Health and Science

Russia's cases rise above 10,000; Italy could ease lockdown soon

Key Points
  • China's National Health Commission (NHC) reported 63 new cases and two deaths as of April 8.
  • Of the new cases, the NHC attributed 61 to travelers from overseas.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump escalated tension with the World Health Organization, once again criticizing the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and threatening to withhold funding.

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: More than 1,511,104
  • Global deaths: At least 88,338
  • Most cases reported: United States (429,052), Spain (148,220), Italy (139,422), France (113,959), and Germany (113,296). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:10 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

7:28 pm: OPEC and allies to decide on historic oil production cut as coronavirus ravages demand

Some of the world's largest oil producers will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to try to agree on historic output cuts, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to crush worldwide demand for crude.

OPEC and non-OPEC partners, sometimes referred to as OPEC+, are scheduled to hold talks via video-link from 4 p.m. Vienna time to discuss the next phase of oil production policy.

President Donald Trump has fueled hopes of a cut far larger than any deal OPEC+ has ever agreed on before, suggesting the energy alliance could take between 10 to 15 million barrels of crude off the market— Sam Meredith

6:15 pm: Iran's coronavirus death toll rises by 117 to 4,110

Iran's Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said the country's death toll had risen by 117 to 4,110, according to Reuters. The total number of infections has reached 66,220, he said. — Holly Ellyatt

5:40 pm: Spain's daily coronavirus deaths decrease; death toll surpasses 15,000

Spain's number of daily coronavirus deaths slowed on Thursday after two days of increases. Spain's health ministry said 683 people died from the virus in 24 hours, taking the death toll to 15,238.

The total number of confirmed cases has now risen to 152,446 from 146,690 on Wednesday. — Holly Ellyatt

4:50 pm: UK leader Boris Johnson said to be 'getting better' as he spends third night in intensive care

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care in a London hospital having been admitted for persistent coronavirus symptoms, although his condition is said to be improving.

Culture Minister Oliver Dowden is the latest U.K. lawmaker to comment on Johnson's condition, telling the BBC Thursday morning that the prime minister is "stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff," adding, "I think things are getting better for him."

Johnson is receiving "excellent care" at St. Thomas' Hospital in London where he is being treated, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said at the government's daily press briefing Wednesday afternoon. — Holly Ellyatt

4:20 pm: Russia's coronavirus cases rise above 10,000

Russia has reported a record one-day rise of 1,459 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, making the total number of confirmed cases to 10,131.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths rose by 13 to 76, the national coronavirus crisis response center said, adding that it had conducted 1 million tests. — Holly Ellyatt

A police officer patrols a deserted Red Square during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Valery Sharifulin

4:02 pm: Italy could relax lockdown measures within weeks

Italy could look to ease some of its stringent lockdown restrictions at the end of April, the country's prime minister has said, once again calling on Europe to help the country at the epicenter of the continent's outbreak.

It comes as Italy looks to have overcome the worst in terms of daily infections and deaths from the coronavirus, but recent hopes of a peak elsewhere in Europe have been dashed in recent days.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday that the national lockdown in Italy, in place since March 9, could only be eased gradually.

"We need to pick sectors that can restart their activity. If scientists confirm it, we might begin to relax some measures already by the end of this month," he told the BBC. — Holly Ellyatt

3:40 pm: US needs more 'helicopter money' to cushion coronavirus impact, says Anthony Scaramucci

The U.S. needs more "helicopter money" to help its economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, said Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund investor who briefly served as President Donald Trump's White House communications chief.

Helicopter money refers to a last resort type of monetary stimulus, which involves printing large sums of money and distributing it to the public to encourage people to spend more and thus, boost the economy.

He added that his firm's calculations showed that each adult should get $3,000 and each child $1,500. That would be more than the $1,200 and $500, respectively, already announced as part of a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package— Yen Nee Lee

2:35 pm: This chart shows which European countries are expected to have the highest coronavirus death tolls

Britain will be hit harder by the coronavirus crisis than any other European country, researchers have predicted, with the U.K. expected to see more than 60,000 deaths from COVID-19.

New research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), published Monday with a correction issued on Tuesday, forecast a total of 151,000 deaths across Europe during the "first wave" of the pandemic, which scientists predict will end on August 4.

According to the analysis, Britain was expected to reach its peak daily death rate on April 17, when researchers predicted there would be a total of 2,932 deaths in one day. The country was on a trajectory that would result in a total of 66,314 deaths by August 4, scientists concluded. — Chloe Taylor

2:10 pm: Safety concerns over vaccine for coronavirus still remain, says expert

While efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine have accelerated, there are still safety concerns, according to the director-general of the International Vaccine Institute. 

"We don't know that a vaccine that's developed in four months — or I guess 12 to 18 months, which is the current estimate — is really safe," Jerome Kim, director-general of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Monday. 

Typically, the process of developing vaccines takes five to 10 years, but Kim said there's been "unprecedented speed" in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine as a result of global efforts to stem the pandemic and a "significant amount of funding" given to companies to get vaccines ready for testing. As a result, vaccines can now begin human trials in 4 months — instead of the typical five to 10 years — and that's "really a remarkable thing," he said. — Audrey Cher

1:45 pm: New cases in Germany jump

The number of new confirmed cases in Germany jumped by 4,974 in the past 24 hours to a total of 108,202, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

The number of additional fatalities rose by 246 to a total of 2,107. — Weizhen Tan

12:50 pm: Coronavirus could spark a financial crisis for struggling countries, Singapore's trade minister warns

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic could cascade from a health catastrophe into a financial crisis in countries struggling to cope, Singapore's trade minister warned on Thursday.

Many countries are now "fiscally challenged," with few having the headroom to deploy monetary policy as rates are currently so low, Chan Chun Sing, Singapore's minister for trade and industry, told CNBC. "That is a dangerous situation," he said.

"What we are concerned is that, if we are not careful, some of the countries might get into a financial crisis beyond a health crisis, beyond a economic crisis," Chan said. — Weizhen Tan

12:07 pm: Thailand needs more cooperation from its citizens to curb virus spread, says deputy prime minister

Despite cooperation from the Thai people, more work is needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Wednesday. 

Charnvirakul, who's also Thailand's minister for public health, alluded to a study that suggested a need for at least 80% of people in Thailand to practice social distancing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. — Audrey Cher

11:40 am: South Korea's central bank keeps rates unchanged

The Bank of Korea left its base rate unchanged at 0.75% but warned that the country's growth this year could fall "considerably below" its earlier forecast of 2.1%.

The central bank didn't give an updated growth forecast in its latest monetary policy statement. But Reuters reported BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol saying that it'll be difficult for the country to grow by more than 1% this year.

South Korea is one of the hardest-hit Asian countries in the pandemic, and has reported 10,423 cases in total and 204 fatalities. (See 9:15 am update) — Yen Nee Lee

10:38 am: Australia's households and businesses can handle economic shock, says central bank

Australian households and businesses will face increasing financial stress due to the coronavirus pandemic, but many of them are well placed to weather the economic shock, the country's central bank said.  

"Most businesses and households entered this difficult period in good financial health, with large cash and/or equity buffers to help withstand a temporary fall in income," the Reserve Bank of Australia said in its Financial Stability Review.

Australia has confirmed 6,052 cases and 50 deaths since the outbreak, according to the Department of Health. The government and the central bank have announced several measures to tide the economy through the pandemic, including cutting interest rates and subsidizing wages. — Yen Nee Lee

9:15 am: South Korea reports 39 new cases ⁠— the lowest since late February

South Korea on Thursday reported 39 new cases of infection  ⁠— the lowest number since late February. There were four deaths.

The country has been reporting fewer than or around 50 new cases since Monday this week.

Altogether, South Korea has reported 10,423 cases of infection and 204 people have succumbed to the illness caused by the virus, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Korea is generally praised for its efforts to reduce the spread of infection by mass testing its people and adopting strict measures to quarantine and track those who affected. — Huileng Tan

8:15 am: China reports 63 new cases, 2 deaths

China's National Health Commission (NHC) reported 63 new cases and two deaths as of April 8. Of the new cases, the NHC attributed 61 to travelers from overseas.

That brings the country's total to 81,865 confirmed cases and 3,335 deaths, according to the NHC.

Passengers of the G4802 high-speed train wait to exit the Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China, April 8, 2020. G4802, the first high-speed train departing from Wuhan since the city resumed outbound travel, arrived at Beijing West Railway Station on Wednesday.
Ju Huanzong | Xinhua | Getty Images

Separately, the NHC said there were 56 new asymptomatic cases, where people tested positive for the virus but did not show any symptoms.

China started including asymptomatic cases in its daily reports on April 1. — Huileng Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:07 pm: Trump escalates tension with WHO over coronavirus pandemic, repeats threat to withhold funding

U.S. President Donald Trump escalated tension with the World Health Organization, once again criticizing the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and threatening to withhold funding.

"So we're going to do a study, an investigation, and we're going to make a determination as to what we're doing. In the meantime, we're holding back," Trump said at a White House press conference. It was not immediately clear from the president's comment if he was "holding back" on the funding or probe of the WHO.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration is reevaluating the WHO's funding, adding that the United Nation's health organization hasn't "achieved what it intended to do," particularly in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Organizations have to work. They have to deliver the outcomes for which they were intended," Pompeo said. "We need to make sure that, not only the World Health Organization but every international organization that we take taxpayer money and give it to them for the benefit of America, we need to make sure it's delivering on those taxpayer dollars." —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Kevin Breuninger

6:51 pm: While parents Zoom, their kids are flocking to an app called Roblox to hang out and play 3D games

Millions of parents across the country are suddenly being forced to juggle full-time work, parenting and homeschooling, all while keeping their kids inside, away from their friends and hopefully sane. Extensive screen time is inevitable in many households, but Roblox has emerged as an alternative to the undesirable experience of letting kids watch endless YouTube videos and cartoons.

Roblox Chief Business Officer Craig Donato said usage surged 40% in March from February, and the app trails only YouTube in terms of the biggest money makers on iOS, according to AppAnnie. It's the opposite story from what's facing most of corporate America, including once high-flying start-ups like Airbnb, Toast, ClassPass and Bird, which are slashing costs and, in many cases, cutting jobs. 

Donato said Roblox now expects $1 billion in billings this year, largely from in-app purchases. The company, based in San Mateo, California, sends 25% of that money to developers, who use software called Roblox Studio to make games for the app. Roblox doesn't disclose revenue, but data site SensorTower estimated in November that sales in 2019, up to that point, had climbed 30% from all of 2018 to $435 million. —Ari Levy

6:37 pm: Etsy CEO says 20,000 of its shops are now selling face masks following CDC recommendation

VIDEO0:0100:01
Etsy CEO on crafting face masks for the coronavirus effort

There are now about 20,000 shops on Etsy selling face masks, CEO Josh Silverman told CNBC. 

"Our sellers are able to produce hundreds of thousands of masks per day," Silverman said on "Closing Bell."

Etsy began to see "overwhelming demand" for masks from shoppers last week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending Americans wear a cloth face covering to protect against the coronavirus, Silverman said.   

Etsy, an e-commerce marketplace, responded by asking existing sellers to consider making face masks, offering guidelines for sellers who wanted to do so. There about 2.7 million Etsy sellers "who are crafts people," Silverman said. —Kevin Stankiewicz

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Global cases cross 1.5 million, 2.4 million Californians have applied for unemployment since March 12.