Donald Trump's administration reached a deal on a package to combat the fallout from the virus, boosting stocks globally. European Union leaders inched towards a rescue package and Germany is closing in on a historic bailout.
Germany's public health authority warned that the nation is just starting its fight against the virus, joining other countries in tightening restrictions as global deaths reach 18,900. India imposed a three-week national lockdown, Britain is planning to close parliament for four weeks and Singapore is putting in place its strictest measures yet.
Trump said he's hoping to have the economy reopened by mid-April, even as California's governor said it would be misleading to suggest his state could emerge from its shutdown by then. The U.S. president also said he'll stop using the term "Chinese virus," the latest indication that the U.S. and China are seeking to de-escalate their blame game over the pathogen.
Cases top 424,000; 18,900 dead, 109,000 recovered: Johns HopkinsFired Americans send state unemployment websites crashing downThe humming of Chinese plants returns as rest of world reelsOlympics delay deals crushing blow to Japan's comeback storyDesperate airlines turn to European governments for support
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Germany Sees Beginning of Virus Epidemic as Cases Increase (5:33 p.m HK)
Germany is just starting its fight against the new coronavirus, the country's public health authority said. "I want to emphasize, as I have been doing for a long time, that we are at the beginning of the epidemic," Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said at a press briefing on Wednesday. "Naturally the number of deaths will also rise in Germany."
Cases Rise in Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong (5:17 p.m. HK)
The death toll from coronavirus infection in Indonesia jumped to 58, the most in Southeast Asia, as the world's fourth-most populous nation reported a surge in fresh cases. The number of peopled infected rose to 790 on Wednesday from a revised 685 a day earlier.
In Tokyo, at least 40 new infections have been confirmed, Jiji reported, without saying where it got the information. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will brief the press at 8pm local time.
Hong Kong said 19 of the 24 new cases found Wednesday had traveled overseas. That brings the city's total confirmed cases to 410; 105 patients have been discharged
Russian Coronavirus Cases Jump 33% in a Day to 658 (4:50 p.m. HK)
A total of 163 new cases were registered, Russia's coronavirus emergency response center said. Russia faces a bigger threat from the coronavirus than official figures show because of a lack of adequate testing, Moscow's mayor warned President Vladimir Putin.
Germany Closes In on Historic Bailout (4:45 p.m. HK)
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz urged lawmakers to open up debt limits. New borrowing of 156 billion euros ($169 billion), equivalent to half of Germany's normal annual spending, will be used to fund social benefits and direct aid to virus-hit companies. "There is no blueprint for countering such a crisis," Scholz said.
Germany's ruling coalition cast aside infighting to push for emergency powers, abandoning its long-standing balanced-budget policy. Lawmakers will vote on the legislation later on Wednesday. Backed by broad political support, the government plans to unleash a barrage of debt-financed measures totaling more than 750 billion euros. Business confidence in the country collapsed the most in three decades after restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus forced mass closures of companies and stores across Europe's largest economy.
Pakistan Reaches 1,000 Cases Faster Than Italy (4:32 p.m. HK)
The South Asian nation reached more than 1,000 cases in 29 days, two days before Italy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. People who visited neighboring Iran for a pilgrimage make up most of Pakistan's cases. Iran outpaced both nations to reach the 1,000 mark in 13 days.
Rush for Trump-Backed Drug Sparks India Export Ban (4:30 p.m. HK)
India banned exports of a malaria drug backed by U.S. President Donald Trump amid a run on supplies globally, even as scientists continue to search for conclusive evidence of the medicine's effectiveness against the novel coronavirus. Exports of hydroxychloroquine will be limited to fulfilling fully paid existing contracts, while certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may also be allowed.
Separately, a small study found Hydroxychloroquine to be no more effective than conventional care. The report published by the Journal of Zhejiang University in China showed that patients who got the medicine didn't fight off the new coronavirus more often than those who did not get the medicine.
Mustier Said to Gauge Joint Approach to Scrapping Bank Dividends (4:27 p.m. HK)
Europe's top banking lobby is trying to find common ground among lenders in the region on whether to scrap dividends to conserve capital as the coronavirus batters the economy. UniCredit SpA Chief Executive Officer Jean Pierre Mustier, who currently presides over the European Banking Federation, asked members for their views, as calls increase on lenders to use their capital and accounting relief to keep the economy going, rather than reward investors, according to people familiar with the matter.
The debate comes after banks received unprecedented relief from the ECB, which is temporarily allowing them to tap capital buffers and giving them more time to tackle soured loans. While suspending dividends would disappoint investors, it can free up capital to lend to companies struggling to stay in business amid nationwide lockdowns. Several top U.S. banks have already agreed to suspend buybacks.
France Pushes $4.3 Billion Support Package for Startups (4:20 p.m. HK)
France is setting up a 4 billion-euro ($4.3 billion) package to help the country's startups survive the coronavirus pandemic and maintain cash levels in between their fundraising. "Our goal is for startups to pass that crisis and then continue with their growth," Digital Minister Cedric O said on Radio Classique on Wednesday. "Startups represent between one-sixth and one-fifth of jobs created in France today, so it's extremely important."
The French Finance Ministry, together with state-backed investor and lender Bpifrance, will detail the plan on Wednesday. The package includes bridge funding, innovation-spending related tax breaks and treasury loans.
U.K. Trucker Reports Record Demand (4:15 p.m. HK)
Wincanton, Britain's biggest logistics firm, has experienced record demand for its services from many leading customers. Levels of activity are high in many sectors, especially grocery, the company said, and it expects good levels of demand will be maintained throughout the outbreak.
European Stocks Rally (4 p.m. HK)
European equities extended gains into a second day after a deal struck by U.S. lawmakers stoked optimism about stimulus measures. The Stoxx 600 Index climbed 2.3%, reaching its highest level in two weeks. All 19 sectors advanced, with energy and financial-services shares leading the rise.
U.S. futures indicated more gains after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged the most since 1933 as the White House and Senate Democrats and Republicans struck a deal on a $2 trillion rescue package.
U.K. Plans to Close Parliament From Wednesday to Slow Virus (3:30 p.m. HK)
The U.K. government is planning to close Parliament from Wednesday night in the latest attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, a person familiar with the matter said.
The virus is spreading fastest in London and several politicians have fallen ill, including a health minister. Parliament had been scheduled to break for Easter on March 31, but the House of Commons will break up Wednesday if -- as expected -- lawmakers vote for the move, the person said. Parliament would be likely to reopen in April, the person added.
Rouhani Says 'Good Steps' Taken to Unblock Iran's Frozen Funds (3:06 p.m. HK)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said there's a good chance sanctions against his country would be eased to help in the fight against the coronavirus.
"There's a debate at the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution to put aside all sanctions under the coronavirus," he said in a televised address on Wednesday. "I was on the phone with a non-permanent member of the UNSC who told me the resolution is ready."
Singapore May Consider School Suspensions If Cases Rise (2:53 p.m. HK)
Singapore may consider suspending schools and closing some workplaces if the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in parliament.
Earlier, Singapore said the number of coronavirus cases in the city-state will continue to increase over the coming weeks as some of around 200,000 Singaporeans return home from around the world.
The top three sources of importation to Singapore are the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Indonesia, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told parliament on Wednesday, after the number of cases in the city-state more than doubled in the past week.
Malaysia Extends Lockdown to April 14 (1:27 p.m. HK)
Malaysia decided to extend its lockdown period to April 14 as the number of infections in the country continues to rise. The Movement Control Order was previously set to end March 31.
White House, Senators Strike Deal on Massive Stimulus Package (1:19 p.m. HK)
The Trump administration struck a deal with Senate Democrats and Republicans on a rescue package that tees up more than $2 trillion in spending and tax breaks to bolster the hobbled U.S. economy and fund a nationwide effort to stem the coronavirus.
"At last we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader McConnell said early Wednesday on the chamber's floor. "I'm thrilled that we're finally going to deliver to the country.
The plan includes a $500 billion chunk that can be used to back loans and other aid to businesses, checks of $1,200 to most Americans, more than $350 billion for small businesses to maintain their payrolls, more expansive unemployment insurance, deferrals of taxes, and numerous other provisions, according to a person familiar with the details. Read more here.
South Korea to Provide Support for Test Kit Exports (11:16 a.m. HK)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said his government will provide the necessary support for exports of coronavirus testing kits as many countries, including the U.S., are seeking to secure them. Trump made a request for medical equipment including the test kits in a phone call Tuesday, according to Moon's comments during a visit to a test kit manufacturer.
NYSE Reports Two More Cases After Trading Floor Shuts (10:35 a.m. HK)
The New York Stock Exchange reported two new virus cases after it temporarily shut its iconic trading floor and moved to fully electronic trading Monday.
Two people who worked on the trading floor tested positive, in addition to two others last week, according to a NYSE notice to traders reviewed by Bloomberg.
Read more here.
L.A. County Youth Death May Have Another Explanation (9:46 a.m. HK)
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said the death of a minor reported earlier Tuesday may have an alternate explanation. While the young person tested positive for the virus, the case is "complex" and will require further evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the county said.
Earlier, Los Angeles County reported that a person under the age of 18 died from the virus, without giving details beyond the juvenile's town of residence. The young person was a teenager, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an interview on CNN.
California Governor Sees Easter Too Soon to Emerge From Shutdown (9:42 a.m. HK)
California Governor Gavin Newsom said that it would be "misleading" to suggest the most populous U.S. state could emerge from the coronavirus shutdown by Easter, as President Trump said may be the case for the rest of the country.
Newsom said that the state is likely looking at a period of eight to 12 weeks of shutdown, based on conversations with experts.
Read more here.
New Zealand Declares State of Emergency (8:23 a.m. HK)
New Zealand's government declared a State of National Emergency, Director-General of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black announced at a news conference in Wellington. It will be in place for seven days and can be extended.
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