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Coronavirus live updates: Buffett moves shareholder meeting online, English Premier League suspended – CNBC

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 135,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 4,977, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 1,701, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 40, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

10:05 am: In a role reversal, Asia seeks to stop the virus from coming in

From quarantining arriving travelers from overseas to nabbing those sneaking in with fevers, China and other parts of Asia are scrambling to prevent the new coronavirus from coming back to where it first broke out. Just as the spread of the disease is stabilizing in much of Asia, following a major outbreak in China, and sizable ones in South Korea and Japan, it is popping up in new hot spots around the world.

Those three countries announced expanded border controls this week that mimic many of the bans and restrictions placed on China in the early days of the outbreak. China, which didn’t have enough protective equipment for its medical workers a few weeks ago, is now donating supplies to Italy, Iran, South Korea and, other affected places.

The outbreak is far from over in Asia and could well explode again when restrictions put in place to stymie it are lifted. But the panic that seized the region has shifted to the Mideast, Europe and the Americas as those areas deal with the rapid spread of the virus for the first time. —Associated Press

9:56 am: Trump’s travel ban on many European countries is ‘politically motivated,’ analysts say

President Donald Trump’s decision to ban travel from many European countries is “politically motivated” and will not prevent further coronavirus cases, analysts told CNBC.

Trump announced Wednesday that people from 26 countries in Europe would be banned from entering the United States for a period of 30 days. These nations form the so-called Schengen Area, where there are no passport checks between internal borders.

However, countries in Europe that are not part of the Schengen area are excluded from the ban. These include the U.K., Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania. 

“The U.S. travel ban against the EU Schengen is a politically motivated, and largely ineffective measure,” Alberto Alemanno, a professor of EU law at H.E.C. Paris Business School, told CNBC. —Silvia Amaro

9:54 am: EU details new steps to reduce economic impact from the coronavirus

European officials clarified some of their new measures to contain the economic implications of the virus. EU member states will be able to provide wage subsidies, suspend payments of corporate and value-added taxes or social contributions, as well as grant financial support directly to consumers. European countries are also allowed to step up their public spending to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus. “The coronavirus pandemic is testing us all. This is not only an unprecedented challenge for our health-care systems, but also a major shock for our economies,” Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said Friday. —Silvia Amaro

9:34 am: Nepal cancels climbing season for Mount Everest

Climbers on Mount Everest

Source: Adrian Ballinger, Cory Richards

There is a small window in the spring – between the bitter cold and the rainy season in June – to climb the world’s highest mountain. This year the window will be closed. To protect against the spread of the virus, Nepal has suspended all expeditions from March through May. The country earns about $4.4 million a year in permit fees from climbers. Nepal has only had one confirmed case of COVID-19, a student studying in China on a trip home. —Reuters

9:29 am: Staggered starts, backup offices: How traders are working amid the pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts routine working around the world, companies across the financial sector are having to find more agile ways of operating.

While many global companies are telling all staff to work from home, for some banking roles, this isn’t possible. Traders, for example, often deal with sensitive data, requiring workstations and technology that meet certain compliance standards and cannot be used at home.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase have instituted staggered work arrangements and backup offices for its staffers and are limiting the number of people at gatherings. Buying group lunch deliveries from a single vendor was another method being used by companies, as well as putting up signs asking people to wash their hands when they arrived at work before sitting down at their desks. —Vicky McKeever

9:13 am: Mnuchin says coronavirus sell-off will be great opportunity for long-term investors like ’87 crash

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the current market sell-off will be short-lived and, as such, looks like a compelling investment opportunity for investors looking to buy equities at a discount. 

“This is a short-term issue. It may be a couple of months but we’re going to get through this and the economy will be stronger than ever,” the secretary said from the White House.

“I look back at people who bought stocks after the crash in 1987, people who bought stocks after the financial crisis. For long-term investors, this will be a great investment opportunity,” he said. —Thomas Franck

8:44 am: Stocks set to surge following worst day since the ’87 crash, S&P 500 futures hit ‘limit up’ 

U.S. stock futures surged in volatile trading as Wall Street tried to recoup some of the sharp losses suffered in the previous session — the worst since the “Black Monday” market crash in 1987.

S&P 500 futures jumped more than 5% to reach their “limit up” level. These limit levels act as a ceiling for buying until regular trading begins and are meant to insure orderly trading. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up more than 1,100 points, implying a gain of nearly 1,000 points. Nasdaq 100 futures also surged. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

8:27 am: Warren Buffett says Berkshire’s annual meeting will be held without shareholders in attendance

Warren Buffett

Gerard Miller | CNBC

Warren Buffett announced Friday that Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder’s meeting will not be held with shareholders present as the coronavirus continues to spread. The meeting will be streamed online by Yahoo Finance. 

“I very much regret this action; for many decades the annual meeting has been a high point of the year for me and my partner, Charlie Munger,” Buffett said in a letter to shareholders. “It is now clear, however, that large gatherings can pose a health threat to the participants and the greater community.”

Berkshire’s annual meeting — which is slated for May 2 — has become a staple in the global business community. In 2018, more than 40,000 people from around the world attended the event known by some as “Woodstock for Capitalists.” —Fred Imbert

8:22 am: Hubei government says only Wuhan city is high epidemic risk

The government of Hubei, the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak, has lowered the epidemic risk ratings of several cities and regions, leaving only the capital of Wuhan as “high risk” as of the end of March 12, according to the Hubei Daily, a state-owned local paper.

Compared to March 10, 18 more cities and counties in the province were lowered to low risk, while five fell to medium risk from high risk, it said. —Reuters

8:14 am: Small businesses say coronavirus is starting to cause supply-chain squeezes and lost sales

Small business owners are beginning to feel early impacts, such as supply-chain problems and lost sales. New data from the National Federation of Independent Business show that the current effects may be limited, but worries are big.

The group found that 74% of small businesses say they are not yet impacted by the pandemic, while 23% say they are being negatively affected. Just 3% report positive impacts. The group polled a random sample of 300 of its 300,000 members on Tuesday and Wednesday from employers with up to 120 workers. —Kate Rogers

7:42 am: What to expect if NYSE has to close its trading floor

A person wearing a face mask walks along Wall Street after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, March 6, 2020.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

For decades, the NYSE has had contingency plans to continue to operate in the event the floor might have to close.  At one point, there was even a “mirror” floor in Brooklyn. Today, the NYSE has plans to continue to operate electronically should the floor need to close.  Last weekend, the NYSE conducted a test of their trading systems to ensure they could open electronically without the floor. —Bob Pisani

7:40 am: US grants emergency approval to Roche for testing

The Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for a coronavirus test made by Swiss diagnostics maker Roche, a move aimed at boosting screening capacity to help contain the pandemic. The tests provide results in 3.5 hours and can produce up to 4,128 results in 24 hours, Roche said Friday. The FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization allows the tests to be deployed in markets including the United States as well as others accepting the CE mark signifying they conform to European directives. —Reuters

7:30 am: English Premier League suspends soccer matches until April due to coronavirus

Fans wear disposable face masks prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on March 07, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom.

Michael Regan | Getty Images

The governing bodies of English soccer have announced in a joint statement that elite-level matches, including the Premier League, will be suspended until early April.

It becomes the latest sports league to have been temporarily halted as a result of the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected more than 135,000 people worldwide.

In the U.S., all four major and active leagues have ceased competition in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. — Sam Meredith

7:10 am: Croatia and Estonia close schools to combat coronavirus spread

Croatia and Estonia have moved to shut down schools for an extended period in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced Friday that schools and universities in the country would close for two weeks starting Monday. Estonia’s government decided to close schools and ban public gatherings nationwide until May 1.

Croatia has reported 19 cases of the coronavirus, while Estonia has confirmed 16 infections. Neither country has recorded any deaths as a result of COVID-19. — Sam Meredith

6:45 am: Indonesia’s cases more than double

Indonesia’s health ministry told reporters Friday that COVID-19 infections jumped to 69, up from 34 cases Thursday. An official for the country’s health ministry said the cases ranged from ages 2 to 80, Reuters reported, and three people with the coronavirus had died. —Sam Meredith

6:40 am: Trump says coronavirus testing to take place on a ‘very large scale basis’

President Donald Trump said coronavirus testing in the U.S. would soon take place on a “very large scale basis,” without providing any details on how this might be carried out. “All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!” Trump said via Twitter. The U.S. has reported 1,701 cases of COVID-19, with 40 deaths nationwide. —Sam Meredith

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Trump claims ‘very large scale’ testing; Indonesia cases double

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