Staggering jobless claims persist; global deaths near 450,000

Even as businesses and borders slowly reopen, global economies continue to feel the effects of coronavirus shutdowns. Another 1.5 million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, according to data released Thursday, notching the 13th consecutive week above 1 million claims. The Bank of England on Thursday announced an additional £100 billion ($124.5 billion) for its bond-buying effort to shore up the U.K. economy, but declined to take interest rates into negative territory like some investors had hoped. 

Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases continue to surge throughout the American South and West, leading some state officials to rethink reopening strategies. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday reversed his stance against mandating mask wearing and allowed local officials to set their own regulations. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that most of the population will have to wear masks starting June 24 amid a spike in some counties.

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 8.36 million
  • Global deaths: At least 449,397
  • U.S. cases: More than 2.16 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 117,717

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. jobless claims still staggeringly high

Odirus Charles holds a sign that reads, ‘ I Am angry as hell Fix Unemployment Now,’ as he joins others in a protest on May 22, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

8:30 a.m. ET — Another 1.5 million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, with continuing claims coming in at 20.5 million. Both figures fell just slightly from the prior period, but are still staggeringly high. 

Initial jobless claims has now come in above 1 million each week for 13 consecutive readouts, CNBC’s Jeff Cox reports. Jobless claims notched a record of 6.6 million back in April.

Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected the latest figure to come in at 1.3 million. —Sara Salinas

Bank of England adds £100 billion more to bond-buying program

8:05 a.m. ET — The Bank of England has announced an additional £100 billion ($124.5 billion) for its bond-buying effort to shore up the U.K. economy amid pandemic. The new commitment brings the program total to £745 billion.

The central bank also kept interest rates consistent at 0.1%, though investors had been looking for negative rates. The U.K., like the U.S. and others, has seen unprecedented economic downturn amid coronavirus shutdowns, spurring historic and aggressive efforts by the BOE. Read more on the central bank’s announcement from CNBC’s Elliot Smith. —Sara Salinas

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Kremlin denies U.K.’s claim that Russia is exploiting the pandemic

A man with an umbrella in Red Square against the background of St Basil’s Cathedral. From June 1 through 14, Moscow citizens are allowed to take walks and practise sports outside, including those older than 65 and suffering from chronic illnesses, according to schedules varying from house to house.

Sergei Savostyanov | TASS | Getty Images

7:22 a.m. ET — The Kremlin has rebuffed an accusation by the U.K. that Russia, as well as Iran and China, is trying to exploit opportunities created by the coronavirus, reportedly calling the claim “absurd.”

“We categorically disagree with such statements,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier Thursday, Reuters reported. “As far as disinformation is concerned, we consider such accusations absurd.”

The response came after U.K. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News that certain governments were using the challenges thrown up by the global pandemic to “exploit” the coronavirus and take advantage of “a perceived opportunity” it brings, such as the opportunity to sow disinformation. —Holly Ellyatt

England’s test and trace system identifies 45,000 contacts in second week

A boy runs past a mural supporting the NHS, by artist Rachel List, on the gates of the Hope & Anchor pub in Pontefract, Yorkshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Danny Lawson | Getty Images

7:06 a.m. ET — England’s test and trace system identified about 45,000 people who came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus in its second week of operation, according to data from Britain’s health ministry.

Since the project began on May 28, tracers have identified more than 95,000 contacts, according to the data, and successfully contacted more than 85,000 of them. 

The national effort to detect and quickly squash new chains of infection as the country continues to reopen has been hobbled by early delays, according to The New York Times. A coordinated test, trace and isolate effort, proponents say, will be key to keeping infections low and targeting government responses to new clusters as the world continues to ease restrictions. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Beijing says outbreak under control; Sweden’s virus strategy shifts

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