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Germany reports 4,615 new cases

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  • Global cases: More than 786,228
  • Global deaths: At least 37,820
  • Top 5 countries: United States (164,603), Italy (101,739), Spain (87,956), China (82,240), and Germany (66,885)

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 12:47 a.m. Beijing time.

All times below are in Beijing time.

4:10 pm: European markets climb as sentiment buoyed by China data

European markets advanced on Tuesday, following a positive lead set in Asia after Chinese manufacturing data rebounded in March, despite the coronavirus pandemic.  The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.7% in early trade, with travel and leisure stocks jumping 4.7% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.

European stocks reacted positively to data out Tuesday showing that China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March came in better than some analysts expected.  — Holly Ellyatt and Elliot Smith

3:42 pm: Indonesia plans to relax budget deficit limit amid coronavirus

Indonesia is planning to issue an emergency regulation to allow the government to manage a wider fiscal deficit and increase spending in response to COVID-19, a move that will effectively revise the state finances law, a minister said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The 2003 state finances law caps the budget deficit at a maximum of 3% of gross domestic product for a fiscal year.  But the new rules will allow the government to exceed that limit for three consecutive fiscal years, but the cap will be reinstated in 2023, Luhut Pandjaitan, a senior minister who oversees investment and natural resources, said in a video statement.

Indonesia recorded its first coronavirus cases on March 2 and has seen numbers climb to 1,414 infections and 122 deaths as of Monday. — Reuters

3:27 pm: Southern Italians brace themselves as the coronavirus spreads across the country

Italians in the south of the country are bracing themselves for the coronavirus outbreak that has crippled northern Italy, with those living in the poorer southern regions telling CNBC that people are scared, angry and desperate for more government help.

“People are very scared,” Rachele, a mother of two young children who lives in Salerno in Campania, told CNBC Monday.  “In the south, the virus is spreading quickly and we’re having a lot of deaths, we’re hoping that this situation ends soon,” she said.

The spread of the virus is putting more pressure on the south where the economy is far weaker and where unemployment rates are much higher than in the north, and indeed, most of Europe. — Holly Ellyatt

A general view of a almost deserted street during coronavirus crisis on March 20, 2020 in Palermo, Italy.

Tullio Puglia

3:06 pm: Switzerland to tap markets more for funds to fight outbreak

Switzerland will be raising funds from financial markets more frequently to help cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the country’s Federal Finance Administration.

In a statement, the FFA said it will double its holdings of short-term money market instruments from around 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.2 billion) to 12 billion francs. It also said it will step up sales of bonds. 

Switzerland has reported 15,475 cases as of Monday, with 295 deaths, according to the Federal Office of Public Health. — Yen Nee Lee

2:50 pm: Industry associations warn of looming major food shortages across Asia

There could be major food shortages across Asia as a result of supply chain disruptions and trade protectionist measures due to the coronavirus outbreak, two industry associations warned.

Many countries have locked down large areas, quarantined millions and restricted movements across borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, formally known as COVID-19. Such measures restrict the movement of manpower and disrupt transportation and logistics.

Some countries have also started stockpiling strategic food products and restricted exports in an environment where consumers are buying more for their own pantries as they stay home.

“Any restriction of movement, including the workforce, will affect the stability of food production. The situation has now been exacerbated by the global increase in demand for food. Even the slightest measure affecting the free movement of people and goods will strain the global food chain further,” said Abdul Halim Saim, president of the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The alliance and Food Industry Asia, are calling for governments across the region “to ensure the unhindered production and supply of food and beverages as each country tries to contain the outbreak of COVID-19,” they said in a press release on Monday.

“During a lockdown, if governments across the region put in place policies that hinder production across supply chains as well as trade barriers, this could lead to regional food shortages, especially when looking across the world and seeing the continued but unnecessary panic buying behavior,” they said. — Huileng Tan

2:37 pm: Virus is still smashing through markets — but investors have found one they like 

As world markets, especially U.S. markets, tremble on surging cases of the coronavirus, there’s one market seeing investors return: China.

The infection rate of coronavirus has slowed in China, and there appears to be a growing appetite among fund managers to start buying Chinese assets again.

Pinebridge Investments, a New York-based firm, is going “all in.”

“We have recently boosted China A shares from a small single digit starting position to a low double digit weighting,” Michael Kelly, global head of multi-asset at Pinebridge, told CNBC over email. “As a result of COVID-19, the West is now seeing plunging economics through at least (the second quarter), while the East, led by China, is already full of” companies that are showing recovery. — Tanvir Gill

1:55 pm: Germany reports 4,615 new cases, 120 more deaths

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 4,615, taking the tally to 61,913, according to the latest data by Robert Koch Institute, a federal government agency responsible for disease monitoring and prevention. 

The number of fatalities has risen by 120 to 583, the data showed. 

Germany has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in Europe behind Italy and Spain. — Yen Nee Lee

1:24 pm: Southeast Asian countries step up measures to curb outbreak

Several Southeast Asian nations have stepped up measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.

The region’s largest economy Indonesia said it has decided to ban the entry and transit of all foreigners, reported Reuters. Foreigners with stay permit and some diplomatic visits may be exempted, the report said. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam announced social distancing measures for 15 days starting Wednesday, according to a separate Reuters report. During the period, people are required to stay at home and can only can go out for emergencies or to buy goods, said the report. 

As of Monday, Indonesia has confirmed 1,414 cases of the coronavirus, while Vietnam has reported 203 infections, according to their respective official tallies. — Yen Nee Lee

12:55 pm: Pandemic will hit profitability of Asia Pacific banks, says Fitch

Asia Pacific banks will find it increasingly challenging to maintain their financial performance as economies around the world get hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Fitch Ratings said.

The ratings agency earlier this month downgraded the outlook for 10 banking systems in the region to “negative.” All 17 banking systems in Asia Pacific that Fitch assesses now have a “negative” outlook.

But the outlook assessment doesn’t necessarily indicate that economies in the region face higher risk of financial instability, said Fitch’s Head of Asia-Pacific Bank Ratings Jonathan Cornish. — Yen Nee Lee

12:23 pm: Japan asks citizens not to travel to 73 locations

Japan’s foreign ministry has urged citizens not to travel to 73 countries and regions, including the U.S., Canada and the U.K., reported Reuters. That’s an increase from some 20 countries — mostly those in Europe — that Japan had warned its people not to visit in recent weeks, the report said. 

The Japanese government is also likely to ban the entry of visitors from the newly added countries, according to the report.

The warning came as the number of cases in Japan continued to rise. As of Monday noon, the country confirmed 1,866 cases, 173 more than the previous day, according to the ministry of health, labour and welfare. — Yen Nee Lee

10:39 am: Japan prime minister and his deputy to avoid attending the same meetings

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his deputy, Taro Aso, will avoid attending the same meetings as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. 

“Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe told cabinet members this morning that Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso would not join a meeting where he attends,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Akihiro Nishimura said at a news briefing, according to Reuters. 

In the event Abe is unable to fulfill his duties as prime minister, Aso will be next in line to become Japan’s interim leader. The country has at least 1,953 reported cases and 56 deaths, according to JHU data. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:26 am: China says manufacturing activity expanded in March, defying expectations of a contraction

China said the official Purchasing Manager’s Index for March was 52.0, beating expectations for an economy hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the official PMI to come in at 45 for the month of March, from a record low of 35.7 a month earlier.

China’s manufacturing activity slowed dramatically earlier this year as the government instituted large-scale lockdowns and quarantines to contain the spread of COVID-19. — Huileng Tan

9:23 am: Amazon fires warehouse worker who led Staten Island strike for more coronavirus protection

Amazon confirmed to CNBC that it fired Chris Smalls, a warehouse worker who organized a strike at its Staten Island facility on Monday.

The company said it fired Smalls after he “received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines.”

Smalls and other employees walked out to call attention to the lack of protective measures for workers. They’re also urging Amazon to close the facility after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus. Organizers put the number of strikers around 50, while Amazon said it was less than 15.

“Amazon would rather fire workers than face up to its total failure to do what it should to keep us, our families, and our communities safe,” Smalls said in a statement. “I am outraged and disappointed, but I’m not shocked. As usual, Amazon would rather sweep a problem under the rug than act to keep workers and working communities safe.” — Annie Palmer

8:53 am: Los Angeles halts evictions for people and businesses who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a halt on eviction in the city for people and businesses who can’t pay rent due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state of California. Landlords are also barred from raising the rent on rent-stabilized apartments, Garcetti said. 

“If you cannot pay the rent as a result of this emergency, you cannot be evicted,” Garcetti said. Residential tenants have 12 months and commercial tenants will have 3 months to pay after the emergency ends. 

“The money owed by tenants won’t magically disappear, tenants still need to pay the rent if they can,” Garcetti said. — Kif Leswing

8:40 am: ‘Act quickly, act decisively, act robustly’ to stop coronavirus outbreaks, WHO special envoy says

David Nabarro, a special envoy on COVID-19 to the World Health Organization, told CNBC that countries need to act fast and stop the coronavirus outbreak before it grows into an exponential problem.

“This set of outbreaks that are making up the pandemic increase in scale exponentially; they double in size every few days, like every three days,” Nabarro told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “Trying to get in ahead of an exponential problem is much easier if you’re dealing with it early on.”

Countries are being forced to make difficult decisions at the moment to try and halt virus from spreading within their borders: They want to slow down the rate of infection to a level where their respective health-care systems can handle the strain. But, to do that, they are being forced to undertake strict lockdown measures that would undoubtedly have a severe impact on their economies. 

“Act quickly, act decisively, act robustly, so that you’re not caught having to deal with a much bigger, bigger problem two weeks later,” Nabarro added. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:21 am: China says it had 48 new cases of infection

China’s National Health Commission said there were 48 new cases of infection reported on the mainland, all of which were attributed to travelers who returned from abroad. It added that one person died from the virus in Hubei province, where the outbreak was first reported. China says more than 76,000 cases have recovered from the disease and at least 3,305 died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:19 am: US cases surpass 160,000

The total number of reported cases of coronavirus infection in the United States was at least 161,807, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Among them, at least 2,978 have died and just over 5,500 people have recovered in the country, the data revealed.

Global cases continued their upward trend, standing at least 782,319 reported instances of infection worldwide, according to JHU. The data also showed the worldwide death toll stood at more than 37,500 as countries continued to implement stricter social distancing measures in an effort to slow the virus’ spread. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:10 am: Italy has more than 100,000 cases but says new infections have slowed

In one of the worst-hit countries in the global pandemic, Italy’s health ministry reported that as of 6 p.m. local time on March 30, there were at least 101,739 total cases of infection among its 60 million citizens. But the ministry said the rate of new cases declined; though Reuters reported that could also be due to fewer COVID-19 tests being conducted. 

At least 11,591 people died and about 14,620 have recovered from the illness. 

A woman prays during the Sunday Holy Mass celebrated by priests from the roof of the church San Gabriele dell’Addolorata in Rome on March 29, 2020, amid the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic.

Tiziana Fabi | AFP | Getty Images

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told El Pais newspaper that Italy was “in the most acute phase” of the outbreak and that it was reasonable to believe that the peak was near. But, concerns remain about another surge in the number of cases in the coming days. For its part, Italy is set to extend its nationwide lockdown measures at least until the Easter season, Reuters reported. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:41 pm: Department of Defense watchdog appointed inspector general for $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package

The Defense Department’s internal watchdog will serve as newly named chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a body created to oversee the roughly $2 trillion stimulus deal that President Donald Trump signed into law last week in response to the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus outbreak.

Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general of the Department of Defense, was appointed by another committee of IGs assigned by the new law to name a chair. 

Fine will oversee a board of fellow inspectors general, all responsible for monitoring their respective departments. They include the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, as well as the Treasury, the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. — Lauren Hirsch

6:35 pm: Airbnb extends coronavirus cancellation window to May 31, sets aside $250 million to pay hosts for missed stays

Airbnb announced it will allow guests to receive full refunds for any trips starting on or before May 31 that were booked prior to March 14, as the company continues to struggle through the coronavirus’ impact on the travel industry. The company will also set aside $250 million to pay hosts for the missed bookings.

Airbnb announced the decision in a letter sent to hosts in an effort to rebuild Airbnb’s relationship with its partners. Previously, the company had said that it would allow guests to cancel and receive full refunds for trips between March 14 and April 14.

That decision overrode many hosts’ existing cancellation policies that ensured they still received partial payments for those bookings. Many hosts harshly criticized Airbnb for that decision, and several told CNBC that they would be moving their properties onto other websites and into the long-term rental market. — Sal Rodriguez

6:27 pm: Field hospital goes up in New York City’s Central Park

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