Coronavirus live updates: Georgia businesses reopen cautiously


As the number of U.S. deaths tops 50,000, several states are moving forward with plans to reopen businesses to spur economic growth. Some governors have begun easing restrictions despite warnings from world health officials that it may be too soon to do so without sparking a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

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 2.7 million
  • Global deaths: At least 192,125
  • US cases: More than 870,400
  • US deaths: At least 50,031

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

2:47 pm: Air France wins 7 billion euro state-backed loan package

Air France will receive a 7 billion euro ($7.6 billion) loan package backed by the French government to avert a cash crisis brought on by the coronavirus crisis, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced.

France will issue 3 billion euros in direct loans and guarantees on another 4 billion in bank lending to the carrier, part of airline group Air France-KLM, Le Maire said

“Air France’s planes are grounded, so we need to support Air France,” the minister said on TF1 television, adding that the aid would carry conditions requiring the group to “become the most environmentally friendly airline on the planet.

The French state is also preparing to back about 5 billion euros in loans to carmaker Renault, Le Maire said. —Reuters

2:45 pm: NYSE eyes reopening trading floor, but timeline still unclear

The New York Stock Exchange plans to reopen its iconic trading floor, which is shuttered due to coronavirus concerns, as soon as possible, but it has not yet set a date to do so, the NYSE and people familiar with the matter said.

“The NYSE will reopen its trading floors when we can do so with reduced risk and without adding strain on local healthcare systems,” exchange spokesman Farrell Kramer said in a statement, without giving further details. The exchange operator also has an options trading floor in San Francisco that is closed due to the pandemic.

The NYSE, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange, held a conference call with NYSE staff and the traders who work on the floor on Wednesday to discuss an eventual reopening, but did not set any dates, according to two people who were on the call.

The exchange plans to reopen floor trading in phases, monitoring everyone who enters 11 Wall Street for symptoms and ensuring traders adhere to social distancing guidelines, the people said. As a financial exchange, the NYSE is considered an essential service and can open the floor when it wants, but it has taken a cautious approach. —Reuters

2:19 pm: Facebook rolls out free video calls for up to 50 people

Facebook announced a slew of new video-calling features including Messenger Rooms, which allows users to host video calls of up to 50 people.

Messenger Rooms poses an immediate threat to Zoom and Houseparty, two video-calling products that have seen their usage skyrocket over the past month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The new video features arrive as more users turn to Facebook apps to socialize with their friends and family while remaining in quarantine as a result of the pandemic.

Messenger Rooms is the flagship of Facebook’s new video-calling services. The free feature will allow Facebook and Messenger users to create group video calls of up to 50 people. By contrast, Messenger video calls are limited to eight people.

Messenger Rooms’ 50-person limit will not be immediately available. Facebook users will see a smaller limit at launch, but it will soon ramp up to 50 people, a spokesman for the company told CNBC. The limit will vary for users at launch, the spokesman said. —Salvador Rodriguez

2:17 pm: Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York will see $13.3 billion revenue drop 

2:00 pm: Amazon extends unpaid time off policy for warehouse workers

Amazon is extending its unlimited unpaid time off policy for warehouse workers amid the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced.

The company is allowing workers to request unpaid time off through May 16. It’s also extending its double overtime pay for workers in the U.S. and Canada through the same date. 

Amazon spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said the company extended these policies for workers to ensure both the health and safety of its employees, adding in a statement: “We continue to see heavy demand during this difficult time and the team is doing incredible work for our customers and the community.” —Annie Palmer

1:50 pm: New York Gov. Cuomo says the US acted too late to control the coronavirus

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the U.S. was too slow to respond to the coronavirus outbreak as it was proliferating in China in January, projecting that the virus had likely infected more than 10,000 New Yorkers in February. 

“How can you expect when you act two months after the outbreak in China the virus was only in China waiting for us to act? The horse had already left the barn by the time we moved,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing in Albany. 

Between the beginning of January to when the U.S. closed its borders to Europe in March, approximately 13,000 flights from Europe landed in New York and New Jersey airports carrying over 2.2 million people, Cuomo said. He said researchers now say the virus had likely infected 28,000 people in the U.S. by that time, including more than 10,000 people in New York, in February. —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Will Feuer, Jasmine Kim

1:42 pm: Some Georgia companies keep their workers at home as state begins reopening

Georgia is reopening parts of its economy on Friday, allowing gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors to begin serving customers again. Movie theaters and dine-in restaurants are set to follow on Monday. 

But many firms there are in no rush to bring their employees back as the debate over when it is safe to return to work rages across the nation. Georgia is home to 18 Fortune 500 firms. Here is where some of those firms stand on reopening for business—Ethan Kraft

1:32 pm: Trump tries to walk back speculation about injecting disinfectants to fight coronavirus, claims he was being sarcastic

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a news conference in the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Michael Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

1:18 pm: Several public companies who took small business rescue loans say they are not giving back the cash

Despite outrage on Main Street and new pressure from the Treasury Department this week, several publicly traded companies that received payroll relief funds from the Small Business Administration oppose demands to return the cash.

The companies said the Paycheck Protection Program loans have allowed them to keep employees on payroll and that they disagree with the federal government’s move to make it harder for public companies to receive emergency funds. The outrage stems from the belief that these companies could easily tap the equity or debt markets to raise cash.

Bruce Davis, the chairman and CEO of Digimarc Corp., said that the notion that all public companies have easy access to vast capital markets at any time is mistaken.

“The goal of the program is to give small businesses some time to see how things were going and to prevent a precipitous reduction the workforce,” he said.

“All I see is a knee-jerk reaction to Shake Shack,” he said. “Policymakers rushed back and said ‘If you’re public you don’t qualify.’ [But] they’re not thinking of us: It’s getting oversimplified and in a crude manner that will be a disservice to companies like mine.” —Thomas Franck, Maggie Fitzgerald, Jesse Pound

1:05 pm: From Facebook to the State Department, how coronavirus has changed summer internships

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been widespread, leaving an unprecedented 26.4 million Americans out of work. For young people, including students gearing up for summer internships and soon-to-be college graduates, professional prospects have been disproportionately affected. 

Edwin Koc, director of research, public policy and legislative affairs for the National Association of Colleges and Employers tells CNBC Make It that according to internal research, only 2% of employers have reported revoking full-time offers made to candidates, but about 16% of employers have reported revoking internship offers. 

Many internships have been changed, he says, by being canceled, postponed or moved online

“Of the employers that are continuing with their internships, 75% have made at least one change to their internship program,” says Koc. “About 40% of them are introducing a virtual internship, another 40% are shortening the internship by delaying the start date of the internship and about 20% are reducing the number of interns they’re going to bring on board in the summer.” —Abigail Hess

12:52 pm: Georgia businesses reopen cautiously amid coronavirus worry

Bar tender Jake Glazier (34) (R) serves his customers at an open roadside bar in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 23, 2020.

Chandan Khanna | AFP| Getty Images

Some businesses in Georgia reopened cautiously Friday as the Republican governor eased a monthlong shutdown amid experts’ warnings of a potential new surge in coronavirus infections and a potent objection from President Donald Trump.

Georgia has ranked in the bottom per capita for testing — a key component in preventing a resurgence — despite a bump in screenings this week, and critics say Gov. Brian Kemp’s order was premature.

But in metro Atlanta, the Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique opened to a line of masked customers whose temperature was checked before entering. A bowling alley in Rome posted on Facebook that it was getting back in business with social distancing rules, including a limit of six people to a lane and plenty of hand sanitizer.

David Huynh had 60 clients booked for appointments at his nail salon in Savannah, but a clothing store, jewelry shop and chocolatier that share a street corner with his downtown business, Envy Nail Bar, remained closed as he opened.

“The phone’s been staying ringing off the hook,” Huynh said. “We’ve probably gotten hundreds of calls in the last hour.” —Associated Press

12:42 pm: Trump signs $484 billion coronavirus relief bill to boost small business, hospitals and testing

12:27 pm: Equinox CEO: We are taking a ‘wait and see approach’ on reopening gyms in Georgia

Gyms have the official green light to reopen Friday in Georgia. But the high-end fitness chain Equinox won’t be back in business there just yet as it weighs coronavirus concerns amid the continuing health crisis

“We have chosen not to because, while we are eager to open, we also have a responsibility to continue to embrace our high standards and not rush,” Equinox Chief Executive Officer Harvey Spevak told CNBC. “We are going to take a wait and see approach.” 

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced earlier this week that tattoo parlors, gyms and hair salons can reopen Friday — so long as they follow recommended social distancing and sanitary requirements meant to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Restaurants can begin to offer restricted dine-in meals and movie theaters can start selling tickets Monday. But many businesses, including Equinox, are not racing to unlock their doors. Equinox also owns the cycling studio SoulCycle. —Lauren Thomas

12:13 pm: NYC Mayor calls for rent freeze, 12-month repayment period

Recyclers gathers plastics and aluminum cans in Manhattan New York City, USA during coronavirus pandemic on April 10, 2020.

John Nacion | NurPhoto | Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the state to authorize the city’s rent-stabilized renters to use their security deposits to pay rent and to allow tenants who miss rent to withhold rent and repay over a 12-month period later.

De Blasio said many New Yorkers who have been financially burdened by the coronavirus will have difficulty paying upcoming rent and should be allowed to repay missed payments over the span of a year.

The state should also extend its eviction moratorium for 60 days beyond the end of the crisis so renters aren’t evicted later. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a 90-day eviction moratorium for residential and commercial tenants on March 20.

“They can pay it back after a period of time. If people don’t have any money, they don’t have any money,” de Blasio said at a press conference. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

12:01 pm: Trump denies he gave Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp the OK to reopen salons, tattoo parlors

Barber Tommy Thomas, 69, who has been cutting hair for 50 years, gives his long-time customer Fred Bentley a haircut after the Georgia governor allowed a select number of businesses to open during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Atlanta, Georgia, April 24, 2020.

Julio-Cesar Chavez | Reuters

11:37 am: US says hedge funds, private equity are not eligible for small business relief loans

The Small Business Administration said Friday that hedge funds and private equity firms are ineligible for the small business relief program

The move comes after reports that hedge funds had applied for the initial round of the Paycheck Protection Program. 

This is what the SBA said about hedge funds and private equity firms: 

“a. Is a hedge fund or private equity firm eligible for a PPP loan? No. Hedge funds and private equity firms are primarily engaged in investment or speculation, and such businesses are therefore ineligible to receive a PPP loan. The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, does not believe that Congress intended for these types of businesses, which are generally ineligible for section 7(a) loans under existing SBA regulations, to obtain PPP financing.” –Hugh Son

11:15 am: Researchers cut short a chloroquine study over safety concerns, citing a ‘primary outcome’ of death

Citing a “primary outcome” of death, researchers cut short a study testing anti-malaria drug chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19 after some patients developed irregular heart rates and nearly two dozen of them died after taking doses of the drug daily.

Scientists say the findings, published Friday in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association, should prompt some degree of skepticism from the public toward enthusiastic claims about and perhaps “serve to curb the exuberant use” of the drug, which has been touted by President Donald Trump as a potential “game-changer” in the fight against the coronavirus.

Chloroquine gained widespread international attention following two small studies, including one with 36 Covid-19 patients published March 17 in France, found that most patients taking the drug cleared the coronavirus from their system a lot faster than the control group. The JAMA report said those trials didn’t meet the publishing society’s standards. —Berkeley Lovelace, Jr.

11:00 am: FDA warns on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after ‘serious poisoning and death’ reported

An employee checks the production of chloroquine phosphate, resumed after a 15-year break, in a pharmaceutical company in Nantong city in east China’s Jiangsu province Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Chloroquine phosphate, an old drug for the treatment of malaria, has shown some efficacy and acceptable safety against COVID-19 associated pneumonia in trials, according to Chinese media.

Feature China | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against taking malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting after “serious” poisoning and deaths were reported.

The agency said it became aware of reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the virus who were treated with the malaria drugs, often in combination with antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak. It also warned physicians against prescribing the drugs to treat the coronavirus outside of a hospital.

Patients taking the drugs for approved reasons, including malaria or to treat autoimmune conditions like Lupus, should continue taking their medicine as prescribed, the FDA said. —Berkeley Lovelace, Jr.

10:56 am: Neiman Marcus eyes Sunday bankruptcy filing, $600 million emergency funding

Neiman Marcus could file for bankruptcy protection as soon as Sunday and is in talks with its current lenders about raising roughly $600 million in emergency financing to fund operations through the restructuring, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC.

In bankruptcy, the retailer will work to flush its more than $4 billion in debt leftover from its sale to Ares Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 2013.

It previously announced plans to shutter most of its 24 Last Call discount stores to focus on its niche in luxury retail. —Lauren Hirsch

10:53 am: US consumer sentiment falls for a third consecutive month

U.S. consumer sentiment fell for a third straight month as people weigh the coronavirus pandemic and the possibility of an economic re-opening, data released Friday by the University of Michigan showed.

The consumer sentiment index fell to 71.8 in April from 89.1 in March. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 67. That decline comes after a sharp drop in current economic conditions.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to more than 26 million job losses over the past five weeks. That’s more than the employment gains since the Great Recession. Those sharp job losses have sparked some calls for re-opening the economy and easing stay-at-home regulations imposed to curb the virus spread. —Fred Imbert

10:41 am: Punishing businesses with higher taxes would hurt ‘blue-collar’ workers, GOP’s Kevin Brady says

Rep. Kevin Brady

Anjali Sundaram | CNBC

Rep. Kevin Brady told CNBC that higher taxes and more regulations should not be put in place in response to the coronavirus economic crisis.

“I don’t think you punish business in order to help that blue collar worker. I think it’s the opposite. We lift them together,” the Texas Republican said on “Squawk Box.”

Brady, the ranking member on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he believes policies put in place by the Trump administration, including the 2017 tax cut, helped put the U.S. economy in a robust position going into the coronavirus crisis. Brady was chairman of the committee three years ago when Republicans controlled the House and Senate.

“I still think the worse thing we could do would be to reverse those policies because I think they were key to us having this strong economy. They’re going to be even more important going forward,” Brady said. —Kevin Stankiewicz

10:34 am: 401(k) balances sink 19% due to coronavirus, Fidelity says

Wild market swings have taken a toll on retirement savers. The average 401(k) balance plunged 19%, to $91,400, in the first quarter of 2020, according to a new report by Fidelity Investments, the nation’s largest provider of 401(k) plans. The financial services firm handles more than 30 million retirement accounts altogether.

The average individual retirement account balance also fell, by 14%, to $98,900.

Before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy, 401(k) and IRA balances were at record highs. The average 401(k) balance was $112,300 in the fourth quarter of last year, while the average IRA balance was $115,400.

“Given the unprecedented market volatility this quarter, it’s not surprising that account balances were impacted, although declines were less than the overall market decline,” Kevin Barry, president of workplace investing at Fidelity, said in a statement. —Jessica Dickler

10:29 am: Responding to Trump, Lysol maker says don’t ingest disinfectants

Family Dollar Store, anti-bacterial wipes and cleaning products.

Jeff Greenberg | Getty Images

The maker of Lysol and former head of the Food and Drug Administration warned against consuming or injecting disinfectants after President Donald Trump asked whether injecting disinfectants into the body can be used to treat Covid-19. Consuming disinfectants is very dangerous and can even be fatal, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute. One minute,” Trump said Thursday evening at a White House press briefing. “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

Reckitt Benckiser, the United Kingdom-based manufacturer of Lysol and other household cleaning products, said in a statement that its products “should only be used as intended” and “under no circumstance” should the products be consumed by people. —Will Feuer

10:23 am: United now requires flight attendants to wear masks

Masks or other face coverings became mandatory for United Airlines’ flight attendants, a measure aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The flight attendants’ labor union is urging federal officials to require them for passengers, too.

The airline said it will provide flight attendants with surgical masks but they are also allowed to wear their own cloth masks.

“We understand that many aspects of the flight attendant’s duties, both on and off the aircraft, can make practicing social distancing challenging, which is why this new initiative is so important,” United said. —Leslie Josephs

10:15 am: Some gig workers are getting $0 in unemployment benefits

Some gig workers may be scratching their heads at what, for many, has become a roundabout process to get unemployment benefits. In yet another wrinkle, California is issuing letters to gig workers who applied for unemployment benefits indicating that they are entitled to $0. 

“Receiving a $0 award notice doesn’t necessarily mean someone is ineligible for regular [unemployment insurance] benefits,” California’s Employment Development Department, or EDD, said in an e-mail.

The good news is, these 15 states are already paying gig workers and self-employed Americans unemployment. Also, self-employed workers, independent contractors, and others are newly eligible to collect unemployment benefits as a result of the $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus relief law enacted last month. Find out more here. —Greg Iacurci

9:34 am: Dow climbs more than 100 points as oil continues rebound from historic lows 

Stocks rose as oil prices continued to recover from their unprecedented sell-off. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 179 points higher, or 0.8%. The S&P 500 climbed 0.6% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4%.

Oil rose for a third consecutive day, rebounding from a historic rout that saw a futures contract turn negative for the first time ever. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 4.2% to trade above $17 per barrel amid increasing bets for a U.S. production cut, bringing its three-day rally to more than 40%. —Fred Imbert 

9:30 am:  What it looks like inside the GM plant making coronavirus face masks

In less than a week, GM converted 31,000 square feet of the 2.7 million-square-foot plant, which was decommissioned last year, from producing transmissions to face masks for first responders and health care workers on the frontlines of combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

There’s loud humming and sounds of soft metal stamping as you walk into a bright white area of a decades-old transmission plant owned by General Motors just outside of Detroit.

But the sounds, almost white noise, aren’t of auto parts being produced, they’re large reels of fabric running through machines and employees using laser welders to make medical face masks.

In less than a week, GM converted 31,000 square feet of the 2.7 million-square-foot plant, which was decommissioned last year, from producing transmissions to the personal protection equipment for first responders and health-care workers on the front lines of combating the coronavirus pandemic—Michael Wayland 

9:18 am: ‘Filthy bloody business:’ Poachers kill more animals as coronavirus crushes tourism to Africa 

Orphaned rhinos are seen amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a sanctuary for rhinos orphaned by poaching, in Mookgopong, Limpopo province, South Africa April 17, 2020.

Siphiwe Sibeko | Reuters

Poachers in Africa have encroached on land they wouldn’t normally visit and have killed rhinos in tourism hot spots now devoid of visitors and safari guides because the coronavirus has all but halted travel to the continent. 

In Botswana, at least six rhinos have been poached since the virus shut down tourism. Botswana’s security forces in April shot and killed five suspected poachers in two incidents. In northwest South Africa, at least nine rhinos have been killed since the virus lockdown. All the poaching took place in what were previously tourism areas that were safe for animals to roam. 

“It’s a bloody calamity. It’s an absolute crisis,” Map Ives, founder of Rhino Conservation Botswana, a nonprofit organization, said of poaching across the continent. —Emma Newburger 

9:13 am: Trump Organization reportedly seeks government aid for golf resorts in UK and Ireland 

The Trump Organization has reportedly asked Britain and Ireland’s governments for assistance in weathering the coronavirus crisis.

The company, currently headed by the president’s sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., is seeking state aid to help cover wages at its golf resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland, and the Scottish counties of Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire.

All of the hotels are closed in compliance with government-enforced lockdown measures.

Eric Trump confirmed in a statement to USA Today that the Trump Organization was looking to local governments for help.

Spokespersons for the Trump Organization and Trump International were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. —Chloe Taylor 

9:10 am: US durable goods orders plunge 14.4% in March, vs 11.9% drop expected 

Appliances for sale at a Home Depot store.

Getty Images

New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly rose in March, but the gains are not likely to be sustainable amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has abruptly shut down the economy and contributed to a collapse in crude oil prices.

Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, edged up 0.1% last month, the Commerce Department said. Data for February was up to show these so-called core capital goods orders falling 0.8% instead of dropping 0.9% as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core capital goods orders plunging 6% in March.

Overall U.S. durable goods orders sank 14.4% in the month, compared with expectations for an 11.9% drop. Durable goods orders rose 1.2% a month earlier. —Reuters 

8:56 am: Verizon pulls 2020 revenue view as lockdowns result in wireless subscriber loss 

A woman looks at her phone in front of a Verizon Fios sign in Times Square in New York March 11, 2016.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Verizon Communications withdrew its full-year revenue outlook on Friday as it lost 68,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill in the first quarter amid lockdowns that closed 70% of its stores.

It led to a significant drop in customer activity and device volumes in the quarter, the telecom operator said. Analysts expected Verizon to gain just 100 subscribers in the quarter ended March 31, according to research firm FactSet.

The company, which plans to stay committed to investing in 5G network, said the virus reduced its earnings by 4 cents per share in the first quarter. Total operating revenue for the wireless carrier fell 1.6% to $31.6 billion from a year earlier. —Reuters 

8:20 am: British PM Johnson still recovering at country residence

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues his recovery from Covid-19 at his country residence and any decision to return to work in London will be taken on the advice of his doctors, his spokesman said.

Earlier, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Johnson was planning to return to work as early as Monday.

The spokesman declined to speculate on Johnson’s return, saying only that the prime minister had been doing more this week, including an audience with Queen Elizabeth and speaking to President Donald Trump.

“He is continuing his recovery at Chequers. He continues to receive updates from Number 10 (Downing Street) on the coronavirus response and to speak with his colleagues,” the spokesman said.

“He was only discharged from hospital less than two weeks ago and he did have to spend some time in an intensive care unit, so as you’d expect he will want to have medical advice before he returns to work in Number 10.” —Reuters

8:17 am: Online education company Coursera offers unemployed workers thousands of free courses

Education technology company Coursera is pulling down its paywall for unemployed workers to give people who have lost their jobs around the world free access to education, as well as the ability to earn credentials.

The Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative is teaming up with state governments in the U.S. and the leadership of countries around the world to offer 3,800 courses from top universities and corporations, including Amazon and Google.

The initiative will give unemployed workers free access to education focused on developing skills to help them fill jobs that are in high demand. And instead of having to pay to earn a professional certificate, which can bolster a resume, any unemployed individual can earn professional credentials, like the Google IT Support Professional Support Certificate, that lead to on-demand tech jobs. These workers can take unlimited classes — which usually cost $399 a year — for free. —Julia Boorstin

7:25 am: Trump’s coronavirus disinfectant comments ‘dangerous,’ doctors say

Doctors and health experts urged people not to drink or inject disinfectant after President Donald Trump suggested scientists should investigate inserting the cleaning agent into the body as a way to cure Covid-19.

“(This is an) absolutely dangerous crazy suggestion,” said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at Britain’s University of East Anglia. “You may not die of Covid-19 after injecting disinfectant, but only because you may already be dead from the injection.”

Trump said at his daily media briefing on Thursday that scientists should explore whether inserting light or disinfectant into the bodies of people infected with the coronavirus might help them clear the disease. “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection, inside, or almost a cleaning?” he said. “It would be interesting to check that.”

Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser warned people against using disinfectants to treat the coronavirus.

“Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” the company said in a statement.—Reuters

7:01 am: Spain reports lowest daily deaths in over a month

Health workers at Hospital Clinic applaud at 8p.m. during the coronavirus pandemic on April 22, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.

Xavi Torrent

Spain said the number of daily fatalities fell to its lowest level in more than a month, with 367 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

That took total fatalities to 22,524 from 22,157 the day before, the health ministry said. The overall number of coronavirus cases rose to 219,764 from 213,024 the day before. –Reuters

6:49 am: Transport for London to furlough 7,000 staff

General view of an empty platform at Chancery Lane Station, London on March 19, 2020.

Alberto Pezzali | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Transport for London said it will furlough 7,000 workers and seek aid from the British government’s job retention program, saving nearly 16 million pounds ($19.72 million) a month in the face of the pandemic.

“TfL is to place 7,000 staff whose work has been reduced or paused as a result of the coronavirus pandemic on furlough from Monday. This will allow TfL to access funding from the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, saving the organization an estimated 15.8 million pounds every four weeks,” TfL, which runs the city’s underground subway system and bus network, said in a statement.

“This will partly reduce the huge financial impact of coronavirus whilst constructive discussions continue with Government on the wider revenue support that TfL will need to continue the effective operation of London’s transport network.” –Reuters

5:40 am: Indonesia reports biggest daily jump in new cases

A man walks past a mural depicting the COVID-19 coronavirus in Bangkalan, east Java on April 6, 2020.

Juni Kriswanto | AFP | Getty Images

Indonesia reported its biggest daily increase of Covid-19 infections, Reuters reported, citing a health ministry official. 

The Southeast Asian country identified 436 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the total number of those infected nationwide to 8,211. Indonesia also reported an additional 42 fatalities on Friday, Reuters reported, bringing the coronavirus death toll up to 689. –Sam Meredith

4:33 am: India’s SpiceJet is seeking government funds to tide over crisis

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has asked the government for relief that will ease the strain on its cash flow, chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said.

SpiceJet is one of the largest airlines in India, based on the number of domestic passengers it carries. Singh said the company is talking to lessors, who lease out planes used by SpiceJet, about payment deferrals on those leases.

More than 50% of the airline’s employees will be on leave without pay in April and the carrier is running a cargo business that’s generating some cash flow, he added.

Like other countries, India’s airlines are in crisis as the country’s extended lockdown measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus has left all passenger planes grounded till at least May 3, leading to a depletion of cash reserves for the airlines. –Saheli Roy Choudhury

3:50 am: Growing outrage over Beijing’s handling of pandemic

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, chairs a symposium at the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University in Beijing, capital of China, March 2, 2020.

Yan Yan | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

A growing chorus of voices around the world is calling for China to compensate for the damages incurred due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The virus was first reported late last year in China’s Hubei province.

Just this week, the state of Missouri filed a civil lawsuit against the Chinese government over its handling of the outbreak, saying China’s response led to devastating economic losses for the state.

“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”

Other lawsuits have also been filed in American courts on behalf of business owners. China has rejected those claims. –Huileng Tan

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Indonesia reports biggest daily jump in cases; Airlines in ‘survival mode’

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.



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