The Latest: Trump urges patience amid virus outbreak
Published 3:06 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020
The Latest on the world’s coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 190,000 people and killed more than 7,500. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 80,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
President Donald Trump says his advice to employees furloughed during the economic contraction brought on by the coronavirus epidemic is to be patient.
Speaking to reporters during a meeting Tuesday with travel industry executives at the White House, Trump says, “We’re going to take care of it. We’ll be bigger, strong, better than ever before and it won’t take that long.”
Several of the companies represented at the White House meeting have furloughed tens of thousands of employees as they’ve closed hotels, casinos and theme parks.
In the past 24 hours, 27 patients have died in France, the country’s top health official said.
France is Europe’s third worse-hit country in terms of fatalities from COVID-19, with 175 deaths as of late Tuesday.
France’s director-general of health Jerome Salomon said there have been 1,097 new cases confirmed in recent hours, bringing the total number of cases in France to 7,730.
Italy, the second hardest-hit nation after China in the world’s coronavirus pandemic, has announced a new figures that show it has one-third of the world’s total deaths from the new virus.
Italy on Tuesday added more than 3,500 new positive cases, bringing its total to 31,506. In addition, another 345 people with the virus have died, bringing Italy’s total deaths to 2,503.
Italy, which has the world’s second-oldest population after Japan, has been blindsided by the virus that appears to be much more deadly for the elderly and the infirm. The doctors Without Borders charity says Italy lacks key medical equipment like protective gloves or masks.
“Nearly 1,700 healthcare workers, or 8% of the total COVID-19 cases in Italy have been infected whilst tirelessly caring for the rising number of severely ill patients who require long-term hospitalization,” the group said.
Spain, the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world’s coronavirus pandemic, has requested medical supplies from China.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke Tuesday as Beijing was preparing its first shipment of aid to the European country, according to the Chinese embassy in Madrid.
Sánchez said the call for Chinese aid had been made a week earlier and that it was a subject he discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a phone call on Tuesday.
A spokesman from China’s embassy in Spain said Beijing was readying a shipment of test kits, surgical masks and protection glasses. The official, who was not authorized to be named in media reports, said that China was also “positively considering” sending doctors to Spain.
Spain has 11,309 confirmed infections and has seen 509 deaths.
The Trump administration is urging U.S. construction companies to donate their inventories of safety masks to hospitals and forgo new orders as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Vice President Mike Pence said the single-use N95 masks, which are designed to filter 95 percent of airborne particles and commonly used in the construction industry, are “perfectly acceptable” for hospital use.
Pence, who is heading up the White House Coronavirus Task Force, visited the Minnesota headquarters of 3M, the maker of the N95 mask, earlier this month to discuss the production increase.
Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have said the average American does not need to go out and buy a mask. They have urged Americans to leave the masks for medical professionals.
South Africa says a cruise ship has been quarantined outside the port of Cape Town as a precaution after a crew member of a cargo ship who shared a flight with some passengers showed coronavirus symptoms.
State-owned port custodian Transnet says the crew member shared a March 9 flight from Istanbul to Cape Town with a colleague and six people who boarded the cruise ship in Cape Town, a major international tourist destination.
The eight people have been evacuated and quarantined, and Transnet says the remaining cruise ship passengers are being quarantined and tested.
The Trump administration is allowing Americans to delay paying their taxes and is hoping to send stimulus checks directly to people as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is encouraging Americans who can to file their taxes on or before April 15 to do so so that they don’t lose out on their tax refunds.
But he says that, if Americans owe the IRS money, they can defer up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations without interest and penalties for 90 days.
President Donald Trump and Mnuchin also say during a White House briefing that they wants to send checks to Americans in next two weeks in an effort to curb the economic impact of the pandemic.
Across the United States, over 4,660 people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus and 95 people have died.
President Donald Trump is insisting that the U.S. can be “rolling again” quickly after the coronavirus outbreak if “we do this right.”
Trump spoke as he opened Tuesday’s daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. A day earlier, Trump urged the American public to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. He also urged the elderly to stay at home and practice social distancing for the next couple of weeks.
Trump says that Americans’ public health and the U.S. economy can be protected through what he says are “shared sacrifices” and “temporary changes.”
The president adds that, “if we do this right, our country and the world frankly, but our country can be rolling again pretty quickly.”
Across the United States, over 4,660 people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus and 95 people have died.
The Greek government has announced a ban on travel to Greece for all citizens from non-European Union countries, to take effect Wednesday.
Nikos Hardalias, the deputy minister for civil protection, said people entering the country would be asked to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days, a measure that would be enforced more rigorously for those traveling from the U.K.
Doctors in government-owned hospitals in Nigeria’s federal capital Abuja have gone on an indefinite strike over unpaid salaries as the country sees its third confirmed case of the new coronavirus.
Roland Aigbovo, head of a doctors’ group, said the decision to go on strike was a difficult one after considering the challenge coronavirus poses. But he said some newly employed doctors have not been paid for ” five to seven months.”
The Ministry of Health in Lagos said Tuesday that a Nigerian woman who flew in the United Kingdom on March 13th is the country’s third case.
The Sri Lankan president has suggested that a parliamentary election scheduled next month will be held as planned despite an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients. Sri Lanka has reported 43 cases since March. 11. Opposition parties have called for a postponement of the election.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration says at least eight airport screening officers have now tested positive for the new coronavirus. The most recent case was confirmed Tuesday at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
On Monday, a screening officer tested positive for the virus at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The previous cases were at airports in San Jose, California; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida.
U.S. movie theaters have closed nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, turning dark nearly all of the country’s 40,000-plus screens in an unprecedented shutdown.
The largest chains had tried to remain open even as Hollywood postponed its upcoming release plans and guidelines for social distancing steadily diminished the recommended size of crowds. But after President Donald Trump on Monday urged against gatherings of more than 10 people, AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest chain, said Tuesday its theaters would close altogether.
AMC said it would close all locations in the U.S. for at least six to 12 weeks. Regal, the second largest chain, said Monday that its theaters would close until further notice.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is leaving London and heading to Windsor Castle as a precaution because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Buckingham Palace says the 93-year-old monarch will move to the castle, 20 miles (32 kms) west of London, on Thursday, a week earlier than she usually does for Easter.
The palace said it had decided to cancel or postpone public royal events with large numbers of people in the coming months but the queen will still hold her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This year’s European Championship soccer tournament has been postponed for one year, upending a tradition dominates European life for a full month every four years.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says the spreading coronavirus “makes football and all life in Europe quite impossible.” UEFA plans to play the tournament next year from June 11 to July 11.
The 24-team competition was to be hosted in 12 different countries this year.
The postponement clears space to give national leagues and the Champions League and Europa League a chance to finish their seasons by June 30.
European soccer is in a shutdown and it is unclear when games can resume.
Brazil has recorded its first death related to the new coronavirus outbreak, according to Sao Paulo state’s government. Authorities do not know where the patient was infected. Brazil has 234 confirmed cases of the virus, more than half in Sao Paulo.
A dozen residents of a New Orleans retirement home are now infected by the coronavirus, which Louisiana’s governor noted has proven more lethal for older people than other age groups.
The latest death from COVID-19 was a 84-year-old man at the Lambeth House retirement home in New Orleans, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Dr. Jennifer Avegno, leader of the city health department, stressed that the virus was spreading much faster in New Orleans than in other U.S. cities.
Louisiana has 136 infections and three deaths.
The British government is advising its citizens against non-essential international travel anywhere in the world for the next 30 days.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says that with more and more countries losing their borders, there is a risk many Britons will become stranded.
He said the government had brought home hundreds of Britons stranded in China and other places hit by the outbreak, but warned that from now on people would only be repatriated “in exceptional circumstances.”
China’s financial hub of Shanghai is expanding the number of countries whose citizens must undergo a 14-day quarantine rules to cover passengers entering the city from more countries and regions.
Passengers who have traveled or lived in 16 countries, 14 days prior to entering Shanghai, are required to be quarantined at home or in designated facilities, the local government said at a press conference.
The 16 countries are the Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria.
Regional authorities in Spain’s Balearic Islands are effectively locking down the Mediterranean archipelago by restricting all but a handful of daily flights and incoming boats for returning island residents.
The move comes after the local Diario de Mallorca newspaper reported that 48 private flights had landed in the islands over the weekend despite Spain’s state of emergency restrictions to stem the coronavirus outbreak. The archipelago has 92 of the country’s more than 11,000 infections.
African nations are seeing two major investments in their coronavirus response.
Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese tech company Alibaba, says his foundation will donate more than 1 million testing kits. That’s 20,000 testing kits to each of Africa’s 54 countries as the coronavirus starts to spread on the continent.
And Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $40 million initiative to help vulnerable countries, notably in Africa.
Britain’s dramatic escalation of social restrictions to fight COVID-19 was sparked by new scientific evidence suggesting that 250,000 people in the U.K. and more than 1 million in the U.S. might die if the country did not suppress the spread of the new coronavirus.
Imperial College London epidemiologists advising the U.K. government have published an analysis drawing on data from Italy, the hardest-hit European country with nearly 28,000 cases and 2,158 deaths.
They found that a strategy of “mitigation” — slowing but not stopping the spread of the virus while protecting vulnerable groups like the elderly — would still lead to a huge number of cases that would overwhelm the health care system.
Wuhan, the city at the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, recorded just one new case on Tuesday as officials said they believed the country was over the worst of the crisis.
Another 20 cases were recorded around the country, including nine in Beijing. All were reported among people who arrived from overseas.
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