March 13 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:49 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020
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8:30 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Ethiopia reports its first case of coronavirus

From CNN’s Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi

Ethiopia has reported the first case of coronavirus in the country.

The patient is a 48-year-old Japanese citizen who traveled to Ethiopia from Burkina Faso on March 4, according to a statement published by minister of health Lia Tadesse. Tadesse says the patient is “currently isolated at our facility undergoing medical follow up” and is in stable condition.

The statement also said the government has allocated “additional budget for the prevention effort and mobilizing more resources,” has established quarantine and isolation centers, and is working to hire more staff. 

“Since fear and panic are as dangerous as the disease itself, this first positive case in the country should not let us lower our guard but should propel us to redouble our effort to control the disease,” the statement said.
8:25 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Your coronavirus questions, answered

CNN is collecting your questions about coronavirus. We'll be answering some of them here throughout the day.

8:01 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus has officials running the world from home

From CNN's Angela Dewan

More and more of us are working from home as the novel coronavirus spreads -- including many top lawmakers and world leaders.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to run his country in self-isolation after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for coronavirus.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, right, pictured in Quebec, Canada, in October 2019.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, right, pictured in Quebec, Canada, in October 2019. Credit: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

He joins a long list of officials who have removed themselves from public life, including top US lawmakers, a British health minister, Iran's deputy health minister, France's culture minister and the president of the European Parliament.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is currently waiting for the results of a coronavirus test, his son Eduardo Bolsonaro tweeted Thursday, after his press secretary Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for it.

US President Donald Trump is telling people close to him that he is concerned about coming into contact with people who have the coronavirus, including Wajngarten, who was recently with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, CNN's Jim Acosta reports. (However the White House said that contact was minimal and testing is not required.)

Separately, nine US lawmakers -- some of whom had recent contact with Trump -- are now taking steps to self-quarantine as a precaution after coming into contact with another infected person.

Read the full story here.

7:45 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Bollywood megastar shares poem about fighting coronavirus

From CNN's Manveena Suri

One of India’s most influential people has shared a poem on Twitter about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus in a country of more than a billion people.

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan posted a video of himself reciting a few lines of verse that he had “doodled.”

The poem talks about listening to government advice such as washing your hands regularly, staying indoors and practicing social distancing.

"They (officials) ask us to stay at home and they say, 'do not say hello without washing your hands with soap or stay at home.' Yes, we will do what you ask us to do,” says Bachchan as he recites the Hindi poem for his 40.3 million followers.

“Big B,” as he is known across India, also posted a photo of himself preparing to record a message on coronavirus for UNICEF and the Indian government.

Considered a national institution in India, Bachchan has starred in more than 200 movies and hosts the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

He is known for promoting social causes. In 2016, he starred in the courtroom drama “Pink," in which he plays a lawyer fighting for three young female victims of unwanted sexual advances in New Delhi, often considered one of the most unsafe cities for women in India. 

In 2018, he cleared more than $560,000 worth of debt owed by farmers amid an agricultural crisis that had forced many into extreme poverty.

7:47 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Confusion over the availability and criteria for testing is leaving sick people wondering if they're infected

From CNN's Ashley Fantz, Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin

Samples being tested for respiratory viruses are pictured at Leeds General Infirmary in Leeds, England, on Thursday.
Samples being tested for respiratory viruses are pictured at Leeds General Infirmary in Leeds, England, on Thursday. Credit: Danny Lawson/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

A group of first responders in Washington state, a scientist in California, a woman at an assisted living facility in Florida -- all worried because they believe they might have coronavirus but say they can't get tested.

They and many others tell CNN they're suffering symptoms associated with Covid-19, and are worried they may have come into contact with someone who has the virus. They are angry and frustrated after trying to get tested, only to be turned away.

Their stories came into CNN's tip line even as Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday told CNN's morning show, "New Day," that anyone with a doctor's order could get tested.

"There's no barrier ..." Pence said. "Make no mistake about it, we're making steady progress."

A primary care doctor in Massachusetts said Pence's assertion that anyone with doctor's orders for testing can get it is "totally false."

There is strict criteria for testing: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is only approving testing for people who are critically ill, have been exposed to an infected patient, or who have recently traveled to certain heavily impacted countries outside the US.

Even if a patient is approved for testing, there just aren't tests on hand to use, said the physician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Even if the patient were around and exposed to someone coughing, sick, sneezing, I cannot give them a coronavirus test," the doctor said. "We are being crippled by our department of public health and the CDC on our ability to combat this pandemic."

Read the full story here:

7:23 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Chilling photos of abandoned schools, theaters and stadiums across the world

A teacher walks along a hallway of an empty public school in the village of Labastida, in northern Spain, on Wednesday, March 11.
A teacher walks along a hallway of an empty public school in the village of Labastida, in northern Spain, on Wednesday, March 11. Credit: Alvaro Barrientos/AP

Museums, theme parks and places of worship are closing down across the world, leaving usually bustling attractions eerily empty.

In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, people have been asked to avoid crowds and limit their travel, while students and workers are being sent home.

Sporting events have been suspended, trains and planes canceled and conferences postponed.

The result is a strange silence descending on some of the busiest streets and venues in the world.

See all the latest photos here.

7:25 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

English Premier League matches suspended until April 4

Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the English Premier League, addresses journalists during a media briefing on February 4, in London, England.
Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the English Premier League, addresses journalists during a media briefing on February 4, in London, England. Credit: Alex Morton/Getty Images for Premier League

The English Premier League has been suspended until at least April 4, subject to medical advice and conditions at that time.

The decision was made after shareholders met on Friday and unanimously decided to suspend the professional game in England, the EPL said in a statement.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said that the league wished Arsenal's head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi "speedy recoveries," after they both tested positive for coronavirus.

"In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA (Football Association) and EFL (English Football League) and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority," he added.

The aim is to reschedule fixtures when it is safe to do so and further updates will be provided when appropriate, the statement said.

7:08 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

This company created coronavirus test kits in three weeks with the help of an AI-run super computer

From CNN's Ivan Watson, Sophie Jeong, Julia Hollingsworth and Tom Booth

An assembly line where scientists work to create coronavirus test kits at Seegene's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on March 6. 
An assembly line where scientists work to create coronavirus test kits at Seegene's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on March 6.  CNN

Before there were any cases of novel coronavirus confirmed in South Korea, one of the country's biotech firms had begun preparing to make testing kits to identify the disease.

On January 16, Chun Jong-yoon, the chief executive and founder of molecular biotech company Seegene, told his team it was time to start focusing on coronavirus.

That was before the virus sweeping China had been named Covid-19 and four days ahead of South Korea confirming its first case.

"Even if nobody is asking us to, we are a molecular diagnosis company. We have to prepare in advance," he remembered thinking at the time.

Fast forward two months, and South Korea is among the world's worst affected countries, with nearly 8,000 people infected, according to the World Health Organization.

But one reason why South Korea might have a higher number of infections than other countries is its aggressive approach to testing.

While some nations have struggled to get enough test kits to diagnose suspected patients, South Korea has provided free and easy access to testing for anyone who a doctor deems needs it. To date, the country has tested more than 230,000 people.

Part of the reason it was able to do that is the availability of test kits developed by companies like Seegene.

Read the full story of how Seegene created its test kits here.

7:19 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Minister rejects false rumors that "those with black skin cannot get coronavirus" as Kenya records first case

From CNN’s Mia Alberti in London and Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi

Kenya's Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe, center, announces the first confirmed coronavirus case in Kenya, on Friday.
Kenya's Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe, center, announces the first confirmed coronavirus case in Kenya, on Friday. Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Kenya has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, prompting its health secretary to warn that being black is no protection against COVID-19.

Secretary of Health Mutahi Kagwe rejected rumors that “those with black skin cannot get coronavirus” at a news conference, adding that the patient was African.

The government said the patient was a 27-year-old woman who traveled from the United States through London on March 5. The case was identified on March 12 and the government said it had traced all those who had come into contact with her.

Kagwe told reporters the patient is “stable, her temperature has gone down to normal, she’s been eating -- but she can’t be released until the test comes back as negative.”

The government said in a statement that it was strengthening “measures to ensure no further transmission of the disease" in Kenya.

Kenya’s Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, said the country’s economy would be “hit badly,” and that the tourism sector would be the most affected.

Balala said the government has allocated 500 million Kenyan shillings ($4.8 million) for “PR and marketing post-coronavirus.”