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Coronavirus live updates: Facebook, Microsoft partner with WHO, Prince Charles tests positive

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 428,400
  • Global deaths: At least 19,120
  • US cases: At least 55,225
  • US deaths: At least 802

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

9:29 am: Nine European countries say it is time for ‘corona bonds’ as virus death toll rises

Nine European countries have called upon their EU counterparts to issue so-called ‘corona bonds’ — a new debt instrument that would combine securities from different European countries. 

Corona bonds are a controversial issue that has been dividing the 27-country region. Conservative policymakers in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria are often wary of the idea of issuing debt together with highly indebted nations, such as Italy, Greece and Portugal. —Silvia Amaro

9:11 am: Gottlieb: Coronavirus fatality rates could increase if hospitals get overwhelmed

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina and former FDA commissioner, joins “Squawk Box” to discuss the latest on mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

8:55 am: Facebook, Microsoft partner with WHO for coronavirus hackathon

The World Health Organization has partnered with FacebookMicrosoft and several other tech companies for a hackathon to promote the development of software to take on challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The #BuildforCOVID19 hackathon was announced on Tuesday and will begin accepting project submissions on Thursday. Along with Facebook and Microsoft, tech companies Twitter, WeChat, TikTok, PinterestSlack and Giphy are also participating. The tech companies “will be sharing resources to support participants throughout the submission period.” —Salvador Rodriguez 

8:49 am: Weekly mortgage applications tank 29% as coronavirus sidelines homebuyers

An increase in interest rates, combined with a massive shutdown of the economy caused homeowners and potential homebuyers to back away from the mortgage market. Total mortgage application volume fell 29.4% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. 

Applications to refinance a home loan, which had been surging dramatically in the last month, fell 34% for the week but were still 195% higher than a year ago, when rates were 63 basis points higher. Refinances tend to be volatile, moving weekly with interest rates. —Diana Olick

8:23 am: UK intensive care demand could peak within 3 weeks

If Britain’s measures for tackling the coronavirus outbreak work, then intensive care demand will peak in 2.5 to 3 weeks time, a top epidemiologist who advised the government said on Wednesday.

“If, and it’s an if, we’re moderately confident as I’ve said but can’t be completely sure, if the current measures work as we would expect them to then we will see intensive care unit demand peak in approximately two and half to three weeks’ time and then decline thereafter,” Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, told a British parliamentary committee. —Reuters

7:56 am: Dow futures drop 200 points after surging overnight

Stock futures fell in early morning trading, following Tuesday’s historic rally, despite the White House and Senate reaching a deal on a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.

Around 7:40 a.m. ET, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 200 points, or 1%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively. Dow futures were up more than 800 points at one point in the overnight session. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li, Eustance Huang

7:42 am: Canadian legislators vote for coronavirus aid

After almost a day of wrangling, Canada’s House of Commons agreed early Wednesday to approve a $27 billion Canadian ($18.8 billion) stimulus bill to help people and businesses deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The bill — which also includes CA $55 billion in the form of tax deferrals — must now be approved by the unelected Senate, which will meet later Wednesday. Government officials say they anticipate senators will quickly approve the measures. —Reuters

7:14 am: Trump businesses barred from getting stimulus money, Schumer says

President Donald Trump holds a news conference, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington D.C., March 22, 2020.

Yuri Gripas | Reuters

President Donald Trump’s businesses are barred from getting loans or investments under the new $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Trump Organization, which the president has not divested, is run by his two elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.

Democrats and other critics of the president were concerned that Trump’s businesses would receive bailout money because the tourism industry is one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus, which has spurred leaders to restrict travel and companies to cut capacity and close up shop. The measure will also ban businesses controlled by Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet members and lawmakers from receiving the funds, according to details circulated by Schumer, D-N.Y. —Mike Calia

7:10 am: Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, tests positive

A file photo dated on January 24, 2020 shows the Prince of Wales, Charles meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank. Prince Charles, next in line to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Issam Rimawi | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Britain’s heir to the throne, Prince Charles, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from his London household. “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual,” said a statement Wednesday from Clarence House, his residence in the capital. It is not possible to determine how the 71-year-old Prince of Wales contracted the virus, the statement said, “owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.” —Katrina Bishop, Holly Ellyatt

7:06 am: Target delays store remodels, withdraws forecast

Target is putting some of its ambitious growth plans on hold. The big-box retailer will put on hold plans to remodel hundreds of stores, postponing openings of new stores and delaying the addition of fresh groceries and beer to curbside pickup. Instead, Target CEO Brian Cornell said the retailer will focus on a singular mission: providing food, medicine and other essential items. He said Target is withdrawing its guidance for the first quarter and fiscal year because of the unpredictable business climate. —Melissa Repko

6:44 am: Surge of cases in Africa prompted decision to cancel Olympics, IOC says

6:37 am: Zambia’s cases increase to 12

Zambia’s number of confirmed cases rose to 12 from three, President Edgar Lungu said in a televised address. The previous figure had not been updated since March 22, Reuters reported. —Holly Ellyatt

6:30 am: Tokyo governor to ask residents to stay indoors over weekend as cases rise, NHK reports

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