Coronavirus update: more than 73,000 cases, 1,873 deaths, Apple warns on second quarter

There are 73,332 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the new coronavirus that was first identified late last year in Wuhan, China, and at least 1,873 deaths, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

This tally takes into account cases in Hubei Province, home to Wuhan, that were diagnosed by both imaging and laboratory tests. Last week the government in Hubei began reporting diagnosed cases by both methods, although the rest of China and other countries continue to require a lab test to confirm a diagnosis of the virus. In the U.S., there are 15 confirmed cases, three of which were individuals diagnosed while in federal quarantine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the weekend, Egypt became the first African country to report a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The outbreak, which has spread to 25 countries beyond China, has forced many retailers, restaurants and manufacturers to at least partially shut down their operations in recent weeks. Chinese workers are working at home. Factories have been slow to reopen.

The American Chamber of Commerce surveyed 109 companies with manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and the Yangtze River Delta region, finding that 78% of companies don’t have enough workers to run a full production line due to the travel restrictions and quarantine periods; 58% expect output to be lower than normal “over the next few months;” and 38% of companies don’t have enough masks to protect their staff, a new government requirement.

• Half of General Mills Inc.’s GIS, -0.53% Häagen-Dazs shops in greater China are closed, and the shops that remain open have “severely restricted hours.” The greater China region makes up 4% of General Mills’ net sales, 40% of which are from Häagen-Dazs shops and other restaurants. The company told investors it can’t yet share how the closures will affect its numbers for fiscal 2020.

• InterContinental Hotels Group PLC IHG, +1.21% said 160 hotels are closed in China or closed to new guests. The company’s fee business is expected to take a $5 million hit in February in China, as a result of the outbreak. Its Chinese operations make up less than 10% of group operating profit. CEO Keith Barr also told investors that the postponement and cancellation of conferences will have an impact on its operations. “What I saw during H1N1 and other times in China, the key thing to remember is the Chinese government’s ability to stimulate economic growth and activity is unlike any other country,” he said, during an earnings call.

• HSBC Holdings PLC HSBC, -5.00% expects a weaker first-half performance in 2020 as a result of the outbreak, citing the anticipated continued downturn in Hong Kong in addition to virus-related credit losses in the first quarter. “The most extreme downside scenario in there I would say makes an assumption that the coronavirus is still continuing in the second half of this year,” an executive said on an earnings call. “If you look at that and that was to become the central scenario, there would be about $600 million of additional loan losses provisions required.”

• Corning Inc. GLW, -1.66%, which has operations in Wuhan, stated it could not determine the financial impact of the outbreak at this time. Walmart Inc. WMT, +1.03% also noted that it has not included any potential impact from the outbreak in its financials.

• Apple Inc. AAPL, -2.32% is not expecting to meet second-quarter financial guidance because production has slowed or been halted in China due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated,” the company said in a statement on Monday. Apple generates about 15% of its revenue from China, and many of its products are manufactured there.

Additional reporting by Barbara Kollmeyer

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