New cases in South Korea surge by 600

New cases in South Korea surge by 600

People wait in line to buy face masks in front of a store at Dongseongro shopping district in Daegu on February 27, 2020.

JUNG YEON-JE | AFP via Getty Images

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

All times below are in Beijing time.

12:20 pm: Coronavirus outbreak forces China’s start-ups to rethink their priorities

The coronavirus outbreak is shaking up China’s investing industry, as companies shift their business mentalities, while others seek new opportunities.

Now, some in the industry say more start-ups are realizing the importance of having more capital on hand, while investors are assessing what trends the virus’ disruptions may accelerate.

Investors speak generally of canceled meetings and delays in deals as a result of the virus. It’s just a slice of the ripple effects the highly contagious disease is having on the Chinese economy. — Cheng

11:55 am: Australia’s central bank cuts interest rate to a record low

Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark cash rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.5% and warned that the country’s economic growth in the first quarter “is likely to be noticeably weaker than earlier expected.”

“The coronavirus outbreak overseas is having a significant effect on the Australian economy at present, particularly in the education and travel sectors,” Philip Lowe, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said in a statement. 

Lowe added that it’s difficult to predict the extent and duration of the virus impact on the economy, given the evolving situation. But once the outbreak is contained, the Australian economy is expected to improve, he said. — Lee

11:30 am: Tencent to extend warranty for Nintendo Switches in China due to coronavirus

Chinese tech giant Tencent said it will extend by six months the warranty for Nintendo Switches purchased in China before Mar. 31.

The company said in a statement that the coronavirus outbreak has hit sales of Nintendo Switches, logistics, promotions and user experience in China.

Tencent is a partner of Nintendo for console games sales in China, according to Reuters. — Lee

11:10 am: US state Georgia confirms first two coronavirus cases 

The U.S. state of Georgia has confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus disease, said Governor Brian Kemp.

The two patients are from the same household, state officials said. One of them had traveled to Milan, Italy, they added. — Lee

10:15 am: Hong Kong will bring back 533 citizens from Wuhan

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said 533 citizens currently in the mainland Chinese city of Wuhan will return via four charter flights. 

The flights will return to Hong Kong on Wednesday and Thursday, said Lam, adding that all passengers on the flights will face a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival.

Hong Kong has reported 100 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, of which two have died. — Lee

9:15 am: South Korea reports jump of 600 new cases

New cases in South Korea surged by 600 as of Tuesday morning, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It also reported six more deaths, bringing the death toll to 28 fatalities for the country. The total number of cases in the country is now 4,812.

Of the new cases, 519 were from the fourth-largest city of Daegu, where most of the country’s new cases have been reported. Many cases have been traced back to the secretive religious group called Shincheonji.

The mayor of Seoul has sued key leaders of the Shincheonji religious group, “for murder, injury and violation of prevention and management of infectious diseases,” according to a translation from NBC News. 

On Monday, the leader of the group knelt before the nation to ask for forgiveness, bowing twice, according to a Reuters report. — Tan

9:00 am: Twitter ‘strongly encourages’ all employees to work from home

Twitter said that starting March 2, it is “strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able.”

“Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us — and the world around us,” it wrote in an update.

“We are working to make sure internal meetings, all hands, and other important tasks are optimized for remote participation. We recognize that working from home is not ideal for some job functions. For those employees who prefer or need to come into the offices, they will remain open for business,” the social media firm said.

Working from home for its employees in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea offices will be mandatory, however, it said. — Tan

8:00 am: China reports 125 new cases, 31 more deaths

New cases in China continued to decline, according to its latest numbers as of March 2, which showed 125 new confirmed cases, and 31 more deaths. The country reported 202 new cases for March 1, and 573 new cases for Feb. 29, according to data from the National Health Commission.

All the additional fatalities in the latest update were from the epicenter of Hubei. Of the new cases, 114 were in Hubei. That brings China’s total to 80,151 cases, and 2,943 deaths. — Tan

7:50 am: WHO says the epidemics spreading outside China are of ‘greatest concern’

As cases spread across other continents, new cases in China are falling, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing in Geneva. 

Outside China, the total number of cases topped 8,739 across 61 countries, including 127 deaths, according to WHO data. About 81% of cases outside China are from four countries, he added.

“The epidemics in the Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan are our greatest concern,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. — Lovelace, Higgins-Dunn

All times below are in Eastern time.

6:38 pm: Washington state governor says people ‘should start to think about avoiding large events’

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said that residents “should start to think about avoiding large events and assemblies” as the coronavirus outbreak in the state worsens. Local health officials are currently not making a request for events to be canceled, Inslee said during a press briefing. “The people should be prepared for that possibility and need to be thinking about it,” he added. Earlier in the day, Washington state officials said at least four more patients had died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in the U.S. to at least six. — Lovelace

6:35 pm: Pence says coronavirus-related travel restrictions may expand

Vice President Mike Pence said the administration’s decision on whether to expand its travel advisories for Italy and South Korea will be based on how many new cases they report. “The action the president authorized this weekend, raising the travel advisory, the American people should know we’re saying you should not travel to certain sections of Italy or South Korea. Those advisories may expand, but we’ll allow the caseload in those countries to define that,” he said during a White House press briefing. The Trump administration currently recommends Americans refrain from visiting regions of Italy and South Korea impacted by the virus. —Lovelace, Breuninger

5:09 pm: Consumers buy up survival foods like dried beans and vitamins

Consumers are shopping for more foods with long shelf lives and packaged items as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rises, according to the latest Nielsen data. At U.S. stores, sales of fruit snacks were up by nearly 13%, dried beans were up 10% and pretzels were up 9% in the week that ended Feb. 22, according to Nielsen data that compared the period to the same time a year earlier. Sales of energy drinks, pet medicine, vitamin supplements and first aid kits also saw sales spike. On the other hand, sales of fresh fruit and vegetables have dropped. Mandarins were down 4% and celery was down 16% in the week that ended Feb. 22. —Repko

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Seattle reports new coronavirus deaths, CDC released woman who tested positive

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Noah Higgins-Dunn, Kevin Breuninger, Melissa Repko, Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.