Coronavirus live updates: South Korea reports 100 new cases, Singapore imposes limited lockdown measures

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A general view of a normally busy Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore on March 24, 2020.

Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

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

  • Global cases: At least 375,498, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
  • Global deaths: At least 16,362, according to the latest figures from the WHO
  • Top six countries with the highest number of reported cases: China (81,767), Italy (63,927), U.S. (42,164), Spain (33,089), Germany (29,212), Iran (24,811).

All times below are in Beijing time.

12:05 pm: Libya confirms its first case

Libya has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, reported Reuters, citing a statement from the country’s National Centre for Disease Control. 

The statement didn’t give further details on the case, but doctors said the patient was in a hospital in Tripoli, said the report. Local media The Libya Observer, citing medical sources, said the patient is a 73-old man who arrived back in the country from Saudi Arabia via Tunisia around two weeks ago. — Yen Nee Lee

11:30 am: Lockdowns are not a sustainable way to keep virus out, says expert

An increasing number of countries around the world are closing borders and locking down cities to stem the spread of the coronavirus — but such measures are not “sustainable,” said an expert on infectious disease epidemiology.

Countries that implemented lockdowns — both full and partial — include the U.K., Italy and China. Others such as Singapore chose stricter social distancing measures such as shutting entertainment outlets, but kept schools open. (See 9:00 am update)

“The idea of a lockdown is really an emergency measure to bring the numbers down as quickly as possible, the number of new cases, but it’s not a sustainable way to keep the coronavirus out,” said Ben Cowling, a professor at The University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.

“I think they’ll be in place for a few weeks and then once the numbers come down, they can switch to a more sustainable approach: Maybe doing more testing, and then when we find cases, isolating them, and also having some social distancing but not too extreme,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

In the case of China, where economic activity is gradually resuming, Cowling said cases of the coronavirus could still rebound now that the number of imported cases has risen. — Yen Nee Lee

11:00 am: New Zealand set for complete lockdown for a month, Australia warns surging cases could overwhelm its hospitals

New Zealand declared a state of emergency and prepared to go into complete lockdown starting at midnight for a month, according to Reuters. People are encouraged to self-isolate as all non-essential services close.

Over in neighboring Australia, officials warned that the surging number of cases could start overwhelming the country’s intensive care units, according to Reuters. Australia announced new restrictions late Tuesday which limit the number of people at weddings to five and capped funeral attendance at 10. More non-essential businesses will also be shut. — Weizhen Tan

10:00 am: Google gives temps 60-day contract extensions

Google’s temporary staff whose contracts were supposed to end during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, will now be extended an additional 60 days, CNBC has learned.

The company said contractors who had assignments scheduled to end during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will be automatically extended two months, according to an internal document viewed by CNBC. This also includes assignments that have reached their maximum length, “where legally allowed,” the document stated. — Jennifer Elias

9:45 am: South Korea reports 100 new cases, 6 deaths

The number of new cases in South Korea jumped by 100 as of Wednesday morning, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It reported six new deaths.

That brings the country’s total to 9,137 confirmed cases, and 126 fatalities. — Weizhen Tan

9:00 am: Singapore shuts bars and entertainment venues, orders malls to reduce crowds

Singapore announced more lockdown measures on Tuesday night — its most stringent so far. Bars, clubs, cinemas and other entertainment outlets will be shut from Thursday till Apr. 30. The government also ordered malls and restaurants to reduce crowds if they were to stay open. 

The city-state also suspended all religious services. Despite being one of the earliest countries to report the outbreak, Singapore has not imposed a full shutdown, with schools, offices and shops staying open.

The number of cases in the city-state started climbing last week as compared to earlier in March and February — most of the new cases were imported. It had 558 cases as of Tuesday. — Weizhen Tan

8:45 am: California receives personal protective equipment from Asia

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Virgin Atlantic Founder Sir Richard Branson brought a significant amount of personal protective equipment from Asia aboard a Boeing 747 aircraft to Oakland, California. 

“It’s another example and indication of people who are stepping up in significant ways,” Newsom said. Newsom has ordered a lockdown for the state’s 40 million residents, asking them to stay at home. Cases in the US now total 53,660, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Newsom also announced that the U.S.S. Mercy hospital ship is set to arrive in Los Angeles on Friday and will be available to begin taking on patients as soon as this weekend. — Salvador Rodriguez 

8:05 am: China reports 47 new cases, 4 additional deaths

China’s National Health Commission reported 47 new confirmed cases as of March 24. It said all new cases were all imported, meaning they traveled from overseas. There were also four more deaths.

The NHC reported that there were no new cases in Hubei province — the epicenter of the outbreak, but three of the deaths were in the province.

That brings China’s total to 81,218 confirmed cases, and 3,281 fatalities. The total number of imported cases was 474, according to the NHC.  — Weizhen Tan

7:50 am: Asia markets set to jump as US shares soar

Stocks in Australia surged 6% in early trade, while Japan markets were also set to jump. That followed giant gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 11% to its best one-day percentage gain in 87 years, and the S&P 500 rallied 9.4% to 2,447.33 for its best day since October 2008.

Investor optimism has risen with U.S. lawmakers closing in on a massive fiscal stimulus bill worth $2 trillion to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. — Weizhen Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:02 pm: Trump approval rating rises as he responds to the coronavirus outbreak

Crises are often the ticket to higher approval ratings for politicians, and President Donald Trump, it appears, is no exception.

During an election year, any bump could have significant ramifications.

In the latest Gallup poll, released Tuesday, Trump’s approval rating hit 49%, matching his best performance in the poll.

Earlier this month, Trump’s approval rating was at 44%, according to Gallup. The 5-point boost comes amid the president’s near-daily participation in coronavirus task force briefings and series of moves to combat the pandemic in the United States. —Yelena Dzhanova

6:23 pm: White House official tells anyone who has left NYC that they should self-quarantine

Members of the White House coronavirus task force urged those leaving New York City to self-quarantine for 14-days in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 during a press briefing on Tuesday. 

Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, and Anthony Fauci, another task force member and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the precaution was necessary given the high rate of infections in the nation’s most populous city. —Tucker Higgins

5:15 pm: Los Angeles health officials say a child under 18 has died from the coronavirus

A child under 18 has died from the coronavirus in California, Los Angeles County health officials announced Tuesday.

“Tragically, one of the people who died was a person under the age of 18, a devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, said at a news briefing.

The patient was from Lancaster, California, the county’s health department said in a press release. Ferrer did not provide more details such as the precise age of the patient or whether they had underlying health conditions. Representatives from the health department weren’t immediately available for further comment. —Will Feuer

2:50 pm: US cases surged tenfold in a week to 50,000

In the U.S., the virus has infected more than 50,206 people as of 2:15 p.m. EDT and killed at least 600 people, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York state, which has 25,665 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, accounts for nearly half of all cases in the U.S. 

Confirmed U.S. cases passed 5,000 just one week ago. On March 1, there were roughly 100 confirmed cases in the U.S. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: US coronavirus cases top 53,000, Universal Resort extends closure.

Source: CNBC

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