Coronavirus live updates: New York City to limit restaurants and bars to take-out and delivery, movie theaters to shut

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People waiting on a line to enter Trader Joe’s in New York, March 12, 2020.

Valerie Block | CNBC

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

  • Global cases: At least 153,648, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
  • Global deaths: At least 5,746, according to the latest figures from the WHO

All times below are in Beijing time.

11:41 am: Jack Ma says first shipment of test kits and masks are leaving for the US soon

Alibaba founder Jack Ma said on Twitter that the first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits is headed for the United States soon. “All the best to our friends in America,” Ma tweeted.

Ma’s philanthropic organization, Jack Ma Foundation, along with the Alibaba Foundation recently announced their collaboration to source and donate scarce supplies to countries severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak including Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran. The organizations said they had readied for shipment 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to be donated to the United States. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:28 am: New York City to limit restaurants, bars and cafes to serve only take-out and delivery

New York City will limit restaurants, bars, and cafes to serve only take-out and delivery, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Nightclubs, movie theaters and small theater houses as well as concert venues have been ordered to close. Those measures will go into effect starting March 17 at 9 a.m. local time. 

“The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together. We have to break that cycle,” de Blasio said in a statement.

“This is not a decision I make lightly,” he added. “These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.” 

The city’s public school system will also begin temporarily shutting down this week to help combat the spread of infection. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:08 am: Germany tries to stop US from luring away firm seeking coronavirus vaccine

The U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac, according to German government sources, Reuters reported. A local newspaper had reported that President Donald Trump offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay, the news wire said. The original report said President Trump was trying to acquire the scientists’ work exclusively for the United States, according to Reuters, but later the American ambassador to Germany said on Twitter the story “was wrong” while another U.S. official described it as “wildly overplayed.” — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:05 am: Coronavirus dominates early stage of the Biden-Sanders Democratic debate

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders aimed to project preparedness to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic in a presidential debate Sunday night dominated by a crisis that has upended life and rattled economies around the globe. 

Biden spent time highlighting the coronavirus response plan his campaign released. He also looked to undercut one of Sanders’ core arguments during the crisis: that a universal “Medicare for All” health care plan would equip consumers to afford care for the coronavirus. Sanders, for his part, said: “this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current health care system.” — Jacob Pramuk

9:44 am: United Airlines cuts capacity by 50%

United Airlines is increasing its capacity cuts in April and May to 50% after previously announcing a 20% reduction. Current CEO Oscar Munoz and United’s president, Scott Kirby, who becomes CEO in May, wrote in a letter that in the first two weeks of March, the airline flew one million fewer customers than the same period last year. That was despite March being United’s busiest month of the year. Munoz and Kirby said that the company is currently projecting that revenue for the month will be $1.5 billion lower year-on-year. 

“The bad news is that it’s getting worse. We expect both the number of customers and revenue to decline sharply in the days and weeks ahead,” they wrote. — Phil LeBeau, Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:27 am: South Korea reports 74 new cases, no additional deaths

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional 74 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the country’s total to 8,236. No new deaths were reported, with the total number of fatalities staying at 75. The number of confirmed infections reported each day in South Korea has seen a general downward trend from several weeks ago when the outbreak spread rapidly; more than half of the confirmed cases in South Korea came from the city of Daegu. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:55 am: MGM Resorts temporarily closes Las Vegas properties

MGM Resorts International said it is temporarily suspending operations at its Las Vegas properties until further notice. The move will go into effect on March 17. Casino operations will close a day earlier, followed by hotel operations, according to the company. 

“Despite our commitment to dedicating additional resources for cleaning and promoting good health, while making difficult decisions to close certain aspects of our operations, it is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression,” Jim Murren, chairman and CEO at MGM Resorts, said in a statement. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:36 am: China reports 16 new cases, 14 additional deaths

China’s National Health Commission said as of March 15, there were 16 new confirmed cases; 12 of them were attributed to travelers from overseas, bringing the total number of imported cases to 123. Another 14 people have died, all of them in Hubei province where the infection was first detected. The total number of cases in China stands at 80,860, of which 67,749 were cured and 3,213 people died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:27 am: Wynn Resorts will temporarily close Wynn Las Vegas 

Wynn Resorts said it has decided to temporarily close Wynn Las Vegas and Encore hotels and casinos as part of the company’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It said it has committed to pay all full-time Wynn and Encore employees during the closure, which will be effective Tuesday, March 17 at 6 p.m. local time. The closure is set to stay in effect for at least two weeks. — Contessa Brewer

8:04 am: US futures sink, Australia’s ASX 200 tumbles 5%

U.S. stock futures plunged even after the Federal Reserve announced a massive monetary stimulus campaign to curb slower economic growth in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by more than 1,000 points, which triggered a limit down level. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also at their downside limits. 

In Asia Pacific, the situation appeared mixed: Australia’s ASX 200 fell almost 5% in morning trade. Japan’s Nikkei 225  opened in positive territory, as did South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index. — Fred Imbert, Saheli Roy Choudhury

An operator of Amiat (Multiservice Environmental Hygiene Company Turin) wears a respiratory mask prior to sanitizing streets in Via po, Turin in Italy.

Nicolò Campo | LightRocket | Getty Images

7:40 am: CDC recommends cancellation of events with 50 or more people

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it is urging organizers to cancel or postpone in-person events with 50 people or more in attendance throughout the United States. “Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing,” the CDC said in a statement. “When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.” There are at least 3,244 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. — Dawn Kopecki

7:20 am: Death toll in Italy jumps by more than 360

The number of deaths in Italy jumped by more than 360 from a day earlier, with the country’s health ministry saying a total of 1,809 people have died as of 6 p.m. local time on March 15. The total number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 24,747 and, among them, 2,335 people have recovered. Outside China, Italy remains the worst affected country after seeing a massive spike of infection cases in recent weeks and is in complete lockdown at the moment. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:12 am: LVMH to use perfume and cosmetics factories to produce free hand sanitizer for France

French luxury conglomerate LVMH said factories that produce perfume and makeup for brands like Christian Dior and Givenchy will be making hand sanitizer starting Monday. LVMH will deliver the free disinfectant to French authorities and the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, the largest hospital system in Europe. “Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus,” the company said in a statement, adding it will honor the commitment “for as long as necessary.” — Emma Newburger

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:50 pm:  Trump administration says ‘all options on the table’ including suspension of domestic air travel

The Trump administration is leaving “all options” on the table for further travel restrictions, including an outright suspension of domestic air travel, a senior official said Sunday.

Such a drastic measure hasn’t been instated since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and it would raise questions about U.S. airlines’ chances for survival without government support.

“We continue to look at all options and all options remain on the table,” said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in a press briefing when asked about the possibility. —Leslie Josephs

6:20 pm: California Gov. Newsom shuts down bars, nightclubs, brewpubs to slow the outbreak

California Governor Newsom on Sunday directed all “non-essential” businesses such as “bars, nightclubs, wineries and brewpubs and the like” be closed in the state.

“We believe this is a non-essential function … And we believe this is appropriate under the circumstances.”Newsom stopped short of asking all restaurants in the state to close down as Ohio and Illinois have done.”We have more concerns and considerations … We don’t believe ultimately we need to shut them down,” Newsom said.
Newsom called for restaurants to socially distance patrons within these establishments. “We’re directing we reduce current occupancy by half and require social distancing,” he said.

Newsom also called for the home isolation of all seniors in California as well as those with chronic health conditions. — Riya Bhattacharjee

6:14 pm: Trump says ‘relax,’ urges against hoarding as cases soar and Fed cuts rates to zero

President Donald Trump urged Americans not to hoard food on Sunday during a White House press conference that came just minutes after the Federal Reserve announced new steps to shield the American economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“You don’t have to buy so much,” Trump said. “Take it easy. Relax.”

In brief remarks, Trump cautioned against panic buying and said that food supply chains remained intact. He noted that earlier in the day he had met with executives from consumer and grocery companies including Target, Campbell’s and Costco.

“They have asked me to say, ‘Could you buy a little bit less please.'” Trump said. “I thought I would never hear that from a retailer.” —Tucker Higgins

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Fed slashes rates, New York governor wants Trump to mobilize the military

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs, Riya Bhattacharjee, and Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC

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