Coronavirus live updates: Singapore reports new record high of 728 cases

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: At least 2,152,647. 
  • Global deaths: At least 143,802. 
  • Most cases reported: United States (667,801), Spain (184,948), Italy (168,941), France (147,091), and Germany (137,698). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:05 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

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9:05 am: Australia could keep coronavirus restrictions for another year, its prime minister says

Australia could keep imposing restrictions to curb the virus spread for another year, its Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, according to a Reuters report.

He said that some social distancing measures, such as requiring people to stand at least 1.5 meters apart, could be in place for several months more.

“Social distancing is something we should get very used to,” Morrison told radio station 3AW, according to the report. “It could be a year, but I’m not speculating about that.”

However, he pushed for the reopening of schools, citing medical advice that children are a low risk of transmission, said the report. — Weizhen Tan

8:35 am: Investors wait for China’s GDP data

China’s first-quarter GDP data, set to be released Friday morning, will be closely watched as economists assess the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Efforts to contain the virus have hit China’s key manufacturing sectors and other parts of the economy badly. 

A Reuters poll showed China’s economy is forecast to have shrunk 6.5% in the first quarter from a year ago. That would reverse a 6% expansion in the previous quarter and mark the first decline since at least 1992, according to Reuters. — Weizhen Tan

8:10 am: Singapore reports another record for daily new cases

Singapore reported 728 new cases as of noon on April 16, yet another daily record high this week and drastically higher than the previous high of 447 reported for Wednesday. This week, the Southeast Asian country has reported a spike in the number of infections after managing to keep numbers low earlier in the outbreak.

Most of the new cases were foreign workers who are housed in dormitories, at which several infection clusters have been found. The men, typically from other Asian countries, work mostly in the construction sector.

The number of fatalities overall in the city-state remained at 10, with the total number of cases now at 4,427. — Weizhen Tan

Foreign workers are seen outside their dormitory rooms at Cochrane Lodge II, which was declared as an isolation area on April 16, 2020 in Singapore.

Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:58 pm: Dr. Deborah Birx outlines the White House’s plan to reopen the US economy

6:22 pm: Dow futures rip 700 points higher amid report Gilead drug showing effectiveness treating coronavirus

5:14 pm: Gilead stock surges after report says drug trial shows encouraging early results

Gilead Sciences shares surged  by more than 10% in after-hours trading after an industry publication said Covid-19 patients being treated with the company’s antiviral drug Remdesivir appear to have “rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms.” 

STAT News said a doctor running a Chicago-based hospital conducting a closely watched trial on the drug found that most of its patients had been discharged in less than a week. 

There are no proven therapies to treat Covid-19, which has infected more than 2 million worldwide as of Thursday night, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Some health authorities in the U.S. and China have been using  Remdesivir, which was tested as a possible treatment for the Ebola outbreak, in hopes that the drug can reduce the duration of the virus in patients. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

4:58 pm: Trump to roll out guidelines to open up parts of US where cases decline and testing ramps up

President Donald Trump is set to unveil broad new federal guidelines that lay out conditions for parts of the U.S. to start relaxing some of the strict social distancing measures imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new guidance will identify the necessary circumstances for areas of the country to allow employees to start returning to work – but the decision will ultimately be made by state governors, two sources told CNBC.

States, which have imposed their own containment measures to try to slow the spread of the disease, are not legally required to follow the White House’s instructions. But the new guidance nevertheless ramps up pressure on governors to loosen their restrictions, even as health experts and business leaders alike warn that widespread testing systems are needed before Americans can safely start returning to their normal lives.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump said on a call with dozens of governors Thursday afternoon, NBC News reported, citing two people listening on the call.

Despite the president saying earlier this week that he believed some states may be able to “reopen” their economies before May, the White House guidelines do not offer any specific dates, a White House official told NBC. —Kayla Tausche, Kevin Breuninger

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: US coronavirus cases top 667,000 as Dr. Birx outlines phases to reopen US economy

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