Marseille cruise tests passengers, US airlines slash flights

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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 time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 114,578, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 4,028, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 755, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 26, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

9:15 am: Harvard shifts to online courses

Harvard University is pushing all of its classes online in an attempt to prevent the coronavirus from infecting its campus, according to an email from University President Lawrence Bacow. Harvard has also asked students not to return from spring break, which officially begins March 14, and now strongly discourages group gatherings of more than 25 people. —Russo

9:06 am: La Liga moves matches behind closed doors

Spanish soccer league La Liga announced it will play matches behind closes doors for at least two weeks starting Tuesday. 

“LaLiga will continue to be in permanent contact with the Ministry of Health and the CSD to follow its recommendations and/or decisions, prioritizing the health of fans, players, club employees, journalists, etc., due to the COVID-19 health crisis,” the organization said in an English statement. “For several weeks, LaLiga has been working on alternative plans in coordination with UEFA in case health authorities decide to suspend any match, creating a plan to play these matches.” 

The league is home to international powerhouse teams like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid C.F. The move follows similar measures by soccer leagues in France and Italy. —Salinas 

9:02 am: Austria bans indoor events of more than 100 people

Austria is banning indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events of more than 500 in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said.

The measure is part of a package that also includes denying entry to people arriving from Italy with only a few exceptions. The measures were announced by Nehammer and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at a joint news conference. —Reuters

8:54 am: Apple employee in Ireland tests positive in first confirmed case at company

An Apple employee in the company’s Cork, Ireland office has tested positive for coronavirus, Apple said. It’s the first known infection of one of Apple’s employees.

“One of our employees in Cork has been confirmed to have Covid-19,” Apple told CNBC. “We are closely coordinating with the local health authorities who feel the risk to others is low, and the individual remains in self-isolation. As a precaution, we have asked some of our team members to stay at home while we work with the Health and Safety Executive to assess the situation. We are continuing to regularly deep clean all our offices and stores and will take all necessary precautions in accordance with guidance from health authorities.” —Haselton

8:52 am: Osaka reports 18 new coronavirus cases, including from music venues

Japan’s Osaka prefecture on Tuesday reported 18 new cases of coronavirus infections including multiple cases linked to live music venues that have been identified as hot spots in the prefecture, public broadcaster NHK said.

As of Monday, all but six of Osaka’s 55 infections have been linked to one or several of four small “live houses” in Osaka city. —Reuters

8:45 am: Johns Hopkins doctor: ‘What happened in Wuhan could happen here’

The coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. could be as severe as it was in Wuhan, China, Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Marty Makary told CNBC on Tuesday. “What happened in Wuhan could happen here. Why do we think otherwise?” he said on “Squawk Box.” “The American immune system is not stronger than the Chinese immune system.” —Stankiewicz

8:44 am: Two passengers tested for suspected coronavirus on Marseille cruise ship

The Aidasol cruise ship of the German cruise company Aida is docked off the coast of Marseille, southern France, on March 10, 2020 after two passengers suspected to be infected by the COVID-19 have been found on board.

Gerard Julien | AFP | Getty Images

Two cruise ship passengers were being tested for the coronavirus in the French Mediterranean city of Marseille after they fell ill with flu-like symptoms, the local health authority said.

The remaining passengers were being kept on board the German-owned AIDAsol, which was being held off the city’s shores, Marseille port officials said. The 253-metre long AIDAsol is operated by AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., and can carry more than 2,000 passengers.

It arrived in Marseille from Spain. The vessel tracking website MarineTraffic showed it anchored about 3 km outside the port of Marseille. —Reuters

8:19 am: Delta makes deep flight cuts as coronavirus hurts demand, CEO expects it to get worse

A Delta flight arrives at LAX Terminal 2.

Al Seib | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that it will make deep cuts throughout its network to cut costs as coronavirus drives down demand for air travel. The carrier’s announcement follows similar measures taken by American, United, and JetBlue.

The Atlanta-based carrier said it is reducing its international flying by as much as 25% and domestic capacity between 10% and 15%, among some of the deepest cuts announced in the U.S. so far.

Demand has dropped sharply in the past few days as more cases of coronavirus have been reported in the U.S. and booking trends will likely worsen, CEO Ed Bastian said at a J.P. Morgan industry conference. —Josephs

8:13 am: White House plan for economic response to coronavirus is ‘not there right now,’ officials say

The White House is far from ready to roll out specific economic proposals in its response to the widening impact of the coronavirus outbreak, administration officials said. The revelation comes as U.S. stock futures pointed toward a rebound at the open Tuesday following President Donald Trump’s suggestion Monday night that a payroll tax cut and other stimulus measures may be in the works.

However, inside the administration, some officials were stunned by Trump’s claim that he would hold a press conference Tuesday to announce an economic plan as the actual details remain up in the air. “That was news to everyone on the inside,” one official said. The actual details of any plan remain up in the air. “It’s not there right now,” an official said. “A lot of details need to be worked out.”

There is a virus press conference scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET. It’s possible the White House will have more details on the economic proposals Trump mentioned Monday, but anything involving federal spending or taxes will require congressional action, so it will not be immediate. —Javers, Calia

7:51 am: American Airlines to slash flights as demand falls

American Airlines is slashing international and domestic flights as demand falls amid the coronavirus epidemic, the carrier said Tuesday. The move follows similar measures announced last week by JetBlue and United.

U.S. carriers had previously reduced flying to China, where the virus was first detected, and elsewhere in Asia, but its rapid spread has hurt demand for flying more broadly, prompting deeper and more generalized cuts. American said it will shave 10% off its peak summer international flying, one of the clearest signs yet that airline executives expect the coronavirus’ impact on the business to last longer than expected. —Josephs

7:41 am: Olive Garden parent Darden to provide paid sick leave to its hourly workers

Darden Restaurants said it is providing paid sick leave for hourly workers across all of its chains, which include Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse. Employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 worked, and the pay rate will be based on the worker’s 13-week average.

The company said it has been working on the policy for a while, but sped up the process due to the outbreak. Popular Information, a politics-focused newsletter, recently reported on Darden’s lack of paid sick leave, which is common in the restaurant industry but could deter ill employees from calling out sick. —Lucas

7:20 am: Stock futures set to pop as Trump eyes payroll tax cut

A man wears a mask on Wall St. near the New York Stock Exchange, March 3, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Stock futures rallied back after the S&P 500′s worst day since the 2008 financial crisis as investors cheered potential stimulative measures to stem the economic downturn from the coronavirus. Around 7 a.m. ET Tuesday, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated an opening surge of about 1,000 points on Tuesday. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to a sharply higher open.

President Donald Trump on Monday floated the idea of “a payroll tax cut or relief” to offset the negative impact from COVID-19. The potential tax incentives come on top of an $8.3 billion spending package Trump signed last month. —Imbert

7:15 am: Deaths climb in Iran

Iran’s death toll climbed by 54 to 291 total, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said. That’s an 18% increase in death from the day before. The virus has infected at least 8,040 people across the country, he said, which is the hardest-hit country in the Middle East by the virus. —Feuer

6:44 am: Virus slows return of poor Chinese migrant workers to their jobs

It’s taking longer for Chinese migrant workers this year to return to their jobs in larger cities, as the virus outbreak has restricted travel throughout the country. As of March 5, the number of migrant workers from poor households was 14.2 million, 52% of what it was last year, Su Guoxia, spokeswoman of the State Council’s Poverty Alleviation Office, said Tuesday at a press conference.

“Not only have they left later, but there’s not as many as last year,” she said, according to a CNBC translation of her Mandarin-language remarks. She also noted that spring plowing has been affected, while blocks in logistics channels have prevented the flow of agricultural products, directly affecting the income of poor households.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced 2020 is the year China will eliminate poverty. As of the end of last year, 5.51 million people still lived in poverty, according to official figures. Su said Tuesday that the start of some poverty alleviation programs have been delayed, and only about a third have begun work. —Cheng

6:16 am: Wuhan city closes all makeshift hospitals

Government workers walk out of Jianghan Fangcang temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients, which is being shut down, in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Monday, March 09, 2020. As the number of patients drops, the city has begun closing the temporary hospitals built to treat patients with the coronavirus.

Feature China | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

The last of the 14 makeshift hospitals in Wuhan city, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, discharged its final patient on Tuesday afternoon, according to state media. The city had opened the makeshift, or “cabin” hospitals, on Feb. 5 and these re-purposed venues have treated more than 12,000 people with mild cases of the virus, according to CCTV. Last week, other Chinese media reports noted that at least one such hospital warned of an increasing number of relapses among discharged patients. —Cheng

5:25 am: Japan unveils $4 billion coronavirus package

Japan has unveiled a second package of measures worth about $4 billion in spending to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. The measures, published Tuesday, focus on support to small and mid-sized firms. The package aims to boost growth and stave off corporate bankruptcies as Japan’s economy suffers from a decline in tourism amid the outbreak. The government will tap the rest of this fiscal year’s budget reserve of about 270 billion yen to help fund the package, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, Reuters reported. —Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Japan unveils $4 billion aid package to help economy

Reuters and CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury, Leslie Josephs, Eamon Javers, Mike Calia, Holly Ellyatt, Evelyn Cheng, Fred Imbert, Amelia Lucas, Todd Haselton, Sara Salinas, Donovan Russo and Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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