Coronavirus live updates: Germany could extend lockdown to May 3; Denmark reopens some schools

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 1.97 million
  • Global deaths: At least 125,678
  • Most cases reported: United States (602,989), Spain (172,541), Italy (162,488), France (131,361), Germany (131,359)

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of 7:43 a.m. Beijing time. 

All times below are in Beijing time.

7:20 pm: Denmark reopens schools for children under 11 years old

Denmark is the first country in Europe that has allowed children under the age of 11 to go back to school as part of its easing of lockdown measures.

The country was one of the first to impose strict lockdown restrictions when the coronavirus outbreak struck Europe. It had closed schools on March 12. — Holly Ellyatt

6:52 pm: Pressure mounts on UK government to publish lockdown exit strategy

The leader of the opposition Labour Party in the U.K. has called on the government to publish its exit strategy as lockdown measures show no signs of being removed.

Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader, said Wednesday that “there needs to be transparency,” he told the BBC. The government is expected to announce on Thursday that social distancing measures will continue and could last into early May, at least. 

The government is currently being led by Foreign Minister Dominic Raab while Prime Minister Boris Johnson recovers from a serious case of the coronavirus that put him in intensive care.— Holly Ellyatt

6:37 pm: Here are some charts showing the pace of the coronavirus outbreak and US hotspots:

6:15 pm: Kremlin rejects criticism of its handling of the coronavirus

The Kremlin on Wednesday rejected criticism of its handling of the coronavirus crisis after China said its largest source of new, imported cases, had come from the far northeastern part of the country that borders Russia.

“We hear that there is now an exchange of criticism over coronavirus between different countries, which is played like ping pong. We consider this to be a thankless exercise,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Reuters reported. — Holly Ellyatt

5:40 pm: Race for coronavirus vaccine ‘is a global effort’ for mankind — not just one country, Germany says

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, teams of experts are scrambling to develop a vaccine to protect millions of people from infection.

Finding a vaccine is a collaborative effort, experts say, and is expected to take around 12-18 months. The WHO said at the weekend that there are currently 70 vaccine candidates in development.

But who, or which country, gets priority when a vaccine is finally found is yet to be seen and could prove controversial.

The president of Germany’s Federal Institute of Vaccines and Biomedicines, an agency of the German Ministry of Health, told CNBC that the race to develop a vaccine is a collaborative and cooperative effort. — Holly Ellyatt

5:05 pm: Spain’s daily death toll from the virus falls

The death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 18,579 on Wednesday, up from 18,056 the day before, Spain’s health ministry said Wednesday. That’s a daily increase of 523 deaths, down from 567 deaths reported the previous day. On Monday, 517 new deaths had been reported.

The total number of confirmed cases in Spain has now reached 177, 633.— Holly Ellyatt

4:20 pm: Coronavirus crisis will erase nearly a decade of oil demand growth this year, IEA says

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday that it expects the coronavirus crisis to erase almost a decade of oil demand growth in 2020, with countries around the world effectively having to shut down in response to the pandemic.

A public health crisis has prompted governments to impose draconian measures on the lives of billions of people. It has created an unprecedented demand shock in energy markets, with mobility brought close to a standstill. — Sam Meredith

4:11 pm: Germany to extend coronavirus restrictions to May 3, media reports

Germany will extend restrictions on movement introduced last month to slow the spread of the coronavirus until at least May 3, Handelsblatt business daily reported Wednesday, citing the country’s DPA news agency.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding a video conference on Wednesday with cabinet ministers, and later with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states, Reuters reported.  Officials are set to discuss whether to ease lockdown measures given Germany’s improving coronavirus data. — Holly Ellyatt

A cyclist rides through an almost deserted pedestrian zone in Bavaria.

picture alliance

3:52 pm: Russia’s tally of coronavirus cases rises to 24,490

Russia reported a record daily rise in new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, of 3,388. The total number of cases now stands at 24,490, the country’s coronavirus response center said Wednesday.

There was a rise of 28 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 198. — Holly Ellyatt

3:50 pm: European stocks fall as markets weigh global economic impact of virus

European markets traded lower on Wednesday, despite the region starting to lift restrictive measures in various countries to allow the economies to gradually restart.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1% in early deals, with oil and gas stocks sliding 3.4% to lead losses while the food and beverages sector bucked the downward trend to add 0.7%. — Elliot Smith and Holly Ellyatt

3:40 pm: Number of new cases in Germany jump by more than 2,400

The number of new confirmed cases in Germany jumped by 2,486 to a total of 127,584, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

The number of additional fatalities rose by 285 to a total of 3,254. — Weizhen Tan

3:20 pm: Coronavirus could cause more countries to default on their debt, economist says

An increasing number of countries could default on their debt in the coming 12-18 months as governments globally increase spending to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, an economist said on Wednesday.

“I do think we will see some issues there, possibly we could see a euro zone crisis come back with countries like Greece or Italy … likely to be at the center of that,” Simon Baptist, global chief economist at consultancy The Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection.”

“Across the emerging world, I’ll pick out countries like South Africa and Brazil as being likely to suffer a further crisis as a result of this,” he added. “And, of course, Argentina has effectively gone back into sovereign default already.” — Yen Nee Lee

3:15 pm: India must not become the next coronavirus epicenter, World Bank says

The world cannot allow India to become the next coronavirus epicenter, said the World Bank’s country director for India, Junaid Ahmad.

The number of reported cases in India has climbed despite efforts from the government to keep people indoors since late March. Data posted on the health ministry’s website showed 11,439 confirmed cases of infection as of April 15, 8 a.m. local time; 1,305 patients have been discharged, while 377 people have died.

“Under no circumstances can the world, the region, or India, allow an epicenter to emerge in India. I think that the whole approach of a lockdown nationally and to really push on the health side has been very important,” Ahmad said.

India watchers have argued that the country’s health-care infrastructure is not equipped to handle the kind of outbreak seen in the United States or in several Western European countries like Spain and Italy. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

2:45 pm: Turkey’s economy is in trouble as experts worry it could become a new coronavirus hotspot

Turkey is on shaky ground and its currency depreciating as controversial monetary moves and fast-rising coronavirus cases threaten to plunge an already fragile economy into much more danger. 

The country of 82 million is one of the few in Europe that hasn’t implemented a mandatory nationwide lockdown, something its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far avoided in hopes of shielding the economy. But after nearly two years of a weakening currency, high debt, dwindling foreign reserves and growing unemployment, Turkey is in a particularly bad place to weather a pandemic, experts say.

Turkey began registering more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases per day after April 4 and has reported more than 4,000 per day since April 8, a sudden surge that’s alarmed health experts. — Natasha Turak 

1:50 pm: Japan reportedly estimates that about 50% of those infected could die if nothing is done

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has estimated 850,000 people will become seriously ill from the coronavirus disease — and 49% of them may die — if the country doesn’t take measures to limit the spread of the virus, reported Nikkei Asian Review. 

The Japanese government has declared a state of emergency and urged citizens to limit their interactions with one another to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The country reported 7,645 confirmed cases as of Tuesday noon, according to data by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Of those, 853 have been discharged from hospitals and 109 have died, the data showed. — Yen Nee Lee

1:14 pm: Pandemic highlights a growing investment opportunity that millennials love

The escalating coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new era of stock market volatility, as investors come to terms with consecutive history-making daily swings. But it has also shone a spotlight on a promising investment opportunity — one that’s been winning the hearts of millennials. 

Sustainable investments — those focused on companies with strong environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles — outperformed their conventional counterparts in the first quarter of 2020, even as the outbreak sent markets crashing.

In the first three months of the year, 70% of sustainable equity funds recorded returns in the top halves of their broad-based peer group, according to investment research firm Morningstar. Of those, 44% scored within the top quartile. When the full extent of the pandemic became clear in early March, ESG-aware companies outperformed other stocks by up to 5.7%, HSBC found. — Karen Gilchrist

12:28 pm: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern takes 20% pay cut for six months

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, along with government ministers and public service chief executives, will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months, reported Reuters. 

Ardern said in a news conference that the move was recognition of “New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsidies, taking a pay cut, and losing their jobs as a result of the global pandemic,” according to the report. 

New Zealand has reported 1,078 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, of which nine have died, according to its Ministry of Health. 

The government has implemented lockdown measures that include closing down offices and schools. It said it plans to decide on April 20 whether to extend those measures. — Yen Nee Lee

11:28 am: Chinese companies still hope for New York IPOs — despite recent fraud, scandals and virus

For many Chinese companies, their dreams of listing in New York are only on hold.

Some high-profile Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. such as Luckin Coffee, the self-proclaimed Starbucks rival in China, have been rocked following allegations by short-sellers that these companies faked their numbers, accusations that in some cases are now being internally investigated.

The reports are the latest challenge for Chinese initial public offerings in New York, on top of U.S.-China trade tensions and the impact of the coronavirus. 

But some in the cross-border IPO business say the listing plans are just delayed, not canceled. — Evelyn Cheng

11:08 am: South Korea reports 27 new cases, three more deaths as voters head to the polls

South Korea reported another 27 cases of the coronavirus and three additional deaths, according to the latest data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That bring the country’s total confirmed cases to 10,591 and fatalities to 225 since the outbreak, said KCDC.

South Korea holds legislative elections on Wednesday under strict safety guidelines. Some 14,000 polling stations around the country were disinfected before allowing voters to enter, reported Reuters. Voters are also required to wear a mask and have their temperatures checked upon arrival at their polling stations, said the report. — Yen Nee Lee

9:15 am: UN Secretary General says now is not time to reduce resources in fight against Covid-19

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 24, 2019 in New York City.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Guterres referred to comments he had made on April 8 where he said the pandemic remains one of the most dangerous challenges the world has ever faced, describing it as a “human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences.”

He said that when the outbreak is under control, there “must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis.”

“But now is not that time,” Guterres said.

“It is also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus,” he added, and called on the international community to work together to stop the virus. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:36 am: China reports 46 additional cases, says most of them ‘imported’

China’s National Health Commission said there were 46 additional cases of infection, of which 36 were attributed to travelers from overseas. Most of the travelers are likely Chinese nationals since China closed its borders to most foreigners late last month. The official report did not specify their nationalities.

There was one death reported in Hubei province. China also said there were 57 new cases of asymptomatic infections, where a person tests positive for the virus but does not demonstrate any of the usual symptoms associated with it. 

A total of 82,295 confirmed cases have been reported by China and 3,342 people have died since the outbreak started. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:27 am: Major League Baseball will conduct the country’s largest coronavirus antibody test on employees

Major League Baseball says 27 teams will participate in an antibody testing study with Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

The test used in the study is not diagnostic and not the same test used in healthcare settings to identify the presence of the virus. Rather, it measures whether people have been exposed. The study will use rapid antibody tests, the league confirmed to CNBC. The Athletic previously reported that 10,000 employees from those teams have volunteered to participate.

The goal of the study is to get a sense of the prevalence of Covid-19 infections among the U.S. population in hopes of helping researchers figure out how many people might have been exposed but suffered no symptoms. That information could help public officials determine when it’s safe to ease up on restrictions meant to curb the spread of the pandemic. — Jennifer Elias

7:37 am: Global reported death toll over 125,600

At least 125,678 people around the world have succumbed to the coronavirus that was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. That’s according to the latest information from Johns Hopkins University. 

Hopkins data also showed the virus has infected more than 1.97 million people. The United States has the highest number of cases, with more than 600,000 patients.

Spain, Italy, France and Germany, with at least 130,000 cases in each of the European countries. The United Kingdom also reported a high number of cases — with reported cases climbing to over 94,000 and fatalities topping 12,100. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

7:24 am: Singapore reports more than 300 cases for second consecutive day

Singapore’s health ministry said as of 14 April noon, there were 334 new confirmed cases of Covid-19. Many of them are linked to infection clusters in dormitories that house foreign workers.

The inhabitants of those dormitories are typically men from other Asian countries who carry out labor-intensive construction jobs in order to support their families back home. 

The city-state reported its highest single-day jump in cases a day earlier when there were 386 additional cases.

There have been 3,252 confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak; 611 patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals and community isolation facilities and 10 people in Singapore have succumbed to the illness. — Saheli Roy Choudhury, Ted Kemp

All times below are in Eastern time.

7:08 pm: Trump says some state economies may open for business by May 1

President Donald Trump said that he believes some states will be able to lift the strict social distancing measures that have strained their economies before the end of April.

“The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized,” Trump said at a press briefing on the virus in the Rose Garden.

“I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly,” Trump said, “And I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening and a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate.”

“The day will be very close because certain states as you know are in a much different condition and are in a much different place than other states. It’s going to be very very close. Maybe even before the date of May 1st,” he said. — Kevin Breuninger

6:34 pm: Trump calls for halt to US funding for World Health Organization amid coronavirus outbreak

President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, April 14, 2020.

Leah Millis | Reuters

The Trump administration will halt funding to the World Health Organization as it evaluates the agency’s “role in severely mismanaging” the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announced.

“Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said at a press conference.

Trump criticized the international agency’s response to the outbreak, saying “one of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.” — Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Noah Higgins-Dunn

5:20 pm: US airlines, Treasury Department reach agreement in principle on billions in coronavirus aid

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