Coronavirus live updates: US hospitals prepare for possible pandemic, FBI stocks up on hand sanitizer and masks

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All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Total confirmed cases: More than 75,700
  • Total deaths: At least 2,130

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has ordered $40,000 of hand sanitizer and face masks “in case the coronavirus becomes a pandemic in the United States,” according to the acquisition document. The FBI’s “pandemic preparedness” supply order includes face masks from manufacturer 3M and disinfectants, including hand sanitizer, from PDI Healthcare, the document said. In its purchase order, the FBI said it needs to have those items on hand if the coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads widely throughout the U.S. The masks and disinfectants “are to be stored throughout the country for distribution in the event of a declared pandemic,” according to the document, which was signed Friday and gave the companies a week to fulfill the order. — Feuer

Japan’s government and auto industry are establishing a new task force to combat the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the country’s automotive operations. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the immediate priorities for the “New Coronavirus Countermeasures Automobile Council” will be information sharing and understanding of the situation as well as studying countermeasures. “Automakers, component manufacturers, and the government work together to ensure rapid response to the information on the industry, with a view to ensuring that measures can be taken to prepare for the possible impact of the new coronavirus on the automotive supply chain in the future,” the Japanese government said. — Wayland

Apple iPhone maker Foxconn said it is cautiously restarting production at its main plants in China and warned revenue will be hurt this year by the outbreak. The statement comes just days after Apple rescinded its March quarter sales guidance, saying factories in China have been slower to get back to work than first anticipated after Lunar New Year holidays were extended amid the outbreak. Foxconn, the world No. 1 contract manufacturer, also said its plants in countries such as Vietnam, India, and Mexico continue to operate at full capacity with expansion plans underway as it seeks to minimize the impact of the virus. — Reuters

Norwegian Cruise Line said it has canceled voyages in Asia through the third quarter and expects to take an earnings hit of 75 cents per share for the full year because of the outbreak. The news sent shares down by about 3% in morning trading. The cruise line said the virus had forced it to cancel, modify or redeploy 40 voyages across all three of its brands and compensate customers. The company said that 21 cancelled Asia voyages on its cruise ship, Norwegian Spirit, have been redeployed to the Eastern Mediterranean for summer 2020 with an “extremely condensed booking window.” Any guest or crew who have traveled to China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 30 days, regardless of nationality, are not allowed to board Norwegian’s vessels. — Miller

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/20/coronavirus-latest-updates.html

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