Coronavirus live updates: Starbucks reopens most China stores, Iran outbreak could get worse

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All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Total confirmed cases: More than 82,500
  • Total deaths: At least 2,810

Iran, which had just two cases a week ago, confirmed 245 infections as of Thursday morning, but the outbreak could be even more widespread in the country than is currently known, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, said.

“This disease came unseen and undetected into Iran, so the extent of infection may be broader than what we may be seeing,” Ryan told reporters at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva on Thursday. — Feuer

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a letter to employees that 85% of the global coffee chain’s cafes in China are operating again. Starbucks closed more than half of its roughly 4,300 Chinese stores in January due to the outbreak.The company did not share any updates on the expected financial impact of the temporary closures. China accounted for 10% of Starbucks’ revenue during its first quarter. — Lucas

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that at least 40 public health labs can currently test specimens for coronavirus and that could more than double as soon as tomorrow. Azar, speaking before the House Ways and Means Committee, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had tested 3,625 specimens for the fast-moving virus as of this morning.

He said at least 40 labs currently have test kits that were previously manufactured by the CDC that were modified to test for coronavirus. He said a newly manufactured CDC test can be sent to 93 public health labs as soon as Monday, and a privately manufactured test based on the new CDC test could be sent to those same labs as early as tomorrow, pending FDA clearance. — Reuters

The fast-spreading coronavirus will clearly have an impact on global economic growth and the International Monetary Fund is likely to downgrade its growth forecast as result, an IMF spokesperson said. 

“Clearly the virus is going to have an impact on growth,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a regular briefing. He gave no specific details. He said he expected a decision soon on the impact of the coronavirus for the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in April, noting that a range of options were under consideration. Reuters reported Wednesday that officials were considering scaling back the meetings or holding them by teleconference. — Reuters


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