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China new cases; White House warns of more deaths

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.

  • Global cases: At least 2,561,044.
  • Global deaths: At least 176,984.
  • Most cases reported: United States (823,786), Spain (204,178), Italy (183,957), France (159,297), and Germany (148,291). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:30 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

2:45 pm: Taiwan reports 28th case of infection among navy sailors

Taiwan on Wednesday reported its 28th case of infection among navy personnel who returned from a goodwill mission to the Pacific island state of Palau–one of Taipei’s few diplomatic allies.

Cases have spiked since Saturday after the Taiwanese government reported zero new cases for three days last week. The uptick has spurred concerns over lapses in how the situation has been handled.

About 700 sailors on the Palau mission disembarked in Taiwan and authorities are now trying to trace thousands of Taiwanese who may have been in contract with these navy personnel before the coronavirus cases were detected.

Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control has reportedly sent some 200,000 mobile phone text alerts to those who might have been in contact with the sailors.

Taiwan has recorded 426 cases of Covid-19 since the outbreak despite its proximity to mainland China and has been praised internationally for its virus containment strategy.

On Tuesday, Taiwan’s defence minister apologized and said he was willing to resign to take responsibility for the incident. –Huileng Tan

2.05 pm: Beijing city shuts down gyms on fears of a second wave of coronavirus

Gyms in China’s capital city of Beijing were forced to close again over the weekend.

That was after some fitness centers — which have essentially shut down since late January — re-opened in the last few weeks.

But a new case of Covid-19 in Beijing last week increased concerns about a resurgence of the virus, turning a major business and residential district into the highest-risk region in the country.

Already, more than 200 fitness businesses shuttered in Beijing in the first quarter, according to analysis from Qichacha, which runs a Chinese business information database. —Evelyn Cheng

12:51 pm: California’s Santa Clara county reports early coronavirus deaths

Two people in Santa Clara County, California died of coronavirus before what had previously been thought to be the United States’ first death associated with Covid-19.

The county’s Medical Examiner-Coroner conducted autopsies on two people who died at home on Feb. 6 and 17. Their samples were sent to the CDC, which confirmed they tested positive for the disease.

The first U.S. death from coronavirus was originally believed to be a man in his 50s in Washington state who died on Feb. 29.

The Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner also identified another early Covid-19 death from March 6, days before what had initially been thought to be the county’s first death.

It explained that all three people “died at home during a time when very limited testing was available only through the CDC.” Santa Clara added it expects to identify additional deaths related to the pandemic. —Christine Wang

12:30 pm: New cases in Germany jump by 2,237 

Germany reported 2,237 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 145,694, according to the Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention. 

It also said there were 281 more deaths, with its total fatalities now at 4,879. — Weizhen Tan

11:35 am: Member of Tokyo 2020 Olympics committee member tests positive

A member of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee has tested positive, according to a Reuters report. He is now under quarantine at home.

The games, which were scheduled to start July 24 in Tokyo, has been delayed for about a year,  after Japan insisted for months that the Olympics would go ahead as planned. — Weizhen Tan

11:00 am: US-China relations at a low as ‘blame-shifting’ sets back war against virus

U.S.-China relations are at their “worst point in living memory,” according to a professor, who said both countries engaged in a “grand exercise in blame-shifting” over the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed Beijing for a lack of transparency over the true extent of the Covid-19 outbreak in China – where cases were first reported. In response, Beijing has suggested that the U.S. might be the real source of the global pandemic.

“Neither side wants to be blamed for their own response, so the Chinese and Americans are blaming each other,” said James Crabtree, an associate professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. — Weizhen Tan

10:10 am: 33 cases on Italian cruise ship docked in Japan for repairs

Japan reported 33 infections among crew members on an Italian cruise ship docked in the country for repairs, according to Reuters. The Costa Atlantica has 623 crew members and no passengers.

Further testing on the other crew members will be carried out, the report said. Those who tested positive with no symptoms will remain on board the ship, while others will be taken to medical institutions, it said. — Weizhen Tan

The Costa Atlantica which docked at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore on May 3, 2013 in Singapore.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

9:45 am: Singapore extends partial lockdown measures by another 4 weeks, as it reports 1,111 cases

Singapore reported more than 1,000 cases for a second day running, as of Tuesday. That takes its total to 9,125, making it the country with the highest number of confirmed cases in Southeast Asia.

The vast majority of the new cases involved migrant workers living in dormitories, said its health ministry. Singapore relies on foreign migrant workers in its construction sector, which is made up largely of men from other Asian countries who carry out labor-intensive jobs. 

It said on Tuesday that partial lockdown measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country will be extended by four weeks to June 1. — Weizhen Tan, Yen Nee Lee

9:00 am: China reports 30 new cases, no deaths

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said there were 30 new confirmed cases as of April 21, of which 23 were attributed to travelers coming from overseas. That brings the country’s total to 82,788 cases, the NHC said.

No new deaths were reported for the seventh straight day, keeping the total number of fatalities at 4,632, according to the NHC.

Separately, there were 42 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 991, the NHC said. — Weizhen Tan

8:40 am: New cases in Mexico jump by more than 700

Mexico reported a jump of more than 700 new cases, reaching a total of 9,501 cases, according to a Reuters report citing health ministry officials.

It had 145 more deaths, bringing the country’s death toll to 857 fatalities, the report said. — Weizhen Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:02 pm: White House health advisor says Americans need to prepare for more deaths as outbreak moves past peak

Americans should prepare to see more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in cities, as the outbreak in the United States moves past its peak and infection rates decline, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Deborah Birx warned.

Deaths generally lag behind other aspects of the outbreak, she said at a White House press conference. “We really need to continue to unite and really, really support our health-care providers who are still on the frontline.”

The coronavirus, which emerged in Wuhan, China almost 4 months ago, has sickened more than  820,000 people in the U.S. and killed at least 44,228 as of Tuesday night, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. U.S. officials and infectious disease experts have previously said that deaths fall behind new cases and hospitalization.

Birx said Tuesday that U.S. health officials are seeing improvements in several parts of the country, including in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta. “That was a great concern for us over the past several weeks. They appear to be flattening,” she said. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

6:49 pm: Quest Diagnostics rolls out antibody testing for Covid-19

New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics announced they are now conducting antibody testing for Covid-19 using blood samples, a practice known as serology testing. Quest Diagnostics can conduct about 70,000 tests per day, and is looking to expand that capacity to 150,000 tests daily by early next month.

The company is using serology testing platforms that were originally developed by Abbott and PerkinElmer’s Euroimmun diagnostics division but independently validated by Quest. Antibody testing has the potential to help healthcare professionals identify people who were infected with, but then developed an immune response, to the novel coronavirus.

Quest Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Jay G. Wohlgemuth said in a statement that antibody testing can also help doctors identify people who could contribute plasma to help treat those who are seriously ill from the coronavirus. —Lora Kolodny

3:38 pm: How your company office could change in the post-coronavirus era

The battle between the states and the federal government is heating up about when to open the economy and start letting people go back to work due to the coronavirus.

Exactly when employees will be heading back to work is still an unknown, but what is certain is that when it does happen, things at the office will almost certainly be very different. Just as the pandemic is likely to have a lasting impact on our personal habits, it will also change the way we work. Among the key changes companies are already considering: more space, sanitation and flexibility, with more employees working from home on a semi-regular basis.

According to a number of office designers, companies will be installing more sensors to reduce touch points, such as on light and power switches and door handles, antimicrobial materials, more and better air filtration, temperature monitoring at entry points, desks that are spaced farther apart, plus subtle design features that remind people to keep their distance. —Ellen Sheng

3:04 pm: FDA greenlights first coronavirus test with at-home sample collection

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