Coronavirus live updates: Pelosi says lawmakers are ‘very close’ to new rescue funding deal as US cases top 735,000

By | April 19, 2020

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 2.3 million
  • Global deaths: At least 161,262
  • US cases: More than 735,200
  • US deaths: At least 39,090

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

9:25 am: How the coronavirus and retail closures are accelerating the rise of Amazon

If Amazon dominated the retail market before the coronavirus pandemic began, there’s good reason to believe it’ll emerge from the crisis even stronger. 

Under orders to stay home, millions of Americans have turned to online marketplaces like Amazon to order much-needed essentials like toilet paper, food, hand sanitizer and cold medicine.

In lieu of neighborhood supermarkets, consumers are relying on online grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh, resulting in a cascade of delays and out-of-stock notices amid the unexpected rise in demand. Amazon has hired more than 100,000 new warehouse and delivery workers since March to help manage the surge in orders, and it’s planning to bring on 75,000 more workers.

The unprecedented demand has propelled shares of Amazon to fresh highs. The stock hit an all-time high on April 16 and is up more than 28% for the year, compared with an 11% decline for the S&P 500. Investors have flocked to Amazon and other stay-at-home stocks like  Netflix and Zoom in recent months, as consumers have come to depend on their services amid the lockdown.

The outlook is brighter than ever for Amazon. But its ascent is occurring against a worrying backdrop of financial turmoil in the retail industry and the broader economy. —Annie Palmer

9:13 am: US House Speaker Pelosi says they are ‘very close’ to coronavirus funding deal

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, speaks to members to the media after participating in a signing ceremony of H.R. 748, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, alongside congressional leadership in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Sarah Silbiger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she believed lawmakers are very close to a deal on approving extra money to help small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

An agreement would end a stalemate that has lasted more than a week over President Donald Trump‘s request to add $ 250 billion to a small-business loan program. Congress set up the program last month as part of a $ 2.3 trillion coronavirus economic relief plan, but it has already run out of money.

“We’re close,” Pelosi said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” broadcast on Sunday. “I think we’re very close to an agreement.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer say they favor more money for small businesses but also want more coronavirus response funds for state and local governments and hospitals, as well as food assistance for the poor.

“We want to make sure that it’s reaching all of America’s small businesses. And we also want to make sure that it’s operating in a community where our police and fire, our health care workers, our doctors, nurses, our teachers, are being compensated for and not fired,” Pelosi said.

“That’s why we’re asking for the additional funds in the package, as well as for hospitals so that we can do testing, testing, testing.” —Reuters

9:02 am: UK not thinking of easing virus lockdown measures yet

Britain’s government is not thinking about easing yet the lockdown enacted almost four weeks ago to help control the coronavirus outbreak, a senior minister said.

“The facts and the advice are clear at the moment that we should not be thinking of lifting of these restrictions yet,” Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told Sky News. —Reuters

8:44 am: Putin says coronavirus crisis under full control despite record rise in cases

A police officer with flu masks on the faces seen at a chekpoint on the road from Riga at the entrance to Moscow, Russia, April,15,2020.

Mikhail Svetlov

President Vladimir Putin said that Russian authorities had the coronavirus crisis under full control and that everything would work out with God’s help, even as the country on Sunday registered a record daily rise in cases of the new virus.

Russia on Sunday reported 6,060 new cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 42,853, though the official death toll of 361 remains relatively low compared with other countries with a similar number of cases.

In a video message to congratulate Christians on the Orthodox Easter, Putin said the religious festival would strengthen Russians’ hope and faith because the resurrection of Christ was a powerful symbol of rebirth and a reminder that life goes on.

The Russian leader, who looked relaxed as he sat in front of a fireplace at his out of town Moscow residence, said his country had all the necessary resources to do what was needed for people’s health and the economy.

“All levels of power are working in an organized, responsible and timely way,” said Putin, who was flanked by painted Easter eggs, a traditional Orthodox Kulich sweet bread, and a big pot of tea.

“The situation is under full control. All of our society is united in front of the common threat.” —Reuters

8:26 am: Australia demands coronavirus inquiry, adding to pressure on China

Australia on Sunday added to growing pressure on China over its handling of the novel coronavirus, questioning its transparency and demanding an international investigation into the origins of the virus and how it spread.

The coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a market selling wildlife in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has spread around the world infecting some 2.3 million people and killing nearly 160,000 of them, according to Reuters calculations.

Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, said her concern about China’s transparency was at “a very high point”.

“The issues around the coronavirus are issues for independent review, and I think that it is important that we do that,” Payne told ABC television. —Reuters

8:14 am: South Korea relaxes some social distancing rules as new virus cases fall

A South Korean woman wears plastic gloves and has her temperature checked upon arrival to cast her vote for Parliamentary election amid the coronavirus outbreak on April 15, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.

Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images)

South Korea extended its social distancing policy for another 16 days on Sunday but offered some relief for churches and sporting fixtures, as it reported just eight new coronavirus infections, the lowest in two months.

The slightly relaxed guidelines mean high-risk facilities like churches will no longer have to close, while sports matches such as soccer can resume without an audience. “It is safest to maintain the intensive social distancing, but it isn’t easy realistically. We need to find a middle ground,” Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun told a televised meeting of government officials.

“If we can maintain a stable management at the current level, we will shift to ‘routine social distancing’ from May 6,” Chung said.

Health authorities have said this would allow a reopening of the economy while maintaining guidelines on disinfection and preventing the spread of the virus in people’s daily lives.

It was the first time since Feb. 18 that South Korea reported a single-digit daily rise in new infections. The figure brings its total cases to 10,661. —Reuters

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Spain sees lowest death count rise in a month, global death toll tops 160,000

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