Americans are racing to cut vacations short and re-book flights home this weekend as Europe continues to lock down towns and cities amid the spread of coronavirus.
The CDC said Sunday that all events of 50 people or more should be canceled for the next eight weeks, guidance that advocates for people to engage in "social distancing" through early May.
New York City announced it would close public schools, and many cities around the country ordered bars and restaurants closed, with some even issuing curfews, to encourage social distancing. Meantime, brick-and-mortar retailers began shutting down stores.
Stock futures plunged Sunday night, despite unprecedented emergency action from the Federal Reserve, which announced a rate cut.
The United States has surpassed 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to at least 61, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.
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NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to close theaters, limit restaurants to takeout
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday ordered the temporary closing of movie theaters, nightclubs and concert venues.
In an executive order that will go into effect on Tuesday morning, de Blasio also said restaurants, bars and cafes will be limited to takeout orders and deliveries.
“The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together,” de Blasio said. “We have to break that cycle.”
United Airlines cuts capacity by 50 percent through May
United Airlines announced Sunday it will be cutting its capacity in half for April and May as Americans cut back on travel amid efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
In a message to United employees, Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer, and J. Scott Kirby, president, said the company projects the cuts could be extended.
"We also now expect these deep cuts to extend into the summer travel period," Munoz and Kirby wrote. "Even with those cuts, we're expecting load factors to drop into the 20-30% range -- and that's if things don't get worse."
The company said its leaders would be taking a 50 percent pay cut.
"We're also currently projecting that revenue in March will be $1.5 billion lower than last March," Munoz and Kirby wrote.
Deaths continue to rise in Italy, Spain
The number of coronavirus-related deaths continued to rise Sunday in Europe’s hardest hit two countries, Italy and Spain.
Italy’s death toll rose to 1,809, a jump of 368 people in one day, Italy’s civil protection chief, Angelo Borrelli, said. The number of cases of across the country also continued to spike, with another 3,590 people testing positive for the disease.
Nearly 25,000 Italians have contracted COVID-19.
Spain, which declared a state of emergency Friday, reported Sunday that the number of deaths rose to 292, up from 84 on Thursday, the country’s health minister, Salvador Illa, said. The number of cases more than doubled, from nearly 3,000 to almost 8,000.
MGM Resorts to close all Las Vegas properties
MGM Resorts will close all of its Las Vegas properties, the hotel chain announced on Sunday.
The company, which owns many major Las Vegas hotels including Aria, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York and The Mirage, said that starting on Tuesday it will "temporarily suspend operations at its Las Vegas properties until further notice."
Casinos on those properties will close on Monday, the company said.
More than 3,000 confirmed cases reported in the United States
As of March 15 there have been more than 3,000 coronavirus cases confirmed in the United States, driven by more than 200 new cases in New York. At least 800 new cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.
Steph Curry encourages social distancing
We all have to take responsibility for ourselves and do whatever it takes to #stopthespread. There’s a sense of urgency to flatten the curve and give ourselves and the healthcare system the best chance to get through this pandemic. Share this message and let’s protect each other! pic.twitter.com/T8JfydahCu— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 15, 2020
Sanders says ‘shut the president up’ while Biden says 'we're at war with the virus' at Democratic debate
The coronavirus dominated the start of the Democratic debate on Sunday night, with Bernie Sanders ripping President Donald Trump and Joe Biden laying out his plan to contain the outbreak.
“Shut the president up, right now,” Sanders said. Biden said, “We're at war with the virus,” and called for measures to contain the spread and bulk up the health care system. Sanders said the virus issue showed the importance of "Medicare for All," while Biden said the country first needs to deal with the crisis.
Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas to close for 2 weeks
Wynn Resorts will close two of its Las Vegas properties for two weeks in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the company said Sunday.
CEO Matt Maddox said in a statement that Wynn Las Vegas and Encore will temporarily shutter for most employees on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Maddox said Wynn Resorts will continue to pay full-time employees during the closure.The company had earlier canceled large gatherings and installed thermal cameras at entrances to measure the temperatures of guests.
CDC says gatherings of 50 or more should be canceled for next eight weeks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday that people throughout the United States should avoid events of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.
The announcement comes as some major cities have already put in place bans on large events and ordered bars and restaurants to close.
"This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus," the CDC said.
The CDC noted that its guidance "is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials."
Robert Durst murder trial delayed
The murder trial of real estate scion Robert Durst will be delayed until next month because of concerns over coronavirus, California court officials said Sunday.
In a statement, Los Angeles County Superior Court said jurors in the case should return on April 6.
Durst, 76, was charged with one count of murder in the 2000 death of his close friend, Susan Berman.
Berman was found lying face down in her Los Angeles home with a gun shot wound to the back of her head. Durst, who was the subject of the HBO series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," has maintained his innocence.
5 deaths reported in New York City
The number of confirmed cases and deaths from coronavirus rose sharply in New York City in recent days, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
Five people have died from the disease and more than 300 have tested positive for it, he said in a news conference.
On Friday, there had been no reported deaths in the city, he said, and the week began with several dozen confirmed cases. Those who died were between 53 and 82 and had preexisting conditions like emphysema, diabetes and heart disease, he said.
Restaurants, bars close
Nike, Lululemon to temporarily close stores
Apple, Lululemon and Nike are among some of the country’s leading retailers that announced temporary store shut downs in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Lululemon and Nike announced Sunday they will close their stores through March 27. They both said employees will be paid for the hours they were scheduled to work. Apple closed all of its stores outside of China through March 27 last week, but its online stores and App Store remain open.
Under Armour and Abercrombie & Fitch announced separately they will close their doors through March 28. Under Armour said it will pay team members for the house they were scheduled to work. Abercrombie & Fitch warned the store closures would have “material adverse impacts” on its financial performance and withdrew its first-quarter and full year forecast.
Patagonia, Urban Outfitters, Lush Cosmetics, Warby Parker and Allbirds are among other retailers closing stores in response to the virus.
California governor asks seniors, people with chronic conditions to self-isolate
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday asked all Californians who have chronic conditions or are over age of 65 to self-isolate at home in a bid to protect them.
“We are doing so with our eyes wide open at the magnitude of what that means,” Newsom said at a news conference.
He added that state officials were working on providing medicine, food and other supplies to the state’s 5.3 million seniors, a population that public health officials have said is more vulnerable to the disease.
Newsom also asked nightclubs, brewpubs and wineries to close their doors — though he did not order them to do so, saying he was confident they would follow his guidance. Restaurants can remain open, Newsom said, though he asked businesses to reduce their patrons by half. And he said customers should remain 6 feet or more away from each other in an effort to reduce the possibility of spreading or catching the disease.
Officials are also trying to move the thousands of homeless people who are in encampments or on the streets across California into sites that Newsom said would allow for appropriate “social distancing.” He said the state is “procuring” hotels and motels “in real time” and using hundreds of trailers for the effort.
Dow futures plunge 1,000 points after Fed's crisis action
Stock futures plunged Sunday night, despite unprecedented emergency action from the Federal Reserve.
Dow futures fell by 1,000 points, triggering the "limit down" threshold after the Fed announced a rate cut that brings the central bank's borrowing rate to a range of between 0 and 0.25 percent.
Investors remain skeptical that even such bold moves will move the needle as the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on the U.S. economy.
“They had no choice, but it won’t be enough in the grand scheme of things,” Jeff Mills, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust, told Bloomberg.
Federal Reserve cuts rate to near zero in emergency move
The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark borrowing rate in an emergency move Sunday, citing “disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The action by the Federal Open Market Committee is the second emergency rate cut enacted by the central bank in the last two weeks as the U.S. attempts to shore up the economy ahead of any impact from the viral outbreak.
Sunday's move follows an ugly week on Wall Street, with the Dow and the S&P both entering bear market territory and the Dow seeing its biggest one-day points drop. Investors were responding to mounting fears that the viral pandemic will take a heavy toll on the nation's economy, with stores, businesses, and schools all closing and industry and sporting events canceled.
New York City to close all public schools
New York City will close public schools, and as U.S. cases of the coronavirus climb well past 3000, states and cities are ordering bars and restaurants to close in an effort to encourage social distancing and try to stem the outbreak.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement about schools on Sunday evening.
NYC must have a plan in place in the next 24 hours for childcare for essential workers and a plan to make sure kids will continue to get the meals they need.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 15, 2020
NYC schools will close early this week.
This action is necessary to reduce density and mitigate the spread of #COVID19.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the closures will start Monday and last at least until April 20.
New Hampshire, Vermont close public schools
Officials in New Hampshire and Vermont announced Sunday that the states’ public schools will be temporarily shuttered in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In an emergency order, New Hampshire Gov. Christopher Sununu said the closures will begin Monday and remain in effect until April 3. He charged the state’s school districts with immediately developing and implementing remote instruction plans.
In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott said schools will be canceled from Wednesday to April 6, although students aren’t required to attend classes Monday or Tuesday. Scott’s office said that schools should develop plans for remote learning, meal service and students with special needs in case the closures extend beyond April 6.
Several other states have also temporarily closed their schools, including Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Oxford researchers show what it looks like to 'flatten the curve'
Researchers from the University of Oxford have released a new study showing how countries with older populations are particularly at risk of having their health care systems overwhelmed.
"Our illustrations suggest that countries with older populations will need to take more aggressive protective measures to stay below the threshold of critical cases that outstrip health system capacity," Professor Jennifer Dowd tweeted as part of a thread on the study.
She added that the data they analyzed showed "some real-world evidence of 'flattening the curve.'" The study compared two Italian cities — Bergamo and Lodi — and how their different responses (Bergamo was slower to react than Lodi) led to a divergence in reported cases.
Hollywood box office takes hit
Hollywood experienced one of its worst weekend in two decades as many movie theaters were forced to close because of the coronavirus.
The weekend box office top 10 took in $55 million in North America, according to Variety. That was a 47 percent drop over the previous weekend, and 60 percent down from the same weekend a year ago when “Captain Marvel,” was still in theaters, said a studio executive who did not want his name used because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The weekend of Sept. 15, 2000, just days after the 9/11 attacks, the box office take was $55.4 million, according to Variety.
The top movie this weekend, “Onward,” from Disney and Pixar, took in $10.5 million. Other releases included “I Still Believe,” “Bloodshot,” “The Invisible Man" and “The Hunt.”
Around around 100 cinemas in North America have shuttered, including Bowtie cinema in Hoboken, New Jersey, which the city ordered closed Saturday. Meanwhile AMC and other cinemas said they would limit capacity to 50 percent of auditoriums.
Biden urges voters to cast ballots on Tuesday primaries as coronavirus concerns mount
Former Vice President Joe Biden asked voters in a slew of Tuesday primary states to "please vote" as the coronavirus crisis has led to widespread closures and cancelations as officials try to corral the COVID-19 outbreak.
Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona are slated to hold primaries on Tuesday. Already, Georgia and Louisiana have announced they are pushing back their primaries from March and April to May and June.
"The right to vote is the most sacred American right there is," Biden tweeted. "State election officials are working closely with public health officials to hold safe elections. If you are feeling healthy, not showing symptoms, and not at risk of being exposed to COVID-19: please vote on Tuesday."
Read the story here.
Illinois orders restaurants to halt dine-in services until the end of March
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered restaurants to close to dine-in customers for the rest of March as authorities attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The order would begin at the end of business Monday and continue until March 30, Pritzker said at a press conference Sunday. The closure would not extend to delivery and drive-through services.
Pritzker's order comes hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced restrictions on businesses selling liquor. Such establishments would be forced to half their regular maximum capacity and limit entrance to 100 people, according to NBC Chicago.
Commissioner to NYPD: "We will, without a doubt, suffer" during coronavirus outbreak
The head of the largest police force in the world says they will "suffer" as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but tells his cops "we will stand with you" in an internal memorandum reviewed exclusively by NBC News and transmitted to all NYPD officers and staff this afternoon.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea sent the 4 page memo to the approximately 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian members of New York's Finest telling them that starting tomorrow they should expect staggered schedules and for non-essential civilian employees to work from home. Shea says, "we will, without a doubt suffer."
He says, "many members may become ill" and that officers should expect to work extra hours on their shifts and that some duties will change. He vowed that personal protective equipment will be available for members of the Department who are on the "front lines."
On Saturday a school safety officer working in the New York City borough of Queens tested positive for coronavirus, which marked the first case of a NYPD employee testing positive for the virus. The school safety officer was believed to be exposed through her husband who also had the virus. In Shea's memo he says that 30 employees are currently self-quarantined, "out of an abundance of caution, based on consultation with the Medical Division."
Gov. Mike DeWine orders bars and restaurants to close in Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he was ordering all restaurants and bars in Ohio to close their doors to customers beginning at 9 p.m. on Sunday evening.
"How long will this order be in effect? We don't, frankly, know," DeWine told reporters Sunday. "It will be in effect for as long as it needs to."
DeWine elaborated that carryout and delivery services were excluded from the order, but that businesses could not have customers sitting down and congregating together as authorities attempt to combat the spread of coronavirus. The governor said his administration will work to mitigate the suffering of small businesses and workers who will likely be out of jobs due to the order.
"I have some understanding on what this order will do, and I think of all the places I've eaten across the state of Ohio, many business owners who this is going to hurt greatly," DeWine said Sunday.
Ariana Grande pleads with fans to take coronavirus seriously
Amazon warns of delivery delays, some household products out of stock
Annie Palmer, CNBC
Amazon warned it’s experiencing Prime delivery delays and running out of stock of popular household items amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The issues are a result of a “dramatic increase in the rate that people are shopping online,” Amazon said in a blog post that was updated on Saturday. Some popular brands and items in the “household staples” categories were out of stock, while Amazon said some of its “delivery promises are longer than usual.”
“In the short term this is having an impact on how we serve our customers,” Amazon said in the blog post. “We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders.”
Amazon added a notice to the top of its marketplace this weekend that reads: “Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand. Confirm availability at checkout.”
Mnuchin defends Trump's coronavirus response as officials ramp up efforts
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended President Donald Trump on Sunday amid ongoing criticism over the administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"People misinterpreted his comments," Mnuchin told ABC's "This Week" after the president during an Oval Office speech misstated several elements of a new policy restricting travel from Europe to combat the spread of the virus. "And we immediately put out a statement to clarify that."
Luxury goods company that owns Dior, Luis Vuitton to make free hand sanitizer for France
One of the world's largest luxury fashion and beauty companies will now direct its cosmetic factories to manufacture hand sanitizer gel to be distributed at no cost in France.
LVMH, home to brands such a Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, will prepare its production sites to manufacture the antibacterial gel to be given over to French authorities at the direction of its CEO and Chairman, Bernard Arnault. The moves comes amid a fear of sanitizer shortage in the country.
"Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus," the company said in a press release.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe ordered the country's restaurants, cafés, cinemas and clubs to close as coronavirus spreads quickly in the country.
Travelers face airport chaos as U.S. tries to implement coronavirus screening
Those who came to the U.S. from abroad Saturday were met with chaos as new coronavirus screenings snarled airports around the country, forcing travelers into overcrowded lines for hours.
Beth Kander, 38, returned from France to a "madhouse" at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, where she spent about five hours going from line to line. Kander told NBC News Sunday that her flight was only alerted to the screenings about an hour before landing.
"When we were an hour out from landing, the captain made an announcement, and it created a lot of anxiety," Kander said. "He said you will not be allowed to get off a plane, a U.S. official will board and there will be a coronavirus update."
O’Hare airport was only one of many airports where passengers returning from abroad were forced into packed lines, antithetical from the call for “social distancing” in an effort to slow the spread coronavirus. Travelers also reported overcrowding at airports in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth upon their returns.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpasses 3,000
The U.S. now has more than 3,000 reported cases of coronavirus, according to NBC News tallies.
As of Sunday afternoon, there have been at least 61 deaths in the U.S. due to coronavirus and 3204 reported cases.
The numbers in the U.S. are rising as people around the country are increasingly practicing social distancing in an effort to stop the virus' spread. Currently Washington state and New York have the highest concentration of cases, each with more than 600.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo asks businesses to voluntarily close, announces third New York death
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged businesses to consider density control measures in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus before confirmed cases overwhelm the state’s hospital system. He also announced the third coronoavirus death in New York.
“I want private businesses to aggressively consider work from home and voluntary closings,” Cuomo told reporters Sunday. “Depending on what businesses do on a voluntary basis, we could consider mandatory actions later on.”
The governor said that the state is working to expand capacity of beds and ventilators in the state but is concerned that the system might be overwhelmed in the coming weeks if measures aren’t taken to prevent disease spread, including social distancing. Cuomo urged the federal government to step in to create nationwide policies and offer its resources to states that need the support.
New York has the highest number of confirmed cases, with 729 patients who have tested positive of 5,272 total tests, according to Cuomo. He said the new death was a 78-year-old woman with underlying health issues.
National Institutes of Health employee tests positive for COVID-19
An employee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has tested positive for COVID-19, the agency announced in a Sunday press release.
The employee is not involved in patient care and works for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
The NIH, the nation's medical research agency, said its Occupational Medical Service tested the employee and the result was positive.
"While this is an unfortunate development, it is not surprising, and NIH expects that there will be more cases of infection among NIH staff," the agency said in a press release.
Puerto Rico enacts curfew, business closures as coronavirus fears rise on the island
In an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus, Puerto Rico is enacting a curfew and closing non-essential businesses.
Governor Wanda Vazquez ordered residents to stay home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in a Sunday address, and said only stores that sell groceries and medical equipment should stay open.
Puerto Rico announced the island's first three cases on Friday. Gov. Vasquez said on Saturday the public school system on the island will close for two weeks and that no cruise ships will be allowed to dock in San Juan.
Germany tries to stop Trump from luring away firm working on coronavirus vaccine
BERLIN — Berlin is trying to stop Washington from persuading a German company seeking a coronavirus vaccine to move its research to the United States, prompting German politicians to insist no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine.
German government sources told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac.
Earlier, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reported that U.S. President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay.
Fauci: Americans are 'going to have to hunker down significantly more' to fight coronavirus
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Americans "should be prepared that they're going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing" to fight the growing COVID-19 outbreak.
Asked if the U.S. should consider a 14-day national shutdown similar to those in Europe, he said, "I would prefer as much as we possibly could ... I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for over-reacting."
Fauci said that the goal now is to "blunt" the curve of confirmed cases, keeping the number of those infected low enough so as to not overwhelm the U.S. hospital system.
"If you let the curve get up there, then the entire society is going to be hit," he said.
Second coronavirus death reported in Louisiana
A 53-year-old Orleans Parish resident with underlying medical conditions died on Sunday, becoming Louisiana's second COVID-19 death.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell mourned the man's loss in a Sunday morning statement, saying he was her friend.
“The news this morning of a second death in Orleans Parish is deeply heartbreaking to me, personally — and is additional tragic news for the people of our City,” Mayor Cantrell said. “The patient in this instance was a friend of mine, but every one of those impacted by this outbreak is someone’s friend, someone’s father, someone’s loved one.
As of Sunday morning, Louisiana had 78 reported coronavirus cases.
'Thanks to the Helpers': Tom Hanks posts coronavirus update to Instagram
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First coronavirus death reported in Oregon
Oregon officials announced the state's first official death due to coronavirus.
A 70-year-old man in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, died from COVID-19 on Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority announced.
The individual had underlying health conditions and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 10. He had not traveled internationally and had no known contact with a confirmed case.
There were 36 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oregon as of Sunday morning. Its neighbor to the north, Washington, has seen 646 cases and 40 deaths. The national death toll from coronavirus now stands at 60.
Dueling U.S., U.K. travel restrictions and advisories strain transatlantic relations
LONDON — Amid a worsening coronavirus epidemic, the U.S. and the U.K. engaged in a political tit for tat Sunday after Britain advised its citizens against all but essential travel to the U.S. hours after the White House announced it would expand a European travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland.
With 1,140 people testing positive for the virus, 21 dead and up to 10,000 suspected cases, the British government has called for a national effort to fight the spread of the epidemic similar to the one which helped the country through the Second World War.
"Our generation has never been tested like this," health minister Matt Hancock wrote in right-leaning newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, calling the coronavirus "the biggest public health emergency in a generation."
But travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. are adding more strain to the so-called "special relationship" between the United States and Britain.
Danish government to cover 75 percent of workers’ wages
Isobel van Hagen
The Danish government announced a new agreement on Sunday that would cover up to 75 percent of workers’ wages for those whose jobs are threatened by the virus outbreak.
At a press conference, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the initiative will initially stretch retroactively from March 9 and will last until June 9.
Frederiksen also called on companies to send home staff, but to avoid firing people as a reduction measure.
Stuck in their apartments, Spaniards applaud health care workers
Isobel van Hagen and Matteo Moschella
Despite the announcement of the lockdown of Spain “people have not forgotten to applaud medical staff from their balconies," according to Twitter user @GiedreP who filmed a round of applause for health care workers in Madrid on Saturday night.
Bursts of applause are appearing on social media across Spain and also in other European countries, such as Italy, as housebound people look for ways to show their appreciation.
In a TV address Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez detailed the lockdown measures — similar to those imposed in Italy — as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in infections. Sanchez's wife Begona Gomez tested positive for the virus on Saturday.
Hundreds of scientists warn U.K. government’s response is ‘risking lives’
Isobel van Hagen
More than 300 academics living and working in the U.K. called for immediate measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19, criticizing the U.K.’s strategy of delaying widespread restrictions, as seen in other European countries, in a bid to achieve "herd immunity." They argued that this would put the National Health Service under even more stress as the number of infections grows throughout Europe.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock however told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning that herd immunity was not part of the government's strategy and that the immediate priority was the preservation of life.
American Airlines to suspend nearly all international flights
Isobel van Hagen
American Airlines said it will start a phased suspension of nearly all long-haul international flights starting Monday, due to reduced demand and travel restrictions from the outbreak.
Between March 16 and May 6, the company will reduce its international capacity by 75 percent on a "year over year basis," it said in a statement Saturday.
The airline also anticipates its domestic capacity in April will be reduced by 20 percent compared to last year. It also projected it will be reduced by 30 percent in May.
Mexico braces for outbreak lasting 'all year'
Mexico has warned that the coronavirus outbreak could last all year as it rolled out tougher measures to contain the spread.
The education ministry said it would extend the Easter break for some 33 million students, doubling the length of their vacation. Meanwhile, the health ministry recommended canceling gatherings with 5,000 people or more.
“We’re preparing for an epidemic that could last all year,” Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told a news conference Saturday.
Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus infections had risen to 41 on Saturday up from 26 a day earlier, the government said. It has not reported any fatalities from the virus.
South Korea declares Daegu a special disaster zone
The president of South Korea declared the city of Daegu a special disaster zone on Sunday, according to a presidential spokesperson.
While South Korea has recently reported a downward trend in new cases, Daegu accounts for a majority of cases in the country due to an outbreak in a church.
South Korea reported 76 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 8,162 with 75 total deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Sunday's numbers are in line trend of falling cases, which are down from the 107 recorded on Saturday.
China tightens airport checks as imported cases tick up
Alex Shi and Salina Lee
China tightened checks on international travelers arriving at Beijing airport on Sunday, after the number of imported new coronavirus infections surpassed locally transmitted cases for a second day in a row.
The government announced that all international arrivals at will be sent to special facilities for 14 days of monitoring. People with certain special needs will be allowed to return to their homes for self-quarantine only after strict evaluation, they said.
Mainland China reported 20 new cases of infections on March 14 — up from 11 cases a day earlier — data from by the National Health Commission showed on Sunday. Of those, 16 were internationally imported, it said.
Vatican Easter services to be held without audiences
Claudio Lavanga and Lidia Sirna
The Vatican said on Sunday that all papal Easter services will be held “without the physical presence of the faithful,” due to the public health emergency.
Also, Sunday blessings will be held via internet live streaming on the official Vatican News website until April 12.
“In this Sunday of Lent, we pray all together for the sick and the people who are suffering. Today, I would like to say a special prayer for all the people who are ensuring the functioning of the society: pharmacies, supermarkets, transports, police officers,” Pope Francis said during Sunday's mass.
Outbreak delays start of Netanyahu corruption trial
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial was delayed on Sunday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Israel’s Justice Ministry said the trial against Israel's longest serving leader — due to have opened on March 17 — would begin on May 24.
Netanyahu — who is spearheading Israel’s measures against the outbreak — has denied any wrongdoing in the investigations. Charges against him include bribery, breach of trust and fraud.
Spain, France join countries announcing more virus restrictions
BARCELONA, Spain — Authorities around the world turned to increasingly drastic measures to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus Sunday, with lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions spreading.
Soldiers and police sealed the densely populated Philippine capital from most domestic travelers in one of Southeast Asia’s most drastic containment moves. The move mirrored a lockdown Spain announced just hours earlier for its 46 million citizens.
France ordered the closing of just about everything the rest of the world loves about it — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the cafes and restaurants — as governments took increasingly desperate measures to put more space between people and contain the virus.
President Donald Trump announced that the U.S., which days ago barred travelers from most of Europe, will extend the ban to Britain and Ireland. And more cities in the U.S. put in place curbs on gatherings of more than a few hundred people, with one New Jersey city even announcing an overnight curfew.
In a nationally televised address Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez detailed the battery of exceptional measures put in place as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in infections.
In a lockdown similar to the one already imposed in Italy, people will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of the young and the elderly. All schools and universities were closed, along with restaurants, bars, hotels and other non-essential retail businesses.
DHS says it's aware of long lines at airports
DHS is aware of the long lines for passengers who are undergoing increased medical screening requirements. Right now we are working to add additional screening capacity and working with the airlines to expedite the process. 1(/2)— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) March 15, 2020
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."
Washington governor says no plans to seal off any part of state
While fighting COVID-19, we must also fight against rumors and false information.— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 15, 2020
Let me be clear: Neither me nor my staff are engaged in conversations to quarantine or seal off any part of Washington 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.
We are continuing to do everything possible to advance social distancing. To protect health & safety of residents, our OEM has directed all bars & restaurants, w/ & w/o a liquor license, to allow for delivery & takeout of food only. OEM is also implementing a curfew from 10pm-5am pic.twitter.com/IBhsAk2SiW— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) March 15, 2020