Germany’s Merkel says most people will get COVID-19, Italy hikes outbreak spending

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This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern daylight time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 119,476, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 4,291, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 1,039, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 29, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

7:58 am: Germany’s Merkel says most people will get infected

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speeches during her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) at Meseberg governmental house August 18, 2018 in Gransee, Germany.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images

Up to 70% of the population is likely to be infected with the coronavirus that is currently spreading around the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that since there was currently no cure the focus had to be on slowing its spread.

“When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60% to 70% of the population will be infected,” she told a news conference in Berlin. “The process has to be focused on not overburdening the health system by slowing the virus’s spread… It’s about winning time.”

Those remarks come as local authorities in Germany reported the third death in the country of a COVID-19 patient. Germany has at least 1,613 cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. —Reuters

7:12 am: Iran reports 63 new deaths

Iran’s death toll reached 354, a rise of 63 in the past 24 hours, a health ministry spokesman said. COVID-19 has infected around 9,000 across the country, Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, calling on people to avoid unnecessary trips and stay at home. —Reuters

7:08 am: US cases surpass 1,000, up ten-fold from a week ago

A woman visits Times Square as she wears a face mask on March 8, 2020 in New York City.

Kena Betancur | Getty Images

COVID-19 cases surpassed 1,000 in the United States overnight as the new flu-like coronavirus sweeps across the country. The virus is now present in at least 35 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half of all U.S. cases are in Washington state, California and New York, where the governors have all declared states of emergency to free up funding for communities battling outbreaks. There were just over 100 confirmed cases in the U.S. on March 4, according to the World Health Organization. —Feuer

6:37 am: Italy hikes response spending to $28 billion, says further restrictions could come

An employee of the municipal company Veritas sprays disinfectant in public areas at the Rialto Bridge in Venice on March 11, 2020.

MARCO SABADIN

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the government will set even more money aside to tackle the outbreak, raising it to 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) — up from 7.5 billion euros announced last week. More than 10,000 people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus in Italy as a national lockdown remains in place, with even tougher measures being considered. Italy now has 10,149 confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University and Italy’s Civil Protection agency, and 631 deaths from the virus, up 168 from Monday.

6:14 am: Beijing city tightens travel restrictions for all inbound travelers

A Chinese woman slides steam buns down a ramp used to prevent touching and contact as the customer takes his order at a local take out on February 19, 2020 in Beijing, China.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

China’s capital city said all travelers from overseas must self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel, regardless of whether their country of origin has been hit seriously by COVID-19. Previously, the municipal authorities said the quarantine only applied to travelers from high-risk countries. The policy change came after the city reported Tuesday that all six new confirmed new coronavirus cases were from people returning from abroad, five from Italy and one from the U.S. —Wu

6:07 am: IHS Markit lowers global growth forecasts

Economic research firm IHS Markit estimates that global growth in 2020 will be 1.7%, compared with 2.5% in its February forecast, and 2.7% in 2021 compared with an earlier forecast of 2.8%.

“While the U.S. economy will be hurt by the effects of the virus, we believe that the momentum of the economy is strong enough to avoid a recession,” its chief economists said Wednesday. “Europe is likely to be harder hit, with Germany and Italy in or near recession before the epidemic. This could well drag the rest of the euro zone into recession.” —Ellyatt

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