Coronavirus live updates: UK's Boris Johnson tests positive, mall staple retailers announce massive furloughs


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 542,700
  • Global deaths: At least 24,361
  • US cases: At least 85,996
  • US deaths: At least 1,300

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

8:29 am: US infections on the rise 

8:13 am: Build-A-Bear Workshop and The Cheesecake Factory announce furloughs

Mall staples Build-A-Bear Workshop and The Cheesecake Factory both announced they are furloughing workers. Build-A-Bear plans to furlough more than 90% of its workforce, and The Cheesecake Factory has furloughed 41,000 hourly restaurant workers, according to regulatory filings.

Furloughed employees for both companies will continue to be eligible for employee benefits, including insurance.

Citing the impact of government regulations and landlord decisions to close properties, Cheesecake Factory is not paying rent for the month of April. —Amelia Lucas

8:04 am: Dow futures point to 800-point drop

U.S. stock futures pointed sharply lower following a strong rally sparked by increasing expectations of a massive fiscal stimulus from Congress while investors shook off grim unemployment data.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures implied an opening drop of about 800 points amid volatile trading. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to more than 2% declines at the open. —Fred Imbert

7:20 am: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he has tested positive for COVID-19. “Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” he said on Twitter. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.” 

“The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive,” a spokesman for No. 10 Downing Street said in a statement. “In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street. —Will Feuer

7:13 am: New York hospitals will run out of medical supplies in a week, former FDA chief says

7:07 am: UK to pay pensions and pensions of furloughed staff

Britain will announce it intends to cover the costs of employer national insurance and pension contributions for businesses furloughing staff, a statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said. —Reuters

7:05 am: Norway predicts 2% economic slowdown this year

Norway’s government now predicts its gross domestic product excluding oil will contract by 2% this year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a sharper drop than the 1% contraction it expected last week. The forecast is based on the assumption that the urgent situation in Norway and other countries remains for the coming two months, and that growth thereafter gradually returns to the normal, the government said in a white paper. —Reuters

6:59 am: Spain’s death toll spikes by 769 overnight to 4,858

Spain’s death toll rose overnight by 769 cases to 4,858, the health ministry said, the highest number of fatalities recorded in 24 hours for the country. The total number of those infected rose to 64,059 from 56,188 on Thursday. —Reuters

6:10 pm: Hungary announces two-week lockdown

Hungary has become the latest country to announce a two-week lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said via public radio that while citizens must maintain social distancing, they would be able to go to work, shop and take limited exercise outdoors, starting Saturday. Orban said people can still go outside, but they cannot be in a group. Hungarian police will enforce compliance with the rules and apply fines, if needed. —Silvia Amaro

5:37 pm: Iran’s death toll rises to 2,378

The Iranian health ministry reported a total of 2,378 deaths from the virus and 32,332 confirmed cases, according to Reuters. —Silvia Amaro

5:30 am: Italy’s business morale plunged in March

A worker carries out sanitation operations for the Coronavirus emergency in Piazza dei Miracoli near to the Tower of Pisa in a deserted town on March 17, 2020 in Pisa, Italy.

Laura Lezza | Getty Images

Morale among Italian businesses plunged in March as the outbreak dampened economic activity, Reuters reported.

Data by statistics institute ISTAT showed that its composite business morale index — which captures the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors — sank to a reading of 81.7 this month from last month’s 97.8. The March reading was the lowest since June 2013, Reuters reported. —Yen Nee Lee

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Russia reports spike in cases; Hungary imposes national lockdown

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