Coronavirus live updates: South Africa confirms first case, Southwest slashes revenue forecast

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 95,700, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,280, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 159, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 11, according to the CDC and state health officials.

Southwest Airlines warned investors that the outbreak will cost the U.S. carrier up to $300 million during the first quarter. “In recent days, the company has experienced a significant decline in customer demand, as well as an increase in trip cancellations, which is assumed to be attributable to concerns relating to reported cases of COVID-19,” the airline said in a statement. It said it’s so-called revenue per available seat mile, a key measure of performance, was slashed. The company now says it will fall to somewhere between a 1% gain and a 2% decline. It previously said its year-over-year revenue per seat mile would rise between 3.5% and 5.5%. —Kopecki

South Africa’s health ministry confirmed its first case of coronavirus. “The National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 has tested positive,” the country’s health ministry said. “The patient is a 38-year-old male who traveled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020,” the health ministry said. —Reuters

The Department of Health and Human Services said it plans to purchase 500 million N95 respirator masks for health-care workers over the next 18 months. HHS said the masks will be purchased as part of the Strategic National Stockpile. Private-sector orders will be filled first, HHS said in a statement, but these “guaranteed orders” will encourage manufacturers to increase production. HHS said earlier this week the U.S. has about 1% of the required respirator masks that would be needed for medical professionals if the coronavirus outbreak were to erupt into a pandemic here. —Feuer

An employee in HSBC’s research department in London has tested positive for coronavirus, three sources told Reuters on Thursday. The employee informed the bank over the weekend and staff who came into contact with him have been told to work from home, a source familiar with the matter said. —Ellyatt


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