Coronavirus live updates: Restaurants eye prevention, France cases jump

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. 

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Global cases: At least 101,587, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,460, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 245, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 14, according to the CDC and state health officials.

Delivery drivers shouldn’t be eating customers’ fries, but as the number of virus cases rises in the U.S., restaurants are trying even harder to make sure that doesn’t happen. CapitalSpring, a restaurant investment firm with about 4,000 locations nationwide in its portfolio, is deploying tamper-proof packaging for food delivery orders for its restaurants.

Nationwide, restaurants are responding to the outbreak. McDonald’s, Dunkin’ and Starbucks are among the chains stepping up their in-store cleanliness efforts and creating crisis teams. In a time when labor costs have put pressure on profit margins, restaurants are adding more staff or extending hours to ensure that employees can keep up with increased cleaning efforts.

February same-store sales, which grew by 0.3% nationally, did not show a hit from the virus, but consumer fears could mean lower restaurant traffic in March, according to industry tracker Black Box Intelligence. —Lucas 

Organizers of the Seattle-based Emerald City Comic Con announced they are pushing the event from its March 12 start to summer 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state.

“Our hearts go out to the entire Seattle community, everyone impacted by the COVID-19 virus, and all of you, the nearly 100,000 amazing human beings who look forward to this event each year,” Reedpop, an offshoot of event organizer Reed Exhibitions, wrote in a statement Friday. “Our team was incredibly excited to see you at Emerald City Comic Con next week, however, fans, artists, exhibitors and the rest of the community are what make Reedpop events so special and it is our duty to make sure that your safety comes first.”

Earlier in the week, Reedpop stressed how a show like Emerald City can be a big driver of sales for local and traveling artists, who rely on conventions to grow their careers.

“We know that this decision is going to greatly impact many of our individual creators, small businesses and service workers,” the company said Friday. “To those whose careers depend on ECCC – we will do everything that we can over the coming days and weeks to highlight your work and we ask that our entire community support you as we realize your personal livelihoods may be impacted.”

Reedpop will be refunding all tickets for the event and is working with Visit Seattle and the Washington State Convention Center to find an alternate date for the convention during the summer. —Whitten

Deutsche Lufthansa will slash up to half the flights across its stable of airlines from April as passengers balk at flying for fear of contracting the coronavirus, the company said on Friday.

“In recent days, the Lufthansa Group has been exposed to drastic declines in bookings and numerous flight cancellations due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All traffic areas are now affected,” it said in a statement.

The company, which includes Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, also said it was considering temporarily grounding its entire fleet of 14 Airbus A380 superjumbos in Frankfurt and Munich. —Reuters

France has 613 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the head of the public health service, Jerome Salomon, said on Friday, which is an increase of 190 compared to a day earlier. During a press briefing, he added the death toll from the disease was still at nine and that 39 persons were in intensive care. —Reuters

Correction: Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in France rose by 190 to 613. An earlier version of this headline misstated the increase. 


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