacted by COVID-19." The announcement came after he said that one million Californians have applied for unemployment insurance since March 13. Newsom also announced measures the state is taking to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients. The state has ordered 100 million new masks, he said, and the state is ramping up its number of available hospital beds and ventilators, a potentially life-saving device that helps patients breathe. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Hundreds flood NYC hospital ICU, ERs; global coronavirus cases top 466,000