Press "Enter" to skip to content

Coronavirus live updates: US reports 1st possible ‘community spread’ case, Japan woman tests positive again

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

All times below are in Beijing time.

1:35 pm: Australian prime minister warns that world is entering a ‘pandemic phase’ of the coronavirus

“The advice we have received today is … there is every indication that the world will soon enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus,” Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference in Canberra, according to Reuters.

As a result, he said, the country will be launching its emergency response plan. Morrison also announced that a travel ban on foreigners from China has been extended. The deadly virus has infected at least 23 people in Australia, according to the World Health Organization’s latest report. — Joanna Tan

1:15 pm: Standard Chartered says outbreak and slowing global growth could impact profit target

Standard Chartered bank said recent headwinds including the coronavirus outbreak, “will likely result in income growth in 2020 below our medium-term 5-7% target range.” Other challenges the British lender cited included lower interest rates, slower global economic growth and Hong Kong’s economy.

“These headwinds are expected to be transitory, but we now believe it will take longer to achieve our ROTE (return on tangible equity) target of 10% than we previously envisaged,” the bank said in its outlook when reporting earnings for the year that ended Dec. 31, 2019. The bank’s Hong Kong-listed shares rose more than 2% on Thursday, after the earnings release. — Joanna Tan

11:19 am: Woman in Japan tests positive for twice

A resident of Osaka has tested positive for the virus twice, Reuters reported citing the prefectural government. The woman, a tour-bus guide in her forties, is the first person in the country to test positive again after recovering, the news agency said citing a government statement.

She first tested positive in January, but was discharged on Feb. 1 after recovering, Reuters said. But the woman tested positive again on Wednesday, the news agency reported citing Osaka’s prefectural government. As of Thursday, Japan has reported 186 confirmed cases, as authorities urged people not to avoid gathering in large groups. — Joanna Tan

11:09 am: AmCham China survey finds almost half of the respondents expect a decline in China revenue

The American Chamber of Commerce in China revealed results from a flash survey done between Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 with 169 member companies that included large, medium and small-sized enterprises, many of them with global operations. Nearly half of those respondents said they expect 2020 China revenues to decrease if businesses cannot return to the usual before the end of April.

Almost 20% of the respondents said they predicted 2020 revenues to decline more than 50% if the epidemic extended through August. While many said it is still too soon to determine the estimated cost of delays from quarantine measures undertaken by Beijing to contain the spread of the infection, about 10% said they were losing at least half-a-million yuan (about $71,000) per day. — Roy Choudhury

10:56 am: South Korea central bank says virus outbreak raises growth uncertainty

Bank of Korea kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.25%, surprising markets. In its policy statement, the central bank said that “uncertainties regarding the future growth path are high” due to the impact of the outbreak. Infection cases have spiked in the country (see 9:05 am update), leaving authorities scrambling to ramp up measures to contain its spread.

Economists at ANZ Research said they were lowering their 2020 GDP growth forecast for South Korea from 2.3% to 1.9%. “Although the virus risks faced by South Korea were initially limited to sectors related to China and inbound tourists, the spike in local confirmed infections will now exacerbate the strain on the economy via the tourism, consumption, and production channels,” the economists wrote. — Roy Choudhury

10:06 am: JetBlue scraps change and cancellation fees because of coronavirus in a US first

JetBlue Airways in a surprise move Wednesday became the first U.S. carrier to cut its change and cancellation fees for travelers concerned about the coronavirus.

The budget carrier’s unusual measure, which could pressure other airlines to follow suit, comes during steep drop in airline stocks as investors fret over the spread of the virus. — Josephs

9:51 am: US raises travel alert level for South Korea

The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for South Korea, from level 2 to level 3, which means “reconsider travel.” It cited the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.

That comes days after the U.S. CDC also raised its alert level for travel to South Korea, which means “avoid non-essential travel,” as there’s widespread community transmission.

Infections in South Korea have been surging in the past week. As of Thursday morning, it reported a jump of 334 cases. (see 9:05am update) — Weizhen Tan

9:30 am: CDC confirms first possible ‘community spread’ coronavirus case in US

9:25 am: China reports 433 more cases

China’s National Health Commission said there were 433 new confirmed cases and 29 additional deaths as of Feb. 26.

Of the new cases, 409 were in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. 26 of the 29 deaths were in Hubei.

That brings the country’s total to 78,497 cases, and 2,744 deaths. — Weizhen Tan

9:16 am: US and South Korea to postpone drills indefinitely

The U.S. and South Korea have postponed joint military drills until further notice, according to Reuters, citing defense officials in Seoul. The decision comes as the outbreak continues to spread in South Korea. (see 9:05 am update).

On Wednesday, the U.S. military said a soldier based in South Korea has been infected — the first American service member to test positive for the new coronavirus. — Weizhen Tan

9:05 am: South Korea reports 334 more cases

South Korea confirmed a surge of 334 more cases on Thursday morning, bringing the country’s total to 1,595, according to its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were a total of 12 deaths as of Thursday morning, but no new fatalities.

More than half of coronavirus cases in the country have been traced back to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city. — Weizhen Tan

8:58 am: US colleges cancel study abroad programs

In the face of a global health emergency, thousands of U.S. college students studying abroad are scrambling.

As the coronavirus spreads through northern Italy, some schools, including Syracuse University and New York University, announced they were closing their campuses in Florence immediately. All Seton Hall University spring study abroad trips are also cancelled, according to a tweet by the university.

Italy is second only to the U.K. as the most popular destination to study abroad, according to data from the Institute of International Education, which has tracked the flow of international students since 1919. However, in recent years, China has also become a popular destination for American students, it said. — Weizhen Tan

8:18 am: Japan dives more than 1% as US markets continue to slide

Japan markets slid for the third day this week, as Wall Street also continued tumbling as virus fears continue to grow. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.31% in early trade, while the Topix declined 1.27%.

Dow futures traded fell 170 points and indicated a loss of nearly 200 points at Thursday’s open. — Weizhen Tan

7:46 am: IMF, World Bank considering scaling back meetings or holding them remotely

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank could hold their April Spring Meetings remotely or even scale them back amid the growing coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported, citing sources.

The Spring Meetings are scheduled for April 17 to 19, and 10,000 government officials and other delegates globally are set to gather in Washington D.C. — Weizhen Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:20 pm: Trump says schools should prepare pandemic plans ‘just in case’

President Donald Trump said schools should start preparing their pandemic plans as a precaution in case the COVID-19 outbreak that’s rapidly spreading through Asia, Europe and the Middle East takes hold in the U.S. “Every aspect of our society should be prepared. I don’t think it’s going to come to that,” Trump said. “I think schools should be preparing, get ready just in case. The words are just in case. We don’t think we’re going to be there. We don’t think we’re going to be anywhere close.” Watch the press conference here. — Kopecki

6:50 pm: Trump says coronavirus risk to the American people ‘remains very low’

President Donald Trump addressed the nation on the coronavirus outbreak, saying the risk to the American public “remains very low.” Trump said Vice President Mike Pence will be heading up the U.S. response to any outbreak in the country. Trump announced the news conference in a tweet Wednesday morning, shortly after returning from a state visit to India where he downplayed the threat of the virus to the U.S. “We’re really down to probably 10″ cases, Trump told reporters there.

The CDC has confirmed 60 cases in the U.S., 45 of which are patients who were repatriated from Wuhan, China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan and are excluded from its official count. Watch the press conference here. — Breuninger

5:47 pm: Germany says it can’t trace cases and is heading for an epidemic

Germany is at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic after new cases sprung up that can no longer be traced to the virus’s original source in China, Health Minister Jens Spahn said. A total of five new cases of coronavirus in the west and south of Germany — taking the country’s total to around 20 — meant the disease appeared to be moving to a new phase, Spahn told a news conference, urging health authorities and employers to review their pandemic planning.

4:40 pm: Booking Holdings warns coronavirus will hit Q1 revenue

Online travel giant Booking Holdings said the outbreak of coronavirus will damp travel demand and drive down sales in the first quarter. The company, which operates, airfare-search site and others said its revenue could fall by as much as 9% on the year in the first quarter. It expects travel bookings to drop by 10% to 15%. “The coronavirus has had a significant and negative impact across our business during the 1st quarter. It is not possible to predict where, and to what degree, outbreaks of the coronavirus will disrupt travel patterns,” the company said in an earnings filing. The company said its forecast included wider ranges than usual because of the “high level of uncertainty in forecasting the coronavirus and its associated impact on the company and the travel industry generally.” — Josephs

12:15 pm: CDC confirms 59 US cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 59 cases in the U.S., a majority of which came from passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan. The CDC updated its case count on its website late Tuesday. The data shows that 42 of the cases are attributed to the cruise ship, three patients were infected in Wuhan and later evacuated to the U.S. and the rest were largely infected while traveling overseas. Just two cases were contracted through person-to-person contact in the U.S., the CDC said. — Kopecki

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: U.S. confirms new case, Germany says its at the beginning of an epidemic

— CNBC’s Dawn Kopecki, Kevin Breuninger and Leslie Josephs contributed to this report.