Coronavirus live updates: Australia plans $80 billion more stimulus as global cases cross 700,000

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

All times below are in Beijing time.

  • Global cases: More than 723,740
  • Global deaths: At least 34,018
  • Top 5 countries: United States (143,025), Italy (97,689), China (82,152), Spain (80,110) and Germany (62,435)

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 2:45 p.m. Beijing time.

4:11 pm: Virus triggers collapse in garment industry demand, putting jobs in Asia at risk

The garment industry is witnessing a collapse in demand due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, putting jobs across Asia at risk.

“Across the entire industry, shops are closed, brands and retailers actually right now have an oversupply situation with whatever orders they have placed. They fear that they may not be able to sell it, so they are actually canceling orders or delaying shipments of orders,” said Stanley Szeto, executive chairman of Lever Style, a Hong Kong-based garment maker.

“I guess nobody is lacking a shirt to go out,” said Szeto, who is also an honorary chairman at the Textile Council of Hong Kong.

Lever Style’s customers include Hugo Boss and Everlane. — Huileng Tan

3:50 pm: EasyJet grounds entire fleet 

British low cost carrier EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft following more stringent travel restrictions across many European countries. 

The full grounding starts on Monday, the airline said in a statement, adding that there’s no certainty on when it would resume commercial flights. 

“We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view,” the statement read. — Yen Nee Lee 

3:03 pm: Thailand reports 136 new cases, two additional deaths 

Thailand reported 136 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 1,524, reported Reuters, citing government agency Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

In a separate report, Reuters said Thailand’s public health ministry recorded another two deaths from the virus. The country’s total fatalities now stand at nine, according to the report. — Yen Nee Lee 

2:40 pm: Australia announces $80 billion stimulus to save jobs 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government will spend 130 billion Australian dollars ($80 billion) over the next six months to protect jobs while the coronavirus threatens the economy.  

Morrison, in a televised address, announced a “job keeper” payment of 1,500 Australian dollars ($925) per fortnight which the government “will pay employers to pay their employees.” The wage subsidies will help workers to keep their jobs and is expected to benefit six million people, said the prime minister.  

The Australian government has announced multiple rounds of stimulus packages. Its previous measures include cash payments and loan guarantees for businesses.

Australia reported 284 new cases as at Monday morning, taking the country’s tally to 4,093 confirmed cases, its department of health said. — Yen Nee Lee

2:36 pm: Oil prices fall to 17-year low

Oil prices fell to the lowest in more than 17 years as demand plunged as a result of the pandemic and an unrelenting price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia showed no signs of easing.

Brent crude prices hit $23.03 a barrel on Monday morning during Asia hours — the lowest level since Nov. 15, 2002. It has since clawed back some losses following that record decline, but was last still 5.86% lower at $23.47 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures briefly dipped below $20 per barrel to $19.90 — their lowest level since March 20, when they fell as low as $19.50. WTI was last 4.51% lower at $20.54 per barrel. — Weizhen Tan

2:25 pm: A food crisis looms as farms stay idle and countries hoard supplies

The coronavirus outbreak could affect food security as the global pandemic disrupts labor availability and the supply chain.

“We risk a looming food crisis unless measures are taken fast to protect the most vulnerable, keep global food supply chains alive and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts across the food system,” said the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in a recent post on its website.

The FAO said disruptions can be expected in April and May. — Huileng Tan

1:41 pm: At least 40,000 people under quarantine in Indian state of Punjab

Indian authorities have put at least 40,000 people under quarantine in the western border state of Punjab after a priest was confirmed to have died from the coronavirus, NBC News reported.

The priest had returned from Germany and transited through an Italian airport; upon returning, he had ignored advice to self-isolate and attended several religious gatherings, according to the NBC report. Around 650 people were identified to have been in contact with the priest and they were being tested for the virus, NBC said, adding 20 villages in the region have been placed under quarantine.

At the moment, India is under a lockdown for three weeks that began last Wednesday. There are at least 1,171 reported cases of COVID-19 in the country and 29 people have died. The relatively low numbers are likely due to fewer people being tested for the virus. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

1:20 pm: Germany reports 4,751 new cases, 66 more deaths 

Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by 4,751 to a total of 57,298, according to the latest data by Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention. 

The number of deaths related to the coronavirus increased by 66 to 455, the institute said. — Yen Nee Lee

12:50 pm: Argentina extends nationwide quarantine until mid-April 

Argentina has extended a nationwide quarantine until the middle of April to curb the spread of the coronavirus, reported Reuters. 

The country’s President Alberto Fernandez said the measure, which was initially put in place until the end of March, will be extended until after the Easter Holy Week, the report said. That means the quarantine would only be lifted on April 12, according to the report. 

The quarantine restricts people from leaving their homes except to buy groceries for medicine, but doesn’t apply to workers in industries deemed essential, reported Reuters. 

Argentina has recorded 820 coronavirus cases with 20 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. — Yen Nee Lee

11:34 am: Singapore’s deputy prime minister says pandemic is ‘a serious crisis’ for country

Singapore, as a “very open” economy, must prepare for the worst from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that’s threatening public health-care systems, financial markets and economies around the world, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

“The Singapore economy is very open and connected. We’re a very major business and financial hub, closely integrated with the global economy so this is a serious crisis,” Heng, who’s also Singapore’s finance minister, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

The Southeast Asian country was one of the earliest countries outside China to report cases of the coronavirus disease, which has been named COVID-19. As of Sunday noon, Singapore has reported 844 cases of COVID-19, including three deaths, according to the health ministry.

Last week, official preliminary estimated showed the Singapore economy shrinking 2.2% year-over-year in the first quarter — its deepest contraction since the first quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis. — Yen Nee Lee

10:58 am: Dow set for an opening drop, Asian stocks mostly lower

10:15 am: South Korea reports 78 new cases, six additional deaths

There were 78 new cases of infection in South Korea, bringing the country’s total to 9,661, according to the latest figures from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another six people died and total fatalities from the virus stood at 158. 

South Korea is said to be planning emergency measures to help millions of low-income households. (See 7:42 a.m. update) — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:25 am: Japanese comedian Ken Shimura dies from coronavirus

Iconic Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, 70, died on Sunday night, according to a report from NHK.

Shimura was infected with the coronavirus and was being treated for pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital, NHK said. 

Japan has more than 1,800 cases of infection, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At least 54 people have died so far in the country and more than 400 have recovered. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:10 am: Singapore’s central bank eases policy as city-state braces for recession

The Monetary Authority of Singapore eased its monetary policy on Monday and said that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a severe contraction in economic activity globally due to supply chain disruptions, travel restrictions and a sudden decline in demand. MAS said the Singapore economy will enter a recession this year, with GDP projected to contract between 1% to 4%.

“MAS will adopt a zero percent per annum rate of appreciation of the policy band starting at the prevailing level of the S$NEER,” the central bank said in a statement, referring to the exchange rate between the Singapore dollar and a basket of currencies belonging to the country’s major trading partners. 

“There will be no change to the width of the policy band. This policy decision hence affirms the present level of the S$NEER, as well as the width and zero percent appreciation slope of the policy band going forward, thus providing stability to the trade-weighted exchange rate,” the statement added.

Singapore reported more than 800 cases to-date, including three deaths. The number of cases rose exponentially in March as many residents returned from abroad and tested positive for COVID-19. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:22 am: China says it has 31 new confirmed cases, most of them ‘imported’

China’s National Health Commission said there were 31 new confirmed cases of the virus reported on the mainland, of which 30 were “imported” cases from abroad. Four new deaths were also reported, all of them occurring in the Hubei province, where the virus was first detected. 

About 75,700 people are said to have recovered to-date from the virus in China and 3,304 people have died, according to Monday’s reported numbers. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:42 am: South Korea considering financial support for 10 million households

South Korea is considering providing financial support to 10 million lower-income households as part of emergency measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, Yonhap reported on Sunday. The plan would provide a four-member household, whose income falls below the median income, with a one-time lump sum of up to 1 million Korean won ($820), Yonhap said, adding the proposal is set to be discussed at an emergency economic council meeting. 

Travelers wearing protective masks and suits walk through Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, on Monday, March 9, 2020.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

South Korea has more than 9,500 reported cases to-date, but mass testing and rigorous quarantine measures appear to have slowed down the virus outbreak from last month. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:36 am: Global cases surpass 700,000

The total number of coronavirus infection cases globally has crossed 700,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of 7:36 a.m. on March 30, there were at least 720,117 reported cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 33,881 deaths. The United States had the highest tally of infections at more than 139,600 while Italy’s numbers were over 97,600. 

About 149,076 people have recovered, JHU data showed; more than 75,500 of them in China. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:55 pm: Consolidating flights to US cities could help stem airline industry losses

U.S. airlines and the Department of Transportation may soon have to consider consolidating service to dozens of cities around the country in a bid to help carriers cut losses, several airline industry executives told CNBC.

Executives with U.S. airlines are expected to meet with leaders of the Transportation Department this week to discuss the state of the industry following approval of a $50 billion bailout package. The aid package requires airlines to not furlough employees for the next six months, while also maintaining service, to the best of their ability, to the cities the airlines currently serve. The problem with maintaining service is that many planes are virtually empty. — Phil LeBeau, Meghan Reeder

6:14 pm: President Trump extends national social distancing guidelines through April 30

President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the national social distancing guidelines to April 30 after suggesting that the coronavirus death rate would likely peak in two weeks.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won,” Trump said at an evening press briefing. “Therefore we will be extending our guidelines to April 30.”

The president has previously said he wants to reopen the country for business by Easter, on April 12, despite warnings from public health experts that doing so would result in more deaths. — Emma Newburger

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Trump accuses hospitals of hoarding ventilators, field hospital set up inside Central Park

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