Brazil confirms first case in Latin America, travel restrictions ‘irrelevant’ in pandemic

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Total confirmed cases: More than 81,000
Total deaths: At least 2,764

1:17 pm: Pakistan confirms first two cases

Pakistan has confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus but both patients are in a “stable” condition, the health minister said. “Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable. No need to panic, things are under control,” Health Minister Zafar Mirza tweeted. One of the cases was detected in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, a provincial official said. It was not immediately clear where the second infected person was based. —Reuters

1:10 pm: Presidential contenders take aim at Trump’s coronavirus response

Democratic presidential candidates at Tuesday night’s debate took aim at the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Some candidates called for more funding to be allocated to the CDC’s effort to prepare for an outbreak in the U.S. Others criticized President Donald Trump’s apparently lax attitude regarding the outbreak, which has now infected at least 81,000 in more than 30 countries and killed at least 2,764 people. The criticism came after the CDC stepped up its call Tuesday for the public to start preparing for a possible pandemic outbreak in the U.S. —Feuer

12:15 pm: CDC confirms 59 US cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 59 cases in the U.S., a majority of which came from passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan. The CDC updated its case count on its website late Tuesday. The data shows that 42 of the cases are attributed to the cruise ship, three patients were infected in Wuhan and later evacuated to the U.S. and the rest were largely infected while traveling overseas. Just two cases were contracted through person-to-person contact in the U.S., the CDC said. —Kopecki

12:09 pm: Delta slashes South Korea service because of outbreak

Delta Air Lines slashes its service to South Korea from the U.S. to 15 flights a week from 28 as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly outside of China. More than 1,100 people have been infected with COVID-19 in South Korea, the largest outbreak outside of China. Delta said it is temporarily cutting its service from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Seoul from Feb. 29 through April 30 and cut service to five times a week from Atlanta, Detroit and Seattle until May 1. “The health and safety of customers and employees is Delta’s top priority and the airline has put in place a number of processes and mitigation strategies to respond to the growing concern,” Delta said. Other airlines may follow suit due to a decline in demand. —Josephs

South Korean tourists leaving Israel are pictured at a pavillon separated from the main terminal of Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on February 24, 2020.


12:06 pm: More video game companies pull out of PAX East

Projekt RED and PUGB Corp. joined a growing list of major video game companies to cancel their appearance at the PAX East conference in Boston that’s scheduled to start Thursday. Already Sony PlayStation, Oculus, Electronic Arts, Kojima Productions, Capcom, and Square Enix have either pulled out of PAX East or the Game Developers Conference, or GDC 2020, a video game conference set to be held in San Francisco next month. —Whitten

11:53: Travel restrictions ‘irrelevant’ if coronavirus becomes a pandemic

Stringent travel restrictions imposed on inbound flights from China to contain the coronavirus outbreak become “irrelevant” in a potential pandemic because “you can’t keep out the entire world,” a top U.S. health official said a day after the Trump administration braced the public for its eventual spread here. “When it was focused only on China, we had a period of time, temporary, that we could do a travel restriction that prevented cases from coming into the U.S.,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “When you have multiple countries involved, it’s very difficult to do, in fact, it’s almost impossible.” —Higgins-Dunn

11:47 am: Coronavirus cuts Trump’s Dow gains since election to 48% from 61%

President Donald Trump may be livid about this week’s market sell-off, but the rally in U.S. equities since his election is still well intact. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 47.7% since Trump’s election through Tuesday’s close, which brought the index’s week-to-date point loss to more than 1,900 points, more than 6.5%. Adding in Wednesday’s partial rebound, the Dow is up 49.9% since the market’s close on Nov. 8, 2016. At a recent record high, the Dow’s performance since Trump’s election exceeded 60% before falling more than 10 percentage points amid the sell-off. These calculations measure the percent price change of the Dow over a given period and exclude fixed returns like dividends. —Franck

11:24 am: Billionaire Cooperman says the stock market sell-off has created bargains

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman said he’s using the market scare to buy more stocks because he thinks the coronavirus will have disappeared by June. Cooperman told CNBC he’s been a net buyer in the last few days and is seeing “a lot of value in the market” as fears about the coronavirus picked up. —Franck

11:02 am: New coronavirus cases outside China exceeded those in China for the first time

The number of new COVID-19 cases outside China exceeded those inside the country for the first time, the World Health Organization announced. Outside of China, there are now 2,790 cases of the coronavirus across 37 countries, including 44 deaths as of Wednesday morning, according to a transcript of remarks from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. “The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning,” Tedros said. “Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time.” —Lovelace

9:54 am: Brazil Health Ministry confirms first coronavirus case in Latin America

The Brazilian government confirmed the first case of a fast-spreading new coronavirus in Latin America, officials from the Brazil Health Ministry said, after a Sao Paulo hospital flagged the possible infection of a 61-year-old who had visited Italy. The diagnosis comes during Brazil’s carnival holiday, a peak time for domestic travel when millions of revelers throng to major cities for raucous street celebrations. Brazil is tracking 20 suspected cases of the virus in the country, health officials told reporters at a news briefing. —Reuters

Brazilian citizens from China’s coronavirus-struck Wuhan, arrive at the Air Force base of Anapolis, State of Goias, Brazil, February 9, 2020.

Adriano Machado | Reuters

8:31 am: Italy cases triple in two days as outbreak surges

The number of cases in Italy has tripled over the last two days, rising to 374 confirmed diagnoses from 124 on Monday, according to data from Italy’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organizations. The virus has killed 12 people so far, up from two reported deaths two days ago. A bulk of the cases are still concentrated in the wealthy Lombardy region in Northern Italy. The country’s first two cases were confirmed on Jan. 30, a couple of Chinese tourists, the Ministry said. The first confirmed case of secondary transmission occurred at a hospital on Feb. 18, it said. —Kopecki

Medical staff check incoming passengers coming from Italy to detect any possible symptoms of Covid-19 also known as Coronavirus at Albanias main port city of Durres on February 26, 2020.

Gent Shkullaku | AFP | Getty Images

8:46 am: Trump announces news conference with CDC officials

President Donald Trump revealed in a tweet Wednesday that he will hold a news conference at the White House with CDC officials on the coronavirus at 6 p.m. ET. The president made the announcement after attacking the media for “panicking markets” through their coverage of the virus. —Breuninger.

7:40 am: Toyota says Japan plants might get hit by virus-related supply issues

Toyota Motor said operations at its plants in Japan might be affected by supply-chain issues due to the coronavirus outbreak in the coming weeks, as the global outbreak picks up. The automaker, which operates 16 vehicle and components sites in Japan, said it would decide on how to continue operations at its domestic plants from the week of March 9, after keeping output normal through next week. Plants could be affected by potential supply disruptions in China as some plants in the epicenter of the outbreak are unable to produce and transport goods, while some plants remain closed under orders by regional authorities. —Reuters

7:30 am: Rio Tinto’s best earnings since 2011 clouded by virus risks

Global mining group Rio Tinto warned that the outbreak might create challenging conditions over the next six months, with more disruptions to global supply chains and potential delays to projects in Australia. The miner’s warning comes on the heels of its best underlying earnings since 2011, buttressed by a sizable jump in iron ore prices last year. However, 2020 looks uncertain with economic activity stalling in many parts of China as it grapples to contain the virus. “Today, our iron ore books are full. But we are likely to see some short-term impact such as on supply chains and possibly in provisional services from Chinese suppliers,” Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques told reporters in a teleconference. —Reuters

People wearing protective face masks sit outside the AHEPA hospital, where the first confirmed coronavirus case is being treated, in Thessaloniki, Greece, February 26, 2020.

Alexandros Avramidis | Reuters

7:23 am: World’s biggest spirits company Diageo warns of coronavirus hit

Diageo said Wednesday the spread of the coronavirus in Asia could knock up to $260 million off its profit in 2020. Trade has been significantly disrupted since the end of January and the group expects this to last at least into March. After that, Diageo anticipates a gradual improvement with consumption returning to normal levels toward the end of fiscal 2020. The company estimated the negative impact of the virus outbreak on the group’s organic net sales and organic operating profit to be 225 million to 325 million pounds and 140 million to 200 million pounds ($260 million) respectively. It cautioned that these ranges exclude any impact of coronavirus on its other markets beyond China and Asia Pacific. —Reuters

6:08 am: France reports second death from coronavirus, Greece confirms first case

Europe reported new coronavirus cases with France seeing its second death and Italy reporting its 12th death. Greece confirmed its first coronavirus case, a 38-year-old Greek woman who had traveled from an area of northern Italy, according to Sotiris Tsiodras, a representative of the Ministry of Health, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Italy has now reported that four children in the country have also contracted the flu-like illness.

5:24 am: Another Chinese city to test all travelers for coronavirus

As South Korea and Japan report more cases of coronavirus, another Chinese city near the eastern Asian countries is stepping up restrictions on travelers. A major city in Shandong province, Yantai, announced all travelers from abroad who arrive in the city will receive free nucleic acid tests for the virus. This move follows an earlier announcement from Weihai, another city in the province, that travelers from Japan and South Korea will be put in hotels for a 14-day free quarantine. South Korea and Japan are the two countries closest to China’s northeastern provinces and Jiaodong Peninsula. Shandong’s Qingdao, Weihai and Yantai are home to hundreds of Korean companies and the majority of these Korean investors are from Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, Incheon and Bushan, according to public data. —Wu

4:29 am: As China ramps up for Winter Olympics, virus keeps skiers away

In Hebei province, a major location for China’s Winter Olympics in 2022, ice and snow sports venues reported a drop of 2.78 million visits from 2019, according to Peng Weiyong, deputy director of the economic department of the General Administration of Sport. For the 2018-2019 season, Hebei province reported 10 million trips to its winter sports venues. Peng noted that more than 770 ski resorts have been built nationwide, and most have been closed since Jan. 24 due to the coronavirus. The closures also come amid historically high snowfall in the region. —Cheng

Read CNBC’s coverage from the Asia-Pacific overnight: France sees second death from virus; Greece confirms first case

CNBC’s Leslie Josephs, Sarah Whitten, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Thomas Franck, Kevin Breuninger, Evelyn Cheng, Christine Wang, Eustance Huang, Holly Ellyatt, Weizhen Tan and Reuters contributed to this report.

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