Health and Science

Spain's daily coronavirus death toll falls; Germany's reproduction rate rises

Key Points
  • More than 3 million people are now reported to have been infected by the coronavirus around the world and over 210,800 have died.
  • The virus outbreak was reported in China's Hubei province late last year before it spread rapidly to all parts of the world in mere months. 
  • Japan's March jobless rate rose to its highest level in a year while job availability fell to a more than three-year low, according to official data, Reuters reported. 

In this article

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  • Global cases: More than 3 million
  • Global deaths: More than 210,800
  • Most cases reported: United States (987,022), Spain (229,422), Italy (199,414), France (165,962), and Germany (158,434). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:42 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

5:36 pm: Germany's coronavirus infection rate edges higher after lockdown measures eased

Germany's coronavirus reproduction rate has reportedly edged up, prompting the head of the country's infectious diseases institute to urge people to stay at home as much as possible amid a relaxation of lockdown measures.

Germany's virus reproduction rate, called the "R" rate or value, is now at 1.0 in Germany, according to Lothar Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, having risen from 0.7 earlier this month.

The "R" rate means that, on average, every one person with the virus infects one other individual. Keeping this rate below 1.0 is an aim during the coronavirus pandemic. — Holly Ellyatt

5:00 pm: Indonesia reports 415 new coronavirus cases and 8 deaths

Indonesia reported 415 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, Reuters reported, taking the total number of cases in the country to 9,511.

Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto also reported eight new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 773. — Holly Ellyatt

4:40 pm: Spain's daily death toll falls

Spain has reported 301 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, down from the 331 fatalities reported Monday, the health ministry said. That brings the overall death toll to 23,822. The total number of cases has risen to 210,773, up from 209,465 the previous day (that's a rise of 1,308).

Separate data from the National Statistics Institute showed Spain's unemployment rate rose to 14.4% in the first quarter of the year, up from 13.8% in the previous quarter as a result of the lockdown imposed in Spain in mid-March. — Holly Ellyatt

4:20 pm: Swedish central bank holds rates but says it's ready to cut if necessary

Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, has decided to hold its benchmark interest rate at 0% and also maintained coronavirus-related aid measures without adding more assistance, but said it was ready to do more if needed.

"It was not deemed justified at this point in time to try to increase demand by lowering the repo rate when the downturn in the economy is due to imposed restrictions and people's concerns about the spread of infection," the Riksbank said in a statement Tuesday.

"However, this does not rule out the possibility of the interest rate being cut at a later date if this is deemed an effective measure to stimulate demand and support the development of inflation in the recovery phase."

Sweden bucked the trend set in many of its European countries by not imposing a strict lockdown but rather advising the public to stay at, and work from, home if possible. Its chief epidemiologist told CNBC last week that the capital Stockholm could be heading for herd immunity in weeks. — Holly Ellyatt

4:00 pm: Belgians urged to eat fries twice a week as coronavirus creates massive potato surplus

Belgians are being called upon to eat fries at least twice a week as more than 750,000 tons of potatoes are at risk of being thrown away.

The coronavirus crisis has led to a surplus of potatoes in the small European country, as demand for frites — a national dish of twice-fried potatoes often eaten in bars and restaurants — has slumped amid Belgium's government-enforced lockdown.

Speaking to CNBC in a phone call on Monday, Romain Cools, secretary general of Belgian potato industry body Belgapom, said around 750,000 tons of potatoes — enough to fill 30,000 big lorries — would probably not be processed because of the pandemic. — Chloe Taylor

3:56 pm: Russia records a daily rise in new coronavirus cases and deaths

The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia reached 6,411 on Tuesday, its crisis response center said. That number is a record daily rise, Reuters noted. The total number of cases has now brought its nationwide tally to 93,558 and 867 deaths, up 72 from Monday.

The Kremlin's spokesman told CNBC last week that coronavirus represented a "challenge" for President Putin and a "huge danger" for the world.Holly Ellyatt

3:30 pm: Japan will call off Olympic Games if not held by next year

Japan said the Olympic Games next year could be "scrapped" if they still can't take place by then, according to a Reuters report citing Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori.

The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee had postponed the Games until July 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. But with infections on the rise and a vaccine still some time away, Mori said that the Games would be called off instead if another postponement was needed, according to the report. — Weizhen Tan

3:20 pm: Singapore preliminarily confirms 528 cases

Singapore preliminarily confirmed 528 new cases of the coronavirus, the country's health ministry said. That takes the total number of infected people in the country to 14,423.

Most of the new cases have been linked to infection clusters in dormitories that house foreign workers, typically men from other Asian countries working in the construction and other labor-intensive sectors. — Weizhen Tan

2:40 pm: South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could be trying to avoid coronavirus

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was absent from events on a key holiday on April 15, and has not been seen in public since, leading to reports that he is seriously ill. His absence from the public ceremonies on the birth
anniversary of his grandfather and founder of the country, Kim Il Sung is unprecedented, according to Reuters.

But South Korea now says he could be avoiding those events over fears of the coronavirus, according to Reuters. North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases of the virus.

"It is true that he had never missed the anniversary for Kim Il Sung's birthday since he took power, but many anniversary events including celebrations and a banquet had been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns," South Korea's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said at a parliamentary hearing. — Weizhen Tan

2:10 pm: The US is not even 'remotely' ready to re-open for business, says outbreak preparedness expert

The U.S. is not even "remotely prepared" to re-open, an expert said on Tuesday as some states are set to lift lockdowns that had been imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

"We're not remotely prepared neither in terms of the epidemiology of the outbreak in the United States, nor in terms of our preparedness capacities to begin suppressing this virus in ways other than through social distancing," said Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank. His expertise includes global outbreak preparedness.

The pandemic has prompted U.S. states to impose strict social distancing policies in order to contain the outbreak. But states including Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are beginning to allow restaurants and other establishments to serve customers. — Huileng Tan

1:30 pm: These countries effectively contained the coronavirus, and their currencies are surging 

Countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are among the few which managed to buck the trend and put a lid on the coronavirus outbreak, at least for now. Their success has boosted investor confidence and it's showing in the strength of their currencies.

With their economies re-opening again, their currencies have significantly jumped from earlier this year when the outbreak ravaged the Asia Pacific region. 

"New Zealand and Australia have been very effective in controlling COVID-19 and are ready to restart their economies," said Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management. "The fact that these countries are ready to restart activity after effectively controlling COVID-19 (and not before) means that they are leaps and bounds ahead of the US in terms of economic recovery, which should be wildly positive for their currencies." — Weizhen Tan

12:40 pm: HSBC's first-quarter profits drop nearly half as coronavirus hits

HSBC, Europe's largest bank, said on Tuesday that it's pre-tax profit fell 48% year-over-year to $3.229 billion in the first quarter of 2020, while revenue dropped by 5% to $13.686 billion.

The London-headquartered bank derives the bulk of its earnings from Asia, particularly Greater China where the coronavirus hit first. The bank had warned in February that disruptions caused by the virus outbreak could reduce its revenue this year — but some investors said economic conditions have turned out to be worse than expected. — Yen Nee Lee

12:00 pm: Cases in Germany jump by 1,144

Germany reported another 1,144 cases of the coronavirus disease, taking its total tally to 156,337, according to the latest data by Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention.

The country's death toll increased by 163 to 5,913, said the institute. — Weizhen Tan

10:35 am: Australia's New South Wales to ease some social restrictions starting Friday

The Australian state of New South Wales will allow a maximum of two adults to make social visits to another household, along with any dependent children under their care, starting Friday. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people to be "extra careful" when visiting those over 70 and cautioned that if people have symptoms, they should not leave their homes and continue to socially distance themselves.

Swim and go signage in seen on the designated swimming area at the north end of Bondi Beach after it was reopened for swimming on April 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
Mark Kolbe | Getty Images

Local media also reported that the iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney also re-opened Tuesday to surfers and swimmers after being closed for more than a month due to social restrictions. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously outlined three goals his government will try to achieve before it can begin to consider easing social restrictions throughout the country: they include an extensive testing regime, better contact tracing, and the ability to swiftly respond to local outbreaks. 

Australia's health ministry said as of 6 a.m. local time Tuesday, there have been 12 new cases reported from a day earlier. The country has 6,725 total number of confirmed cases, among them, 84 people have died. New South Wales has the largest number of confirmed cases among the states at 3,009. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:25 am: JetBlue will require passengers to wear masks, other airlines will provide them for travelers

U.S. airlines have stepped up policies to ensure passengers and employees wear face masks onboard flights as part of their efforts to contain the virus from spreading. 

Starting May 4, all JetBlue Airways passengers will be required to wear a face covering. It is the strictest policy so far in the United States and one that follows the New York-based airline's requirement that flight attendants wear a mask or face covering while on duty.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines earlier Monday said they will require thousands of employees to wear face masks and provide masks for passengers. — Leslie Josephs

9:15 am: China reports six new cases, no additional deaths

China's National Health Commission said it confirmed six new cases of infection, with half of them attributed to travelers from overseas. No new deaths were reported, the same as yesterday. There were 40 asymptomatic cases. 

Cumulative confirmed cases in mainland China totaled 82,836 and 4,633 people have died. 

On April 17, the cumulative death toll rose substantially after an investigation in the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first reported, added 1,290 deaths. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:11 am: Los Angeles expands free coronavirus testing to delivery and rideshare drivers

Coronavirus testing will be free for transportation workers in Los Angeles, mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Monday. 

Free testing for delivery, taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers will become available on Tuesday, even if they do not have symptoms.

Los Angeles previously opened testing to critical workers who did not have symptoms. Los Angeles has 20,417 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Garcetti said earlier Monday in an interview on CNN that the amount of coronavirus testing needs to double before Los Angeles considers re-opening. — Kif Leswing

8:25 am: Japan's March jobless rate rises to one-year high 

Japan's March jobless rate rose to its highest level in a year, while job availability fell to a more than three-year low, according to official data, Reuters reported. 

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 2.5% and the jobs-to-applications ratio fell to 1.39 in March, the news agency said. 

Few passengers are seen on a Tsukuba Express train amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 27, 2020 in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Etsuo Hara | Getty Images

While the unemployment rate appears relatively low compared to how other economies are faring in the global economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, it could put more pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to inject more stimulus into the Japanese economy. His government has already approved a stimulus package worth 108 trillion yen ($990 billion), or 20% of Japan's economic output, Reuters reported

Japan has more than 13,400 cases of infection and a national emergency is in place until May 6 for seven regions including Tokyo and Osaka. Local media reported that the government is considering if it would be extended. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:12 am: Global cases top 3 million, death toll over 210,800

More than 3 million people are now reported to have been infected by the coronavirus around the world and over 210,800 have died from the respiratory disease Covid-19, data from Johns Hopkins University showed. 

The virus outbreak was reported in China's Hubei province late last year before it spread rapidly to all parts of the world in mere months. 

Hopkins' data showed the United States has more than 987,000 confirmed cases of infection and a death toll of over 56,000. Spain has more than 229,400 reported cases while Italy has over 199,400 cases. France, Germany and the United Kingdom each have more than 158,000 cases. ⁠— Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:30 pm: American Airlines will give face masks to passengers, require them for flight attendants

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines said Monday they will require thousands of employees to wear face masks and provide masks for passengers, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Airline labor unions have repeatedly demanded stronger protections against coronavirus. While air travel in the U.S. is down some 95% from a year ago because of the virus and stay-at-home orders around the world, flight crews have raised concerns about catching the virus on the job and have sought federally mandated procedures.

American said next month it will start handing out face masks and sanitizing wipes for passengers and require that its roughly 30,000 mainline and regional flight attendants wear masks while on duty. — Leslie Josephs

5:45 pm: White House releases coronavirus testing strategy – and claims most of its work is done

The Trump administration unveiled a new strategy Monday to help states ramp up their capacity to test for coronavirus, claiming most of its work is done, according to new documents.

The two documents obtained by NBC News include a testing "overview" and a testing "blueprint."

The first document, the testing overview, largely serves as a defense of the administration's widely criticized handling of the coronavirus testing since the start of the epidemic. It outlines eight responsibilities that it says belong to the federal government, and claims to have already completed seven of these.

The other document, a testing "blueprint," describes what it calls a "partnership" between states, the federal government and the private sector. The partnership it describes leaves the lion's share of responsibility for funding, designing and executing a coronavirus testing plan to individual states. — Christina Wilkie, Kevin Breuninger

Read CNBC's coverage from the U.S. overnight: Texas to lift restrictions this week, SF extends shelter in place through May