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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9:47 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

FDA gives emergency approval for new coronavirus test

The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it is allowing emergency use of a novel coronavirus testing system designed by Roche Molecular Systems “within 24 hours of receiving the application,” the agency said.

A sign for Roche Molecular Systems is pictured in Branchburg, New Jersey, in May 2015.
A sign for Roche Molecular Systems is pictured in Branchburg, New Jersey, in May 2015. Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa/AP Images

This is the first commercially distributed diagnostic test to receive an emergency use authorization during the COVID-19 outbreak, the FDA said.

“Laboratories can immediately run tests on Roche’s high-volume platform, which will greatly increase national testing capacity,” the agency said.

FDA also announced its allowing the New York State Department of Health to authorize some New York laboratories to test for the novel coronavirus after validating their tests. Generally, a lab would have to pursue emergency use authorization through the FDA

The FDA granted this flexibility based on the urgent public health need for additional testing capability, according to a statement.

11:57 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Ohio governor explains his decision to close all schools: "You got to try to slow this thing down early"

An empty classroom is shown at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio on Thursday.
An empty classroom is shown at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio on Thursday. Credit: Tony Dejak/AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he decided to close the state's schools after he spoke to experts who told him, “two weeks is too late. Another week is too late.”

All Ohio K-12 public, private and charter schools will close Monday evening through at least April 3.

“You got to try to slow this thing down early,” DeWine said on CNN today. “And even though we only have five confirmed cases, we feel that we could have up to 100,000 people in Ohio right now who are carrying around the coronavirus.”

DeWine added that they actually don’t know if 100,000 people are walking around with coronavirus — but there is some science behind their estimate due to the community spread.

“This thing multiplies, we’re told, every six days,” the governor said.  

DeWine said the decision to shut down schools was “gut-wrenching” because so many students rely on getting meals there. He says they are discussing keeping on cafeteria staff and bus drivers and trying to get the food out in the community that way.

He also said they have the capacity for another 1,000 coronavirus test at this time.

9:31 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

8th English Premier League club is self-quarantining due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

A match ball is pictured during the Premier League game between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium in London, England, on March 7.
A match ball is pictured during the Premier League game between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium in London, England, on March 7. Credit: Alex Morton/Getty Images

English Premier League soccer club, West Ham United, has become the eighth team in the league to confirm that they are self-quarantining as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak.

The club said the decision was made after members of the West Ham United team had been in direct contact with the Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, at their English Premier League game at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Saturday, March 7.

Arsenal confirmed yesterday that Arteta had tested positive for coronavirus and that their club staff who had recent contact with him would now self-isolate.

West Ham United join fellow Premier League sides Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Watford, AFC Bournemouth and Everton in having players either tested for Coronavirus or in quarantine.

All elite soccer in England has since been suspended until at least April 3 as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

9:17 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Prince Charles cancels spring trips because of coronavirus

From CNN’s Max Foster

 

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, background, leave after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London, England, on March 9.
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, background, leave after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London, England, on March 9. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have canceled their spring tour because of "the unfolding situation with the coronavirus pandemic,” a Clarence House spokesperson said Friday.

Prince Charles and Camilla were scheduled to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan. 

 

11:57 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

New Rochelle mayor says containment zone isn't under martial law

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A member of the National Guard distributes food to residents near the containment zone in New Rochelle, New York, on March 12.
A member of the National Guard distributes food to residents near the containment zone in New Rochelle, New York, on March 12. Credit: Wang Ying/Xinhua/Getty Images

The mayor of New Rochelle — the New York City suburb that is inside a containment zone — said the National Guard’s purpose in the community is to assist with operations and logistics including the delivery of meals to public school students, the distribution of supplies, cleaning public facilities.

While they are in uniform, they are unarmed and driving around in rented mini vans, Noam Bramson said.

He added it’s not as though the community is under “lock down” or “martial law” but adds we are “facing a serious challenge and our community is rising to the occasion."

“The National Guard is not here to maintain a sort of perimeter,” he said on CNN’s New day

He describes the containment zone as “an area within which large gatherings within large institutions are prohibited which is a sensible means of mitigating the spread of the virus in an area which has a high concentration of positive tests."

He added “it’s not an exclusion zone, it’s not a quarantine zone.” 

His message to the community this weekend is to moreover practice “common sense public health practices” 

When asked if people should dine in restaurants, he said while he and his family dined out yesterday in the heart of the containment zone to support the local community “everyone needs to make a decision based on their own circumstances”

“It’s about striking the right balance.”

9:14 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Australian state of Queensland prepares for 25% infection rate

From CNN's Isaac Yee

The Australian state of Queensland is preparing for an infection rate of up to 25%, while the state of New South Wales is predicting a 20% infection rate.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young told a media briefing on Friday: "We are preparing up to 25% of the Queensland population getting this infection in the next six months."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Queensland's population is 5 million, meaning health officials are preparing for 1.25 million infections. Dr. Young added that of those, 20% or 200,000 people will "do worse" and may require hospitalization.

In a state government hearing on budget estimates on Thursday, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said: "We are anticipating 20% of the population in the first wave will be infected."

According to the ABS, the NSW population is 8 million, meaning Dr. Chant estimates that 1.6 million people will be infected. Dr. Chant added that every person that has the novel coronavirus will pass it on to an average of 2.68 other people.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Cabinet will not quarantine, despite meeting with Home Minster Peter Dutton on Tuesday, according to a tweet from his office. 

Dutton, who tested positive for the virus on Friday, also met with Ivanka Trump and Attorney General William Barr last week.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference on Friday in Sydney, Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference on Friday in Sydney, Australia. Credit: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

9:07 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

UK's chief scientist explains plan to "delay peak" and create "herd immunity" to coronavirus

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance attends a news conference addressing the UK government's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak in London, on March 12.
Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance attends a news conference addressing the UK government's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak in London, on March 12. Credit : Simon Dawson/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The UK government's chief scientific adviser has explained the country's plan to "delay the peak" until summertime and attempt to create "herd immunity" to the novel coronavirus.

Patrick Vallance, Britain's chief scientific adviser, told Reuters that the UK's strategy -- which has not yet included closing schools, banning events or advising people to work from home -- was aimed at preventing the National Health Service from being overwhelmed.

"We think this virus is likely to be one that comes back year on year and becomes like a seasonal virus and communities will become immune to it and that's going to be an important part of controlling this longer term," Vallance said, according to Reuters. "60% is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity." 

He said the goal was to "protect people in the most infectious period" and "delay the peak and to push the peak down" until the summer months, when the NHS is less overburdened, according to Reuters.

The UK is thought to be about four weeks behind Italy and other European countries, with between 5,000 and 10,000 people believed to be infected.

As of Thursday morning, the UK had tested 29,764 people. There have been almost 600 confirmed cases and eight people have died. 

8:48 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

French football and Indian cricket suspended until further notice 

From CNN’s Vedika Sud in New Delhi and Aleks Klosok in London

France's soccer league has joined its counterparts in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US in bringing a halt to its season.

The top two French divisions have been suspended “until further notice” because of the coronavirus outbreak, the governing body for the country's major leagues confirmed on Friday.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said in a statement after an emergency meeting that the decision had been taken “unanimously” to stop playing with immediate effect in both Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.

European soccer's governing body UEFA will meet on Tuesday to discuss further implications for international soccer.

In other sporting cancelations, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend the Indian Premier League (IPL) until April 15.

The BCCI is concerned and sensitive about all its stakeholders and public health in general, and it is taking all necessary steps to ensure that all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah in a press release. 

The IPL was scheduled to commence in India on March 29.

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.