WHO probes health worker illnesses; Beijing sets a 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals

WHO probes health worker illnesses; Beijing sets a 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals

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  • Total confirmed cases: More than 64,000
  • Total deaths: At least 1,380

12:11 pm: Chinese official to travel to Germany to discuss outbreak

12:00 pm: CureVac CEO: We expect to have coronavirus vaccine in trials soon

CureVac CEO Daniel Menichella said the company aims to have its coronavirus vaccine in phase one clinical trials by early summer. “Our technology is very, very fast,” he said. The German-based pharmaceutical company partnered with the Norwegian Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to create a vaccine and received an $8 million grant, he said. — Bursztynsky

11:55 am: WHO and China investigate health workers infected with virus

World health officials are working with Chinese authorities to determine when the 1,716 health workers in the country were infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. It appears infections among medical workers peaked in mid-January and has “rapidly” decreased since, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, said at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “This may reflect increased levels of training, increased levels of protection and increased levels of awareness.” — Lovelace

11:26 am: Cramer hears business leaders are ‘personally worried’ about coronavirus exposure

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said business leaders he has spoken to are deeply worried about the coronavirus outbreak, citing as evidence the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress. “The people I know who were supposed to go there, it was kind of like a cruise — I’m not going there. I’m not going to risk going to Barcelona,” he said on “Squawk on the Street.” Cramer said the MWC cancellation shows how executives are viewing the situation with regards to their own health, not just the welfare of their employees. “That has not been the story. Now we’re at the, ‘I don’t want to get hurt [phase].'” — Stankiewicz

11:11 am: Newell Brands says China factories are seeing delay startup, goods moving slow

Newell Brands, which makes Sharpie pens, Crock-Pots and Coleman coolers, is experiencing delayed startups in its China factories and slower movements of its goods because of travel checkpoints and restrictions from the coronavirus, CFO Christopher Peterson said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. The company is assuming a 1% hit on first-quarter sales from the outbreak, mostly affecting its appliance, cookware and outdoor and recreation businesses. China is Newell’s largest sourcing partner, with about 40% to 50% of its products being sourced there, according to Peterson. Newell stock is currently up 4%. — Miller

10:44 am: WHO reveals details on its mission to China

Director-general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing he expects the WHO-led mission to China to arrive over the weekend. The team will include 12 international and WHO experts, Tedros said, as well as the same number of Chinese counterparts, though he did not identify individual members. He said the experts will visit three provinces to observe on-the-ground response efforts, but did not say if the mission will visit the epicenter of the outbreak, the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. “The goal of the joint mission is to rapidly inform the next steps in the COVID-19 response and preparedness activities in China and globally,” he said. —Feuer

10:14 am: Beijing authorities issue self-quarantine order for returning residents

Beijing officials charged with responding to the virus issued an order for all those returning to Beijing to remain in quarantine at home for 14 days, Chinese state media The People’s Daily reported. Those who refuse to quarantine themselves or follow the official rules on virus containment will be punished according to law, the newspaper said in a post on Chinese social media site Weibo. —Feuer

10:00 am: WHO holds briefing on coronavirus

World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more people than the 2003 SARS epidemic. —Feuer

9:03 am: Virus risk to US is ‘very low,’ but that could change ‘rapidly,’ Azar says

The American public’s risk of getting infected with the new coronavirus is “very low” but that could change “rapidly,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC. “We’re deploying the full force of the U.S. government to protect the health and safety of the American people,” Azar said. Health officials have confirmed 15 U.S. cases of COVID-19. Azar said people can protect themselves from the virus by washing their hands with soap and water, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth. — Lovelace

8:48 am: Drugmaker says outbreak will likely continue for a few months and drag on its revenue

8:20 am: IMF chief says next two weeks will be critical for China

The next two weeks will be crucial in determining the economic impact of the coronavirus, says International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. In that time, factories are due to reopen in China, which would give a “better understanding on the resilience of China and on that basis, the spillover for the rest of the world,” Georgieva said. She said the IMF was also watching how the new coronavirus was spreading outside of China, stating that it was “not a major issue for now” but if it spreads into “weak health system countries, for example in Africa” that may change. — McKeever

7:20 am: Businesses in China try to return to work

Two weeks after the Lunar New Year holiday was originally supposed to end, Chinese businesses are still hobbling as the country deals with disruptions from a highly contagious virus. The new coronavirus that began to grab national attention in mid-January has killed more than 1,300 people in mainland China. More than half of the provinces delayed the resumption of work from the first week of February by at least a week in an effort to keep people from interacting and spreading the virus. In many places, businesses were scheduled to resume work last Monday, but a variety of data indicates progress has been slow as the virus remains an unresolved concern. Many local governments have also imposed strict restrictions on entering certain areas and requiring quarantines of at least two weeks for people who have returned from out of town. — Cheng

7:10 am: Hong Kong pledges $3.2 billion to contain virus

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday pledged handouts totaling $3.2 billion to the Hospital Authority and businesses grappling with the coronavirus outbreak that has piled further pressure on the Chinese-ruled city’s battered economy. Lam said the government would provide $605 million to the Hospital Authority in addition to a series of one-off payments to retailers and others impacted by the outbreak. Hong Kong has 56 confirmed cases of the virus, including one death. The package will need to be approved by the city’s Legislative Council. — Reuters

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.

Source: NIAID-RML

6:30 am: China’s Xi says country must fix loopholes exposed during coronavirus outbreak

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the ruling Communist Party to repair loopholes and weaknesses exposed during the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported Friday, citing state television. His comments came shortly after China’s National Health Commission reported an additional 121 deaths nationwide, with 5,090 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The flu-like COVID-19 virus was found to have killed a total of 1,380 people in mainland China as of Thursday evening after the health commission said it had removed 108 deaths from the total figure due to a double-count in Hubei province — the epicenter of the outbreak. It is the second day in a row that the province made significant changes to its count, fueling doubts many have about the accuracy of China’s tally. The White House does “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China,” a senior U.S. administration official told CNBC on Thursday.

5:50 am: China’s top auto industry body reportedly expects auto sales to tumble more than 10% in the first half of 2020

Auto sales in China are expected to fall more than 10% in the first six months of the year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported Friday, citing China’s top auto industry body. “We predict auto sales will drop more than 10% in the first half of this year, and around 5% for the whole year if the epidemic is effectively contained before April,” Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman at China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers, told Reuters in an interview published Friday. CAAM’s latest forecast reflects a much weaker outlook for auto sales in the world’s largest auto market than it had initially projected. Last month, the industry body said it expected auto sales were likely to dip 2% in 2020.

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific team overnight here: China says six health workers have died, Singapore warns of recession. All times above are in Eastern time.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Amanda Macias, Kevin Stankiewicz, Hannah Miller, Vicky McKeever, Sam Meredith, Weizhen Tan, Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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