Russia posts record daily new cases, UK economy could shrink 14%
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- Global cases: More than 3.75 million
- Global deaths: At least 263,000
- Most cases reported: United States (1,228,603), Spain (220,325), Italy (214,457), United Kingdom (202,356), France (174,224).
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 12:32 p.m. Beijing time.
All times below are in Beijing time.
6:00 pm: Norway’s central bank cuts rates to zero
Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, has cut its key interest rate to zero percent from 0.25% as it tries to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy.
The move is a surprise to many as most economists polled by Reuters thought the bank would hold rates steady. It is the bank’s third rate cut in less than two months.
“Activity in the Norwegian economy has fallen abruptly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” the bank said in a statement Thursday. “The downturn is amplified by the severe impact of the pandemic on surrounding countries and by a sharp fall in oil prices. Lower oil prices have contributed to weakening the krone exchange rate.”
Low interest rates cannot prevent the coronavirus outbreak from having a substantial impact on the Norwegian economy, but can help dampen the downturn, the bank added. — Holly Ellyatt
5:30 pm: Spain’s daily virus death toll falls again
Spain’s health ministry has reported that the country’s daily coronavirus death toll fell on Thursday to 213, down from the 244 fatalities the day before.
The total number of deaths has risen to 26,070, up from 25,857 the day before. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has risen to 221,447 from 220,325 the previous day (that’s an increase of 754 cases). — Holly Ellyatt
4:50 pm: Moscow’s mayor estimates capital’s coronavirus tally is more than triple the official number
Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor, has estimated that the real number of coronavirus cases in the Russian capital was around 300,000, or three times higher than the official total, Russia’s TASS news agency said Thursday.
The official number of cases in Russia stands at just over 177,000 with 92,676 cases of the coronavirus in Moscow. — Holly Ellyatt
4:05 pm: Russia reports 11,231 more infections — a record high in daily new cases
Russia reported 11,231 additional cases of the coronavirus disease over the last 24 hours — a record high in daily new cases in the country, reported Reuters.
Russia’s tally of cases now stands at 177,160 since the outbreak, said the report, which cited the country’s coronavirus task force. The death toll increased by 88 to 1,625, according to the report. — Yen Nee Lee
3:25 pm: Singapore preliminarily reports 741 new cases
Singapore’s coronavirus cases increased by 741 to a total of 20,939, according to the 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% of Singapore’s total Covid-19 cases so far, according to official data. — Yen Nee Lee
3:10 pm: Bank of England says UK economy could shrink by 14%
The Bank of England said the U.K. economy could contract by 14% in 2020, with a sharp downturn expected in the first half of the year.
The central bank has cut interest rates twice since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but held rates steady at 0.1% in its latest monetary policy meeting. The BOE also voted to continue its 200 billion British pound ($247.55 billion) asset-purchase program.
The U.K. has reported more than 202,000 coronavirus cases — one of the highest globally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The country’s death toll of over 30,000 is the highest in Europe and second-largest globally, the data showed. — Elliot Smith, Yen Nee Lee
2:05 pm: China’s exports unexpectedly rose in April and economist suggests shipments of medical goods could have helped
China’s exports rose 3.5% for the month of April from a year ago, defying the 15.7% decline expected by economists polled by Reuters.
Meanwhile, imports fell 14.2% from a year ago in April, worse than the 11.2% decline that was predicted.
Liu Li-gang, chief economist for China at Citigroup, said before the data release that the country’s medical exports likely rose in April as it shipped goods to the rest of the world that was battling the coronavirus outbreak.
China’s trade surplus for the month of April was $45.34 billion — far better than $6.35 billion economists polled by Reuters had predicted. — Huileng Tan
1:55 pm: China gets highest score in survey asking citizens to rate government response to outbreak
China received the top score in a survey that asked people to rate their country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The study by Blackbox Research and Toluna surveyed around 12,500 people from 23 countries last month. The respondents were asked to rate their nations in four areas: political leadership in the country, corporate leadership, community and media.
China topped the ranking with a score of 85 out of 100, followed by Vietnam at 77 and the United Arab Emirates at 59, the results showed.
The research also found that citizens from only seven countries rated their governments’ containment effort as broadly positive. — Karen Gilchrist, Yen Nee Lee
1:35 pm: Easing of social distancing measures is good news for bars and restaurants, says Hong Kong tycoon
The easing of social distancing measures is good news for bars and restaurants in Hong Kong, and likely a “game changer” for the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, according to Allan Zeman, chairman of property developer Lan Kwai Fong Group.
Bookings have dramatically increased following Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s announcement this week that some social distancing measures put in place to tackle Covid-19 would be lifted, Zeman told CNBC on Wednesday.
Following numerous days without any new local coronavirus cases, Hong Kong announced plans to relax social distancing measures — including the reopening of venues such as cinemas, bars, beauty parlors, and schools. The easing will come into effect on May 8.
Zeman expressed confidence that the Hong Kong economy will “bounce back quicker than anywhere else,” and hopes that tourists will return once the border reopens. — Audrey Cher
12:45 pm: India’s total cases jump above 50,000
The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 52,952 — an increase of 3,561 from the previous day, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
India’s death toll increased by 89 to 1,783, the latest data showed.
The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the world’s strictest nationwide lockdown in late March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Over the weekend, the government extended the lockdown — for a second time — until May 17 while easing some measures. — Yen Nee Lee
Customers stand on circles marked on the ground to maintain social distancing as they wait to enter the Reliance Mart mall during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus in Ahmedabad on March 26, 2020.
Sam Panthaky | AFP | Getty Images
12:25 pm: Philippines’ economy unexpectedly shrinks in the first quarter
The Philippine economy shrank by 0.2% year-over-year in the first quarter — the first contraction since the fourth quarter of 1998, according to the latest data release by the country’s statistics authority.
A Reuters poll of analysts had expected the Philippine economy to grow by 3.1% year-over-year in the first quarter.
The unexpected decline in gross domestic product came as the government locked down the main Philippine island of Luzon in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Luzon is home to capital city Manila and around half of the country’s 107 million population.
Some lockdown measures have been relaxed since the start of this month, but strict stay-home orders still apply in Manila.
The Southeast Asian country has reported 10,004 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, with a death toll of 658, according to its department of health. — Yen Nee Lee
11:55 am: New Zealand could ease restrictions further next week
New Zealand said that shops could reopen and domestic travel could resume, if restrictions are further eased by next week, according to a Reuters report.
Its highest level of restrictions were eased on April 28 as cases fell in the country, and now it’s considering whether to lower its nationwide alert level from 3 to 2. If it does, people will be able to meet friends and family, or go shopping but still have to adhere to physical distancing while outside.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that if the alert level was lowered to 2, children can return to schools and employees can go back to work at offices, but the country’s borders will stay closed except to returning citizens, according to the report. A decision on whether to lower restrictions will be made on Monday. — Weizhen Tan
10:55 am: Germany reports more than 1,200 new cases
Germany reported 1,284 new cases — a jump from the 947 new infections a day earlier. That took its tally of confirmed cases to 166,091, according to the latest data by the Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention.
The country’s death toll rose by 123 to 7,119.
On Wednesday, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced steps to ease the lockdown, but also launched an “emergency brake” mechanism where restrictions could be imposed again if cases pick back up, according to Reuters. — Weizhen Tan
10:30 am: South Korea reports 4 new cases as it reopens this week
South Korea reported four new cases and one death, taking its total to 10,810 cases and 256 fatalities, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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. Parks, libraries and schools are set to reopen gradually, according to Reuters. — Weizhen Tan
9:20 am: Los Angeles to open some non-essential businesses on Friday
Officials in Los Angeles county said that businesses including book shops, toy stores, clothing retailers and car dealerships will be allowed to start opening on Friday, though beaches will remain closed.
However, shoppers can only pick up their purchases curbside, with in-store purchases not allowed for the time being, according to officials.
County trails will also reopen, but those using them will have to wear face coverings and observe social distancing. GOld courses can also reopen. — Ari Levy, NBC News
8:20 am: American Airlines will require all employees to wear face masks
American Airlines will require all team members to wear face coverings while they are at work starting Friday, especially those interacting with customers. The airline previously required crew members and passengers to wear face masks.
A number of major U.S. airlines have said they will require travelers to wear face masks or coverings on board their planes as carriers take steps to try to protect the health of passengers and crew. Delta, United and others have made them mandatory for flight attendants. — Phil LeBeau
8:15 am: China reports 2 new cases, no deaths
China reported both its two new cases were imported, or attributed to travelers coming from overseas. There were no new deaths, with total fatalities remaining at 4,633, according to its National Health Commission.
Separately, there were six new asymptomatic cases, where people tested positive for the virus but did not show any symptoms. That brings its number of asymptomatic cases currently under medical observation to 880, the NHC said. — Weizhen Tan
8:00 am: Brazil reports record high for daily new cases, deaths
Brazil reported 10,503 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, a record high well above its previous high of 7,288 cases on April 30, according to Reuters, citing health ministry data. Fatalities rose by 615, also a new high compared with the 600 reported Tuesday.
That prompted Brazil’s health minister to warn that strict lockdowns could be imposed in badly-affected areas, the report said. While nonessential businesses are closed in most states in the country, a lockdown has so far been implemented in only one city — Sao Luis.
Brazil has reported a total of 125,218 cases and 8,536 deaths, according to Reuters. — Weizhen Tan
View of the popular shopping streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 25, 2020, completely empty amid the pandemic of Coronavirus Covid-19.
Luiz Souza | NurPhoto via Getty Images
7:55 am: Wall Street is too optimistic as global economies start reopening, Stephen Roach warns
Yale University senior fellow Stephen Roach is worried Wall Street is miscalculating China’s efforts to reopen its economy.
He warned that demand is poor, and that’s a bad sign for the U.S. economy as it begins reopening.
“Chinese consumers remain fearful of going out in public, shopping, going to movies and enjoying activities that put them in close proximity with their neighbors,” the former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. “Consumer behavior is not all that dissimilar in populations subjected to an unprecedented shock in their health security.”
“This is not really going to be as easy an economic recovery as an optimistic market wants to presume at this point,” he said. — Stephanie Landsman