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Spain reports uptick in daily coronavirus deaths; Australia plans reopening in 3 stages

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  • Global cases: More than 3.8 million
  • Global deaths: More than 269,000
  • Most cases reported: United States (1,256,972), Spain (221,447), Italy (215,858), United Kingdom (207,977), and Russia (177,160). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 2:32 p.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

Table of Contents

6:48 pm: Spain reports uptick in daily deaths

RT: Mortuary workers wearing protective gear are seen at the San Juan de la Cruz funeral home, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Segovia, Spain, April 23, 2020.

Susana Vera | REUTERS

Spain recorded a slight uptick in daily coronavirus deaths, according to a report from Reuters. 

The country saw 229 new deaths related to Covid-19, up from 213 the day before. That brings the national death toll to 26,299, with total confirmed cases of the virus totaling 222,857. —Sara Salinas

5:40 pm: German spy agency doubts ‘China lab’ accusations

4:30 pm: German exports dived 11.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} in March 

Exports out of Germany fell by 11.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} month-over-month in March — the steepest decline since records for the data first started in 1990, reported Reuters. 

Imports into Europe’s largest economy dropped 5.1{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} in March compared to the previous month, said the report, which cited the country’s Federal Statistics Office. 

Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to fall by 5{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and imports to decline by 4{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, according to the report. 

The pandemic has reduced demand for goods globally as businesses and consumers cut spending. Trade-dependent countries such as Germany would be among those hardest hit, with the German government expecting the economy to shrink by 6.3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} this year, reported Reuters. — Yen Nee Lee

3:55 pm: Russia reports over 10,000 new cases for the sixth straight day 

Russia’s coronavirus crisis response center said there were 10,699 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking the country’s tally to 187,859, reported Reuters. 

That’s the sixth straight day that the country has reported more than 10,000 new cases, the report said. Russia now has one of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases globally.

The country also reported 98 additional fatalities relating to the coronavirus disease, bringing its death toll to 1,723 since the outbreak, according to the report. — Yen Nee Lee

A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus at the Red Square in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia on March 25, 2020.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

3:30 pm: South Korea investigates growing outbreak in night clubs as country reopens

South Korean health authorities are tracking a growing outbreak linked to a number of night clubs, as the country started to reopen this week, according to Reuters.

Authorities said that at least 15 cases have been traced to clubs in the neighborhood of Itaewon, and they are tracking a list of 1,500 people who have gone to the clubs, according to the report.

The country further relaxed social distancing rules on Wednesday, with businesses re-opening gradually. It also allowed gatherings and events to take place as long as people follow disinfection guidelines. — Weizhen Tan

3:10 pm: Singapore preliminarily reports 768 new cases 

Singapore’s coronavirus cases increased by 768 to a total of 21,707, according to its health ministry’s preliminary update. 

Most of the new cases detected were migrant workers living in dormitories, said the ministry. Those workers, mostly men from other Asian countries, have accounted for close to 90{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} of Singapore’s total Covid-19 cases so far, according to official data.

Singapore, which has seen a surge in cases due to those infections among the migrant workers, now has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia. — Weizhen Tan

2:10 pm: Australia to ease restrictions in three-step process

Australia will ease restrictions in a three-stage process, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, according to Reuters.

In the first stage, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen — with a maximum of 10 customers at any one time. If no major outbreaks happen after that, stage two can kick in, where gyms and cinemas can re-open with a maximum of 20 customers at a time, the report said.

The third stage would permit gatherings of up to 100 people and also allow employees to return to offices. Domestic travel would also be permitted, according to Reuters. — Weizhen Tan

Swimmers return to Bondi beach on April 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

Brook Mitchell | Getty Images

1:40 pm: Countries in the Middle East are easing coronavirus restrictions. Here’s what experts have to say

The Covid-19 situation in the Middle East is likely to remain under control despite the easing of restrictions in recent weeks, as long as strict social distancing and sanitation measures continue to be enforced, experts told CNBC.

Countries across the Gulf have lifted lockdowns and reopened businesses, a decision that appears to be motivated by both the  Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the desire to restart economic activity.

“If isolation of foreign workers works well and if the population respects social distancing and safe measures, I do not think that lifting restrictions will lead to an increase in cases,” said Cédomir Nestorvic, a professor of geopolitics and Islamic business at ESSEC Business School. Migrant workers have been hit hard by the health crisis in the region. —Abigail Ng

12:30 pm: Germany reports 1,209 new cases, 147 additional deaths

Germany’s total coronavirus cases jumped by 1,209 to 167,200, 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 147 to 7,266, the data showed. —Yen Nee Lee

12:05 pm: As US-China rivalry heightens, the pandemic could tilt global power in Beijing’s favor

The coronavirus pandemic will increase the already bad rivalry between the U.S. and China. Beijing is likely to use the crisis as an opportunity to raise its profile and expand its influence particularly over countries hard-hit by the pandemic, analysts say.

Both countries are squabbling on a few fronts, including the true extent and origin of the coronavirus outbreak.
China has been blamed by not just the U.S., but also the U.K. and Australia for its initial response to the outbreak, which was criticized as slow and non-transparent.

But that won’t stop the Asian giant from extending itself globally. —Weizhen Tan

11:00 am: Singapore’s second-largest bank reports 43{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} plunge in first-quarter net profit

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Singapore’s second-largest lender, announced a 43{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} year-over-year drop in first-quarter net profit to 698 million Singapore dollars ($494.6 million) — well below Refinitiv’s average estimate of 941 million Singapore dollars ($666.7 million).

The bank, like its Singaporean and overseas peers, set aside money for potential loan losses that could come as the coronavirus pandemic hits economies globally. OCBC increased its loan loss provisions to 657 million Singapore dollars ($465.5 million) from 249 million Singapore dollars ($176.4 million) a year ago. 

Singapore, a wealthy Southeast Asian country, is expected to register its worst economic recession in history this year. Its central bank warned last month that the trade-dependent economy could perform worse than the official forecast for an economic contraction of between 1{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and 4{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. —Yen Nee Lee

10:05 am: International tourist arrivals could fall by 60{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} to 80{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} this year

The pandemic has led to a 22{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} year-over-year drop in total international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest forecast by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. That number could accelerate to 60{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} to 80{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} for the whole of 2020, the UNWTO said in a report released on Thursday.

March was the worst hit month in the first quarter, with tourist arrivals declining 57{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} as many countries started to implement measures — including closing down borders and airports — to contain the virus spread, said the report.

The agency outlined three possible scenarios on how the pandemic would affect international travel in the coming months:

  • Gradual opening of international borders and easing of travel restrictions in early July would result in tourist arrivals falling by 58{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} in 2020 compared to a year ago;
  • If the opening of international borders and lifting of travel restrictions start in early September, decline in tourism would hit 70{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f};
  • If border closures and travel restrictions are eased in early December, tourist arrivals would plunge 78{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} year-over-year. —Yen Nee Lee

9:30 am: Mexico reports highest daily death toll so far at 257

Mexico on Thursday reported 1,982 new cases of the coronavirus and 257 deaths — the highest daily death toll for the country so far, Reuters reported.

That takes the total number of infected people to 29,616 and the death toll to 2,961.

The Mexican government has said the actual number of infections is significantly higher than the reported cases. —Huileng Tan

9:10 am: China reports 1 new case, no deaths

China reported one new coronavirus case and no deaths for Thursday. It did not report any imported cases from travelers.

That brought the total number of infected people to 82,886, said the country’s National Health Commission. The death toll remained at 4,633.

The NHC also said there were 16 new asymptomatic cases on Thursday, where patients do not display symptoms of the disease. —Huileng Tan

8:55 am: China reviews Labor Day holiday containment measures

The Chinese government is reviewing “proven effective practices” for containing the coronavirus and will issue guidelines to local governments for the resumption of regular activities, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was released after a Thursday meeting chaired by premier Li Keqiang.

Measures taken during the Labor Day holidays from May 1-5 will be reviewed. During the break, China recorded 115 million tourist trips domestically.

A task force will be issuing revised guidelines to local governments. “Better focused containment routines will in turn make it easier to open more consumer services facilities to spur consumer spending and more effectively bring life and work back to normal,” said the press release.

Authorities will also facilitate the reopening of schools and the reusmption of production and consumer services, it added. —Huileng Tan

8:30 am: An escalation in US-China tensions is ‘the last thing’ anyone needs, says JPMorgan

A reignition in U.S.-China trade tensions would be the “the last thing” anyone needs when the world is already reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said JPMorgan Asset Management’s Alexander Treves.

Treves comments came as Washington and Beijing dialed up the rhetoric in recent days, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that there was “a significant amount of evidence” suggesting that the virus came from a state laboratory in Wuhan, China where cases first emerged late last year.

China has vehemently rejected claims that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Most experts believe that the virus likely originated in a wet market in Wuhan and was then transmitted to humans via bats, or pangolins. —Eustance Huang

7:45 am: April’s record US job losses expected to exceed 20 million due to virus shutdowns  

The April employment report is expected to show that a record 21.5 million jobs were lost as the U.S. shut down to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

According to Dow Jones, the unemployment rate is expected to climb to 16{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, the highest since 1939.

Economists expect a high concentration of job losses will be centered in the leisure and hospitality sectors and retail because those establishments were completely shut down. But they also see the losses extending more broadly into manufacturing and construction.

“This is the biggest and most acute shock we’ve seen in post-war history. It’s a dramatic loss of output in a very short period of time,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America. —Patti Domm

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: San Francisco targets May 18 for some businesses to resume as California unveils reopening guidelines

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