Health and Science

Coronavirus: Spain daily death toll lowest in over a month; airlines in 'survival mode'

Key Points
  • Global cases have now totaled more than 2.7 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said the world must advance its treatments, vaccines, testing and contact tracing.
  • The International Air Transport Association said global airline passenger revenues are expected to drop by $314 billion in 2020, resulting in a 55% on-year decline.

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  • Global cases: More than 2.7 million
  • Global deaths: At least 191,231
  • Most cases reported: United States (869,172), Spain (213,024), Italy (189,973), France (159,467), and Germany (153,215). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 7:05 p.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

7:35 pm: Russia cuts key interest rate and slashes forecasts as coronavirus and oil price plunge take hold

The Bank of Russia on Friday cut its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 5.5% and left the door open to further reductions at future monetary policy meetings.

The move comes as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and a historic plunge in oil prices of late pose unprecedented threats to the Russian economy. – Elliot Smith

6:40 pm: Spain reports lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths in over a month

Spain's health ministry said on Friday that an additional 367 people had died as a result of the coronavirus on Friday, taking the country's death toll up to 22,524. 

That is the lowest daily increase in coronavirus-related deaths in over a month, the health ministry said. The overall number of Covid-19 cases rose to 219,764 on Friday, up from 213,024 the day before, it added.

Spain has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe and is second only to the U.S. worldwide. To date, the U.S. has recorded 869,172 coronavirus infections. – Sam Meredith

6:20 pm: Iran reports 93 further deaths as a result of Covid-19

Iran reported a further 93 fatalities from the coronavirus on Friday, Reuters reported, citing a spokesperson for the country's health ministry. It brings the country's death toll up to 5,574.

The total number of people diagnosed with the Covid-19 infection in the Islamic Republic also rose to 88,194. – Sam Meredith

5:40 pm: Indonesia reports biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported its biggest daily increase of Covid-19 infections on Friday, Reuters reported, citing a health ministry official. 

The Southeast Asian country identified 436 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the total number of those infected nationwide to 8,211. Indonesia also reported an additional 42 fatalities on Friday, Reuters reported, bringing the coronavirus death toll up to 689. – Sam Meredith

4:33 pm: India's SpiceJet is seeking government funds to tide over coronavirus crisis

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has asked the government for relief that will ease the strain on its cash flow, chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said Friday.

SpiceJet is one of the largest airlines in India, based on the number of domestic passengers it carries.Singh said the company is talking to lessors, who lease out planes used by SpiceJet, about payment deferrals on those leases.

More than 50% of the airline's employees will be on leave without pay in April and the carrier is running a cargo business that's generating some cash flow, he added.

Like other countries, India's airlines are in crisis as the country's extended lockdown measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus has left all passenger planes grounded till at least May 3, leading to a depletion of cash reserves for the airlines. – Saheli Roy Choudhury

3:50 pm: Growing outrage over Beijing's handling of the coronavirus pandemic

A growing chorus of voices around the world is calling for China to compensate for the damages incurred due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The virus was first reported late last year in China's Hubei province.

Just this week, the U.S. state of Missouri filed a civil lawsuit against the Chinese government over its handling of the outbreak, saying China's response led to devastating economic losses for the state.

"The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease," Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. "They must be held accountable for their actions."

Other lawsuits have also been filed in American courts on behalf of business owners.

China has refuted those claims. – Evelyn Cheng

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, talks with experts during his visit to the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University in Beijing, capital of China, March 2, 2020.
Yan Yan | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

3:44 pm Singapore 'knew that the foreign workers would be a stress point:' diplomat says

Singapore's ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country "knew that the foreign workers would be a stress point" in its fight against coronavirus.

Still, it would have made little difference in containing the spike in numbers, said Chan Heng Chee.

Singapore was lauded globally for managing the outbreak well when the virus first spread throughout the world. But cases have soared in the last month, and most of those infected have been migrant workers.

On managing infection rates among the workers, Chan said: "Could we have moved people out earlier? We could have, but I don't think it would have made a difference in transmission, maybe not at this rate, because they would be going to work, they would be cooking together in communal activities, and they would be going to the mall." – Weizhen Tan

3:18 pm: Singapore's health ministry confirms 897 new cases in preliminary update

Singapore's health ministry said it has preliminarily confirmed an additional 897 cases of Covid-19 as of Friday noon.

Most of the new cases in recent weeks have been linked to infection clusters in dormitories that house foreign workers. The people living in those dormitories are typically men from other Asian countries who carry out labor-intensive construction jobs in Singapore.

The city-state has more than 11,000 cases so far and has reported 12 deaths. – Saheli Roy Choudhury

3:10 pm: It's unclear if US, Europe can reopen when new coronavirus cases remain high, says Fitch Solutions

The U.S. and several European countries are still reporting thousands of new coronavirus cases every day. The question remains if they can safely ease restrictions aimed at slowing down the virus' spread soon so that economies can restart again, Cedric Chehab, head of country risk and global strategy at Fitch Solutions said.

"China is reopening its economy in stages, but we've already seen some incipient risk of a second wave coming out of the city of Harbin," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia," pointing out that there was "upward pressure" on daily new cases reported when China started relaxing its measures.

"If you think about other countries such as the U.S., Spain, and Italy, although the numbers of new cases have peaked, they're still extremely high relative to what we saw in South Korea and China," he said. "So the question is can they actually start to ease restrictions and open up the economies when they have such high number of new cases still." – Yen Nee Lee

A man wearing a surgical mask works on his computer on Broadway Avenue as New Yorkers practice "Social Distancing" because of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City, United States.
Roy Rochlin | Getty Images

2:50 pm: IATA says airlines are in 'survival mode'

The International Air Transport Association said global airline passenger revenues are expected to drop by $314 billion in 2020, resulting in a 55% on-year decline. Airlines in the Asia Pacific are expected to see the largest revenue drop and a 50% fall in passenger demand for the year compared to 2019. Those estimates from IATA assume that severe travel restrictions due to the pandemic last for three months, with a gradual lifting of measures. 

"The situation is deteriorating. Airlines are in survival mode. They face a liquidity crisis with a $61 billion cash burn in the second quarter," Conrad Clifford, regional vice president for Asia Pacific at IATA, said in a statement. 

Virgin Australia recently became Asia Pacific's first major airline to enter third-party restructuring

Clifford said if governments do not intervene to make sure airlines have "sufficient cash flow" to tide them over this period, then more carriers could go a similar way. 

"Providing support for airlines has a broader economic implication. Jobs across many sectors will be impacted if airlines do not survive the COVID-19 crisis," Clifford said. "Every airline job supports another 24 in the travel and tourism value chain."  Saheli Roy Choudhury

12.30 pm: Germany reports 2,337 new cases and 227 deaths

Germany on Friday reported 2,337 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the total of infected people in the country to 150,383.

There were 227 additional deaths, bringing the toll to 5,321, said the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the end of the coronavirus pandemic is not yet in sight and that everyone will have to live with the virus "for a long time." — Huileng Tan

11:30 am: South Korea reports 6 cases and no deaths

South Korea reported six new cases of the coronavirus on Friday in what is seen as a sign of a slowdown in the outbreak. 

There were no deaths, keeping the toll at 240, according to Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The country has reported fewer than 15 new cases of Covid-19 every day this week — down from the peak of 909 on February 29. 

South Korea was one of the hardest hit Asian countries when the outbreak first broke out around the world, and has been 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 were infected. — Huileng Tan

9:45 am: Philippines extends lockdown in Manila to May 15

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a lockdown in the capital of Manila until May 15, his spokesman said on Friday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said restrictions in lower-risk regions of the country will be eased, Reuters reported.

Duterte approved the recommendations from a crisis panel late on Thursday to extend the lockdown, taking Manila's movement restrictions to two months. 

The Philippines has recorded a total of 6,981 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. — Huileng Tan

9:00 am: China reports 6 new cases, no deaths

China reported just six new cases as of April 23, according to its National Health Commission (NHC) — a decline from the 10 new cases reported the day before. Two of the new cases were attributed to travelers coming from overseas.

That takes the country's total to 82,804 cases, according to government data.

For the ninth straight day, there were no new deaths, with total fatalities remaining at 4,632, according to the NHC.

Separately, there were 34 new asymptomatic cases, where people tested positive for the virus but did not show any symptoms. That brings its number of asymptomatic cases currently under medical observation to 979, the NHC said. — Huileng Tan

7:20 am: Japan reports 43 more cases on Italian cruise ship docked in Nagasaki

Japan confirmed 43 more coronavirus cases on the Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica currently docked in the western city of Nagasaki for repairs, broadcaster NHK reported. 

The Costa Atlantica which docked at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore on May 3, 2013 in Singapore.
Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

At least 91 cases of infections have been identified on the ship, including cooks and staff members serving food to the crew on board, according to the report. The cruise ship reportedly carried 623 crew members and no passengers. — Huileng Tan

Correction: A previous version of this entry misstated the total number of infected cases. Since then, the government said an additional three cases have been identified.

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:40 pm: United Airlines will require flight attendants to wear masks. The labor union wants passengers to wear them, too

United Airlines says effective Friday flight attendants will have to wear masks or other face coverings while on duty, a measure aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The airline will provide flight attendants with surgical masks but they are also allowed to wear their own cloth masks.

"We understand that many aspects of the flight attendant's duties, both on and off the aircraft, can make practicing social distancing challenging, which is why this new initiative is so important," United said.

While few travelers are currently flying because of the virus and stay-at-home orders airlines are rethinking precautions to stop the virus from spreading.

The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents some 50,000 cabin crew members including those at United and asked for the measure at United, wants to go further. The union asked federal authorities to require that travelers as well as crews be required to wear masks to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

"As some of the most frequent travelers, flight attendants feel a deep responsibility to ensure that our workplace risks of acquiring and spreading communicable diseases are minimized as much as possible," AFA's president, Sara Nelson, wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar." —Leslie Josephs

7:17 pm: Bill Gates explains what we need to do to stop the coronavirus pandemic and reopen the economy

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates outlined what the world needs to do to stop the Covid-19 pandemic and reopen the economy in a blog post Thursday

Gates said the world must advance its treatments, vaccines, testing and contact tracing. It also needs to examine its policies for opening up global economies, he said. He compared the pandemic to a war.

There were five areas he outlines as needing attention:

  1. Treatment: Gates acknowledged that many treatments may fail, but said he's optimistic some will be successful in reducing the coronavirus burden.
  2. Vaccines: "Short of a miracle treatment," the only way for people to return to some sense of normal is through a vaccine, Gates said.
  3. Testing: Gates said the United States needs to prioritize and speed up Covid-19 testing to have results in one day.
  4. Contact tracing: Gates said that people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive should be prioritized for testing and self-isolate.
  5. Opening up: Gates believes that most developed countries will enter the second phase of the pandemic in the next two months. That's where the world is semi-normal, though people still practice social distancing.

"During World War II, an amazing amount of innovation, including radar, reliable torpedoes, and code-breaking, helped end the war faster," Gates said. "This will be the same with the pandemic."

Gates has been vocal on the Covid-19 pandemic and has described its spread as a "nightmare scenario." —Jessica Bursztynsky

6:58 pm: Updated map of global cases, which now total 2,708,590

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: California reports 'deadliest day' yet, global lockdowns ease