Coronavirus live updates: Japan confirms more cases on cruise ship; Bill Gates on stopping the pandemic

Health News

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: More than 2.7 million
  • Global deaths: At least 190,490
  • Most cases reported: United States (866,646), Spain (213,024), Italy (189,973), France (159,460), and Germany (153,129). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:24 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

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9:00 am: China reports 6 new cases, no deaths

China reported just six new cases as of April 23, according to its National Health Commission (NHC) — a decline from the 10 new cases reported the day before. Two of the new cases were attributed to travelers coming from overseas.

That takes the country’s total to 82,804 cases, according to government data.

For the ninth straight day, there were no new deaths, with total fatalities remaining at 4,632, according to the NHC.

Separately, there were 34 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 979, the NHC said. — Huileng Tan

7:20 am: Japan reports 40 more cases on Italian cruise ship docked in Nagasaki

Japan confirmed 40 more coronavirus cases on the Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica currently docked in the western city of Nagasaki for repairs, broadcaster NHK reported. 

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

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images

At least 98 cases of infections have been identified on the ship, including cooks and staff members serving food to the crew on board, according to the report. The cruise ship reportedly carried 623 crew members and no passengers.

Nagasaki officials said they plan to test all on board the ship within the next few days, said NHK. — Huileng Tan

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:40 pm: United Airlines will require flight attendants to wear masks. The labor union wants passengers to wear them, too

United Airlines says effective Friday flight attendants will have to wear masks or other face coverings while on duty, a measure aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The airline will provide flight attendants with surgical masks but they are also allowed to wear their own cloth masks.

“We understand that many aspects of the flight attendant’s duties, both on and off the aircraft, can make practicing social distancing challenging, which is why this new initiative is so important,” United said.

While few travelers are currently flying because of the virus and stay-at-home orders airlines are rethinking precautions to stop the virus from spreading.

The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents some 50,000 cabin crew members including those at United and asked for the measure at United, wants to go further. The union asked federal authorities to require that travelers as well as crews be required to wear masks to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

“As some of the most frequent travelers, flight attendants feel a deep responsibility to ensure that our workplace risks of acquiring and spreading communicable diseases are minimized as much as possible,” AFA’s president, Sara Nelson, wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.” —Leslie Josephs

7:17 pm: Bill Gates explains what we need to do to stop the coronavirus pandemic and reopen the economy

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates outlined what the world needs to do to stop the Covid-19 pandemic and reopen the economy in a blog post Thursday

Gates said the world must advance its treatments, vaccines, testing and contact tracing. It also needs to examine its policies for opening up global economies, he said. He compared the pandemic to a war.

There were five areas he outlines as needing attention:

  1. Treatment: Gates acknowledged that many treatments may fail, but said he’s optimistic some will be successful in reducing the coronavirus burden.
  2. Vaccines: “Short of a miracle treatment,” the only way for people to return to some sense of normal is through a vaccine, Gates said.
  3. Testing: Gates said the United States needs to prioritize and speed up Covid-19 testing to have results in one day.
  4. Contact tracing: Gates said that people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive should be prioritized for testing and self-isolate.
  5. Opening up: Gates believes that most developed countries will enter the second phase of the pandemic in the next two months. That’s where the world is semi-normal, though people still practice social distancing.

“During World War II, an amazing amount of innovation, including radar, reliable torpedoes, and code-breaking, helped end the war faster,” Gates said. “This will be the same with the pandemic.”

Gates has been vocal on the Covid-19 pandemic and has described its spread as a “nightmare scenario.” —Jessica Bursztynsky

6:58 pm: Updated map of global cases, which now total 2,708,590

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