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France confirms first death outside of Asia



A train attendant gesturing to medical staff leaving for Wuhan in Nanchang, China’s central Jiangxi province on Feb. 13, 2020.

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This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

All times below are in U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Chinese officials on Saturday reported 2,641 new coronavirus cases and 143 additional deaths in the last 24 hours.

7:12 am: China announces policies to support businesses impacted by virus

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) released a notice on Saturday that encouraged banks to strengthen loans to the manufacturing sector at better rates, and give better financial services for businesses producing protective gear to combat the virus.

5:00 am: First coronavirus death confirmed in Europe

An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died of the virus in France, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Saturday. The man was from the Chinese province of Hubei, the center of the outbreak, and arrived in France on Jan. 16. He was hospitalized since Jan. 25.

The man’s daughter also has the virus and was also hospitalized in Paris, but will be discharged soon, the health minister said.

It’s the first death that’s been confirmed in Europe and the fourth from the virus outside of mainland China. France has 11 confirmed cases of the virus.

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China hid extent of outbreak, US intelligence reportedly says



A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus walks past a Communist Party flag along a street in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on March 31, 2020.

Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

The Chinese government has deliberately underreported the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, the U.S. intelligence community told the White House, a new report says.

Bloomberg, citing three U.S. officials, reported Wednesday that the intelligence community said in a classified report that China’s public tally of COVID-19 infections and deaths is purposefully incomplete.

The secret report concludes that China’s numbers are fake, two of the officials told Bloomberg. The White House received the report last week, according to the news outlet.

China has reported 82,361 coronavirus cases, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. That number is about half of the total cases confirmed in the U.S., which has become the country with the highest number of reported infections in the world.

Neither the White House nor the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comments on Bloomberg’s report.

“You don’t know what the numbers are in China,” President Donald Trump said at a White House press briefing last week.

Read Bloomberg’s full report.

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Expect a ‘tick mark’ recovery, economists say



Two health care workers protected by a mask and cap attend to a patient with coronavirus at the Temporary Hospital of the Community of Madrid set up at IFEMA, on March 31, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Ricardo Rubio | Europa Press News | Getty Images

The sharp economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be followed by a rebound — but it will take around two years for British and euro zone gross domestic product (GDP) to get back to recent levels, according to economists from Berenberg.

They likened the rebound to a “tick mark recovery.” “The sharp downturn will be followed by a slightly flatter upturn that ultimately goes beyond the pre-coronavirus level of gross domestic product (GDP),” Berenberg’s Chief and Senior Economists, Holger Schmieding and Kallum Pickering, respectively, said in a note Wednesday.

“Details will vary by country, depending on policies, the medical situation and the non-coronavirus trends in demand and supply. By and large, we expect GDP to surpass its late-2019 level roughly two years after the trough,” they said.

Euro zone GDP was lackluster in the latter part of 2019, caught in the headwinds of the U.S.-China trade war. Fourth quarter GDP released by Eurostat showed the 19-member single currency area grew just 0.1% from the previous quarter. In the same quarter, the U.K., amid the throes of Brexit, saw zero growth (as did Germany).

Sobering growth rates recently in Europe come after modest expansions in the previous two years; euro zone GDP growth was 1.9% in 2018, and 2.4% in 2017. For the U.K., growth in 2018 was 1.4%, down from 1.8% in 2017. 

The coronavirus has put paid to economies around the world, however, with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecasting that global growth will fall below 2019’s level of 2.9%, and likely further.

The outbreak, and its accompanying lockdowns on public life and business around the world, continues to wreak havoc on health-care systems, economies and humanity. To date, there are 883,225 confirmed cases of the virus around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The worst hit countries in Europe are Italy, Spain and Germany, which is seen as the growth driver of the region. Now, economists in those countries are all predicting sharp downturns in economic growth.

In Italy, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said a forecast for the Italian economy to contract 6% in 2020 was probable. “Unfortunately the estimates are realistic … at the same time we can aim for a vigorous recovery,” Gualtieri told newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano in an interview published Wednesday.

Likewise, Germany’s council of economic advisors warned Tuesday that the euro zone’s largest economy could shrink 5.4% in 2020. The panel said its baseline scenario — in which the economic situation would normalize over the summer — was for the economy to contract by 2.8% this year before potentially growing by 3.7% next year, Reuters reported. 

Calling the coronavirus a “severe and unusual” emergency,  Berenberg’s economists said the pandemic, and the lockdowns to contain it, have affected supply and demand in the various sectors of the economy in unusual and different ways.

The likely impact ranged from sudden stops (long-distance travel) to significant losses (parts of manufacturing), to small losses (water and energy supply) and even to significant increases (health care, online shopping), they noted.

But, they added, as long as monetary, fiscal and regulatory policies remain in “whatever it takes” mode, then the risks of second-round effects such as those of a follow-up financial crisis can be contained.

“Once the pandemic is sufficiently under control and lockdowns can be eased, economies will start to rebound,” they said,

In compiling their base-case scenario, Schmieding and Pickering said they assume a severe lockdown of about eight weeks that will be eased step-by-step from late May onwards.

“Many activities that had to be switched off can then be switched on again step by step, but some activities such as long-distance travel will be restrained for much longer. The fiscal stimulus will partly offset some hesitation by consumers and companies to spend,” they said.

Nonetheless, the economists noted that an event on the scale of the coronavirus pandemic and recession will almost certainly have profound economic, financial and political effects that will be felt for a long time.

“In manufacturing, companies will shorten and diversify supply chains and raise inventories. The need for fiscal repair and more social and healthcare spending can turn into a drag on gains in global supply.” Still, they noted that a crisis can be the mother of invention.

“The coronavirus shock is likely to spur innovation in many fields ranging from a more efficient use of labour and communications technology to increased use of 3D printing,” they said.

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Wimbledon 2020 tennis championships canceled due to coronavirus



Novak Djokovic of Serbia lifts the trophy after winning his Men’s Singles final against Roger Federer of Switzerland during Day thirteen of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2019 in London, England.

Matthias Hangst | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

The 2020 Championships Wimbledon have been canceled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. 

The Championships were scheduled to be held from Monday, June 29 through Sunday, July 12. The 134th tournament will now be held between June 28 and July 11, 2021.

“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said. “It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.”

The Wimbledon website says that people who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot will be refunded. They’ll have a chance to buy tickets for The Championships in 2021. 

The French Open, which is typically the second Grand Slam out of four played during the season, was postponed in March until September 20. It was originally scheduled to begin on May 24. 

On Tuesday it was announced that the tennis stadiums that host the U.S. Open, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, will be converted into a temporary hospital with 350 beds for non-ICU patients from Elmhurst Hospital.

“We will continue to play every single day as if the U.S. Open will be hosted, and hopefully we’ll be in a position 5 months from today to see players actually practicing on the courts right behind us and playing at Arthur Ashe Stadium,” said Daniel Zausner, the center’s chief operating officer.

CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report.

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