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WHO says coming weeks are ‘critical’ as Europe’s cases near 1 million

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  • Global cases: More than 2 million
  • Global deaths: At least 134,178
  • Most cases reported: United States (636,350), Spain (177,644), Italy (165,155), Germany (134,753), and France (134,582). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:19 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

Table of Contents

7:03 pm: UK set to extend lockdown for three more weeks

Dominic Raab, who is deputizing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he is recovering from a serious case of Covid-19, is meeting government ministers Thursday, and is chairing a meeting of its emergency response committee.

It’s widely expected that the country’s lockdown will be extended for three weeks, amid stark warnings that the U.K. could end up being the worst hit country from the coronavirus in Europe.

The U.K.’s top medical expert stated Wednesday that the country is probably seeing its peak of the virus (the death toll currently stands at 12,868 in British hospitals, with 761 daily deaths reported Wednesday), but it is too early to consider lifting lockdown measures that have been in place since March 23. — Holly Ellyatt

An empty Westminster Bridge is pictured in front of Britain’s Houses of Parliament in central London on April 13, 2020, as life in Britain continues over the Easter weekend, during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. –


6:35 pm: Spain’s daily death toll rises slightly

The number of daily deaths in Spain has risen slightly, according to health ministry data Thursday.

In the past day, 551 people have died from the coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 19,130. The daily death toll on Wednesday was 523.

The overall number of infections now stands at 182,816, the ministry said, 5,183 more cases than yesterday. — Holly Ellyatt

5:40 pm: WHO says coming weeks are ‘critical’ as Europe’s cases near 1 million

The World Health Organization’s European regional director said Thursday that in the past 10 days, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe has doubled to reach almost 1 million.

WHO’s Hans Kluge told reporters in an online briefing, reported by Reuters, that this meant that about 50{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} of the global burden of Covid-19 was in Europe, where he said more than 84,000 have died from the virus.

“The storm clouds of this pandemic still hang heavily over the European region,” Kluge said. Commenting on the gradual lifting of restrictions on public life, Kluge said “there is no fast track back to normal.” — Holly Ellyatt

A priest wearing a face mask checks a book of funeral rites as he gives the last blessing to a deceased person, by a coffin during a funeral ceremony outside the cemetery of Bolgare, Lombardy, on March 23, 2020 during the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic.


4:30 pm: Dutch study suggests 3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} of population may have coronavirus antibodies

A study of Dutch blood donors has found that around 3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} have developed antibodies against Covid-19, health authorities said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The findings give an indication of what percentage of the Dutch population may have already had the disease.

The head of the National Institute for Health disclosed the results during a debate with parliament.

“This study shows that about 3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} of Dutch people have developed antibodies against the coronavirus,” Jaap van Dissel said, the news agency reported. “You can calculate from that, it’s several hundred thousand people,” in a country of 17 million. — Holly Ellyatt

4:15 pm: Governments and Big Tech are looking to curb the spread of coronavirus with your smartphone

4:02 pm: Russia reports new record daily rise in coronavirus cases

Russia reported 3,448 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, up from 3,388 the day before. The total number of reported cases has reached 27,938, the government’s crisis response center said.

The center said 34 people have died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 232. — Holly Ellyatt

3:45 pm: The coronavirus crisis could pave the way to universal basic income

The coronavirus crisis has revitalized calls for a universal basic income, with even the Pope suggesting that now may be the time to consider giving everyone free money.

The Covid-19 outbreak has meant countries across the globe have effectively had to shut down, with many governments imposing draconian measures on the lives of billions of people. — Sam Meredith

3:30 pm: UK health minister says ‘too early’ to end lockdown

U.K. Health Minister Matt Hancock said it’s “too early” to end lockdown measures in the country although the outbreak is starting to peak, according to Reuters.

If the lockdown is lifted, the virus would “run rampant once again,” he said, according to the report. “We think it is too early to make a change,” he said.

The U.K. reported 4,605 new cases as of 9 a.m. local time on April 15, to a total of 98,476 cases. It had an additional 761 deaths, making it 12,868 fatalities overall, according to the latest data from the country’s health ministry. — Weizhen Tan

2:45 pm: French sailors hospitalized as virus cases break out on French aircraft carrier

Following a large outbreak of coronavirus on a French aircraft carrier, about 20 French sailors have been hospitalized, according to a Reuters report.

The French armed forces ministry said at least 668 out of the 1,767 marines on the Charles de Gaulle carrier have tested positive for the virus, the report said. The carrier had sailed for the eastern Mediterranean on Jan. 21 to support French military operations in Iraq and Syria. It participated in exercises with navies from northern Europe before returning to France earlier than planned after crew members showed symptoms. — Weizhen Tan

French navy soldiers stand on the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on April 12, 2020, as it arrives in the southern French port of Toulon with sailors onboard infected with coronavirus.


2:20 pm: Number of new cases in Germany jump by more than 2,800

The number of new confirmed cases in Germany jumped by 2,866 to a total of 130,450, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

The number of additional fatalities rose by 315 to a total of 3,569. — Weizhen Tan

1:10 pm: Australia PM outlines three goals to be met before easing social restrictions

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined three goals that his government will try to achieve in the next four weeks before it can begin to consider easing social restrictions in the country.

First goal is to have a more extensive testing regime that moves beyond patients who show symptoms of Covid-19. That would give Australia more confidence in identifying and responding to outbreaks quickly when restrictions are eased, Morrison said at a press conference following a national cabinet meeting on the coronavirus outbreak. 

“The second part of that is ensuring we have an even greater tracing capability than we have now,” the prime minister said, commending the states for their contact tracing efforts. “We need to lift that to an industrial capability. We need to do that using technology and we need to do that as soon as we possibly can.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reacts during a division for amendment to the Coronavirus Economic Response Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on April 08, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

Sam Mooy | Getty Images

The final goal is to develop a local response capability that can respond to localized outbreaks around the country as fast as possible to stop transmission. 

“If you’re going to move to an environment where there are fewer restrictions, then you need these three things in place,” Morrison said. “The national cabinet agreed today that we will use the next four weeks to ensure that we can get these in place.”

Social restriction measures will remain in place until those goals are achieved, he said. Australia has 6,440 confirmed cases of infection and 63 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

11:45 am: Grab CEO says he anticipates transport business to bounce back once people start commuting again

Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant Grab saw its transport GMV fall by a double-digit percentage in some countries, CEO Anthony Tan told CNBC’s Nancy Hungerford in an interview. 

GMV is a commonly tracked metric by internet companies that measures the total value of sales for goods and services sold on their platforms.

Tan said the company’s diversified business model, which includes food and grocery delivery, has helped it weather some of the impact brought about by the pandemic.

The company has adjusted to the environment by scaling up other business segments to meet demand spikes, and moving its supplies around to ensure drivers on its platform can still have income opportunities, he said.

The uptick in Grab’s delivery services has not completely offset the impact on the transport business, according to Tan.

“Looking ahead, though, I know that transport is a mass-market essential service, so we anticipate it will recover strongly once people start commuting again post lockdown,” he added. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

11:06 am: South Korea’s ruling party wins landslide victory in election

South Korea’s ruling party won a landslide victory in the parliamentary election, providing fresh momentum to President Moon Jae-in’s policy agenda for the remainder of his tenure, Yonhap News reported.

Moon has two more years in office and the election was seen as a referendum on his presidency as he handled several challenges including an economic slowdown and the current pandemic, Yonhap said. 

Polls were held in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea. Total confirmed cases of infection stood at 10,613 and 229 people have died so far, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent daily reports appear to suggest the virus’ spread has been brought under control. 

On Thursday, KCDC said there 22 additional cases of infection and four more people died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:29 am: IMF says growth in Asia expected to stall at zero percent in 2020

The International Monetary Fund said in it expects growth in Asia to stall at zero percent in 2020.

“This is the worst growth performance in almost 60 years, including during the Global Financial Crisis (4.7 percent) and the Asian Financial Crisis (1.3 percent),” Chang Yong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific department, wrote in a blog post.

However, he added that Asia still looks to fare better than other regions in terms of economic activity.

Rhee said downward revisions are substantial, ranging from 3.5 percentage points in the case of South Korea, to over 9 percentage points in the case of Australia, Thailand and New Zealand. The latter three countries have been hit by the global tourism slowdown while Australia has also been affected by lower commodity prices.

China is projected to decline from 6.1{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} in 2019 to 1.2{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} in 2020. Overall, IMF expects the global economy to contract in 2020 by 3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, describing it as “the worst recession since the Great Depression.” — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:10 am: Icelandic doctor says the country’s strategy to track spread of coronavirus can be used in the US

Iceland’s strategy to track the spread of the coronavirus can be used in the U.S., deCODE Genetics CEO Kari Stefansson told CNBC on Wednesday.

Stefansson, whose Reykjavík-based biopharmaceutical company is known for its work analyzing the human genome, noted the obvious size differences between the U.S. and Iceland.

For starters, the U.S. has about 330 million people while Iceland has just about 347,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Iceland’s ability to test around 10{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} of its population and deploy robust contact tracing when someone is diagnosed with Covid-19 should not be seen as something only small countries can do, Stefansson said in an interview with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell. — Kevin Stankiewicz

8:55 am: China reports 46 additional cases, says most of them ‘imported’

China’s National Health Commission said there were 46 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, of which 34 were attributed to travelers from overseas. It also said that there had been no additional deaths.

The NHC also reported 64 new asymptomatic cases, whereby people tested positive for the virus but did not show any of the usual symptoms associated with the illness. 

Since the outbreak was first reported late last year in the Hubei province, China said it has had 82,341 cases and 3,342 deaths. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:50 am: Vietnamese airlines to resume flight after virus lockdown eases

VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines will resume some domestic flights starting Thursday after the government eased a 15-day lockdown for some parts of the country, Reuters reported. 

Vietnam’s government extended a two-week period of social distancing for 12 provinces, including the capital Hanoi, and the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, according to the news wire. But, the restrictions were said to have been lifted for most rural areas. 

The Southeast Asian country has 267 reported cases of infection and no deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:11 am: Singapore reports record 447 new cases

Singapore’s health ministry reported a record 447 new cases of Covid-19 infection as of April 15, noon local time.

In the last three days, Singapore reported a sharp uptick in infection with 1,167 confirmed cases. 

Most of the new cases were 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 order to support their families back home. 

Foreign workers are seen in a dormitory at Cochrane Lodge 2, which has been gazetted as an isolation area to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Singapore on April 14, 2020.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

There have been 3,699 cases confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak; 652 patients have been discharged from hospitals and community isolation facilities and 10 people in Singapore have succumbed to the illness. — Saheli Roy Choudhury, Ted Kemp

8:06 am: Global coronavirus cases top 2 million

The total number of infections worldwide has risen to 2,056,055 and at least 134,178 people have died from the disease, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Hopkins data showed the coronavirus has infected more than 636,300 patients in the United States.

Spain, Italy, France, and Germany have each reported more than 134,000 cases each. Cases in the United Kingdom climbed to over 99,400, according to Hopkins, and more than 12,800 people have died.  Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:30 pm: LA mayor says large gatherings likely banned for the rest of the year

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday large gathering such as concerts and sporting events likely won’t resume until 2021. “It’s difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year,” Garcetti said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. 

“Until there’s either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention, or herd immunity, the science is the science. He added that public health officials made clear it has “miles and miles to walk before we can be back in those environments.” — Jennifer Elias

7:02 pm: Apple and Google have an ambitious plan to help officials track the virus

6:37 pm: Trump says US has ‘passed the peak’ of outbreak

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Stefani Reynolds | CNP | Bloomberg via Getty Images

“While we must remain vigilant, it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working,” Trump said at a news briefing with the White House coronavirus task force. “The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases.”

Trump said new cases are “declining” in New York, which has more confirmed cases than any country outside the U.S. He added that cases are “flat” in Denver and Detroit, while other cities including Baltimore and Philadelphia “are showing great signs of success.” — Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: United Airlines expects $5 billion in aid, US cases top 630,000

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