President Donald Trump tested negative for coronavirus, his doctor said Saturday. Vice President Mike Pence also said new travel restrictions would be put in place with regard to the U.K. and Ireland.
Meanwhile, the French prime minister said the country is getting ready to close all cafés, restaurants, clubs and cinemas because the spread of the virus has continued.
And the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, ordered a curfew across the city starting Monday.
The United States has surpassed 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to 59, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.
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DHS says it's aware of long lines at airports
International travelers to Australia ordered to 'self isolate'
Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced Sunday that international travelers to the nation will be required to "self isolate" in an attempt to ensure they're virus-free.
"All people coming to Australia will be required — will be required, I stress — to self-isolate for 14 days," he said at a news conference. "This is very important. What we’ve seen in recent weeks is more countries having issues with the virus."
The measure, effective at midnight, was part of a package of new restrictions that included a ban on foreign-flag cruise ships and a general prohibition of "static" gatherings of 500 or more people, the prime minister said.
The moves were designed to ensure that the nation's hospitals are not overwhelmed, Morrison said. "Slowing the spread you free up the bed," he said.
This is what we're reading elsewhere about the coronavirus
Here are some articles from other outlets.
President Trump's Florida residence and resort has brush with virus carriers
The New York Times found a casual attitude — buffets have been canceled but most festivities carry on — at President Donald Trump's West Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, despite multiple cases of coronavirus among recent visitors.
The Palm Beach Post counts four coronavirus patients who have been to Mar-a-Lago recently
The local publication of the so-called Winter White House says Trump's "club on Palm Beach is earning a reputation as a coronavirus hotspot after four recent visitors have tested positive."
Newt Gingrich has a change of heart
In February, former house speaker and current Trump supporter Newt Gingrich argued Democrats were using coronavirus to take down the president. This week, after seeing Italy's extraordinary battle with the virus, he wrote, "We should be planning for a worst-case pandemic."
Manila, Philippines, prepares for lockdown
Washington governor says no plans to seal off any part of state
Mayor orders curfew in Hoboken, New Jersey
The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, on Saturday ordered a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for his city to encourage social distancing and prevent large gatherings.
"During this curfew, all residents will be required to remain in their homes, except for emergencies, or if you are required to work by your employer," Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.
The curfew is scheduled to start Monday night and continue "until further notice," Bhalla said. The city is also banning dining, but not takeout, and will shut down bars that don't have food service, he said.
In closing down bars, he cited a fight at one downtown Saturday that ended with a victim who had to wait 30 minutes for medical attention because paramedics were "inundated" with calls for help.
A mosque in Turkey prepares for evening prayers
Illinois governor responds to long lines at O'Hare
Shopper wears gas mask at Costco
Colorado governor orders ski resorts closed for a week
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis late Saturday ordered the state's famed ski resorts to shut down for one week starting Sunday.
"Like so many Colorado families, we were planning a ski trip with our kids over their spring break next weekend," he said in a statement. "It is with a profound sense of pain and grim responsibility that I take the agonizing action that this moment demands."
Following the governor's order, Aspen Snowmass said it would comply.
Nurses line up at Missouri testing center
Crush of American travelers from Europe at O'Hare
Massive lines to exit Chicago O'Hare International Airport developed Saturday night as American travelers returned home from a European continent targeted by White House travel restrictions.
On Twitter the airport acknowledged the crush: "Customs processing is taking longer than usual inside the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facility owing to enhanced #COVID19 screening for passengers arriving from Europe."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned returnees from Europe, Iran and China they could face "enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities," according to DHS.
O'Hare said Chicago police officers were handing out water to people in line. It said it was urging the federal government to staff up to help passengers get through the process quicker.
Trump proclaims day of prayer for victims
President Donald Trump officially declared Sunday a special National Day of Prayer for Americans affected by coronavirus.
"I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God's healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation," he said in a proclamation released late Saturday. "With God's help, we will overcome this threat."
Trump asked everyone to participate.
"I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones," he said in the proclamation.
Urban Outfitters closes stores
Retailer Urban Outfitters announced on Twitter Saturday it was closing stores "until further notice" as a precaution.
It joins a number of U.S. retailers, including Apple, that have announced store closures in the era of coronavirus. Urban Outfitters is one of the more prominent names in fashion and home goods to do so.
Lululemon, which sells athletic clothing, said Friday its North American stores would be limited to the hours between noon and 6 p.m. Celeste Burgoyne, executive vice president of the Americas, said in an email to customers that Lululemon has also suspended in-store workout classes and events.
Criminal activity canceled in Salt Lake City
Union employees petition UPS for more coronavirus protections
Employees are petitioning UPS to increase worker protection from the coronavirus and expand support for sick workers. Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a grassroots organizing group made up of members of the union that most UPS drivers and loaders belong to, launched the petition late Friday.
The group is calling on UPS to provide 14 days of sick leave to quarantined employees who have been diagnosed with, exposed to, or have symptoms of coronavirus, and asking that the company provide hand sanitizer to employees and increase cleaning of heavily-used areas.
According to the petition, UPS workers exposed to coronavirus currently can only take an unpaid leave of absence, while other large employers like Amazon, Walmart and Kentucky Fried Chicken are paying up to two weeks of sick time for workers who miss work because of coronavirus.
UPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Second death in New Jersey announced
Major ski resort chain suspends operations
Two major ski resort chains announced Saturday that they are suspending operations.
Vail Resorts, which runs eight ski destinations in Canada, California, Colorado and Utah, said it is suspending operations in North America for at least one week starting Sunday. Alterra Mountain Company, which operates 15 North American locations, including California's Mammoth Mountain, said its suspension would start Sunday "until further notice."
"Our lodging and property management operations will remain open to service the guests we have on location or those with existing reservations, but we will not be taking new reservations for this upcoming week," Vail said in a statement.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis commended the move and urged other resorts in the state to follow suit.
Trump tests negative for coronavirus
President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, his physician confirmed Saturday.
Trump, who said he was tested Friday night, had been repeatedly criticized for refusing to get tested for the virus after it was reported that he was in close contact with multiple people at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
"One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom free,” his doctor, Sean P. Conley, said in a statement.
Hearst Castle tours to be suspended
Hearst Castle will essentially be off limits to the general public starting Monday, California State Parks officials announced Saturday. The move was described as temporary, but no end date was given.
"In an effort to protect public health and the safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff as the state responds to the continuing outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), California State Parks is temporarily suspending all tours at Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument," the department said in a statement.
The 165-room castle founded by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hears was not a known site of coronavirus carriers, officials said. The suspension is in line with state guidelines on preventing spread of the disease by prohibiting big social gatherings, the department said.
Georgia postpones presidential primary till May
ATLANTA — Georgia election officials are postponing the state’s March 24 presidential primaries until May because of fears over the coronavirus.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement that in-person early voting, which began statewide March 2, will be halted and the election will be moved to May 19, when Georgia’s other 2020 primary elections are being held.
The action followed Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature of an emergency declaration that unlocked sweeping powers to fight COVID-19. In a speech Saturday, the governor renewed a call for places of worship, schools and others to consider canceling large gatherings as cases in the state rise.
First California-based U.S. sailor tests positive
The first California-based U.S. sailor has tested positive for coronavirus, Navy officials said Saturday.
The results were received Friday, the Navy said in a statement. The patient employed at Naval Base San Diego would mark "the first positive case for a Sailor in California," the military branch said.
The service member and those who have had close contact with the patient were isolated at home, the Navy said. The branch was investigating other possible contacts with the sailor.
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar this week said two U.S. Marines based there are presumed positive. The San Diego installation is the quarantine site for hundreds of evacuees from virus-plagued cruise ship Grand Princess.
Fake test kits seized at L.A. airport
Customs officers at Los Angeles International Airport this week seized a package they believe contained fake coronavirus testing kits, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Saturday.
The seizure took place Thursday when officers examining a parcel with the words "purified water vials" found items inside labeled "Corona Virus 2019nconv (COVID-19)" and "Virus1 Test Kit," CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz said in a statement.
"The shipment was turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for analysis," he said
The package was from the United Kingdom. CBP officials warned Americans to be wary of "bogus" home testing kits found online.
7 more deaths reported in U.S.
Seven additional coronavirus deaths were reported Saturday: Three in Washington, one in Louisiana, one in Virginia and one in New York and one in Florida.
The deaths in Washington bring that state's total to 40, the Florida death is the state's third, the New York death is the state's second, and the deaths in Louisiana and Virginia are the first reported by those states.
The total death toll in the U.S. is 58.
Kids who came into contact with Rudy Gobert denied testing, woman says
A woman says she and a group of Native American children who met NBA player Rudy Gobert at Monday night's game in Salt Lake City are being denied the coronavirus test despite his positive result for the virus.
The woman, Samantha Eldridge, alleges that two of the girls she was with took a photo with Gobert, who was the first NBA player to test positive, leading the league to suspend the season.
"I'm sharing my story now because I've heard of other families in direct contact with individuals testing positive for the virus and not enough tests are available," she said. "It's also a matter of speaking up for our Native youth and ensuring their safety and health."
Sen. Rubio tweets he wants to add on to House coronavirus bill
Spanish prime minister declares state of emergency, country to undergo partial lockdown
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a state of emergency on Saturday, stating the coronavirus pandemic required "extraordinary decisions."
The government, he said, had agreed to a number of economic measures aimed to help workers and companies during the period. The state of emergency is to last for all of Spain for 15 days.
Sanchez also confirmed that the country would be under partial lockdown, as the nation coped with the spread of the disease.
France gets ready to close all cafés, restaurants, clubs and cinemas
All restaurants, cafés, cinemas and clubs in France will close at midnight in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the French prime minister Édouard Philippe said in a press conference.
He said the virus is spreading faster even though limitations on mass gatherings were imposed.
"People are still going to cafes and restaurants which is something that I would normally enjoy because this is the French way of living but not during these times," he said.
Places of worship are expected to remain open but no ceremonies will be taking place.
Some stores, pharmacies, tobacco shops and public offices will remain open as well.
Israel to close restaurants and coffee shops to stop coronavirus spread
Israel will be closing "all unnecessary institutions like restaurants and coffee shops" in an effort to halt all leisure activities starting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a press conference on Saturday.
All supermarkets and pharmacies will stay open in an effort to avoid food and medicine shortages, he said.
Banking services are expected to continue as usual, and gas stations will remain open.
Netanyahu also advised people to keep two meters away from one another and encouraged anyone who doesn't need to go to work to stay home.
Court cites coronavirus in blocking Trump administration's food stamp cuts
A federal court blocked the Trump administration's rule that would have forced 700,000 low-income Americans to lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program, known as SNAP or food stamps, on April 1.
Judge Beryl A. Howell, the chief of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, cited the coronavirus pandemic in her decision to suspend the rule from going into effect.
"Especially now, as a global pandemic poses widespread health risks, guaranteeing that government officials at both the federal and state levels have flexibility to address the nutritional needs of residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP, is essential," Howell wrote.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture rule change affects people between the ages of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled. Under current rules, this group is required to work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over a 36-month period to qualify for food stamps, but states have been able to create waivers for areas that face high unemployment.
"USDA disagrees with the court’s reasoning and will appeal its decision," an agency spokesperson said.
Second New York firefighter tests positive for coronavirus
A second member of the New York Fire Department tested positive for COVID-19, the department said in a statement on Saturday.
Due to the positive test results, "the member, and 33 additional Firefighters, will be self-quarantined and the firehouse will be decontaminated." It was not immediately clear which firehouse was affected.
The firefighter did not get exposed while on-duty, but through "community exposure" while off the clock, the statement said.
"While asymptomatic, this member worked three tours in the last week, but did not respond to any medical calls and had no contact with patients," the department added.
There are 99 members of the New York Fire Department who are currently self-quarantined.
Colorado shuts down drive-up testing site 'due to high-volume'
About 200 cars were still in line when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment decided to close a drive-up testing site in Denver "due to high-volume," officials said in a statement.
The site will remain closed Saturday afternoon, but it's expected to reopen next week.
Since "Colorado now has capacity for private labs to conduct testing," officials are encouraging those who show symptoms or believe they might have been exposed to COVID-19 "to call or email their physician first for guidance."
Six feet of social distance? For hairdressers, that may not be possible.
Except for doctors, maybe no one comes as physically close to their clients as hairdressers and makeup artists.
They literally get in your space.
Now amid the coronavirus pandemic, how can personal groomers and stylists abide by one of the most fundamental means of protection — social distancing?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people keep a distance of six feet from others to avoid spreading or catching the virus.
Hard to do when you are trimming a person’s hair, applying their makeup or giving them a new ‘do.
Carly Silva, who manages a salon in Jersey City, New Jersey, for the Bishops Cuts/Color chain, like other stylists interviewed for this story, said her shop is sanitizing surfaces multiple times a day and urging employees who feel ill to stay home.
“We’re taking every precaution because this is definitely getting out of hand," Silva said. "But we're in an industry where we can't work from home."
New York Archdiocese cancels all Masses this weekend
The Archdiocese of New York has taken the extraordinary step of cancelling all Masses starting this weekend in light of coronavirus, the church announced Saturday.
This includes all of New York City and the southern tier of the state. Churches will remain open for private prayer, the archdiocese said in its statement.
A private Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick's Cathedral and livestreamed on the church's website.
This is what we're reading elsewhere about the coronavirus
Here are some articles from other outlets that can help answers some of your most pressing questions.
How to avoid feeling isolated in the time of social distancing
According to The Washington Post's The Lily, the first tip is "don't wait until you feel lonely."
How much worse the coronavirus could get, in charts
How many people in the U.S. can become infected? How many might die? The New York Times answers your questions in numbers.
How you should get food during a pandemic
The Atlantic breaks down the pros and cons of ordering food in and cooking at home.
As coronavirus anxieties rise, will audiences avoid movie theaters?
New movie releases in the U.S. face an unpredictable weekend following the sharp escalation of the coronavirus pandemic — even though moviegoers were still buying tickets as public spaces nationwide closed down, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Spain death toll now at 193
MADRID — Spain's coronavirus death toll reached 193 on Saturday, up from 120 on Friday, public broadcaster TVE said.
There are just over 6,250 coronavirus cases across the country, TVE said, up from 4,209 on Friday and also up from 5,753 cases reported earlier in the day.
New Jersey reports more presumptive positive test results
'Doing our best' to meet toilet paper demands, major paper company says
Georgia Pacific, one of the largest paper companies in the world, said they're operating as normally as possible to meet consumer demands for toilet paper.
The Georgia-based company said that it had seen its retail demand grow significantly over the past week, as people stock up on rolls of toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic. Orders for the product are as much as two times higher than normal during the same period, the company said.
But, Georgia-Pacific added, its manufacturing operations have managed to ship out approximately 120 percent of their normal capacity. Its mills and distribution centers "are currently operating normally and we are doing our best to meet consumer demand."
"We’re doing this through our use of existing inventory, increasing our production, and using a managed distribution process to smartly manage through this unusual period," the company said.
Member of White House press corps turned away because temperature too high
One member of the White House press corps was turned away from Vice President Mike Pence's coronavirus briefing on Saturday because his temperature was too high.
The White House Physician's Office announced earlier in the day that they would take the temperatures of all people who come in contact with President Donald Trump, as well as the vice president, who is head of the administration's task force addressing the pandemic.
"The temperature was taken three times over a 15 minute period — all three registered above the @CDCgov 100.4 guidelines," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.
The member of the press would not share his name or outlet before he was led away by a White House official and the health care worker who had taken his temperature.
European travel ban extended to include U.K. and Ireland
The White House announced Saturday that they would expand the European travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning midnight on Monday.
"Again, Americans in the U.K. or Ireland can come home," Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday. "Legal residents can come home."
Trump had initially said during his Oval Office address on Monday night that Ireland and the U.K. were exempt from the ban, although it was unclear why the exception was made because the virus is also present in Britain.
Trump says he has been tested for coronavirus, expects results within days
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said that he took a test Friday to determine whether he has the coronavirus and will have the results within a few days.
“I also took the test,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House Saturday. “They sent it to a lab,” he added, saying it usually takes a day or two for the results to come back from the lab.
Trump had been repeatedly criticized for refusing to get tested for the virus after it was reported that he was in close contact with multiple people at his Mar-a-Lago result in Florida who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
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Wisconsin primary goes on amid coronavirus pandemic
The Wisconsin Elections Commission said they still plan on holding primary elections on April 7, despite the continued spread of the coronavirus. They are, however, urging voters to cast absentee ballots in order to avoid large crowds on Election Day.
“If you are worried about getting to the polls on Election Day, make sure you are registered to vote at your current address and with your current name and request an absentee ballot as soon as possible,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief elections official, in a statement.
The deadline to request absentee ballots is April 2.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin said it's replacing their "traditional canvassing operation with a digital organizing program" ahead of the election.
Puerto Rico closes schools, bans cruises after island confirms first cases
Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced that the public school system in Puerto Rico will close for two weeks and that no cruise ships will be allowed to dock on the island's main port in San Juan.
The announcement came in response to news that at least three people have contracted COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, the first cases for the U.S. territory.
White House doctor will check temperature of all those in contact with Trump and Pence
A member of the White House Physician's Office will take temperatures of all people who come in contact with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the administration said on Saturday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said.
These temperature checks, which includes all members of the White House press corps, come after reports that the president has been in close contact with individuals who later tested positive for the infection.
After the president dismissed his own need to receive testing multiple times, including at a Friday press conference, he backpedaled slightly when pressed by reporters on his contact with individuals who have self-quarantined or tested positive.
"Well, I didn't say I wasn't going to be tested," Trump said. "Most likely, yeah. Most likely. Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway."
The president's doctor, Sean P. Conley, said in a memo late Friday that because Trump's interaction was minimal, including a handshake, and because the patients were not exhibiting symptoms at the time they socialized with the president, Trump was unlikely to get the virus.
The CDC has published reports recommending testing for those who have had "close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19" or have experienced "potential exposure through attendance at events or spending time in specific settings where COVID-19 cases have been reported."
They're treating uninsured Americans. But as pandemic ramps up, money is running out.
Time and resources at nonprofit community health centers, which serve approximately 29 million low-income Americans across 1,400 facilities like this one, are being stretched to their breaking point amid the coronavirus outbreak even as they could prove essential in combating its spread.
Their ability could be further handicapped very soon: Federal funding that accounts for 70 percent of these nonprofit health centers’ budgets will run out in May.
“The unknown is an added stress for everyone,” said Dr. Asqual Getaneh, the medical director for International Community Health Services in Seattle, noting their pharmacies are running short on essential medications. “There's also stress associated with whether or not we have the supplies to protect ourselves and take care of patients who are symptomatic. We’re told this is the tip of the iceberg for this epidemic, so we’re seeing a lot of people coming in and trying to figure out how best to deliver care.”
That is a challenge for these nonprofit health centers, which were first funded by the federal government more than 50 years ago as part of the “War on Poverty.” These clinics located in every state, from dense urban centers to rural towns and communities, have served a vital role in combating national emergencies such as the opioid crisis and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The trouble is they don’t know how long they can hang on, which would inhibit efforts to stymie the spread of the disease.
Anxious travelers rushing home to US amid travel ban
Fort Bragg paratroopers return from deployment and enter quarantine
The 82nd Airborne Division quarantined more than 300 paratroopers for a 14-day period on Saturday after they returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from their deployment in Afghanistan.
The soldiers, who are from the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, completed a nine month tour in Afghanistan as part of Operation Resolute Support. Because that country is on a Level 2 Travel Health Notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the soldiers were directed to quarantine.
The Department of the Army requires any soldiers returning from a Level 2 nation or higher undergo the 14-day quarantine period, which includes health monitoring and medical treatment. Soldiers who live outside of Fort Bragg were ordered to stay inside their homes, in accordance with CDC guidelines, while those assigned to the barracks or without a local residence will be quarantined on the base.
“My number one priority is the protection of our Paratroopers, their families, our community, and the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19,” Maj. Gen. James Mingus, 82nd Airborne Division Commander, said. “We are taking proactive steps to protect and prevent spread.”
New York City reports its first coronavirus death
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday morning confirmed that New York City has seen its first coronavirus-related death.
The 82-year-old woman, who had emphysema, had been hospitalized since March 3 after contracting the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, Cuomo said during a teleconference, according to NBC New York.
Japan still preparing for Olympics, prime minister says
Japan continues to prepare to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday, despite continued concern about the viability of the Games given the global outbreak.
The Olympic Torch relay — in which the Olympic flame typically starts a tour around the host nation — is still due to start in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima in less than two weeks. The tour of the torch through Greece has already been cut short.
“We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned,” Abe told the news conference in Tokyo.
Residents of apartment buildings in Italy applaud health care workers
A video filmed in Turin, Italy, shows residents of apartment buildings gathering at their windows and balconies in order to applaud the country's heath care workers who are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The city, home to nearly 900,000 people in northwest Italy, has been on lockdown for weeks, as the country battles the ongoing outbreak that has taken the lives of more than 1,200 people there. Approximately 18,000 Italians are infected, officials reported on Friday.
Newborn baby confirmed as youngest patient in the U.K.
A newborn in a borough near London is believed to be the youngest person in the U.K. to have tested positive for coronavirus.
A spokesperson for North Middlesex University Hospital NHS trust said that two patients at the hospital have tested positive for coronavirus. One has been transferred to a specialist centre and one is being treated in an isolation room.
In an interview with NBC News' partner broadcaster ITV News, health minister Helen Whately noted on Saturday that children seem to be less at risk compared to older people. The case of the newborn baby was first reported by British tabloid newspaper The Sun.
The U.K. has almost 800 confirmed cases as of Saturday.
Troops have no access to coronavirus tests in Afghanistan, Pentagon says
There currently are no coronavirus tests available to troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Friday — a fact a U.S. military official later confirmed to NBC News.
Coalition troops have no access to tests but if they have symptoms, believe they are at risk or have flu-like symptoms, they are able to report to sick call and receive on-base medical care.
That care includes screening and a medical diagnosis. If they are suspected of carrying coronavirus, the doctors on the base will send samples to a testing facility at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany or civilian testing facilities in Munich to conduct a COVID-19 test.
Military officials confirmed there are quarantine and isolation procedures in place at all of the military medical facilities in Afghanistan.
Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) said his office was informed by a constituent earlier this week that U.S. military personnel at a base in Afghanistan have flu-like symptoms but have tested negative for the flu.
Asked at a briefing Thursday whether there is concern about getting tests to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said “nothing has come up to me that says we are in urgent need of test kits or whatever. So I don’t know where that’s coming from.”
“We’d have to pull the thread on that but nobody has said, 'Oh my goodness, we don’t have testing kits,' or whatever. The system seems to be working fairly well at this point,” Esper said.
North Korea claims it has no coronavirus cases
The government in North Korea claims there are no cases of COVID-19 in North Korea, according to a state news agency.
The KCNA agency said in an editorial said officials had increased the amount of public knowledge about the disease but added that this didn't mean people should feel relieved "for having no COVID-19 case in the DPRK,"
North Korea has further intensified quarantine and medical observation of foreigners entering the country according to the agency, and has freed over 70 foreigners without suspected symptoms from quarantine.
The top American general in South Korea said Friday, however, he is fairly certain North Korea has not been spared by the COVID-19 outbreak that began in neighboring China.
Iran reports big jump in cases and deaths
The death toll from coronavirus infections in Iran rose significantly on Saturday to 611 — almost 100 more from a day earlier, according to the Iranian health ministry.
One of the countries most deeply affected by the pandemic, there are 12,729 confirmed cases as of Saturday, up from 11,364 on Friday.
Violinist performs balcony concert in locked down Italy
A violinist performed a balcony concert for neighboring apartments in Bologna, Italy on Friday as the country continues its strict lockdown measures.
The video filmed by Bologna-resident Rudi De Fanti has been viewed more than 600,000 times on Twitter so far.
There has been much musical solidarity in Italy in the past week. Taranto residents sung from their homes, and a viral video that has more than 2 million views shows Italians singing a traditional folk song in harmony from their balconies in Siena.
A video released by the Carabinieri — an Italian policing agency — shows members of the agency in a "loud flashmob" playing music from buildings, with a caption saying "music unites people."
What does coronavirus mean for the 2020 election?
Two weeks ago, Bernie Sanders was the Democratic presidential front-runner, the U.S. economy was humming and President Donald Trump had reason to be optimistic about his re-election prospects.
Washington Monument to close temporarily
The National Park Service temporarily suspended elevator tours in the Washington Monument starting Saturday, citing safety concerns. Visitors can still see the Washington Monument grounds as well as other monuments along the National Mall. A reopening date has not yet been determined.
China sees imported cases exceed new local infections for first time
The number of new coronavirus cases imported into mainland China from overseas surpassed the number of locally transmitted new infections for the first time on Friday, data released by the country's National Health Commission showed on Saturday.
Of mainland China's 11 new reported cases on Friday, seven were imported internationally. Only four of those — all in the virus epicenter of Hubei province — were locally transmitted.
The other seven were all detected in travelers coming into China from overseas, specifically Italy, the United States and Saudi Arabia, according to local authorities.
This new data seems to underscore how China — where the outbreak began — appears to now face a greater threat of infections from outside its borders, as it continues to slow the spread of the virus domestically.
Britain takes different approach to coronavirus outbreak, but why?
The United Kingdom is becoming increasingly isolated in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is one of the only major countries of Western Europe to impose few, if any, restrictions on daily life.
The U.K.'s tactics, which are backed by its top team of epidemiologists and behavioral psychologists, have left many here asking: Why do our experts disagree with those in most other countries?
All arrivals to New Zealand must self-isolate: PM
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that everyone entering the country from midnight Sunday must self isolate for 14 days in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, according to Reuters.
Ardern said these were “far-reaching and unprecedented” measures to tackle a global pandemic. She also said that all cruise ships will also be told not to come to the country until June 30.
New Zealand has six confirmed cases as of Saturday and has not recorded any deaths.
Also in the region, the Australian government minister who was diagnosed with a coronavirus infection just a week after meeting Ivanka Trump and Attorney General William Barr said Saturday that he was “feeling much better.”
Peter Dutton told Sydney radio station 2GB that his fever had come down but that his throat was still sore. He added that he did not start exhibiting symptoms until March 13. Dutton met people at the White House on March 6.
Manila to impose month-long curfew
The Philippines will impose a month-long curfew in the capital region of Metro Manila which, if implemented fully, would be among the strictest in in Asia.
The nighttime curfew will take effect on March 15 to April 14 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Manila authorities announced at a news conference Saturday. Some employees, however, will be exempt from the lockdown.
Mayors will issue local ordinances for the temporary closure of malls — some of the largest in the world — and establishments, exempting shops offering essential services like groceries, banks and pharmacies.
This comes as the Philippines reported its sixth death on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tested negative for the virus an official said Friday.
Latin American states take new measures as first cases confirmed
Guatemala will ban arrivals from the United States and Canada starting Monday in order to fight the spread of coronavirus, the country's president, Alejandro Giammattei, said in a televised address Friday. Earlier in the week, the country banned arrivals from European countries, China, Iran, South Korea
Guatemala announced its first case of confirmed coronavirus infection on Friday.
Elsewhere the region, Venezuela confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus Friday prompting neighboring Colombia to close its shared border from Saturday morning.
Colombian President Ivan Duque also said late Friday that the country, which has 16 confirmed cases as of Saturday, would not allow visitors who have been in Europe or Asia from entering the country.
Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru all suspended European flights in the past week.
Apple closing all stores outside China
Apple is closing all its retail stores outside China until March 27 in order to protect workers and help stop the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the company announced early Saturday. The company is also committing $15 million to help with the worldwide response to the crisis, CEO Tim Cook said.
Apple’s stores in China have already re-opened. The company said it learned lessons about best practices and the situation in China, which is where the coronavirus outbreak began.
“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” Apple said.
"All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations," Apple said.
Montana has first presumptive cases
Four people in Montana have presumptively tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the governor said Friday.
The four people – three men and a woman, in Gallatin, Yellowstone, Silver Bow, and Lewis and Clark counties – appear to be the first reported within the state. They were described as being in their 40s and 50s.
Montana’s health department previously said that a Montana resident had tested positive but that the patient got the coronavirus illness COVID-19 out of state and has not yet returned.
Tests are considered presumptively positive until they are confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Montana's cases mean that 49 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have reported confirmed or presumptively positive cases, according to an NBC News count of reports. As of Friday, West Virginia's health department has not reported any positive cases, but said tests were pending for five people.
President's doctor says Trump doesn't need to be tested
The president does not need to take a test to determine if he's positive for coronavirus because two interactions he had with known patients were "low risk," a White House doctor said in a memo released Friday.
The memo was made public hours after Trump said he would be tested.
"Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway," the president said Friday when asked about his interaction at his Mar-a-Lago resort last weekend with an aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Fabio Wajngarten, who turned up positive.
Physician to the president, Sean P. Conley, argued that because Trump's interaction was minimal, including a handshake, and because Wajngarten and another patient were not exhibiting symptoms at the time they socialized with the president, Trump's unlikely to get the virus.
Pentagon halts all domestic travel starting Monday
In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Pentagon is imposing new travel restrictions on employees, including service members and their families. The limits will start Monday, the Department of Defense announced Friday night.
All domestic travel will be stopped as of next week. This includes domestic travel, permanent change of station and temporary duty. Civilian hiring at Department of Defense installations will also be halted.
Roundup of coronavirus coverage
They survived the coronavirus. Then they tested positive again. Why? [The Los Angeles Times]
Why do we touch strangers so much? A history of the handshake offers clues [National Geographic]
Las Vegas books scramble for content day after sports stopped [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Social distancing: This is not a snow day [Medium]
Everybody ready for the big migration to online college? Actually, no [The New York Times]
The coronavirus is creating a huge, stressful experiment in working from home [The Atlantic]