Korean Air crew member tests positive, Singapore Airlines freezes hiring

Korean Air crew member tests positive, Singapore Airlines freezes hiring


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

All times below are in Beijing time.

1:55 pm: Hong Kong extends school closures till mid April

Hong Kong will again extend school closures — till April 20 at the earliest, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said at a press conference.

That would apply for classes at kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools. However, the high school public examinations will still go ahead as scheduled starting March 27. — Vivian Kam

12:55 pm: Korean Air cabin crew member tests positive

A cabin crew member of Korean Air has tested positive for the coronavirus, the South Korean airline said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. That has caused the airline to shut its office near the Incheon International Airport at the city’s capital Seoul. 

Details of the routes and flights where the crew member were on were not immediately available, the report said.

12:35 pm: Singapore Airlines freezes hiring

Singapore Airlines has frozen hiring for all ground positions, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it said in a statement. 

The flag carrier added it will implement any additional measures needed, but “will not do anything that compromises the SIA Group’s long-term competitiveness.”

12:30 pm: South Korea to test all members of church at center of virus outbreak

Disinfection professionals wear protective gear while spraying anti-septic solution in virus control measures in Seoul, South Korea.

Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images

The South Korean government says it plans to test potentially more than 200,000 members of a church at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Reuters, citing the prime minister’s office.

The leader of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus agreed to provide authorities with the names of all its members in South Korea, which has been estimated to be around 215,000 people, according to the report. More than half of Covid-19 cases in the country have been tracked back to the church. — Audrey Cher

12:00 pm: Japan health minister says too early to talk about cancelling Olympics

Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato said it was still too early to talk about the cancellation of the Tokyo Summer Olympics set to begin on July 24, according to Reuters.

A London mayoral candidate said that London was ready to host the games if needed, amid increasing uncertainty over whether the Olympics in Japan should be rescheduled or cancelled entirely, due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. — Audrey Cher

11:50 am: China says air transport won’t resume in Hubei other than emergency travel

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said Tuesday on its website that other than emergency travel, air transportation will not resume in Hubei and other areas severely affected by the virus.

Work will resume bit by bit in other areas, and air passenger transport will gradually return to normal, the statement said. — Evelyn Cheng

11:00 am: Trump administration asks for $2.5 billion to tackle coronavirus

The Trump administration submitted a budget request for $2.5 billion to Congress towards the coronavirus effort, the White House said Monday, according to a Reuters report.

More than $1 billion of that budget would be allocated for the development of a vaccine, the White House said, according to the report.

10:20 am: China fully bans trade and consumption of illegal wildlife

China will immediately and fully ban illegal wildlife trade, as the fight against the new coronavirus outbreak continues, according to Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua.

The decision to ban wildlife trade and “eliminate the bad habits of eating wild animals” was made by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which said the full ban was done to carry out instructions by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to the report. 

This picture taken on January 15, 2020 shows a butcher selling yak meat at a market in Beijing.


COVID-19, the name of the new coronavirus, was thought to have passed from animals to humans. However, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese scientists are now saying the virus did not originate in a Wuhan seafood market. At that market, live animals were sold, and the first case in China was reported to have links to that market.

9:40 am: US CDC raises travel advisory alert for South Korea

The U.S. CDC raised its alert level for travel to South Korea, citing the outbreak there. (see 9:13 a.m. update)

It raised its travel advisory for South Korea to Level 3, which means that Americans should avoid non-essential travel to South Korea, saying there is “widespread community transmission.”

9:13 am: South Korea reports 60 new cases, one additional death

South Korea reported a jump of 60 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 893 infected, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday morning.

It reported one additional death, bringing the total number of fatalities to 8.

The country raised its alert level to the maximum on Sunday. Its Level 4 alert allows the government to lock down cities and take other powerful measures to contain the disease’s outbreak.

8:45 am: China reports 508 new cases, 71 additional deaths

China’s National Health Commission reported 508 new confirmed cases and 71 new deaths, as of Feb. 24.

In Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, there were 499 new cases, and 68 additional deaths as of Feb. 24.

That brings the country’s total to 77,658 confirmed cases, and 2,663 deaths.

8:30 am: Japan stocks plunge around 4%

7:55 am: US and South Korea consider reducing training

The U.S. and South Korea are considering a move to reduce military training due to risks from the virus outbreak, the defense ministers from both countries said Monday, according to Reuters.

“I’m sure that we will remain fully ready to deal with any threats that we will face together,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a news briefing, as he stood with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.

7:45 am: Asia stocks set to drop after Wall Street sells off

Shares in Australia dropped more than 2% in early trade. Japan’s markets which open at 8 a.m. are also set to decline sharply as it returns from a holiday on Monday. That follows an overnight plunge on Wall Street amid fears of the economic hit that could result from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that is spreading beyond China. — Huang

All times below are in Eastern time.

4:35 pm: Dow plunges 1,000 points on outbreak fears, worst day in two years

Stocks fell sharply as the number of cases outside China surged, stoking fears of a prolonged global economic slowdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,031.61 points lower, or 3.56%, at 27,960.80. The S&P 500 slid 3.35% to 3,225.89 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 3.71% lower at 9,221.28. It was the Dow’s biggest point and percentage-point drop since February 2018. The Dow also gave up its gains for 2020 and is now down 2% for the year. The S&P 500 also had its worst day in two years and wiped out its year-to-date gain as well. —Imbert, Huang

12:50 pm: Iran confirms 12 deaths

Twelve people have died and 61 have been infected with the coronavirus in Iran, Tehran’s health ministry said. However, a member of parliament said 50 people had died in the city of Qom, 75 miles south of the capital Tehran, alone in the past two weeks from the coronavirus. Meanwhile more than 10,000 drug addicts have been quarantined in treatment centers in Tehran province to guard against the coronavirus, state-run IRNA news agency reported, citing a local official.

9:51 am: Seventh death reported in Italy

A seventh person has died in the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, news agency ANSA said, while the number of confirmed cases rose to more than 220 in the country. ANSA said the latest person to die was an 80-year-old man who had been taken to hospital last week in Lodi after suffering a heart attack. Doctors believe he caught the virus there from another patient. —Reuters

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: WHO calls Iran and Italy cases ‘deeply concerning,’ Goldman cuts GDP forecast

— CNBC’s Vivian Kam, Audrey Cher, Evelyn Cheng, Eustance Huang, Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and William Feuer contributed to this report.


Source link