Home News Coronavirus live updates: US soldier based in South Korea tests positive – CNBC

Coronavirus live updates: US soldier based in South Korea tests positive – CNBC

14 min read

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

All times below are in Beijing time.

11:05 am: Customers at supermarkets in Beijing must keep a distance from each other

Supermarkets in Beijing must keep customers at least 2 square meters (roughly 4 ft. by 5 ft.) apart from each other, the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau said in an online statement Wednesday.

The announcement was made in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and told stores to use “smart, rapid and automatic sensing equipment” to improve the efficiency of evaluating body temperatures, and prevent crowding, according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese-language text. — Evelyn Cheng

10:11 am: US soldier stationed in South Korea tests positive

A U.S. soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive for the new coronavirus — marking the first time an American service member has been infected, according to the United States Forces Korea (USFK).

Camp Carroll is around 22 km (13 miles) away from the South Korean city of Daegu, where a large number of infections in South Korea has been reported. The soldier also visited Camp Walker, which is around 4 km from Daegu.

The 23-year-old soldier is currently in self-quarantine at his off-base residence, the USFK said. It added that contact tracing is currently underway. — Weizhen Tan and Christine Wang

U.S. Marine soldiers from 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Battalion landing team deployed from Okinawa, Japan, participate in the U.S. and South Korean Marines joint landing operation at Pohang seashore on March 29, 2012 in Pohang, South Korea. 

Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images News | Getty Images

9:55 am: China’s health care system under pressure

Wuhan, Hubei province’s capital city, accounts for 60% of mainland China’s total confirmed cases and about 77% of the deaths.

Even though local authorities have rushed to build new hospitals, first-hand reports still describe inadequate hospital beds and medical care.

Amid the sheer number of cases, many locals say it’s difficult to get medical care. Many coronavirus patients’ families have turned to the public for help, with some even turning to social media.

9:45 am: China reports 406 new cases, 52 additional deaths

China’s National Health Commission reported 406 new confirmed cases, and an additional 52 deaths, as of Feb. 25.

Of the new cases, 401 were in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak. The additional deaths are all in Hubei.

The country’s total is now 78,064 confirmed cases, and 2,715 deaths.

9:07 am: South Korea reports a jump of 169 new cases, 1 additional death

South Korea reported a jump of 169 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 1,146 infected, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday morning.

It reported one additional death, bringing the total number of fatalities to 11.

Of the new cases, 134 were from Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city. So far, more than half of coronavirus cases in the country have been traced back to Daegu’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus, where the government is set to conduct testing on around an estimated 215,000 people.

The U.S. CDC this week raised its alert level for travel to South Korea, citing the outbreak there.

8:45 am: Iran now has the highest coronavirus death toll outside of China, threatening the wider Middle East

Iran’s health ministry on Tuesday confirmed 15 deaths from the coronavirus, the most fatalities of any country outside of China, where the deadly illness originated. Iran also said there are 95 current cases.

The majority of Iran’s cases have been linked to Qom, a major religious destination for Shiite pilgrims 85 miles south of Tehran, Iranian’s health ministry spokesman said on state television Tuesday.

The virus’s rapid spread in Iran signals a greater risk to the wider region. And Iran’s links to the rest of the Middle East through travel by religious pilgrims and workers — as well as its dire economic situation — make it particularly ill-prepared to handle the intensifying outbreak, regional experts say. — Natasha Turak

8:15 am: Asia stocks tumble

Asia stocks fell in early trading, as Wall Street saw another rout overnight.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.07% in early trade after dropping more than 3% on Tuesday. The Topix index also saw a 1.07% decline. South Korea’s Kospi tumbled 1.79% while the Kosdaq dropped 1.62%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.74%. — Eustance Huang

8:00 am: Royal Caribbean cancels 30 cruises

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean says it has cancelled 30 cruises in Southeast Asia due to the outbreak, Reuters reported.

It has also modified several itineraries in the region and estimated the cancellations would lead to an impact of 90 cents per share in 2020, according to the report.

7:45 am: Japanese stocks set to tumble again

Markets in Japan were set to tumble at the open again as Wall Street saw another plunge overnight on virus fears. The Nikkei 225 had closed down more than 3% on Tuesday.

Australian shares dropped around 1.8% in early trade.

All times below are in Eastern time.

4:40 pm: Dow loses more than 800 points as stocks plunge for a second day

The stock rout continued as diving bond yields raised more concern that the global economy is slowing significantly because of the spreading coronavirus. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a record low as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added to Monday’s 1,000-point drop. Comments from health officials warning of a possible outbreak in the U.S. also spooked investors, causing a turnaround in stocks which had opened the day higher.

The Dow dropped 879.44 points, or 3.1%, to 27,081.36 after being up more than 180 points at one point shortly after the open. The slid 3% to 3,128.21 while the fell 2.8% to 8,965.61. Monday’s session was the market’s worst in two years. The S&P 500 posted back-to-back declines of at least 3% for the first time since November 2008 during the financial crisis, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

3:52 pm: US health officials say human trials on coronavirus vaccine to start in 6 weeks

Human trials testing a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus are expected to begin in six weeks, U.S. health officials announced Tuesday. “We are on time at least and maybe even a little bit better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters at a press conference. “Hopefully, no further glitches.”

The White House reportedly asked Congress on Monday for $1.25 billion in additional funding to bolster its coronavirus response, including money to develop a vaccine and therapeutics to treat the virus. The National Institutes of Health has been working with biotech company to develop a vaccine using the current strain of the coronavirus. —Lovelace

3:49 pm: US health officials say coronavirus will likely cause a global pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak that’s shuttered commerce across China will likely become a global pandemic, a top U.S. health official said, adding that it’s just a matter of time before the outbreak starts spreading in the U.S. “Current global circumstances suggest it’s likely this virus will cause a pandemic,” Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters at a news briefing.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more a question of when this will happen and how many people in this country will become infected and how many of those will develop severe or more complicated disease,” she added.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar added: “We can’t hermetically seal off the United States.” Azar confirmed four new cases of the virus from repatriated cruise ship passengers, bringing the total in the U.S. to 57.

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: CDC outlines pandemic planning as fears send stocks plunging for second day

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Christine Wang, Eustance Huang, Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and William Feuer contributed to this report.

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