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 183,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 7,167, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • U.S. cases: At least 4,661, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • U.S. deaths: At least 85, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:54 pm: US coronavirus cases surpass 5,000, up fivefold from a week ago

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 5,000 in the United States on Tuesday, increasing fivefold over seven days as states ramp up testing and the new flu-like coronavirus sweeps across the country.

Across the country, the virus has infected more than 5,145 and killed at least 91 people as of noon Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, the virus has infected more than 189,386 people and killed at least 7,504, according to Hopkins. The number of cases changes by the minute as test results roll in and countries and U.S. states expand their testing capacity. —Will Feuer

12:49 pm: Tennis’ French Open postponed until fall

The French Open has been delayed until the fall because of the coronavirus, the tournament’s organizers announced Tuesday. Initially scheduled for May 24 to June 7, the tennis season’s second Grand Slam will now take place Sept. 20 to Oct. 4.

“While no one today can predict what the health situation will be like on May 18 (when qualifications were due to start), the lockdown measures in force make it impossible to prepare for it and therefore to organize it on the dates initially planned,” the French tennis federation said in a statement. —Hannah Miller

12:44 pm: Apple stores in U.S. closed ‘until further notice’

Apple’s U.S. retail stores are closed ‘until further notice,’ according to a notice posted on the company’s website on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Trump administration urged Americans not to gather in groups of more than 10 people amid increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus. However, other countries as well as local governments have implemented health guidelines differently, which will affect how quickly Apple can re-open its stores. —Kif Leswing

12:35 pm: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says financial markets will stay open, but could shorten trading hours

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that Wall Street and the White House are committed to keeping financial markets operating, even if it means reducing hours at some point.

“Everybody wants to keep it open,” Mnuchin said at a news conference, responding to a question about stock market operations. “We may get to a point where we shorten the hours if that’s something they need to do. But Americans should know we are going to do everything to make sure that they have access to the money in their banks, to the money in their 401(k)s and to money in stocks.” —Jeff Cox

12:28 pm: Poland closes border to foreigners, causing major traffic jams

Trucks are jammed on the motorway A4 Dresden – Görlitz near Bautzen.

Robert Michael | picture alliance | Getty Images

Poland is largely closed off to foreigners, resulting in massive traffic jams on its borders with Germany, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.

In Lithuania, trucks seeking to enter Poland were backed up in a line 37 miles long, and the country has sent military planes and trains to Germany to help hundreds of its citizens who are stuck at crossing points with Poland. German police organized a convoy of vehicles to a ferry port on one of its Baltic Sea islands to help stranded citizens from Estonia and Lithuania get home. —Hannah Miller

12:23 pm: No blank check for airlines seeking coronavirus aid after spending $39 billion on stock buybacks, unions say

12:16 pm: Ads featuring oxygen masks, finger-licking and hugs all put on hold due to coronavirus

A U.K. TV ad campaign featuring people eating KFC’s fried chicken and sensuously licking their fingers has been paused in light of the outbreak, as health bodies around the world encourage people to frequently and thoroughly wash their hands and avoid personal contact.

It didn’t seem like the right time to air the ads, according to a KFC U.K. spokesperson. “We’ve decided to pause it for now — but we’re really proud of it and look forward to bringing it back at a later date,” the spokesperson told CNBC via email on Monday.

KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands, coined its catchphrase “finger-lickin’ good” more than 60 years ago. —Lucy Handley

12:08 pm: Mnuchin says Trump administration is looking to get cash to Americans ‘immediately’

U.S. President Donald Trump, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks about the coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the Trump administration wants to get emergency funds in Americans’ pockets “immediately” amid the coronavirus crisis.

“Americans need cash now,” Mnuchin said during a White House press briefing on the administration’s latest efforts to combat the disease. “I mean now in the next two weeks.” —Kevin Breuninger

12:01 pm: Facebook to give $1,000 bonuses to employees to deal with coronavirus fallout

Facebook on Tuesday told employees that it would give each of them $1,000 bonuses in an effort to support its workforce working remotely as they wait out the coronavirus pandemic, a source close to the situation told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. 

The Information first reported that Facebook would offer bonuses to employees. The announcement was made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an internal note to employees.

Facebook employs nearly 45,000 full-time workers, according to a January financial filing, but it also employs several thousands more contract workers. It is unclear if those contractors will also receive a bonus. —Sal Rodriguez

11:53 am: NBCU, ViacomCBS, Walt Disney Television and other media companies will run new coronavirus PSAs

The Ad Council says it’s working with the White House, the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and media companies to show public service ads across major media platforms that discuss social distancing, personal hygiene and mental health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Ad Council is a nonprofit that makes and distributes public service announcements, including campaigns such as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “Smokey Bear,” and has distributed information during times of crisis including the period after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina. —Megan Graham

11:47 am: Trump urges national restaurant chains to utilize drive-thru, pickup and delivery

President Donald Trump spoke with executives of the largest U.S. restaurant companies on Tuesday about the national response to the coronavirus outbreak. The White House said that the executives all committed to encouraging customers to use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.

Participants on the call with Trump included the CEOs of Domino’s Pizza, Chick-fil-A, Subway, Restaurant Brands International, Bloomin’ Brands, Yum Brands, Darden Restaurants, Papa John’s, Wendy’s and Raising Cane’s. McDonald’s U.S. president also participated. Some of the chains have already closed their U.S. dining rooms to reduce the spread of the virus. —Amelia Lucas

11:42 am: WHO urges Europe to learn from China, take ‘boldest’ action possible to tackle coronavirus

The WHO urged Europe to ratchet up its efforts when tackling the coronavirus pandemic, pointing to a decline in the rate of new cases in China as evidence that bold action does work to reduce the spread.

As of Tuesday, more than 185,000 cases of the coronavirus had been reported worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with 7,330 deaths.

Europe has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with one-third of globally reported cases now stemming from the region. Italy has recorded the most cases of COVID-19 in the region, with nearly 28,000 confirmed infections and 2,158 deaths nationwide. —Sam Meredith

11:32 am: Dow rebounds by 500 points following third-worst day ever, helped by more Federal Reserve actions

A trader stands outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Gabriela Bhaskas | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stocks swung wildly Tuesday as Wall Street struggled to recover from its worst day in more than 30 years amid more monetary stimulus and progress on a possible treatment for the coronavirus.

The S&P 500 was up 3.8% after briefly trading lower on the day. The Nasdaq Composite gained 4.1%. It was also down earlier in the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded more than 500 points higher, or about 2.5%. The 30-stock average was briefly up more than 600 points and traded more than 200 points lower at one point. It also dipped below 20,000 for the first time since February 2017. —Fred Imbert

11:26 am: Mark Cuban calls for rules on government aid to companies: ‘We need to make sure all employees benefit’

Billionaire Mark Cuban said Tuesday that government assistance to companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic should come with provisions to curb income inequality between executives and workers.

Cuban said on Twitter that any incentives used by those companies to pay executives — including equity or re-pricing existing stock options — should not be allowed unless all employees benefit.

“If we are going to bail out companies we need to make sure all employees benefit from a turnaround, not just execs,” he said. —Jesse Pound

11:13 am: NY state cases soar to about 1,700, hospitalizing 19%

The COVID-19 outbreak in New York state has spread to about 1,700 people, hospitalizing 19% of them and killing at least 12, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

Cuomo said at least 264 New Yorkers, or 19% of the known cases, have been hospitalized with COVID-19. The number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the virus is higher than average, Cuomo said during a press briefing Tuesday on the COVID-19 outbreak spreading throughout the state.

The state is scrambling to expand its hospital capacity to handle an influx of cases before infections peak here, he said. New York currently has 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 ICU beds, far short of what state health officials are predicting will be needed, he said. They estimate the state will need between 18,600 to 37,200 ICU beds and at least 55,000 hospital beds at the peak of the outbreak across the state, which he predicted will take about 45 days. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Noah Higgins-Dunn

11:08 am: Amazon prioritizes household staples and medical supplies from merchants

Amazon is telling third-party merchants it’s “temporarily prioritizing” household staples, medical supplies and other product categories in response to a surge in demand from the coronavirus outbreak.

The change went into effect Tuesday and is expected to last until April 5, according to a document obtained by CNBC. It only applies to Amazon’s U.S. and EU marketplaces.

Amazon said it made the decision to prioritize these shipments so it “can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers,” adding that it’s “working around the clock to ensure availability on these essential products.” The company told sellers it will notify them once it resumes regular operations. —Annie Palmer

11:04 am: ESPN reveals how it will move forward without live sports, including ‘stunt event programming’


Mike Windle | ESPN | Getty Images

Disney’s ESPN released its first details on how it plans to fill programming on its networks with collegiate and professional sports canceled during the coronavirus outbreak, including airing classic games and “stunt event programming,”

ESPN published a transcript of an interview between Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming acquisitions and scheduling, and Front Row, a website dedicated to the internal workings of ESPN.

While ESPN hasn’t made decisions about what “stunt event programming” it has in mind, Magnus referred to “ESPN8: The Ocho,” an annual event ESPN has run on ESPN2 as a takeoff of the movie “Dodgeball,” where events such as “Acrobatic Pizza Trials” and “Cherry Pit Spitting” have been packaged together to create a makeshift tournament of oddball events. —Alex Sherman

10:58 am: Fed announces another $500 billion operation for overnight repo funding markets

The Federal Reserve is continuing to provide support for short-term bank funding, as it will institute another $500 billion repo operation Tuesday afternoon amid intensifying funding pressures.

In the latest operation, the Fed will conduct another operation that comes on top of a similar offering Monday. The central bank’s New York trading desk has been aiming to quell disruptions in the overnight funding markets where banks go to get operating capital.

This latest move comes on top of up to $1.5 trillion announced last week. Repo involves banks posting high-quality collateral for reserves used to operate. The minimum bid for the repo operations as been 0.1%.

The repo operations follow other liquidity measures from the Fed aimed at getting banks to keep money moving through the economy. Along with the aggressive liquidity measures, the Fed also has cut its benchmark borrowing rate 150 basis points, or 1.5 percentage points, over the past few weeks. —Jeff Cox

10:51 am: Fed announces move to help businesses get short-term funding

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday it is providing help to companies that are having a hard time getting the short-term funding they need to operate.

In a move much anticipated on Wall Street, the bank announced a special credit facility to purchase corporate paper from issuers that have been having a difficult time finding buyers on the open market. Corporate paper involves unsecured short-term lending.

The one-day facility, under the Fed’s emergency 13(3) powers of the Federal Reserve Act, will involve three-month paper for eligible companies. The cost will be the three-month overnight index swap rate plus 200 points. —Jeff Cox

10:40 am: Outgoing Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney under voluntary quarantine

Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, arrives to a news conference in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Outgoing White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is in self-quarantine in South Carolina after his niece got sick in the wake of interaction with the Brazilian delegation at the Trump resort Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Mulvaney has no symptoms now, a senior administration official said.

Mulvaney’s niece, who shares his residence in Washington, D.C., has made a full recovery but was ill for three to four days last week. Her test results for coronavirus are still pending, but she has tested negative for ordinary flu.

Mulvaney had no contact with President Donald Trump after Thursday morning, the senior administration official said. Mulvaney left Friday morning because of the incubation period. He had zero contact with the president after his test, which came back negative. The White House doctor has been in the loop on it all. —Eamon Javers

10:24 am: Homebuilder sentiment falls, as virus fears begin to factor in

A monthly measure of homebuilder sentiment only partially reflected the escalating economic effects of the coronavirus. Sentiment fell 2 points to 72 in March, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

Sentiment levels have stayed in a tight range in the low- to mid-70s for the past six months. Anything above 50 is considered positive. The HMI stood at 62 in March 2019.

Potential buyers worry about being out in public and about their financial health, as the stock market craters and businesses shut down. Real estate agents for existing homes saw a significant slowdown in buyer traffic at Sunday open houses this past weekend. Some companies have chosen to cancel open houses. —Diana Olick

10:21 am: Cisco CEO: Customers spent 5.5 billion minutes in virtual meetings this month

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins told CNBC on Tuesday that the company’s video conferencing platform Webex saw a surge in user activity since the beginning of the month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the first 11 business days of March, we’ve had 5.5 billion meeting minutes,” Robbins said on “Squawk on the Street.” “Yesterday we held 3.2 million meetings globally on Webex, and that doesn’t include one on ones. Those are multi-individual meetings.”

Companies are shifting operations online in a bid to slow COVID-19. In the United States, at least 4,661 coronavirus cases have been confirmed and at least 85 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. —Jessica Bursztynsky

10:18 am: Trump attacks Cuomo again on coronavirus response: ‘Andrew, keep politics out of it’

President Donald Trump

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo traded insults on Twitter, ramping up their attacks on each other over their efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo said Monday the federal government has been “behind from day one of this crisis.” Trump replied on social media that “Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more.'” Cuomo was quick to hit back: “I have to do more? No — YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President.”

Trump took another swing at Cuomo on Tuesday morning, admonishing the New York governor to “keep politics out of” the coronavirus response. —Kevin Breuninger

10:09 am: America must confront ‘how we’re going to live with’ coronavirus, disease specialist says

The coronavirus will be here for “many, many months” and the country must decide on a path forward, infectious disease specialist Michael Osterholm told CNBC. The world is still far from rolling out a vaccine, Osterholm noted, and until then, COVID-19 will present a threat to everyone, especially those most at risk.

“We have to continue to consider what it means to die from this virus. It’s a very, very difficult and tragic situation. We also have to have a conversation about how we’re going to live with it. We have to figure that out,” the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “Do we envision an America that for the next 18 months will be in complete lockdown?” —Will Feuer

9:59 am: Connecticut governor: ‘I am worried’ about ventilator availability if cases surge

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont told CNBC on Tuesday he’s concerned that the number of ventilators in the state wouldn’t be enough to handle a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases.

“We have a long way to go there,” Lamont said on “Squawk Box.” “We do have some capacity there at this point, but I am worried. If we cannot flatten that curve, as they say, we could be overwhelmed.”

The Democratic Lamont said that is why social-distancing efforts are so critical. He said they are necessary to ensure a flattening of the curve — essentially trying to limit the surge of coronavirus cases. —Kevin Stankiewicz

9:54 am: Facebook announces $100 million program for struggling small businesses

Facebook announced a $100 million program to help small businesses as governments throughout the country urge gyms and restaurants to close their doors to slow the coronavirus pandemic.

In a blog post announcing the grants, Facebook said, “We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.”

Facebook said the grants will be available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. That would be an average of $3,333 per business. It could help businesses experiencing a sharp drop in traffic, but it’s a fraction of Facebook’s typical revenue. The company generated $21.08 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone. —Lauren Feiner

9:50 am: Trump administration wants an $850 billion stimulus plan, reports say

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heads to the Capitol today to discuss a third coronavirus response package with Senate Republicans as policymakers try to stave off economic calamity.

The Trump administration wants an $850 billion economic stimulus plan, Politico and The Washington Post reported. The White House’s proposal would include about $50 billion in aid to an airline industry battered by the global pandemic, according to the Post.

Congress already passed $8.3 billion in emergency funding to help stop the coronavirus disease’s spread. A separate plan to expand paid leave benefits, boost unemployment insurance and make testing more affordable is working its way through the Capitol this week. —Jacob Pramuk

9:43 am: US travel industry lobby heads to the White House

US Vice President Mike Pence and members of the CONVID-19 task force speak to the press at the White House March 10, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

Lobbying groups representing the country’s travel and tourism industry are headed to the White House today to meet with Vice President Mike Pence and other officials to discuss the industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the “catastrophic economic impact on the hotel industry, its employees and U.S. economy,” U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association confirmed. 

The lobbying groups represent Carnival, Walt Disney, Expedia, Hilton, and MGM International, as well as a plethora of small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Travel Economics is forecasting a 10% drop in international visits to the U.S. a year, about double the decline the U.S. faced during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2003. This implies 8.2 million lost visitors in one year, even more than the 7.7 million international travelers lost in 2001 and 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In all, it anticipates 825,000 jobs could be lost in the industry.

The lobby groups have asked for a number of relief measures, including tax credits for employee retention, the deferment of quarterly tax payments, and the ability to carry back net-operating-losses, CNBC has reported. It is unclear what measures the White House is currently considering. —Lauren Hirsch

9:33 am: Stocks bounce as Wall Street attempts rebound from the Dow’s third-worst day ever

Stocks jumped on Tuesday as Wall Street tried to recover from its worst day in more than 30 years amid signs of potential fiscal stimulus and progress on a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Trading overnight was volatile with Dow futures giving back more than 1,000 points as investors try to weigh the uncertain economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Those moves came after Politico and The Washington Post reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will ask congressional lawmakers for a stimulus package of $850 billion or more to help the U.S. economy grapple with the impact of the coronavirus. —Fred Imbert

9:30 am: Senators push to let all Americans vote by mail

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden are pushing to make vote-by-mail available to every American as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to keep people at home during election season.

“The best way to ensure that this virus doesn’t keep people from the ballot box is to bring the ballot box to them. We must allow every American the ability to vote by mail,” the two lawmakers wrote in an opinion article in The Washington Post published on Monday. “And we must expand early voting so that voters who are not able to vote by mail are not exposed to the elevated infection risks of long lines and crowded polling locations.” —Tucker Higgins

9:27 am: Fed’s Kashkari says ‘we are using our tools aggressively,’ doesn’t see negative rates

Neel Kashkari

Anjali Sundaram | CNBC

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said the central bank still has monetary policy options to deal with the coronavirus crisis, though negative interest rates still are unlikely.

In a CNBC interview, Kashkari called on Congress to act in situations like a potential bailout for the airline industry. He said the Fed is in the “fourth round” of responders to the crisis, behind health care professionals, the public and Congress.

“We are not at the front line of this,” he said on “Squawk Box.” “But we do have a job to do and we are using our tools aggressively to try to make sure the financial system is ultimately working.” —Jeff Cox

9:20 am: Oil prices could hit teens in coming weeks as markets crater over coronavirus and price war

An end to the oil price plunge is nowhere in sight, energy experts say, as futures of international benchmark Brent crude fell below $30 a barrel Monday for the first time since 2016. That’s a stunning 54% drop year-to-date.

“Oil could easily be in the teens at the bottom. Could even be low teens at the lowest,” Abhi Rajendran, director of research at Energy Intelligence, told CNBC on Monday.

Energy stocks have been hammered as demand plummets amid the escalating coronavirus crisis, but moves by state actors to unleash a flood of supply are driving them decisively into the ground. —Natasha Turak

9:18 am: NY has the most cases in the US, West Virginia only state without a reported case

9:14 am: Uber suspends pooled rides in US and Canada to limit coronavirus spread

Uber Technologies began suspending shared rides on its ride-hailing platform in the United States and Canada to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The pooled option, which allows riders to book trips at lower prices by sharing the car with up to three other passengers traveling in the same direction, has been disabled for users opening the apps in the two countries.

“Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve,” senior vice president Uber Rides and Platform Andrew Macdonald said in a statement. —Reuters

9:09 am: Euro 2020 soccer tournament postponed until 2021

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has postponed the Euro 2020 soccer tournament to June 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Norwegian Football Association.

It comes after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin had organized a video conference meeting for all 55 of the group’s associations Tuesday morning. —Sam Meredith

8:40 am: Morgan Stanley expects a global recession this year

Morgan Stanley’s chief economist Chetan Ahya told investors that a “global recession in 2020 is now our base case.” Morgan Stanley said the coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally disrupting the world’s economy, forecasting the lowest global economic growth “since the global financial crisis.” —Michael Sheetz

8:36 am: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson released from hospital after coronavirus treatment

(L-R) Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.

Steve Granitz | WireImage | Getty Images

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have been released from an Australian hospital after being treated for the new coronavirus. The couple is now in self-quarantine, their son Chet Hanks said in a video message on his Instagram account. —Holly Ellyatt 

8:18 am: Former Obama health official says you should be able to test yourself ‘in the comfort of your own quarantined home’

There’s still a major shortage of testing capacity in the U.S., Dr. Kavita Patel, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institute, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Patel, who served as director of policy for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement under Obama, said that even hospitals that have test kits in supply, are running out of the necessary reagents or other supplies like cotton swabs and specific chemicals. She said there’s no reason an at-home test could not be developed and made available to Americans across the country. “A test kit, just like anything else in our lives these days, can come to you even in the same day,” she said. “Doing it in the comfort of your own quarantined home makes a lot of sense.” —Will Feuer

7:53 am: Nordstrom to close all of its stores in the US

Nordstrom is temporarily closing all of its stores due to COVID-19. The retailer has also withdrawn its 2020 earnings outlook. Nordstrom said it has experienced “a broad-based deceleration in customer demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus.” 

The Seattle-based chain will close all of its locations, including its off-price division Nordstrom Rack, in the U.S. and Canada beginning Tuesday, for two weeks. Nordstrom said it will continue to offer pay and benefits to store workers at this time. —Lauren Thomas

7:15 am: Antibody treatment could be ready for human testing by early summer

A researcher working with Doctor Paul McKay (unseen), who is working on an vaccine for the 2019-nCoV strain of the novel coronavirus, uses a pipette controller to express coronavirus onto surface protein to apply cell cultures, in a research lab at Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) in London on February 10, 2020.

Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images

Biotech giant Regeneron said it aims to have doses of a potential drug for COVID-19 ready to start human clinical trials by early summer. The approach involves creating antibodies to the virus that could be used to treat the disease and to prevent it, Regeneron said in a statement. 

The company had previously said it aimed to have hundreds of thousands of doses ready for human testing in late summer, so the new goal is a significant acceleration. Regeneron said it plans to start large-scale manufacturing by the middle of next month and still plans to ramp up to hundreds of thousands of preventive doses a month by the end of summer. —Meg Tirrell

7:10 am: Spain’s cases surpass 10,000, death toll rises

The total number of confirmed cases in Spain surpassed 10,000 on Tuesday and the number of fatalities rose to 491, said Fernando Simon, the head of the country’s health emergency center. He said the number of cases rose to 11,178, up from a previous tally of 9,161 cases on Monday. —Reuters

5:20 am: Iran has temporarily freed 85,000 prisoners, including political ones

A citizen wears a medical mask as a precaution against coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 01, 2020 in Tehran, Iran.

Anadolu Agency

Iran has temporarily freed about 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, a spokesman for its judiciary said, according to Reuters, as it reacts to the coronavirus epidemic in the country. “Some 50% of those released are security-related prisoners. … Also in the jails we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak,” Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

Iran has one of the worst outbreaks outside China, where the virus originated. Its death toll has reached 853 and a total of 14,991 people have been confirmed to have the virus. Esmaili did not elaborate on when those released would have to return to jail. —Holly Ellyatt

5:15 am: Macron warns ‘we are at war’ as France unveils $50 billion in coronavirus measures

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a television screen as he speaks during a televised address to the nation on the outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, on March 16, 2020, in Paris.


4:32 am: VW to halt European car production for two weeks

Car giant Volkswagen is suspending production at its plants in Europe. Production will be halted at Spanish plants, in Setubal in Portugal, Bratislava in Slovakia and at the Lamborghini and Ducati plants in Italy before the end of this week, Volkswagen’s CEO said, Reuters reported. Most of the other German and European plants will begin preparing to suspend production, probably for two to three weeks, Volkswagen said.

By contrast, production in China has resumed with the exception of the VW factories in Changsha and Urumqi. Earlier, reporting full year results, Volkswagen said the coronavirus made giving an outlook for 2020 impossible. It unveiled a rise in full-year operating profit.

“The spread of coronavirus is currently impacting the global economy. It is uncertain how severely or for how long this will also affect the Volkswagen Group. Currently, it is almost impossible to make a reliable forecast,” Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said in a statement. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Iran has temporarily freed 85,000 prisoners, including political ones

—Reuters and CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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