March 12 coronavirus news

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3:31 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Amtrak workers are concerned about coronavirus exposure and possible layoffs, union official says

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

John Feltz, director of the Transport Workers Union train division — which represents workers at Amtrak, seven regional passenger rail lines, and three major freight rail lines — says workers are very concerned about potentially contracting coronavirus or losing their jobs. 

“We are all very concerned for ourselves and our families with the virus that’s going on,” he said. “They are very concerned and yet they do go to work every day.” 

The concern is particularly strong among coach cleaners who do the disinfecting of trains. He said they’ve been given protective gear like gloves, “but you never know what could happen at any time.”  

He said rail companies may look to labor for cost savings. “If they feel they’re losing money, the first place they cut on is labor.” 

2:28 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New York has 328 coronavirus cases

New York has 328 cases of coronavirus, with 112 new cases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

Here's where the cases are located in the state:

2:58 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell says he tested positive for coronavirus

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell admitted that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Mitchell posted the news on his verified Instagram account. On Thursday, ESPN and other media outlets, reported that his teammate Rudy Gobert and now Mitchell have tested positive for coronavirus.

Here's what Mitchell said.

“Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them. I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the @utahjazz who have been so supportive. I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help”

Earlier on Thursday, the Jazz revealed that two of their players had tested positive for coronavirus. The Jazz have not named either player.

CNN Sports has reached out multiple times to the Jazz and the League but has not gotten a reply.

3:31 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Norwegian to temporarily lay off up to 50% of its employees due to coronavirus concerns

Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images/File
Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images/File

European budget airline Norwegian said Thursday it will temporarily lay off half of its staff “following the US ban on travel from most of Europe and the escalating coronavirus situation.”

“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus, and thus a dramatic drop in customers and subsequent production decline, we must look at all possible measures to reduce costs. This unfortunately also includes temporary layoffs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase. All departments will be affected by the temporary layoffs,” the company said in a statement. 

The company also announced it will ground 40% of its long-haul fleet and cancel up 25% of its short-haul flights until the end of May.

“This is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the care and safety of our customers and colleagues. The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation. We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery," Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said.

2:55 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Broadway theaters' maximum capacity is now 50% of total seats, governor says

Broadway theaters in New York City are required to have maximum capacity of 50% of total seating as of 5 p.m. ET today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. 

“Fifty percent of your seated capacity will be the new capacity,” Cuomo said.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, other facilities will be required to adhere to the same rules if the venue can hold up to 500 people, the governor said.

The exceptions for that rule are:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Mass transit

All gatherings of 500 people are also banned, Cuomo said.

Watch:

2:43 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New Mexico suspends all gatherings of over 100 people

From CNN’s Danielle Sills

New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel Thursday issued an order temporarily prohibiting more than 100 people from gathering in one place in New Mexico in response to the coronavirus, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The types of places covered by the order are spaces like auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference centers and theaters.

 

 

2:12 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New Jersey governor recommends cancellation of large public events

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in 2019.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in 2019. Lars Niki/Getty Images for 2019 Montclair Film Festival

 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday his office is recommending canceling all public gatherings of 250 people or more, including concerts, sporting events, and parades.

“These measures are being taken as part of our coordinated response to the continued outbreak and to aggressively mitigate the spread of the virus,” his office said in a statement.

 

3:31 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

As bars and restaurants in Italy close, so too does a way of life

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Hada Messia in Rome

For Lorenzo Vanni, Thursday was truly historic — it was the first day in 53 years his bar-restaurant in Rome, called Vanni, didn’t serve a single drink or meal. 

In the district of Prati, just next to Vatican City, Vanni has every year stayed open on Christmas Day, January 1 and even Ferragosto, a day when just about everyone leaves the city to celebrate the Feast of Assumption. 

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday night expanded already heavy restrictions to include bars, restaurants and shops, now forced to close their doors as the country tries to slow its coronavirus infection rate.  

Vanni in Rome, closed for its first day in 53 years under Italy's coronavirus lockdown.
Vanni in Rome, closed for its first day in 53 years under Italy's coronavirus lockdown. Hada Messia

“Today in Rome the atmosphere is surreal. It's strange, like in a movie. I am stunned, incredulous. It has never happened before,” Vanni said. 

“During a war, for example, you hear planes flying over your head, but now the enemy is invisible."

He says he's very worried about its employees. "It's a total disaster for workers.”

Vanni was founded by Lorenzo grandfather in 1929 and has moved locations several times, finding its current spot in 1967.

With pride, he described Vanni is a Roman landmark "where people meet and chat, socialize — it’s a point of reference in the neighborhood.”

"People called me this morning asking me where they will eat from now on,” he said.

"My main concern are the employees, their families and mine of course. Now we have to think about how to buy supplies and the state must put everyone in a position to do so."

He is asking the government to offer businesses like his tax relief.

“Otherwise it will condemn companies to certain closure."

Vanni found its current spot in 1967.
Vanni found its current spot in 1967. Hada Messia

2:08 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

More than 313,000 US public school students will be out of classes

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Chris Boyette, Andie Garcia and James Froio

School districts in at least four states have announced long-term school closures for K-12 public school students amounting to at least 313,901 students who will be out of their schools over the coming days.

Here's a breakdown of the closures:

  • This afternoon, officials in Connecticut announced long-term closures for Stamford and New Haven Public Schools — two of the larger public school districts in the state. There are approximately 37,000 total students that attend the two school districts in total.
  • In Washington state, at least eight school districts have announced long-term school closures effecting at least 128,174 students. Seattle Public Schools, Lake Washington School District, and Shoreline School District all begin their long-term closures today. Snohomish County School District, Edmonds School District, Riverview School District, and Bellevue School District announce closures in the coming days. Northshore School District begin online instruction earlier this week.
  • In Tennessee, Shelby County School District announced this morning a long-term closure beginning Friday that will effect at least 100,000 students in their school district.
  • In New York, three schools in the New Rochelle School District are closed through March 25: New Rochelle High School, Albert Leonard Middle School and William B. Ward Elementary School.