March 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Sheena McKenzie and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:06 PM ET, Thu March 12, 2020
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3:29 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

A rush of news just happened. We'll catch you up on what's closed, canceled and postponed.

From CNN's Brian Stelter

The country's slow-motion coronavirus shutdown is speeding up. Companies and organizations are making new announcements almost every minute. These are just some of the announcements from the past few hours:

  • Broadway is going dark.
  • The PGA Tour is banning fans.
  • The NFL is cancelling its annual meeting.
  • Numerous basketball tournaments are canceled.
  • Major League Soccer's season has been suspended.
  • The National Hockey League's season has been suspended.
  • This month's release of "A Quiet Place II" has been postponed.
  • The next "Fast and Furious" movie has been rescheduled for April 2021.
  • Some scripted television shows are pausing production. Additional talk shows are forgoing studio audiences.
  • The Montclair Film Festival is being rescheduled.
  • Jerry Seinfeld's comedy shows are being postponed.
  • Billy Joel's performances at Madison Square Garden are being delayed until the fall.
  • The Metropolitan Museum, Carnegie Hall and other New York museums are temporarily closing.
  • In Washington, The National Archives has canceled events through the beginning of March.
  • In Los Angeles, City Hall will close to all non-city hall employees.
  • Sunday's Democratic debate on CNN is being moved from Phoenix to Washington.
  • The Association of Tennis Professionals suspended the men's pro tour.
  • NASCAR will hold races without fans.

And within minutes of writing this post, the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland was postponed and Duke University suspended all athletic competition.


3:22 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Bernie Sanders calls for Trump to declare a national emergency

Charles Krupa/AP
Charles Krupa/AP

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said today that it's time for President Trump to declare a national emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also criticized the President, calling him "incompetent."


3:14 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Israel orders immediate closure of schools and universities

From CNN's Oren Liebermann, Michael Schwartz and Amir Tal in Jerusalem

Oded Balilty/Pool/AP/File
Oded Balilty/Pool/AP/File

Israel will close its schools and universities for five weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday evening. 

Schools will close immediately and will remain closed until after the annual Passover holiday, which concludes on April 16. The new directive does not include kindergartens, boarding schools, special education classes, and schools for at-risk youth. 

The announcement comes as Israel has recorded 109 confirmed coronavirus cases. In addition, there are 31 cases in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Netanyahu also called for the formation of an emergency unity government "without hesitation, without delay," as Israel tries to handle the spread of coronavirus.

"It will be an emergency government for a limited period of time and together we will fight to save the lives of our citizens. We have to put politics aside. There will be time to return to exactly the same place," Netanyahu said. "The national responsibility and the personal responsibility will overcome every other consideration."

Israel is mired in more than a year of ongoing political deadlock which has made it difficult to pass budgets, set priorities, and manage the country, after three elections failed to deliver a clear majority for Netanyahu or his main rival Benny Gantz.

The swearing-in of Israel's new parliament, scheduled to take place this coming Monday, will be done in small groups and with no spectators to minimize the risks of contamination.

3:24 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

How can I protect myself while using Uber or Lyft?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images
Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images

Both rideshare companies said they're actively trying to protect customers and drivers from coronavirus.

Uber said it is trying to give drivers disinfectants to help keep their cars clean, and the company "may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19."

Uber said it's working with public health organizations who might tell them to pause an account. If that happens, Uber would suspend that account and those of any connected riders.

Lyft announced a similar policy: "If we are notified of a rider or driver testing positive for COVID-19, they will be temporarily suspended from using Lyft until they are medically cleared."

Both Lyft and Uber also said they will protect drivers financially if they are asked to isolate themselves.

"Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold," Uber said.

"We've already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we're working to quickly implement this worldwide."

3:27 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

The CDC recommends polling sites take these steps for Tuesday's elections

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Several states — including Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona — are voting on Tuesday in primary elections  

The The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released recommendations for election polling locations. Here's a look at some of the steps health officials suggest:

  • Encourage voters to use voting methods that minimize direct contact with other people and reduce crowd size at polling stations.
  • For poll workers handling mail-in ballots, practice hand hygiene frequently.
  • Provide hand sanitizer and other sanitizing materials.
  • Frequently wipe down voting machines.
3:30 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Virginia declares state of emergency due to coronavirus concerns

Zach Gibson/Getty Images/File
Zach Gibson/Getty Images/File

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in response to novel coronavirus.

This will create more flexibility in the commonwealth’s ability to respond to the health crisis and resulting issues, Northam said.

At least 21 states plus Washington, D.C., have declared emergencies, which allows them to waive certain regulations. However, a governor has to ask the President to issue a declaration that would free up federal funds and kickstart the process to provide additional resources.

3:05 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Germany’s coronavirus cases rise by 802 new patients

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Germany has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours rising by 802 to 2,369 cases, the Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases said on Thursday.

This includes five deaths since the outbreak began.

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

India reports first death from coronavirus

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

The Indian Health Ministry announced Thursday the death of a 76-year-old man who was infected with the coronavirus.

According to the statement, the man had traveled to Saudi Arabia from Jan. 29 to Feb. 29.

This is the first death from coronavirus reported in India.

3:32 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Duke University men's basketball team will not participate in March Madness

From CNN's David Close

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Duke University men’s basketball team, despite being ranked tenth in the country, will not participate in the upcoming March Madness basketball tournament, following the university’s decision to suspended all athletic competition.

Duke’s Director of Sports Information Mike DeGeorge confirmed the news to CNN.

Duke’s famed basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, applauded the news, saying in a statement, “We emphatically support the decision made by (Duke University President) Dr. Price today regarding the suspension of athletic competition at Duke.”