Coronavirus live updates: Harvard orders students to vacate

Coronavirus live updates: Harvard orders students to vacate


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.
  • U.S. cases: At least 755, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • U.S. deaths: At least 26, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

12:12 pm: Dow drops from big gain, now up around 250 points

Stocks rolled over on Tuesday as investors fretted over the timing of potential fiscal stimulus to curb slower economic growth stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 250 points higher, or 1.2%. Earlier in the day, the 30-stock average was up 945 points. The S&P 500 was up 0.9% after jumping 3.7%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced as much as 3.8% before trading 1.2% higher. The major averages briefly turned negative earlier, with the Dow falling as much as 160 points. —Imbert

12:00 pm: Private insurers will cover coronavirus treatment, waive test co-pay

Private health insurance companies have agreed to cover coronavirus treatment and waive co-payment fees for coronavirus testing, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday at a White House meeting with insurance company executives.

The companies have also agreed to cover telemedicine for patients to get care without having to leave home, Pence added. —Reuters 

11:55 am: Sony Pictures pushes ‘Peter Rabbit 2’ release to August

The release of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” has been pushed to August, Sony Pictures said, citing concerns over how the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the movie industry in Europe. The film will now be released on Aug. 7.

There have been major theatrical market disruptions in European territories and in Asia in recent weeks. On Monday the Italian government installed a nationwide quarantine, France and Slovakia have recently shuttered a number of cinemas and China’s theaters have been closed for several weeks.

MGM and Universal pushed the release date of the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” to November last week in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. —Whitten

11:34 am: Greece shuts schools, universities to halt coronavirus spread

Greece will shut schools, universities, daycare centers, and other educational establishments on Wednesday for a two-week period to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday.

“Now is the time for all Greeks to show personal responsibility. All schools will be closed for 14 days to help reduce the spread of the virus in the community,” Vassilis Kikilias told reporters.

Greece has so far reported 89 confirmed cases of the infection but no fatalities. —Reuters

11:31 am: Dow wipes out 945-point rally, briefly turns negative on fears of economic impact of coronavirus

Stock rose on Tuesday as Wall Street clawed back some of the massive losses suffered in the previous session. Bets on government intervention to stem the economic downturn from the coronavirus lifted equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 157 points higher, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 climbed 1% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.2%. The major averages pared most of their gains by late-morning ET, however. At its session high, the Dow was up more than 900 points. —Imbert

11:26 am: This is a ‘coronavirus winter and we’re in the first week,’ disease specialist says

The U.S. is not prepared for what is coming as COVID-19 spreads rapidly across the country, public health and infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Osterholm told CNBC on Tuesday.

The virus has surpassed the containment stage, he said, and the U.S. government is not responding appropriately for the magnitude of spread the country will likely see.

“Right now we’re approaching this like it’s the Washington, D.C., blizzard, for a couple days we’re shut down,” said Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “This is actually a coronavirus winter and we’re in the first week.” —Feuer

11:19 am: UN calls on Iran to ‘release all prisoners’ amid outbreak

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran said he had asked Tehran to free all prisoners temporarily, saying it is “unfortunate and disturbing” to continue holding political prisoners amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Iran’s judiciary chief said on Monday it had temporarily freed about 70,000 prisoners to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in jails as officials reported hundreds of new infections and dozens more deaths across the country. But U.N. rapporteur Javaid Rehman said only those serving sentences of less than 5 years had been freed while political prisoners and others charged with heavier sentences linked to their participation in protest marches remained in jail.

“A number of dual and foreign nationals are at real risk if they have not…got it (coronavirus) they are really fearful of the conditions,” Rehman told a press briefing in Geneva.

“This is also my worrying concern and therefore I have recommended to the state of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release all prisoners on temporary release…,” he said. It was not immediately clear whether he meant all prisoners in the country or all political prisoners who remained in jail. —Reuters

11:05 am: Some European airlines are running near-empty ‘ghost flights’

European airlines have been running near-empty flights in order to retain valuable airport slots, drawing sharp criticism from climate activists as the coronavirus outbreak dramatically reduces passenger demand.

A so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” rule, enshrined under EU law, states airlines must fly 80% of their flights on a slot in order to safeguard their presence at major hubs for the next season.

It has led to a situation whereby many airlines are thought to be operating so-called “ghost planes” with almost no passengers onboard. —Meredith

10:56 am: Trump hints at payroll tax cuts. Here’s what it could mean for you

President Donald Trump is considering new tax relief measures to help Americans combat the economic effects of the coronavirus. That includes potential payroll tax cuts.

Yet experts say that the boost consumers get to their pay checks might not be that noticeable. If $10,000 was made exempt from payroll taxes, that would be just $700 for many workers, said Jeffrey Levine, CEO and director of financial planning at BluePrint Wealth Alliance. That might not be enough to stimulate the economy, he said.

Experts also worry that the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare, which are already facing funding shortfalls, would be further damaged. Payroll tax cuts could not only jeopardize the benefits for individuals who are retired or who are approaching retirement, but could also point to bigger payroll tax hikes for younger generations, according to Laurence Kotlikoff, economics professor at Boston University and president of Economic Security Planning, a provider of financial planning tools. —Konish

10:46 am: Mortgage payments to be suspended across Italy after outbreak

Payments on mortgages will be suspended across the whole of Italy after the coronavirus outbreak, Italy’s deputy economy minister said on Tuesday.

“Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households,” Laura Castelli said in an interview with Radio Anch’io, when asked about the possibility.

Italy’s banking lobby ABI said on Monday lenders representing 90% of total banking assets would offer debt moratoriums to small firms and households grappling with the economic fallout from Italy’s coronavirus outbreak. —Reuters

10:36 am: Sixth person dies in United Kingdom from coronavirus

The death toll in the United Kingdom from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to six, British health officials said on Tuesday. The latest death comes as the health ministry said the number of people who had tested positive for the virus had risen to 373 from 319.

The patient, who died on Monday evening, was being treated at Watford General Hospital, north of London, and had tested positive for COVID-19. He was in his early 80s and had underlying health conditions, health officials said.

“It appears the virus was acquired in the U.K. and full contact tracing has begun,” Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. —Reuters

10:30 am: Washington state primary voters urged not to lick mail-in ballots

Primary Election Day could have been a lot worse for officials in Washington state, epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak: The state votes entirely by mail.

“Whether healthy or sick, please don’t lick,” reads a graphic posted to Twitter by an account run by the office of Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

The lack of in-person voting is a rare spot of good news for the state as it bears the brunt of the new contagion. Washington state is one of six states voting Tuesday in the primaries. —Higgins

10:26 am: Democratic Republic of Congo confirms first coronavirus case

Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a health ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The patient is a Belgian citizen, who has been placed in quarantine after testing positive for the virus at the airport of the capital Kinshasa, the spokeswoman said. —Reuters

10:24 am: Here’s what coronavirus prep looks like at a busy retail store

A cashier places a bag of items in a customer’s shopping cart at a Target Corp. store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Target detailed the steps it’s taking to keep its stores safe amid the virus outbreak. Among the steps it’s outlined is adding staff hours to put more effort toward cleaning. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the company is wiping down checkout lanes and touchscreens at least every 30 minutes. Food sampling at stores has been halted and the retailer is prepping for more demand for its order pickup and drive-up services. Over the weekend, Target put in place product limits for on-demand items like cleaning products. —Cheddar Berk

10:22 am: Working remotely? This technology from your employer is key

Will corporate VPNs – virtual private networks – be able to handle the strain caused by thousands of telecommuting employees? We may be about to find out, as companies plan to have their workers stay home to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

VPNs, which protect information sent between employees and businesses, are secured web connections used by more than 400 million businesses and consumers worldwide according to GlobalWebTKIndex. VPNs help companies encrypt data and scan devices for malware to prevent hacking threats. The global VPN market, which was valued at $15 billion in 2016, is set to grow from an estimated $20.6 billion in 2018 to nearly $36 billion in 2022, Orbis Research and Statista forecast.

Testing corporate VPNs will reveal whether existing networks are up to the challenge of suddenly supporting a large remote workforce. Daryl Plummer, VP, analyst, and Gartner Fellow at the research and advisory firm Gartner, said that in some cases, VPNs could become overloaded from spikes in traffic. —Bukszpan

10:15 am: Educators scramble to bring classes to the cloud as coronavirus shuts schools

As COVID-19 spreads to new areas of the country, educators are faced with a race against time to come up with contingency plans that would allow learning to continue should schools close. There’s also the issue of student services, especially providing nutrition. Thirty million children receive free or reduced lunches on a daily basis at schools across the country, according to government data.

Virtual learning has emerged as an early answer, however many districts lack the technology, teacher training and, in some cases, broadband internet access to deliver those lessons.

Some are preemptively shutting down for a day or more to allow teachers time to prepare physical packets to be sent home with students, said Domenech, whose organization is coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and districts across the country on their response to the coronavirus. —Young

10:11 am: Don’t fall for the sanitizer hype, L Brands bear warns

It’s no secret hand sanitizer has been selling out at a number of stores, and when investors are thinking about the companies that could benefit from the trend they may consider L Brands’ Bath & Body Works brand. Jefferies analyst Randal Konik says, yes sanitizer products are sold out at BBW. com, but the category is only 5% of Bath & Body Works sales.

“We don’t see the business helping drive attachment purchases because regular hand soap products are still on shelves and are not sold out online. This means consumers are using laser precision to shop for sanitizer and not much else so the upside factor from sanitzer may not be what the bulls expect,” he wrote in a research note. Konik has an “underperform” rating on the the stock. L Brands shares are up about 17% since the start of the year, and nearly 5% today. The company is in the process of selling its Victoria’s Secret business. —Cheddar Berk

10:05 am: Two passengers test negative for suspected coronavirus on Marseille cruise ship

Two cruise ship passengers tested negative for the coronavirus in the French Mediterranean city of Marseille after they fell ill with flu-like symptoms, Reuters reported.

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-meter 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

9:54 am: Harvard orders students to vacate the campus, moves all courses online

A man looks at his mobile phone beside a sign for Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., June 18, 2018.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Harvard University students have been asked to move out of their houses and first-year dorms by Sunday, March 15, and is moving all of its classes online for the remainder of the semester 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 Saturday, and now strongly discourages group gatherings of more than 25 people. —Russo (Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the university’s decision to have students vacate the campus by March 15.)

9:06 am: Spanish soccer league 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 Ireland has tested positive for coronavirus, the company 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 region, 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 830-foot-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 2 miles 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 it will make deep cuts throughout its network to reduce 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 by 10% to 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 JPMorgan 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 told CNBC. 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.”

A virus task force 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 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 speeded 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 week. —Imbert
Correction: This item was revised to correct when Trump signed the $8.3 billion package. It was last week.

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

A screen shows a CCTV state media broadcast of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Wuhan at a shopping center in Beijing as the country is hit by the novel coronavirus, China, March 10, 2020.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

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, said Su Guoxia, spokeswoman of the State Council’s Poverty Alleviation Office.

“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, who went to Wuhan on Tuesday for the first time, 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 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

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 midsize 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, Christina Chedder Berk, Katie Young, Daniel Bukszpan, Tucker Higgins, Sam Meredith, Fred ImbertLorie Konish, Sarah Whitten and Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.



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