Coronavirus live updates: Wuhan hospital director dies from virus, Moody’s lowers China forecast


A man wears a protective mask as he ride bike in the street at Optical Valley on February 16, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.

Stringer | Getty Images

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

All times below are in Beijing time.

2:48 pm: Moody’s says economic growth to slow across Asia Pacific

Moody’s Investors Service said Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak adds to other pressures on growth in Asia Pacific. The impact of the disease will be felt mainly through trade and tourism, the firm said, adding for some sectors, there would also be supply chain disruptions.

“This shock comes on the back of a marked slowdown in 2019 as decelerating global trade hit the region,” Moody’s said in a statement.

The firm lowered its growth forecast for China from 5.8% to 5.2% for 2020, which would reflect “a severe but short-lived economic impact, with knock-on effects for economies across the region.” It added that lower Chinese import demand would be the primary reason for slowing growth.

Macao and Hong Kong are expected to face the biggest hit given their close economic integration with China, Moody’s said.

1:53 pm: Director of hospital in Wuhan dies from virus

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission confirmed Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died Tuesday morning.

According to an online report from state news broadcaster CCTV, medical staff sent from Beijing Xiehe Hospital said Liu died of the new coronavirus at 10:30 a.m. after an all-out rescue effort failed.

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission later said Liu died at 10:54 a.m. and that he was 51 years old.

Nearly two weeks ago, doctor Li Wenliang, who was initially reprimanded by local authorities for his early warnings about the virus, also died from the new coronavirus. — Cheng

12:20 pm: HSBC braces for coronavirus impact

The London-headquartered bank, which earns most of its profits from Asia, said it expects to feel the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the first quarter and has lowered growth expectations in China for 2020. “The main impact will be in the first quarter, but we expect some improvement as the virus becomes contained,” HSBC said in its outlook for the global economy.

“Longer term, it is also possible that we may see revenue reductions from lower lending and transaction volumes, and further credit losses stemming from disruption to customer supply chains,” Noel Quinn, HSBC’s interim chief executive, said as the bank released its full year earnings for 2019.

The bank on Tuesday reported pre-tax profit that missed analysts’ expectations, and said it recorded a 32.9% fall in pre-tax profit for 2019 to $13.35 billion.

Correction: This entry was updated to reflect the correct spelling of HSBC, and to clarify the bank’s global economic outlook due to impact from the virus.

11:48 am: India’s poultry industry slammed due to virus

11:35 am: Singapore Airlines reduces flight routes as demand slows

Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary SilkAir will be canceling some flights temporarily due to weak demand as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the company said in a statement. Some routes have been halted as far back as May. 31 while others are expected to resume service before that.

“Affected customers will be notified and re-accommodated onto other flights,” Singapore Airlines said, adding that further adjustments will be made “as necessary.”

Routes affected include flight services to New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Paris, Frankfurt, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney.

10:49 am: Time for tests to detect virus has been cut down from days to hours, China says

The time needed for nucleic acid testing for the new coronavirus has been cut down drastically — from two days to just four to six hours, according to a press release from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The release outlined the discussions of a meeting, chaired by Chinese premier Li Keqiang, who met a national-level group tasked with responding to the COVID-19 outbreak on Monday. “The outbreak is trending in a positive direction in the country overall, although the epidemic situation in the epicenter of Wuhan and Hubei remains fluid and complex,” according to the official translation of the release.

The meeting also discussed the “need to strike a proper balance between epidemic control and economic and social development,” the release said. “While further pursuing a targeted outbreak response, work and production should be resumed in an orderly way,” it added.

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020 shows the interior of “Wuhan Livingroom”, which is converted into a hospital to receive patients infected with the novel coronavirus, in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province

Cai Yang| Getty Images | Xinhua News Agency

10:09 am: More than 80% of state-owned firms’ manufacturing subsidiaries have resumed work

As of Monday, more than 80% of the central state-owned enterprises’ roughly 20,000 manufacturing subsidiaries have resumed work, according to China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

The commission said that more than 95% have resumed work in petroleum and petrochemicals, telecommunications, power grid and power generation, and transportation. In mining, steel and equipment manufacturing, more than 80% have resumed work. — Cheng

9:33 am: More than 450 people on Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive

Out of a total of 1,723 passengers and crew members tested on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, 454 people were confirmed to have been infected, Japan’s health ministry said. That included 189 asymptomatic carriers, or those who tested positive but did not show any symptoms, according to the ministry.

Countries, including the United States, have started repatriating their stranded citizens on chartered planes. U.S. officials said they received notice that 14 passengers had tested positive and they were allowed to be evacuated while kept in isolation from other passengers.

The ship had been quarantined since Feb. 3 after a previous guest tested positive for the disease six days after disembarking.

8:40 am: Volkswagen delays re-opening some China factories

German automaker Volkswagen told CNBC that its joint ventures in China are working to get production back to their normal schedule. SAIC Volkswagen, a joint venture with China’s SAIC Motor, postponed restarting production at their plants until Feb. 24. FAW-Volkswagen, a partnership with FAW Group, has started work in some factories and expects to resume full operations in the coming days.

“We are working hard on getting back to our normal production schedule, while facing delays due to national supply chain and logistics challenges as well as limited travel options for production employees,” a spokesperson for Volkswagen Group China told CNBC. “Production feasibility at each plant is checked individually, resulting in different starting times.”

The representative added it is “still too early” to make detailed forecasts about the impact of the virus outbreak on the company. — Wu, Roy Choudhury

7:58 am: China says total death toll from virus outbreak at 1,868 people

China’s National Health Commission said there were 1,886 confirmed new cases on the mainland and 98 additional deaths related to the new, deadly strain of coronavirus, most of them occurring in Hubei province (see 7 a.m. update). As of Feb. 17, the Chinese government said there was a total of 72,436 confirmed cases and 1,868 people have died so far.

7:46 am: BHP warns on outlook

Australian mining giant BHP said Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 70,000 people, mostly in China, is one of the major uncertainties for the company’s future.

“If the viral outbreak is not demonstrably well contained within the March quarter, we expect to revise our expectations for economic and commodity demand growth downwards,” the company said in a regulatory filing. BHP said it anticipates “a net demand loss” due to the disease outbreak in the near term.

BHP shares listed in Australia traded up 0.35%.

7:00 am: Hubei province reports 93 additional deaths

China’s Hubei province reported an additional 93 deaths and 1,807 newly confirmed cases related to the deadly coronavirus as of the end of Monday.

Those numbers were slightly lower compared to the previous day, where the province had reported 100 additional deaths and 1,933 more confirmed cases as of Feb. 16.

According to the Hubei Provincial Health Committee, 1,789 people have died in the region from the infection and there have been a total of 59,989 confirmed cases so far. Most of them occurred in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was first detected in late December. Around 7,862 people have also been discharged from hospitals.

All times below are in Eastern time.

4:30 p.m. Apple says it will miss its quarterly sales forecast, blames coronavirus

Apple said Monday that it would not meet its quarterly revenue forecast because of constrained worldwide supply of its iPhones and lower Chinese demand resulting from the virus outbreak.

The company says its iPhone manufacturing partner sites have all reopened, but that they are “ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated.”

“The iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide,” Apple added.

Adding to the issue, many retail stores, including Apple’s own shops, have been closed or offering only reduced hours for the past few weeks. — Cordova

2:05 p.m. Runners curse coronavirus as organizers close the Tokyo Marathon to non-professionals

Two weeks before the Tokyo Marathon’s start gun was slated to fire, race organizers booted all non-professional runners out of the annual marathon. Some took to social media to voice their frustration and disappointment over sunk entry fees and airfare costs, as well as potentially squandered time and effort training. Ryan Lederer of Chicago told CNBC that while he agreed with prioritizing public safety, his inability to run in March feels like “a bit of a waste” after months of conditioning and dieting. — Franck

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Apple says it will miss quarterly guidance amid coronavirus outbreak

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Lilian Wu, Elisabeth Butler Cordova and Thomas Franck contributed to this report.

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