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IMF lowers global growth forecast



Workers assemble cars at the factory of Chang’an Automobile in Dingzhou, north China’s Hebei Province, Feb. 16, 2020.

Xinhua News Agency

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All times below are in U.S. Eastern time.

China’s National Health Commission said 2,345 people have died in the country from the coronavirus, and over 76,288 people are infected.

7:00 am: IMF says virus outbreak will slow global growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Saturday that the virus will likely cut off 0.1% from global growth, and drag down growth for China’s economy to 5.6%, which is 0.4% lower from its January outlook.

“But we are also looking at more dire scenarios where the spread of the virus continues for longer and more globally, and the growth consequences are more protracted,” said International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

6:30 am: Iran reports fifth death among 10 new confirmed cases

Iranian health authorities said on Saturday that five people are now dead out of the 28 infected with the virus, which may have reached most of Iran’s major cities, including Tehran.

The fifth death was among the 10 new confirmed cases of the virus in Iran. The reported cases there suggest that the virus is being transmitted much farther than previously known or acknowledged. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, who made the announcement on state television, did not say when the fifth person died.

The rise in virus cases outside of China is threatening to turn the outbreak into a global pandemic, with more countries starting to shut down travel across borders.

2:46 am: China transportation sector to resume operations by late February or early March

China’s transportation sector is expected to start up operations again in late February or early March, a Ministry of Transport official told reporters on Saturday. Delivery service companies China Post, SF Express and have all resumed operations. The services are in high demand during the outbreak as people would prefer to order food and supplies online or have them delivered.

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Apple agreement with Amazon lets you rent movies through Prime Video



Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, in Sun Valley, Idaho, United States, on July 12, 2019.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Amazon Prime Video app on iPhone and Apple TV now allows users to rent and purchase movies inside the app using a credit card on file with Amazon. It’s a big change.

For most apps, Apple‘s App Store policies require that digital content be purchased and paid for through Apple’s payment system, which takes 30% of the purchase price. Amazon had previously declined to offer in-app purchases in its iOS apps.

“Apple has an established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers to offer a variety of customer benefits — including integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, tvOS apps, universal search, Siri support and, where applicable, single or zero sign-on,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC.

“On qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription.”

You can now rent videos on iPhone through the Amazon Prime Video app.

Kif Leswing | CNBC

Apple’s typical 30% cut from digital purchases has frustrated some developers who say that the fee hurts their margins. It’s one of the core parts of Spotify’s antitrust complaint with EU regulators, for example.

Altice One had been on the program since earlier this year. Canal+ customers have been able to use their card on file to buy or rent movies since 2018. Amazon’s participation in the program went live on Wednesday, according to Apple. An Amazon representative didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

The current limit to “premium subscription video” services may encourage developers who make game and other content to push for the same benefits.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been vocal about this issue in the past, for example. Fortnite, one of Epic’s titles, is monetized through in-app purchases.

“Epic Games wholeheartedly supports smartphone platforms and their digital stores opening up to payment processing competition,” Sweeney told CNBC.

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Photos of New York City quieted by coronavirus



Fog envelops the Manhattan skyline as the Brooklyn Bridge sits nearly empty of pedestrian traffic in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City.

Victor J. Blue | Getty Images

New York City has become the epicenter of coronavirus in the U.S with over 47,000 cases. The pandemic has forced millions of New Yorkers into their homes as local and state government enforce another 30 day stay-at-home order to try and flatten the curve.

What remains is a surreal and eerie state of quiet and calm across a city that is typically unaccustomed to life without the noise and chaos that makes up the very fabric of New York. Now between the intermittent screams of sirens as ambulances rush new patients to overwhelmed hospitals, the only noise one might hear are the sounds of birds singing. While New York may still be the city that never sleeps, it is also a city that has been subdued, muted and left immobile.

The following are photos of some of New York’s most popular and iconic landmarks left empty as the city grapples with a pandemic that has already claimed over 1000 lives. 

Grand Central Terminal

A view inside the Grand Central Terminal as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 18, 2020 in New York City. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Rockefeller Center

A view of The Rink at Rockefeller Center during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Central Park Writer’s Walk  

The Mall in Central Park is near empty as people remain at home to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Charging Bull Statue

The Wall St. Bull is seen standing on a nearly empty Broadway in the financial district, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in New York City, New York, U.S., March 23, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

The Oculus

A pedestrian walks inside a nearly empty Oculus transportation hub in the Financial District of New York, U.S., on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

5th Avenue

Fifth Avenue is empty of traffic as people remain at home to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images


High end stores in Manhattan board up their windows and entrances to prevent looting amid coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in New York, United States on March 29, 2020.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Radio City Music Hall 

A view outside Radio City Music Hall during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City. President Trump has extended the social distancing guidelines to April 30.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Dumbo, Brooklyn

Dumbo neighborhood is seen empty due to Covid-19 pandemic, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, United States on March 28, 2020.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

10th Avenue

An empty 10th Avenue is seen during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2020.

Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Times Square

A view of eerily quiet and empty Times Square amid Coronavirus(Covid-19) Pandemic on March 31, 2020, in New York, United States.

John Nacion | NurPhoto | Getty Images

42nd Street

A nearly empty 42nd Street is viewed on March 25, 2020 in New York City.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

The New York Stock Exchange 

Wall Street stands empty as people stay away from the area due to the coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

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The coronavirus outbreak is a ‘real threat to everyone on the planet,’ WHO official says



Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg via Getty Images

World Health Organization officials are “deeply concerned” about the “rapid escalation and global spread” of the coronavirus outbreak, saying global infections will eclipse 1 million with 50,000 deaths in a few days.

“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing at the organization’s Geneva headquarters Wednesday.

The world knew almost nothing about the virus three months ago, when reports of a novel coronavirus first started surfacing in Wuhan, China. Tedros emphasized how much scientists still don’t know about the virus, saying this is the world’s first pandemic caused by a coronavirus “and whose behavior is not really known.” Scientists have traced the coronavirus back to bat DNA, saying it likely jumped from there to a pangolin before jumping to humans.

The last time WHO declared a pandemic was during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak. The 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, which is also a coronavirus, was contained enough to avoid that classification.

“COVID-19 is a real threat. It is a real threat to everyone on the planet,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on the outbreak. 

On Monday, WHO officials said government lockdowns aren’t enough to contain the coronavirus outbreak. However, they are necessary, despite their impact on the economy and society, they said. Without them, the coronavirus would kill even more people.

“This is serious. This is a deadly virus, people will get through it, countries will get through it,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program.

World leaders need to build out their public health systems “if we’re going to get out of an interminable cycle of economically punishing lockdowns and shutdowns,” Ryan said. “We must get back to be able to control this virus, live with this virus, develop the vaccines that we need to finally eradicate this virus.”

Ryan said that it’s too early for anyone to determine the impact of shutdown or lockdown measures on disease transmission at this point. Each country should focus on adapting consistent policies and adapting their strategies against the disease, and then measuring how effective they were in suppressing infection. “I’d love to say there’s an easy way to do this, I’d love to say that there’s way out of this without that kind of hard work, but there isn’t.” Ryan said.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 885,000 people and has killed at least 44,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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