Coronavirus live updates: New Zealand prepares for lockdown; Hong Kong to ban tourists

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

All times below are in Beijing time.

9:31 am: Singapore Airlines announces more capacity cuts due to growing border restrictions

Singapore Airlines said it will cut 96% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled through April, citing stricter border restrictions around the world. Countries have stepped up travel restrictions in recent weeks, with many of them barring non-resident foreigners from entering their borders.

As a result, Singapore’s national carrier will ground around 138 aircraft out of a total fleet of 147. Its low-cost unit, Scoot, will suspend most of its network and ground 47 of its 49 aircraft.

“It is unclear when the SIA Group can begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted,” the company said in a statement. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

9:22 am: South Korea says 64 new cases and 7 additional deaths

South Korea reported 64 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the country’s total to 8,961, according to the latest data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another seven people have died, raising the total number of fatalities in the country to 111.

Still, South Korea has been praised globally for its efforts to contain the virus’ spread following an initial spike in new cases, most of which were reported in the city of Daegu. Mass testing of individuals and other rigorous measures undertaken by Seoul brought down the number of new cases reported daily in recent weeks. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:40 am: Luxury group Kering to donate 3 million surgical masks to France

Luxury group Kering said it will purchase 3 million surgical masks from China and donate them to the French health service. 

“Meanwhile, the French workshops of Kering’s Houses Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent are preparing to manufacture masks while complying with the strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities,” the company said in a statement. 

France has at least 14,296 cases, according to the World Health Organization. It shut down nonessential stores and told people to stay indoors as part of its efforts to combat the virus’ spread. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:35 am: China reports 39 new cases, says all of them are imported

China’s National Health Commission said there were 39 new cases, all of them imported, and 9 additional deaths as of the end of March 22. The fatalities all happened in Hubei province, where the virus was first detected; for its part, Hubei did not report any new cases of COVID-19, China said. Altogether, the country has 81,093 reported cases, of which 72,703 have been cured and 3,270 people have died. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

8:05 am: Italy’s death toll crosses 5,000

The Italian health ministry said as of 6 p.m. local time on March 22, at least 5,476 people have died due to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. There are 59,138 reported cases in total, where about 7,024 people have recovered.

In an attempt to try and contain the virus, Rome has now ordered that all businesses that are not providing essential supplies or services must close until April 3, Reuters reported.

Italy is already under a heavy lockdown where public movement is restricted and many establishments are closed. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

Medical personnel transport the first patient affected by COVID-19 to an ICU tent a Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital on March 20, 2020 in Cremona, near Milan, Italy.

Emanuele Cremaschi | Getty Images

7:38 am: Asia-Pacific stocks set for another day of declines

Stocks in Australia plummeted in early trade on Monday as fears over the economic impact of the global coronavirus outbreak continue to weigh heavily on investor sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 dropped 7.65% in early trade as the sectors mostly fell. The heavily weighted financial subindex dived more than 9%, with shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks all selling off steeply: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fell 9.61%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped 8.01%, Westpac declined 10.27% while National Australia Bank slipped 10.15%. — Eustance Huang

All times below are in Eastern time.

7 pm: UAE suspends all passenger and transit flights to and from the country, state news agency says

The United Arab Emirates suspended all passenger and transit flights to and from the country for two weeks over coronavirus fears, state news agency WAM said on Sunday citing National Emergency and Crisis and the Civil Aviation Authority.

WAM added the decision will take effect after 48 hours and will last for two weeks, subject to review and evaluation. –Reuters

6:45 pm: Coronavirus stimulus bill fails in key Senate procedural vote

A massive funding package to combat the impact of coronavirus did not get enough votes in a key Senate procedural vote Sunday evening.

The stalemate came hours after Democratic leaders warned that the bill was not to their liking because they said it did too much to bail out companies and not enough to help workers. Stock futures cratered as the two parties failed to agree on the terms of the package.

Still, President Donald Trump expressed optimism that lawmakers would eventually reach a deal. “I think you’ll get there,” Trump told reporters at the coronavirus task force press briefing shortly after the vote became final. –Lauren Hirsch, Leslie Josephs

6:30 pm: Airbus says plants will reopen at slower production rate

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