IMF growth outlook for Asia

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.

  • Global cases: More than 2 million
  • Global deaths: At least 134,178
  • Most cases reported: United States (636,350), Spain (177,644), Italy (165,155), Germany (134,753), and France (134,582). 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:19 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

11:45 am: Grab CEO says he anticipates transport business to bounce back once people start commuting again

Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant Grab saw its transport GMV fall by a double-digit percentage in some countries, CEO Anthony Tan told CNBC’s Nancy Hungerford in an interview. 

GMV is a commonly tracked metric by internet companies that measures the total value of sales for goods and services sold on their platforms.

Tan said the company’s diversified business model, which includes food and grocery delivery, has helped it weather some of the impact brought about by the pandemic.

The company has adjusted to the environment by scaling up other business segments to meet demand spikes, and moving its supplies around to ensure drivers on its platform can still have income opportunities, he said.

The uptick in Grab’s delivery services has not completely offset the impact on the transport business, according to Tan.

“Looking ahead, though, I know that transport is a mass-market essential service, so we anticipate it will recover strongly once people start commuting again post lockdown,” he added. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

11:06 am: South Korea’s ruling party wins landslide victory in election

South Korea’s ruling party won a landslide victory in the parliamentary election, providing fresh momentum to President Moon Jae-in’s policy agenda for the remainder of his tenure, Yonhap News reported.

Moon has two more years in office and the election was seen as a referendum on his presidency as he handled several challenges including an economic slowdown and the current pandemic, Yonhap said. 

Polls were held in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea. Total confirmed cases of infection stood at 10,613 and 229 people have died so far, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent daily reports appear to suggest the virus’ spread has been brought under control. 

On Thursday, KCDC said there 22 additional cases of infection and four more people died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:29 am: IMF says growth in Asia expected to stall at zero percent in 2020

The International Monetary Fund said in it expects growth in Asia to stall at zero percent in 2020.

“This is the worst growth performance in almost 60 years, including during the Global Financial Crisis (4.7 percent) and the Asian Financial Crisis (1.3 percent),” Chang Yong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific department, wrote in a blog post.

However, he added that Asia still looks to fare better than other regions in terms of economic activity.

Rhee said downward revisions are substantial, ranging from 3.5 percentage points in the case of South Korea, to over 9 percentage points in the case of Australia, Thailand and New Zealand. The latter three countries have been hit by the global tourism slowdown while Australia has also been affected by lower commodity prices.

China is projected to decline from 6.1% in 2019 to 1.2% in 2020. Overall, IMF expects the global economy to contract in 2020 by 3%, describing it as “the worst recession since the Great Depression.” — Saheli Roy Choudhury

10:10 am: Icelandic doctor says the country’s strategy to track spread of coronavirus can be used in the US

Iceland’s strategy to track the spread of the coronavirus can be used in the U.S., deCODE Genetics CEO Kari Stefansson told CNBC on Wednesday.

Stefansson, whose Reykjavík-based biopharmaceutical company is known for its work analyzing the human genome, noted the obvious size differences between the U.S. and Iceland.

For starters, the U.S. has about 330 million people while Iceland has just about 347,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Iceland’s ability to test around 10% of its population and deploy robust contact tracing when someone is diagnosed with Covid-19 should not be seen as something only small countries can do, Stefansson said in an interview with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell. — Kevin Stankiewicz

8:55 am: China reports 46 additional cases, says most of them ‘imported’

China’s National Health Commission said there were 46 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, of which 34 were attributed to travelers from overseas. It also said that there had been no additional deaths.

The NHC also reported 64 new asymptomatic cases, whereby people tested positive for the virus but did not show any of the usual symptoms associated with the illness. 

Since the outbreak was first reported late last year in the Hubei province, China said it has had 82,341 cases and 3,342 deaths. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:50 am: Vietnamese airlines to resume flight after virus lockdown eases

VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines will resume some domestic flights starting Thursday after the government eased a 15-day lockdown for some parts of the country, Reuters reported. 

Vietnam’s government extended a two-week period of social distancing for 12 provinces, including the capital Hanoi, and the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, according to the news wire. But, the restrictions were said to have been lifted for most rural areas. 

The Southeast Asian country has 267 reported cases of infection and no deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:11 am: Singapore reports record 447 new cases

Singapore’s health ministry reported a record 447 new cases of Covid-19 infection as of April 15, noon local time.

In the last three days, Singapore reported a sharp uptick in infection with 1,167 confirmed cases. 

Most of the new cases were linked to infection clusters in dormitories that house foreign workers. The people living in those dormitories are typically men from other Asian countries who carry out labor-intensive construction jobs in order to support their families back home. 

Foreign workers are seen in a dormitory at Cochrane Lodge 2, which has been gazetted as an isolation area to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Singapore on April 14, 2020.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

There have been 3,699 cases confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak; 652 patients have been discharged from hospitals and community isolation facilities and 10 people in Singapore have succumbed to the illness. — Saheli Roy Choudhury, Ted Kemp

8:06 am: Global coronavirus cases top 2 million

The total number of infections worldwide has risen to 2,056,055 and at least 134,178 people have died from the disease, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Hopkins data showed the coronavirus has infected more than 636,300 patients in the United States.

Spain, Italy, France, and Germany have each reported more than 134,000 cases each. Cases in the United Kingdom climbed to over 99,400, according to Hopkins, and more than 12,800 people have died.  Saheli Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:30 pm: LA mayor says large gatherings likely banned for the rest of the year

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday large gathering such as concerts and sporting events likely won’t resume until 2021. “It’s difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year,” Garcetti said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. 

“Until there’s either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention, or herd immunity, the science is the science. He added that public health officials made clear it has “miles and miles to walk before we can be back in those environments.” — Jennifer Elias

7:02 pm: Apple and Google have an ambitious plan to help officials track the virus

6:37 pm: Trump says US has ‘passed the peak’ of outbreak

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Stefani Reynolds | CNP | Bloomberg via Getty Images

“While we must remain vigilant, it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working,” Trump said at a news briefing with the White House coronavirus task force. “The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases.”

Trump said new cases are “declining” in New York, which has more confirmed cases than any country outside the U.S. He added that cases are “flat” in Denver and Detroit, while other cities including Baltimore and Philadelphia “are showing great signs of success.” — Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: United Airlines expects $5 billion in aid, US cases top 630,000

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