Home MarketsAsia USNS Comfort’s arrival draws crowds, California has ordered over 100 million N95 masks

USNS Comfort’s arrival draws crowds, California has ordered over 100 million N95 masks

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The coverage on this live blog has ended — but for up-to-the-minute coverage on the coronavirus, visit the live blog from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific team.

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Global cases: More than 766,300
  • Global deaths: At least 36,873
  • US cases: More than 153,200
  • US deaths: At least 2,828

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

7:06 pm: Judges slow abortion bans in Texas, Ohio during pandemic

A federal judge Monday temporarily blocked Texas’ efforts to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, handing Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers a victory as clinics across the U.S. filed a wave of lawsuits to stop states from trying to shutter them during the outbreak.

A new Ohio order is also unconstitutional if it prevents abortions from being carried out, a separate judge ruled Monday. The ruling instructed clinics to determine on a case-by-case basis if an abortion can be delayed to maximize resources — such as preserving personal protective equipment — needed to fight the coronavirus. If the abortion is deemed necessary and can’t be delayed, it’s declared legally essential.

Taken together, the rulings were signs of judges pushing back on Republican-controlled states including abortion in sweeping orders as the outbreak grows in the U.S. In Texas, the ruling came down after state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said abortion was included in a statewide ban on nonessential surgeries. —Associated Press

7:02 pm: Australia enacts sweeping lockdown powers to combat coronavirus spread

People in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia, could be heavily fined or jailed for leaving their home without a good reason from Tuesday under sweeping new powers designed to slow infection rates.

The public health order, enacted late on Monday, comes amid warnings that it is too early to tell whether an apparent slowdown in infection rates across the country in recent days meant the outbreak was being brought under control.

“What we need to consider is the community-to-community transmission that we might not even know about,” New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in Sydney.

New South Wales has 2,032 confirmed cases of the virus, almost half the country’s total, authorities said. The national death toll stands at 19. —Reuters

6:49 pm: American Airlines plans to apply for coronavirus aid, offers partial pay for employee leave

Digital signs in the baggage claim area at McCarran International Airport display guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protection from the coronavirus on March 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

American Airlines said it will apply for government aid to soften the blow from a record drop in travel demand. The carrier is also offering partial pay to entice workers off its payroll.

The Fort Worth-based airline said it expects about $12 billion of the $50 billion set aside for airlines in a sweeping coronavirus relief bill Congress passed last week. The aid includes $25 billion in grants for passenger airlines in exchange for not furloughing or cutting the pay rates of their employees through Sept. 30. The other half is in loans.

American’s statement that it will apply for the funding is the clearest yet from airlines on the coronavirus aid as executives parse through the details. The rescue package came with some strings attached to it, including equity stakes for the federal government and requirements for carriers to keep paying employees and maintain certain air routes. —Leslie Josephs

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

Volunteers help distribute supplies during Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital set-up with 68-bed respitory care units in Central Park’s East Meadow to provide care for seriousl ill patients with COVID-19, New York, NY, March 30, 2020.

Anthony Behar | Sipa | AP

A new field hospital in New York’s Central Park is set to open Tuesday and will treat coronavirus patients. The temporary hospital will be located in Central Park’s East Meadow in front of Mount Sinai Hospital, according to a spokesperson for the Mount Sinai Health System.

The new hospital will house 68 beds. It was constructed through a partnership between Mount Sinai, aid organization Samaritan’s Purse and intergovernmental agencies and will “provide care for patients seriously ill with COVID-19,” according to the spokesperson. —Hannah Miller, Adam Jeffery

5:55 pm: Washington opens up website for people to report businesses violating the state’s stay-at-home order

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said during a press conference on Monday that people and businesses who do not follow the state’s stay-at-home order can face potential criminal charges.

Inslee said his office had received thousands of calls about people and businesses that are not complying with the other. When authorities learn that someone hasn’t followed the order, they will first give the person or business a warning, then the state will use citations or suspend licenses or business permits, and finally, if the first two steps don’t work, those people will be considered for civil or criminal charges, Inslee said, which can amount to a gross misdemeanor.

“Taking people to court is the very last thing that will be considered,” Inslee said. The officials emphasized anyone reporting gatherings in violation should use a form on the state’s coronavirus website, and not call 911 for non-emergencies. “If you see gatherings that are in violation of this order, we’d like you to use your best judgement and decide whether to notify local law enforcement or this site we’ve opened up,” Inslee said. “Citations can be used, and as a last resort, we can arrest people. That’s the last thing we want to do,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said. —Kif Leswing

5:45 pm: India adds more resources to stop virus, but gaps remain

Police inspector Rajesh Babu (L) wearing coronavirus-themed helmet speaks to a family on a motorbike at a checkpoint during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Chennai on March 28, 2020.

Arun Sankar | AFP | Getty Images

India is adding more resources to tackle its increase in coronavirus cases by announcing that private hospitals may be requisitioned to help treat virus patients, and turning railway cars and a motor racing circuit into makeshift quarantine facilities.

The steps were taken after a nationwide lockdown announced last week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi led to a mass exodus of migrant workers from cities to their villages, often on foot and without food and water, raising fears that the virus may have reached to the countryside, where health care facilities are limited.

Indian health officials have confirmed more than 1,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 29 deaths. —Associated Press

5:40 pm: Hockey apparel company sees heavy demand for medical face shields

Hockey gear maker Bauer announced last week that it would shift its production to make face shields for medical workers, and the demand for the product has already surpassed what it can churn out in a month.

Ed Kinnaly, CEO of Peak Achievement Athletics, Bauer’s parent company, said on “Closing Bell” that the business has seen demand for almost 1 million units. Bauer is selling the products to hospitals on a break-even basis, Kinnaly said.
“Demand way outstripping supply at this stage … We turned on production full-speed today. We’re going to be able to produce 20-25,000 units a week, ramping up to about 70,000 units a week later in April,” Kinnaly said. — Jesse Pound

5:30 pm: Newsom says California has ordered over 100 million N95 masks

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday in an interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that the state had ordered 101 million N95 masks. The masks are an important piece of protective equipment worn by health workers while treating patents who might have the COVID-19 coronavirus, and have been in short supply as demand surged.

“Let me tell you specifically, as of this morning we have distributed 32.9 million N95 masks. We have ordered 101 million more N95 masks,” Newsom said. “When you hear people talking in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands they’re not having an honest conversation with you. We need to be talking in the millions, tens of millions, and in a state as large as ours, hundreds of millions.” Several large California companies have donated N95 masks in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Apple donated 10 million masks, and Facebook donated 700,000 that it had previously stockpiled. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last week that he planned to donate 250,000 N95 masks to hospitals. —Kif Leswing

5 pm: Washington, DC residents to remain at home

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the nation’s capital on Monday. Those found guilty of violating the order, which is considered a misdemeanor, could be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and face imprisonment of no more than 90 days, according to Bowser.

Residents of the city are still allowed to leave their homes to perform an essential job and for essential activities such as obtaining food or medicine. People are also able to engage in certain outdoor recreational activities. –Hannah Miller

4:45 pm: Crowds gather to watch the arrival of the USNS Comfort in New York, ignoring social distancing

The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, arrives at New York Harbor during the coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Jose Perez | Bauer-Griffin | GC Images | Getty Images

The arrival of the USNS Comfort in New York Harbor drew crowds, even as city and state officials are ordering residents to practice social distancing as the coronavirus spreads. The 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship will be housing patients not afflicted by COVID-19 to help alleviate the strain New York hospitals are going through right now. Pictures on social media showed people crowding at Pier 90 to get photos of the ship, drawing criticism. 

The USNS Comfort’s sister ship, the USNS Mercy, has already been deployed and moored in Los Angeles where it has been serving patients since Sunday. —Riya Bhattacharjee

The USNS Comfort pulls into a berth in Manhattan during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, March 30, 2020.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

4:35 pm: Ford, GE plan to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days

Ford Motor and GE Healthcare plan to produce 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days at a facility in Michigan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Production of the critical care devices is expected to begin with United Auto Workers union members on April 20, according to executives at both companies. The facility at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich. will be able to produce 30,000 ventilators a month after early-July, officials said.

Ford expects to produce 1,500 by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4, officials said. — Michael Wayland

4:30 pm: L.L.Bean is pitching in to make medical masks

L.L.Bean is using material from its dog beds to make medical masks, CEO Stephen Smith told CNBC’s Courtney Reagan. “It’s breathable. It’s very durable. It’s washable,” Smith said, noting the idea came from employees who started to experiment.

L.L.Bean is so far making around 5,000 per day, Smith said. Smith also called on Congress to pass additional relief measures that help more U.S. retailers. Smith said his concern was concentrated around “middle market retail” — not companies selling essential goods like groceries or small mom-and-pop stores. These companies in the middle have so far been “missed” by relief measures, Smith said. “I think it’s a really serious situation, and I actually don’t think it’s getting enough attention,” Smith said. – Kevin Stankiewicz

4:15 pm: California governor is trying to recruit thousands of new medical workers with a new Health Corps

Logistics Specialist 1st Class Tavares Littleton, from Chicago, raises the National Ensign during morning colors aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy, which was deployed to serve as a referral hospital for non-coronavirus disease (COVID-19 patients) currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 29, 2020.

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden/Handout via REUTERS.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new effort dubbed the California Health Corps to get thousands of new health care workers out into the field to help support a potential flood of patients with COVID-19

On Twitter, Newsom asked retired doctors, nursing students, members of medical disaster response teams, nursing students, medical students, medical assistants, emergency medical technicians and other professionals to sign up to work in California.  

According to the website, those who sign up will be given a salary and malpractice insurance. Locations will vary, depending on regional needs. The governor’s order says the state can suspend certain certification or licensing requirements during the emergency. —Christina Farr

4 pm: Stocks continue their rebound from coronavirus plunge, Dow jumps 3%

Stocks rose on Monday, building on a strong rally from last week as the U.S. extended measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 688 points, or 3.2%. The S&P 500 climbed 3.4% while the Nasdaq Composite closed 3.6% higher. Tech stocks such as Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon led the way higher for Wall Street. Microsoft jumped 7% while Alphabet and Amazon climbed 3.3% and 3.4%, respectively. 

The Dow is now up 20% from its coronavirus sell-off low reached on Monday while the S&P 500 has risen more than 17% from those levels. The Nasdaq has bounced more than 13%. —Fred Imbert

3:55 pm: Virginia under stay-at-home order until June 10

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statewide stay-at-home order that is effective immediately. The order extends until June 10, making it one of the longest statewide mandates implemented so far.

Northam advised residents that they should now only leave their homes for groceries, medical treatment, work or exercise.

“Don’t go to the store for just one thing,” Northam said. “Wait until you have a list. If you’re traveling from out of state, stay in quarantine for 14 days. Every age group needs to act responsibly and stay home.” —Hannah Miller

3:47 pm: San Francisco extends shelter-in-place through April

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order will be extended until May 1. 

“We’re working to slow the spread of coronavirus in San Francisco, but we know that the challenges we face are going to get tougher. The public health order for people to stay safe in their homes will soon be extended until at least May 1. More details to come soon,” Breed said in a tweet.

The mandate, which bans all non-essential trips outside the home, started at midnight on March 17 and was initially set to expire on April 7. San Francisco has 374 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths.

San Francisco officials also released a statement regarding a growing outbreak of the coronavirus inside Laguna Honda Hospital. In response, the CDC has sent San Francisco infection control nurses from the California Department of Public Health and infectious disease physicians and epidemiologists.

Laguna Honda Hospital currently has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Nine of the cases are staff and two are residents. —Jasmine Kim

3:41 pm: 3M scrambles to meet demand for face masks

The maker of Post-It notes and Scotch Tape is also the maker of perhaps one of the most desperately needed medical supplies in the world right now. 

A face mask. 

The $32 billion Minnesota conglomerate 3M is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of N95 filtering face masks, which have been in high demand in the U.S. and around the world since the coronavirus outbreak—Robert Ferris

3:25 pm: AA meetings, addiction counseling move online as social-distancing guidelines limit group gatherings

With stay-at-home orders across the U.S., meetings and counseling sessions for those who struggle with addiction issues are now taking place online during the coronavirus pandemic. These types of resources are more needed than ever, according to addiction groups, mental health counselors and individuals who struggle with substance abuse issues.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I had been in this situation when we didn’t have access to virtual meetings,” said a 26-year-old woman from Brooklyn, New York, who participates in Alcoholics Anonymous. When she spoke with CNBC, she was 62 days sober and planning to attend 90 meetings in her first 90 days of sobriety.

She said a recent meeting she attended through the video conferencing platform Zoom had over 1,000 people in it. In her experience, virtual meetings are very similar to the in-person ones she’s gone to in New York City: A speaker talks for 10 to 20 minutes and then people share their experiences if they’re willing. Zoom has a “raise hand” feature that allows people to indicate if they want to speak, though not everyone is able to in large groups. Donations are made through the mobile payment app Venmo rather than a collection basket.

“It’s almost too easy because I can take a meeting sitting in my bed,” the woman said. —Hannah Miller 

3:21 pm: Amid outbreak, 49% of companies considering layoffs, more than one-third freezing new hires

Nearly 50% of companies say they are at least somewhat likely to conduct layoffs over the next three months due to coronavirus COVID-19, while more than one-third of firms (37%) say they have already instituted a hiring freeze.

That’s from an online survey of more than 250 companies, varying in size and sector, conducted from March 20–26 by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the oldest outplacement firm in the U.S., which works with companies on transitions services for employees. At that time the survey launched, coronavirus cases had just passed 18,000 in the U.S.; companies were advising employees to work from home; states such as California, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York had started to institute statewide stay-at-home orders; and all but nonessential businesses began shuttering.

Forty-nine percent of companies told Challenger, Gray & Christmas they are very or somewhat likely to conduct layoffs in the next three months, while 11% reported they have conducted permanent layoffs; another 7% have conducted temporary layoffs. —Sully Barrett

3:04 pm: Italy to extend lockdown measures until Easter

The area around Colosseum is empty of tourists during the Coronavirus emergency, on March 30, 2020 in Rome, Italy.

Antonio Masiello | Getty Images

The Italian government said it would extend a lockdown to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus outbreak at least until Easter, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement.

“Our evaluation is that all containment measures should be extended at least until Easter (April 12). The government will move in this direction,” the health minister said after a meeting with the scientific committee.

Italians have been under lockdown for three weeks and the restrictions were due to end on Friday.

Italy, the world’s hardest hit country which accounts for more than a third of all global fatalities, saw its total death tally rise to 11,591 since the outbreak emerged in northern regions on Feb. 21. —Reuters 

2:52 pm: Oil drops to 18-year low as global demand evaporates

U.S. oil dropped to an 18-year low as demand continues to evaporate, and as Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ nations prepare to ramp up production. With much of the world in lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, demand for oil has fallen off a cliff. People aren’t traveling and business has slowed, reducing the need for jet fuel and gasoline.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 6.6%, or $1.42, to settle at $20.09, its lowest level since February 2002. Earlier in the session the contract shed more than 9% to trade at a session low of $19.27. International benchmark Brent crude fell 9.2% to trade at $22.63 per barrel, a price last seen in 2002.

Despite WTI’s 55% slide this month, some analysts think there could be even more downside ahead.

Raymond James analyst John Freeman said on Monday that a “nightmarish scenario” has been created and crude could “test the $10/bbl threshold.” —Pippa Stevens

2:44 pm: Congress will not to return to DC until April 20

2:30 pm: Many college students and other adult dependents are not eligible to receive a stimulus relief check

The IRS is preparing to send most Americans one-time stimulus relief checks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But the bill excludes anyone 18 and older, who can still be claimed as dependents on another person’s tax return. 

In fact, people who can be claimed as a dependent, even if they are not, are not eligible for a payment, Janet Holtzblatt, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, tells CNBC Make It in an email.

“A taxpayer is allowed to claim a full-time student between the ages of 19 and 24 as a dependent, so the parent will not get $500 for a college student, nor can the college student generally claim $1,200,” says Holtzblatt. The parent will still receive their $1,200 check, if eligible. —Alicia Adamczyk

2:17 pm: Iconic photos of the USNS Comfort arriving in NYC

The USNS Comfort passes the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Two days after President Donald Trump took part in a departure ceremony for the USNS Comfort at Naval Station Norfolk on March 28, the massive hospital ship sailed into the New York City harbor to provide much needed medical help to a city overwhelmed with fighting rising cases of the coronavirus. 

As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise, New York City has already converted the Jacob K. Javits Center into a temporary hospital and is setting up another field hospital in Central Park to help relieve the strain. The USNS Comfort will focus on providing medical services to those not afflicted by the coronavirus as hospitals continue to struggle to treat patients with the virus. 

Here’s a roundup of photos that stand out, curated by CNBC’s photo editor. —Adam Jeffery

2:02 pm: Richard Branson’s rocket company Virgin Orbit to begin mass producing ventilators

Richard Branson’s California-based rocket company Virgin Orbit partnered with medical researchers and developed a ventilator device that the company plans to mass produce and send to hospitals around the United States to fight coronavirus.

Virgin Orbit’s device compresses medical ambu bags, which help patients with COVID-19 to breathe. Ventilators deliver air to the lungs through a pump that is placed in the windpipe but there’s a mounting shortage of the devices in the U.S. While Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart noted in a video that the company is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval, he said the company hopes “to get a helpful unit into hospital as soon as possible.”

The company does not have precise timeline for when FDA approval could come. But Virgin Orbit is hopeful that the approval process will only be a few days, as the ventilator devices fall under the FDA’s “Emergency Use Authorization” authority. That authority essentially allows the FDA to fast track limited approval for devices during a crisis.

Virgin Orbit expects to be able to make hundreds of thousands of the devices per week in the near future, an industry person familiar with the situation told CNBC. —Michael Sheetz

1:58 pm: Israel’s Netanyahu tests negative for coronavirus

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday after a parliamentary aide was confirmed to be carrying the virus, though the 70-year-old leader would remain in isolation, a spokesman said.

Spokesman Ofir Gendelman said on Twitter that Netanyahu, his family and staff all tested negative, but “he will remain quarantined until further instructions are issued by the Ministry of Health.” —Reuters

1:50 pm: France sees worst daily death toll, 4th country to report 3,000 virus deaths

Doctors tend to a patient arriving on a wheelchair at the reception of the Emergency Room, set up in a tent, in a courtyard of the Henri Mondor Hospital in Creteil, near Paris, on March 30, 2020, on the fourteenth day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in France.

Bertrand Guay | AFP | Getty Images

French health authorities reported 418 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the total to 3,024 or an increase of 16%, France becoming the fourth country to cross the 3,000 fatalities threshold after China, Italy, and Spain.

The daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities say they will very soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

Health agency director Jerome Salomon told a news conference that the number of cases had risen to 44,550, a rise of 11% in 24 hours. —Reuters

1:48 pm: New York Gov. Cuomo issues nationwide call for doctors and nurses

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on health-care workers across the United States to travel to New York to help the state battle what is the worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation.

“Help New York. We are the ones who are hit now,” Cuomo said at a press conference from the Jacob K. Javits Center, which was converted into four temporary hospitals by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week. “That’s today, tomorrow it is going to be somewhere else … It is going to work its way across the country.” —Will Feuer, Dan Mangan, Berkeley Lovelace 

1:29 pm: GM making progress on building ventilators, masks as Trump praises automaker’s coronavirus efforts

General Motors is quickly moving to repurpose parts of two U.S. facilities from automotive to health care supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

GM’s efforts, which have received the ire and, more recently, praise of President Donald Trump, include manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at a manufacturing facility in Warren, Michigan, and Ventec VOCSN critical care ventilators at a components plant in Kokomo, Indiana.

The automaker Sunday night said both projects are progressing, including plans this week to begin making surgical masks at the facility in suburban Detroit. Production of the ventilators, in partnership with Washington-based Ventec Life Systems, is expected to begin as soon as possible, with shipments starting as soon as next month. —Michael Wayland

1:20 pm: Dow jumps 500 points as coronavirus measures extended, Johnson & Johnson leads the gains

Stocks built on a strong rally from last week as the U.S. extends measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 500 points, or 2.2%. The S&P 500 climbed 2.4% while the Nasdaq Composite traded 2.9% higher. Tech stocks such as Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon led the way higher for Wall Street. Microsoft jumped more than 5% while Alphabet and Amazon climbed 2.6% and 3.6%, respectively. —Fred Imbert

1:17 pm: Some workers won’t qualify for beefed-up unemployment in the coronavirus relief package

The $2 trillion coronavirus relief package President Trump signed into law Friday significantly expands unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans.

The law pays laid-off and furloughed workers an extra $600 a week, for up to four months, and extends existing state benefits by 13 weeks. It also offers jobless benefits to previously ineligible groups, such as gig workers and freelancers.

Yet, some could receive smaller payments than others or miss out entirely.

  • Tip workers
  • Gig, self-employed workers without pay records
  • Social assistance programs
  • Workers in southern states
  • People frustrated by volume
  • Non-English speakers and disabled Americans

Nearly 3.3 million people filed first-time claims for unemployment last week — shattering the previous record, set in 1982, by around 2.6 million people, according to the Labor Department. —Greg Iacurci

1:09 pm: Small business owners face tough decisions as they wait for government loans to arrive

Jeanie Wright was planning for a year of major growth in 2020 with her confection business, Alaskan Sweet Thing’s. The company makes gourmet taffy, popcorn, fudge and more from glacier water, selling online and at its retail location.

A big part of her business comes from tourists traveling to Alaska, as the state has become a major cruise destination. Then coronavirus hit, lobbing a major blow to the tourism that some 90% of her business relies on.

“The whole tourist industry in Alaska has just been decimated — there are no ships scheduled to cruise here until July. The season normally starts at the end of April. The border to Canada has been closed and air flights are severely impacted,” Wright said. “I don’t think most people want to get on a plane and come up here.”

Wright, like many small business owners on Main Streets around the country, is facing down impossible decisions — like whether to keep her four employees on board, one of whom is her older sister — as they apply for loans that might offer them a chance to stay afloat amid the disruption caused by the efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. —Kate Rogers, Betsy Spring

1:02 pm: FEMA sends refrigerator trucks to NYC to serve as temporary mortuaries for coronavirus victims

Times Square is seen empty in New York, United States on March 29, 2020. New York’s famous Times Square has been on sleep due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

12:45 pm: UK makes deal with airlines to fly thousands of stranded Brits home

The U.K. government said it’s made a deal with airlines in an effort to fly home British citizens who are stranded abroad.

Speaking in a daily press conference, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was unclear how many people were currently stuck overseas, but the numbers were in the “hundreds of thousands.” Airlines have canceled swathes of flights — with some grounding their fleets completely — as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions.

The airlines involved in the agreement are British Airways, Virgin, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan Airways, Raab added. He said the cost of the flights would be affordable and vulnerable people would get priority. The U.K said it would spend up to £75 million ($93 million US) on the effort.

Raab was standing in for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was confirmed as having the coronavirus last week and is currently self-isolating. —Katrina Bishop

12:38 pm: Disney’s Iger will forgo salary as new CEO takes 50% pay cut due to coronavirus constraints

Visitors attend Disney California Adventure theme park on February 25, 2020 in Anaheim, California. Bob Iger, who was CEO of Disney since 2005, is being replaced by Bob Chapek, who previously ran the company’s parks, experiences and products division.

David McNew

Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger will forgo his salary and new CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50% pay cut as the coronavirus pandemic hit businesses around the world, according to an internal email obtained by CNBC.

Other executives will take pay cuts as well, Chapek said in the email. Employees at the vice president level will have their salaries reduced by 20%, senior vice presidents by 25% and executive vice presidents and above by 30%, according to the email. 

Iger has long been among the top-paid executives in the entertainment and media industry. In 2019, the former Disney CEO earned $47.5 million, down from $65.6 million in fiscal 2018.

Chapek’s base salary is $2.5 million, according to his employment agreement for his newly-received CEO role. He also is eligible for incentive-based compensation including a $7.5 million annual target-based bonus and an annual equity-based long-term incentive grant of $15 million. It’s not immediately clear which part of his compensation will be eligible for the 50% reduction. —Lauren Feiner, Sarah Whitten

12:27 pm: Coronavirus job losses could total 47 million, unemployment rate may hit 32%, Fed estimates

Millions of Americans already have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and the worst of the damage is yet to come, according to a Federal Reserve estimate.

Economists at the Fed’s St. Louis district project total employment reductions of 47 million, which would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate, according to a recent analysis of how bad things could get.

The projections are even worse than St. Louis Fed President James Bullard’s much-publicized estimate of 30%. They reflect the high nature of at-risk jobs that ultimately could be lost to a government-induced economic freeze aimed at halting the coronavirus spread.

“These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years,” St. Louis Fed economist Miquel Faria-e-Castro wrote in a research paper posted last week. —Jeff Cox

12:19 pm: Gov. Cuomo welcomes USNS Comfort to NYC

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies above USNS Comfort as it enters New York Harbor during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Gov. Andrew Cuomo welcomed the arrival of a Navy hospital ship that will relieve New York hospitals dealing with a rapidly expanding load of coronavirus patients.

The USNS Comfort will provide roughly 1,000 hospital beds, and 1,200 personnel to New York, Cuomo said on Twitter. It will be used to treat patients that don’t have COVID-19 to free up other hospital rooms for coronavirus patients, the governor has previously said.

President Donald Trump ordered the dispatch earlier this month of the USNS Comfort to New York and her twin, the USNS Mercy, to Los Angeles to assist with the outbreak there. —Will Feuer, Dan Mangan

12:09 pm: Violators of Maryland stay-at-home order could face prison time, $5,000 fine

Members of the Maryland Army National Guard work to set up a triage tent in the parking lot outside of the emergency room at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center on March 19, 2020 in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order with a stay-at-home directive for the entire state. He said those who violate the order would be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. The order is effective 8:00 p.m. Monday.

“No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason,” Hogan said at a press briefing.

Residents will still be allowed to leave their homes for food, medicine or medical attention. The state previously closed all nonessential businesses. —Hannah Miller

11:54 am: WHO says early data shows some drugs ‘may have an impact’ on coronavirus, but more research is needed

World Health Organization officials said early research shows that some drugs “may have an impact” on fighting the coronavirus, but the data is extremely preliminary and more research needs to be done to determine whether the treatments can reliably fight COVID-19.

There is “some preliminary data from non-randomized studies, observational studies, that indicate some drugs and some drug cocktails may have an impact,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters. “A number of drugs” have shown promise in treating other coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS, that may be helpful in fighting COVID-19, he said.

“Some of those drugs may impact the length of disease, some may impact the severity of disease and the dosages of those drugs when they’re given to what patient at what stage of the disease has not been standardized,” Ryan said. “We have never had a comparison group where we’ve had a randomized approach to treatment with the drug or not treatment with the drug.” —Berkeley Lovelace Jr. 

11:43 am: Feds charge Georgia man with billing for fraudulent COVID-19, cancer testing claims

Federal prosecutors have criminally charged a Georgia man for allegedly conspiring to defraud federal and private health-care benefit programs “by submitting fraudulent testing claims” for coronavirus and genetic cancer screenings, authorities announced Monday.

The man, 49-year-old Erik Santos is accused in a complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New Jersey of one count of conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, and a single count of conspiring to commit health care fraud. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of both counts.

Prosecutors said that during a phone call on March 19 Santos explained how he viewed the coronavirus outbreak as a chance to make money.

″[W]hile there are people going through what they are going through, you can either go bankrupt or you can prosper,” Santos said on that call, according to prosecutors. —Dan Mangan

11:37 am: Cramer warns stock market short sellers about betting against science in coronavirus crisis

CNBC’s Jim Cramer argued that stock market short sellers are unwisely doubting the ability of scientists to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

“This is a day where you say, if I’m short I’m betting against science, not betting against the lackadaisical attitude of many people in the country, ” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Short sellers take positions on the hope that the market will drop.

Cramer’s comments came shortly after Johnson & Johnson announced plans to start human trials on an experimental COVID-19 vaccine by September, earlier than the pharmaceutical giant had previously stated. The company also said the vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021. —Kevin Stankiewicz

11:24 am: Coronavirus death toll in Italy’s Lombardy rises by around 458 in a day

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in the northern region of Lombardy, the epicentre of Italy’s contagion, has risen by around 458 in a day to some 6,818, a source familiar with the data said.

The daily deaths were up from Sunday’s tally of 416.

The number of cases in the region, which includes the country’s financial capital Milan, increased by some 1,154 to around 42,161, the source said.

The increase in cases was much smaller than the 1,592 new cases registered on Sunday and the 2,117 new cases on Saturday. —Reuters

11:09 am: Macy’s will start furloughing most employees this week as it copes with significant sales losses

Macy’s store in New York City.

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Macy’s said the majority of its employees will be furloughed beginning this week as it copes with significant sales losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer declined to say how many employees will be affected by the furloughs. It said it’s lost most of its sales, even as it remains open online, and that’s why the cuts are necessary. Sales have plummeted since all of its stores temporarily closed in mid-March. The retailer has suspended its dividend, drawn down a line of credit, frozen hiring and canceled some orders.

“While these actions have helped, it is not enough,” the company said in a statement. —Melissa Repko

10:58 am: Trump says US officials should have ‘good idea’ if malaria drug works in three days

President Donald Trump said U.S. health officials should have a “good idea” whether an anti-malaria drug being tested as a treatment for COVID-19 is effective in fighting the coronavirus in “the next three days.”

“Hydroxychloroquine is something that I have been pushing very hard,” Trump said Monday morning during an interview on Fox News.  “I think we’re going to have a good idea over the next three days because it’s been used now in New York at my request — 1,100 people. It’s been used. I think that’s better than testing it in a laboratory. But the doctors tell me no.”

There are no proven therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 and U.S. health officials expect a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. —Berkeley Lovelace, Jr.

10:48 am: Carnival suspends another month of cruises

Carnival Cruise line, which is owned by parent Carnival, said it has extended its suspension of North American operations until May 11. The announcement is an extension of a 30-day suspension of North American operations announced on March 13.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact global health and commerce, we are sorry to extend our pause in our operations until May 11,” Carnival Cruises said in a statement. The company said it is working with customers and travel agents to refund affected purchases. —Will Feuer

10:40 am: Historic $2 trillion CARES Act will be an economic lifeline for gig workers and freelancers

The $2 trillion federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on Friday, will be a lifeline to many gig workers and freelancers. The law takes unprecedented steps to provide a social safety net for the self-employed.

It offers an additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance, bringing weekly payouts to the $800- to $900-a-week range when state benefits are added, to workers including the self-employed. —Elaine Pofeldt

10:05 am: February pending home sales jump over 9% annually, ahead of major coronavirus impact 

A sale pending sign is posted in front of a home for sale in San Anselmo, California.

Justin Sullivan | California

Homebuyer demand was strengthening markedly just before COVID-19 began its spread across the U.S.

Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts on existing homes, rose a stronger than expected 2.4% in February compared with January. Sales were up a steep 9.4% annually, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the highest pace in exactly three years.

“February’s pending sales figures show the housing market had been very healthy prior to the coronavirus-induced shutdown,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Numbers in the coming weeks will show just how hard the housing market was hit, but I am optimistic that the upcoming stimulus package will lessen the economic damage and we may get a V-shaped robust recovery later in the year.” —Diana Olick

9:56 am: Virtual and solo home touring soars amid coronavirus fear 

Like all interaction in the age of COVID-19, home touring is moving online and going solo. Zillow, a home listing site, said it saw a 191% increase in the creation of 3D home tours in the first weeks of March, compared with the average number created in February. Even before the coronavirus, listings including a 3D Home tour were saved by users 50% more, and those homes sold on average 10% faster.

Redfin, a real estate brokerage, saw a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video home tours two weeks ago. At the beginning of last week, 18.9% of tour requests from Redfin.com were video-chat tours, up from 0.2% at the beginning of March, a 94-fold increase. —Diana Olick

9:43 am: USNS Comfort arrives in New York City to treat non-coronavirus patients 

The USNS Comfort is set to dock some time around 10 a.m. and it will be ready to take in patients within 24 hours. While the ship won’t be able to treat people with COVID-19, its 1,000 beds and 12 operation rooms are ready to bolster the health care system. —NBC News 

9:34 am: Dow rises 200 points as Wall Street continues last week’s rebound after virus measures extended 

Stocks rose on Monday, building on a strong rally from last week as the U.S. extends measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 227 points higher, or 1.1%. The S&P 500 climbed 1.5% along with the Nasdaq Composite. —Fred Imbert 

9:30 am: Yum Brands CEO to forgo 2020 salary to fund general manager bonuses 

Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs will forgo the rest of his base salary in 2020 to fund one-time $1,000 bonuses to the company’s nearly 1,200 restaurant general managers across KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill. 

His salary will also help fund the Yum Brands Foundation Global Employee Medical Relief Fund, according to a Monday regulatory filing. The fund will provide financial hardship grants to those directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including company and franchise restaurant employees. Yum plans to also accept donations to the fund.

King stood to make $900,000 from his salary this year, excluding any performance-based bonuses. —Amelia Lucas 

9:21 am: Facebook commits $100 million to support news media hurt by the virus crisis 

Facebook pledged $100 million in financing and advertising spending to support news organizations, including local publishers in the U.S., reeling from pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook’s donation includes $25 million in emergency grant funding for local media, and $75 million in marketing spend for news organizations globally, it said. The social network said the first round of its grants went to 50 local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada. —Reuters 

9:15 am: Cepheid’s rapid coronavirus test may eventually be used in mobile locations

The 45-minute COVID-19 test developed by Cepheid may eventually be able to determine results from mobile locations, Dr. David Alland, chief of infectious diseases at Rutgers’ New Jersey Medical School, told CNBC. Rutgers University is validating the test from Cepheid, which last week received emergency authorization from the FDA. 

“We hope ultimately to have these tests up in .. mobile vans so we can go around testing that way,” Alland said on “Squawk Box.” “Since the results are so fast, you get actionable information that we think will be very helpful with decisions about quarantine, hopefully about treatment.” —Kevin Stankiewicz 

9:00 am: How the US fell behind countries like South Korea in coronavirus testing 

The deadly coronavirus pandemic has stopped the world in its tracks, and exposed a weak spot in the United States’ preparedness for a public health emergency. In the critical first weeks of the outbreak in the U.S., one problem after another prevented doctors, clinics, and labs around the country from testing enough people. Now, the U.S. is months behind in understanding the true scope of the virus. Testing capacity is finally ramping up, but is it too late?

8:54 am: Stock futures rise as investors brace for another volatile week 

U.S. stock futures were slightly higher Monday morning, following sharp gains last week, as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued to rise at an alarming rate over the weekend.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 135 points higher, indicating an opening gain of about 70 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also rose slightly. Earlier, futures had pointed to opening gains.

A 6% drop in crude prices capped gains for the stock futures as big declines in oil has triggered selling in other areas of the markets. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were last seen at $20.28 per barrel. —Fred Imbert

8:44 am: Amazon workers plan to strike at Staten Island warehouse to demand protections 

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island plan to strike on Monday to call attention to the lack of protections for employees who continue to come to work amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Nearly 100 workers at the facility, known as JFK8, plan to participate in the work stoppage. The employees will walk out and “cease all operations” until their demands are heard by site leadership, said Chris Smalls, a management assistant at JFK8 and a lead organizer of the strike.

Smalls and other associates said they’ve grown increasingly concerned about coming into work after an employee tested positive for the virus there last week. An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC it was supporting the individual who is in quarantine and asked anyone who was in contact with the individual to stay home with pay for two weeks. The facility has remained open. —Annie Palmer

8:32 am: Dr. Birx predicts up to 200,000 US deaths

The White House coronavirus response coordinator said that she is “very worried about every city in the United States” and projects 100,000 to 200,000 American deaths as a best-case scenario.

In an interview on “TODAY,” Dr. Deborah Birx painted a grim message about the expected fatalities, echoing that without doing any measures they could hit as high as 2.2 million, as coronavirus cases continue to climb throughout the U.S.

“I think everyone understands now that you can go from five to 50 to 500 to 5000 cases very quickly,” Birx said.

“I think in some of the metro areas we were late in getting people to follow the 15-day guidelines” she added. —NBC News

8:21 am: UK’s Prince Charles, 71, out of self-isolation and in good health

British heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, who had tested positive for coronavirus, is out of self-isolation after seven days and is in good health, his spokesman said.

After consultation with his doctor, he is now out of self-isolation, his Clarence House office said. He will resume meetings and take exercise in accordance with government and medical guidelines.

However, his wife Camilla, who tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in self-isolation until the end of the week in case she too develops symptoms. —Reuters

8:16 am: Tokyo Olympics get a new date

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year’s games.

Tokyo organizers said the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. This year’s games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

“The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games,” Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.” —Associated Press

8:12 am: Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to go into quarantine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says he will enter self-quarantine after an aide tested positive for coronavirus.

The office said that Netanyahu has undergone a test and will remain in quarantine until he receives results or is cleared by the health ministry and his personal doctor. His close advisors are also isolating. His office says the step is a precaution prior to the conclusion of an epidemiological investigation. Netanyahu’s adviser for parliamentary affairs, Rivka Paluch, tested positive.

More than 4,300 Israelis have been infected with the new virus and 15 have died. —Associated Press 

8:01 am: New US cases outpace world

7:59 am: Johnson & Johnson says human testing of its coronavirus vaccine to begin by September

Johnson & Johnson said human testing of its experimental vaccine for the coronavirus would begin by September and that it could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.

J&J also said it has committed more than $1 billion of investment along with U.S. agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, to co-fund vaccine research. —Will Feuer

7:28 am: Trump extends distancing guidelines

President Donald Trump reversed himself on Sunday evening, extending the national social-distancing guidelines to April 30 in an effort to keep the projected death toll in the U.S. from reaching 100,000. 

Trump’ previously said he wanted the country to reopen for business by Easter. Public health experts have warned that loosening restrictions by Easter, on April 12, would result in unnecessary death and economic damage. Trump had suggested that the coronavirus death rate would likely peak within two weeks.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won,” Trump said at an evening press briefing. The president claimed Sunday that Easter was just an “aspiration” and he hopes the country will “be well on our way to recovery” by June 1. —Emma Newburger

7:25 am: Virgin Atlantic asks UK for financial help

Sir Richard Branson

Getty Images

Virgin Atlantic asked the U.K. government for emergency financial help in addition to the coronavirus package made available to all British companies, a source familiar with the situation said.

Britain-based Virgin Atlantic, which is 51% owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group and 49% by Delta Air Lines, made a proposal to the government’s advisor Rothschild and is hoping to get a response by  early next week, the source told Reuters on Monday.

It was not clear whether Virgin could receive commercial loans and guarantees or whether the government could take a stake in the airline. British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said in a report of a transport committee meeting published on Friday that everything was on the table. —Reuters

7:21 am: Spain’s health emergency chief tests positive

A healthcare worker dressed in protective gear takes samples from a driver at a drive-through testing point for the COVID-19 disease at the University Hospital in Burgos on March 28, 2020.

Cesar Manso | AFP | Getty Images

Spain’s health emergency chief Fernando Simon, who leads the country’s response to the coronavirus epidemic and maintains regular contact with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, has tested positive for the virus, a top health official said.

Speaking at a daily news conference where she replaced Simon, Maria Jose Sierra said the trend in daily infections had changed since the introduction of lockdown measures, with new infections now rising at roughly 12% a day, compared with around 20% before March 25. —Reuters

7:18 am: Italy’s death toll surpasses 10,000 as prime minister warns of rising ‘nationalist instincts’

Italy is the worst-hit country by the pandemic so far in Europe, with the highest number of deaths and cases among its 60 million citizens. Now, it’s prime minister is warning that Europe is not doing enough to help Italy.

“If the EU does not live up to its vocation and its role in this historical situation, will citizens have more confidence in it or will they permanently lose it?,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte asked during an interview with El Pais.

He added that the risk of a higher anti-EU sentiment was “obvious” as a result. “Nationalist instincts, in Italy, but also in Spain and elsewhere, will be much stronger if Europe is not up to the task,” he said. —Silvia Amaro

7:15 am: Apple supplier Foxconn’s profit down 24% in last quarter of 2019

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn reported a 23.7% fall in profit in the last three months of 2019 as it braces for the impact from the coronavirus pandemic that has hit demand from key customers such as Apple.

Foxconn, which assembles iPhones at factories in China, reported net profit of $1.6 billion, according to Reuters calculations, slightly above average consensus estimates compiled by Refinitiv. The world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer did not give any explanation for the decline in the same period a year earlier.

Foxconn is among manufacturers worldwide grappling with the fallout from coronavirus restrictions that have disrupted supply chains and hurt demand. —Reuters

6:55 am: US crude dips below $20 as lockdowns hurt demand

Oil prices fell sharply, with U.S. crude briefly dropping below $20 and Brent hitting its lowest level in 18 years, on heightened fears that the global coronavirus shutdown could last months and demand for fuel could decline further.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, was down $1.92, or 7.7%, at $23.01, after earlier dropping to $22.58, the lowest since November 2002. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped $1.03, or 4.8%, to $20.48. Earlier in the session, WTI fell as low as $19.92.

The price of oil is now so low that it is becoming unprofitable for many oil companies to remain active, analysts said, and higher-cost producers will have no choice but to shut production, especially since storage capacities are almost full.

“Global oil demand is evaporating on the back of COVID-19-related travel restrictions and social-distancing measures,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo. —Reuters

6:43 am: Carnival’s Cunard extends suspension of cruises to May 15

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is among the ships registered in Bermuda.

Source: James D. Morgan | Cunard Line

Carnival’s luxury cruise ship operator Cunard said it will extend the suspension of all voyages by a month to May 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Carnival, also the operator of two coronavirus-stricken Princess cruises, already temporarily suspended several of its ships due to concerns over the rapidly spreading COVID-19 crisis.

Cunard, which extended the suspension from April 11, said it would provide a 125% credit for future cruise to travelers impacted by the suspension. The credit can be redeemed against a new booking before the end of March 2022.

Theme park operator Walt Disney and several other retailers have also extended temporary closures as the health crisis worsens. —Reuters

6:08 am: Sweden defends its more relaxed coronavirus strategy

While the rest of Europe imposes severe restrictions on public life and closes borders and businesses, Sweden is taking a more relaxed approach to the coronavirus outbreak.

Unlike its immediate neighbors Denmark, Finland, and Norway, Sweden has not closed its borders or its schools. Neither has it closed nonessential businesses or banned gatherings of more than two people, as the U.K. and Germany have.

The country’s lead epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told CNBC on Monday that although his country’s strategy to tackle the virus was different, the aim was the same.

“My view is that basically all European countries are trying to do the same thing — we’re trying to slow down the spread as much as possible to keep health care and society working … and we have shown some different methods to slow down the spread,” he told CNBC.

“Sweden has gone mostly for voluntary measures because that’s how we’re used to working,” Tegnell added. “And we have a long tradition that it works rather well.” — Holly Ellyatt

5:53 am: Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings has coronavirus symptoms

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, has symptoms of coronavirus and is self-isolating at home, Sky News said Monday.

He started developing symptoms over the weekend and will be staying in contact with the rest of the Downing Street team during his quarantine period, No. 10 has confirmed, Sky reported.

Johnson and his health minister, Matt Hancock, announced on Friday they have tested positive for the virus. Prince Charles also has COVID-19. — Holly Ellyatt

5:02 am: UK lockdown could last six months; US and Europe prepare for longer restrictions

The lockdown in the U.K. to stop the coronavirus outbreak could last six months, government officials warned on Sunday, as the U.S. and other European nations also announced prolonged restrictions on public life.

Speaking at the U.K.’s daily press conference on the latest coronavirus news, the U.K.’s deputy chief medical officer said a lockdown could last, in some form, for months.  “Over time, probably over the next six months, we will have a three-week review,” Jenny Harries said, “We will see where we’re going.”

“We need to keep that lid on and then gradually we will be able to hopefully adjust some of the social-distancing measures and gradually get us all back to normal. So I think three weeks for review, two or three months to see whether we’ve really squashed it. But about three to six months ideally,” she said. — Holly Ellyatt

Correction: An earlier version misidentified Yum Brand’s CEO. The CEO is David Gibbs.

Read CNBC’s full coverage from the Asia-Pacific team overnight: Australia plans $80 billion more stimulus as global cases cross 700,000

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