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Coronavirus live updates: Singapore reports its first two deaths

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear, spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Gangnam district on March 06, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.

Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

  • Global cases: At least 234,073, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
  • Global deaths: At least 9,840, according to the latest figures from the WHO

All times below are in Beijing time.

12:00 pm: Singapore reports first two deaths

Singapore reported its first two confirmed deaths related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city-state’s health ministry said the two patients who died are a 75-year-old woman, and a 64-year-old man.

The female patient had pre-existing conditions including heart disease, while the male patient had been hospitalized in Indonesia for pneumonia, and also had a history of heart disease, according to the health ministry.

11:20 am: United Airlines to slash its international schedule by 95%

United Airlines said its would cut its international schedule by 95% for April because of travel restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic, said a Reuters report. It also says it will temporarily suspend all flights to Canada effective April 1. 

10:35 am: Italy locks down further after deaths spike by 627 in one day

The number of deaths in Italy spiked by 627 in a single day — the highest daily increase recorded globally — prompting the country to impose further restrictions. On Thursday, Italy overtook China to be the world’s deadliest hotspot. As of Mar. 20, total fatalities was 4,032.

The mayor of the most badly affected city, Bergamo in Lombardy, said the true number of fatalities in his area was four times higher than what was officially reported, Reuters said.

Italy’s health ministry said that new restrictions include closure of all parks, and people can only exercise around their residences. Authorities were frustrated that people were still out and about despite appeals for them to stay indoors, according to reports.

10:00 am: US senators express concern on coronavirus safety at Amazon warehouses

Four senators sent a letter to Amazon urging the company to better protect warehouse workers during the coronavirus outbreak. 

“Any failure of Amazon to keep its workers safe does not just put their employees at risk, it puts the entire country at risk,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Americans who are taking every precaution…might risk getting infected with COVID-19 because of Amazon’s decision to prioritize efficiency and profits over the safety and well-being of its workforce.” 

The letter said workers risked poor performance ratings if they took sufficient time to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing on the job, according to Reuters. It noted that the virus could survive up to 24 hours on cardboard such as Amazon packaging. — Annie Palmer, Reuters

9:20 am: South Korea reports 147 new cases, 8 more deaths

New cases in South Korea jumped by 147, as of Saturday morning, and it reported eight more deaths.

That brings the country’s total to 8,799 confirmed cases, and 102 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Daily new infections in the country have generally been on a downward trend over the past week, with 87 new cases on Friday, but the numbers reported on Saturday brings the number of new cases back above 100.

8:00 am: China reports 41 cases, 7 more deaths

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said there were 41 new cases, and seven more deaths as of Mar. 20. That brought the country’s total to 81,008 confirmed cases, and 3255 deaths.

There were no new cases in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, but all the additional deaths were in the province. 

China said all of the new cases were imported, meaning people who traveled from overseas. The NHC said that brings China’s total number of imported cases to 269.

The rise in imported cases come as students flock home from campuses in the U.S. and Europe, according to reports, sparking fears of a second wave of infections.

All times below are in Eastern time.

8 pm: Washington governor asked Trump to declare ‘major disaster’ in state

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee sent a 74-page letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he declare a federal major disaster in the state to unlock additional federal assistance, including unemployment assistance and basic food benefits. “The state urgently requires additional supplemental federal emergency assistance in order to save lives, protect public health and safety, and limit further spread of the disease,” Inslee said. —Salvador Rodriguez

7:31 pm: GM to lend its auto factories to support production of ventilators in coronavirus fight

General Motors on Friday announced it will lend its auto factories to support Ventec Life Systems’ production of ventilators in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production of their critically important respiratory products to support our country’s fight again the COVID-19 pandemic,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis.” —Salvador Rodriguez

6:49 pm: ‪Member of Vice President Pence’s staff tests positive for COVID-19

A member of Vice President Mike Pence’s office tested positive for the new coronavirus COVID-19, according to Katie Miller, the vice president’s press secretary.

“Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual,” Miller said. “Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines.”

The office was notified of the positive test Friday evening, according to a statement. —Chris Eudaily

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Member of Vice President Pence’s office tests positive, US virus cases now total more than 17,000

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