Coronavirus live updates: Possible community spread in US, Japan to close all schools

By | February 27, 2020

People are wearing masks at Myeongdong on February 20, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.

Jong-Hyun Kim |Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

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

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Total confirmed cases: More than 81,400
  • Total deaths: At least 2,770

8:13 am: Former FDA chief calls for greater investment in medical research

The world needs to invest more heavily in medical research to find effective treatment for the coronavirus, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. Gottlieb, who sits on the boards of pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology firm Illumina, added that “billions” should be put toward the effort. “We have to prepare that this is not something that’s going to start and stop,” he said. “This could become something that we have to live with and what’s going to inevitably be a backstop against it’s going to be a therapeutic or a vaccine. We need to invest very heavily in that right now.” —Feuer

7:30 am: Chinese government releases new data about the economic impact

7:20 am: Dow is set to drop on report of first US case of unknown origin

U.S. stock futures on Thursday morning pointed to declines at the day’s open even after President Donald Trump tried to calm fears over the coronavirus outbreak. Futures slipped after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin in Northern California, indicating possible “community spread” of the disease. The CDC doesn’t know exactly how the patient, a California resident, contracted the virus. —Imbert

7:10 am: CDC confirms first possible community transmission in the US

People wear surgical masks while shopping at a grocery store in Cupertino, California, United States on January 23, 2020 before the start of Lunar New Year. There are now 8,235 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 171 death and 143 recovered.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

U.S. health officials confirmed late Wednesday night the first possible community transmission of the coronavirus in America, a troubling sign that the virus could be spreading in local cities and towns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t know exactly how the California patient contracted the virus. The individual is a resident of Solano County and is receiving medical care in Sacramento County. The patient didn’t have a relevant travel history or exposure to another patient with the virus, the CDC said Wednesday. “At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown,” the CDC said in a statement. “It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States.” —Lovelace

6:35 am: China’s central bank ‘very worried’ about impact on global economy

“International organizations are worried about the negative impact of the [virus] to the global economy,” Liu Guoqiang, a vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, said Thursday, according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. “I’m also very worried,” he said, “and this worry has become a reality.” Liu noted how China, the world’s second-largest economy, is one of the few countries in the world that has not resorted to “unconventional monetary policy.” As a result, he said, “China has relatively larger space for policy action, and has the ability to cope with various challenges, something which should be cherished and maintained.” He noted how domestic interest rates, as guided by the loan prime rate, have room to fall further. —Cheng

6:25 am: Japan’s Abe to ask schools to close from March 2 through to spring break

Elementary school students walk on the snow-covered street in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, February 26, 2020.

Issei Kato | Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly said on Thursday that the government would ask all elementary, junior high, and high schools to close from March 2 through to spring break. Abe’s comments, according to Reuters, came at a meeting of the government’s task force as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Spring break in Japan typically ends around the end of March. —Meredith

6:10 am: Iran’s health ministry confirms 245 coronavirus cases; death toll at 26

Iran’s health ministry has confirmed 106 additional cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections up to 245. Iran’s death toll as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak has also been raised to 26, Kianoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s health ministry, said Thursday. Iran is at the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East, having recorded the highest number of coronavirus fatalities outside China. Health authorities from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates have all reported cases of the coronavirus that stemmed from Iran. Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced it would temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners for pilgrimage and tourism purposes. —Meredith

4:45 am: South Korea confirms record spike of cases, outnumbers China for daily infections

A South Korean health worker sprays disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a residential area near the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu on February 27, 2020.

JUNG YEON-JE | AFP via Getty Images

South Korea confirmed 505 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, Yonhap news agency reported, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 1,766. It marks the sharpest daily spike yet in South Korea, outnumbering the 433 new cases in China. Most of the country’s new infections stemmed from the city of Daegu, Yonhap reported, citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health authorities began testing more than 210,000 members of a religious sect at the center of South Korea’s epidemic for coronavirus on Thursday. —Meredith

CNBC’s Sam Meredith, Joanna Tan, Saheli Roy Choudhury, Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

Read CNBC’s coverage from the Asia-Pacific overnight: South Korea reports record daily spike, Japan to close all schools

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