March 16 coronavirus news

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7:59 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort closes for deep clean after confirmed coronavirus cases

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump appears with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7.
President Trump appears with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7. Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

After multiple confirmed cases at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last week, including a fundraiser attendee and an aide to the Brazilian President, the club is undergoing a deep clean, a member told CNN.

Members were notified via email that the club will be closed Monday for cleaning. This includes its grand ballroom but excludes the beach club, which is across the street from the main area and will remain open.

Dinner will be served as usual Tuesday through Saturday.

7:51 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Airlines call for governments worldwide to help with "unprecedented challenges"

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Ryanair and Easy Jet planes are seen at John Paul II Krakow-Balice International Airport in Krakow, Poland, on Sunday.
Ryanair and Easy Jet planes are seen at John Paul II Krakow-Balice International Airport in Krakow, Poland, on Sunday. Credit: Artur Widak/NurPhoto Getty Images

Airlines are calling on governments across the globe to take further measures over the "unprecedented challenges" faced by the industry during the coronavirus outbreak.

Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance, which represent almost 60 airlines between them, said they were “jointly calling on governments and stakeholders to take action to alleviate the unprecedented challenges faced by the global airline industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The statement urged governments “to prepare for the broad economic effects from actions taken by states to contain the spread of Covid-19, and to evaluate all possible means to assist the airline industry."

The alliances called on airport operators to evaluate landing charges and fees "to mitigate the financial pressure faced by airlines due to a severe decline in passenger demand.” They welcomed recent moves by some regulators to temporarily suspend slot regulations and urged others to follow suit.

The International Air Transport Association estimates up to $113 billion in revenue losses for global passenger airlines. The alliances warned that the forecasted revenue loss does not include travel restrictions recently imposed by the US and other countries.

European low-cost carrier Ryanair said that it could not rule out the full grounding of its aircraft fleet as a result of the coronavirus.

The airline said in a press release Monday that travel restrictions “many of which have been imposed without notice” have had a significant negative impact, and it expected the result would be the grounding of the majority of its aircraft across Europe over the next seven to 10 days.

"We are working with our people and our unions across all EU countries to address this extraordinary and unprecedented Covid-19 event," the company said.

Ryanair said it was taking immediate action to reduce expenses by freezing recruitment and discretionary spending, implementing voluntary leave options, temporarily suspending employment contracts, and making significant reductions to working hours and payments.

7:37 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

UN steps up support for refugees in Iran during virus outbreak

From CNN's Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Hira Humayun in Atlanta

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has enhanced its emergency support to refugees in Iran following the coronavirus outbreak there, it said in a statement on Sunday.

The UNHCR has begun “distributing items such as soap and disposable paper towels to some 7,500 refugee households living in refugee settlements across the country,” according to the statement.

We stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and authorities and are fully mobilized to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable, including refugees,” said Ivo Freijsen, UNHCR Representative in Iran.

Iran is one of the countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases outside mainland China.

“Refugees, most of whom live side-by-side with host communities in villages, towns and cities, are at the same risk of catching and transmitting the new coronavirus as Iranians,” the statement added.

7:22 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Germany issues economic warning as Bavaria declares state of emergency

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Markus Soeder, minister-president of Bavaria, speaks at a press conference in the German state on Monday.
Markus Soeder, minister-president of Bavaria, speaks at a press conference in the German state on Monday. Credit: Matthias Balk/picture alliance/Getty Images

The German state of Bavaria has declared a state of emergency as the country's economics ministry issued a stark warning.

Markus Soeder, premier of the southern state bordering Switzerland and Austria, said on Monday in Munich that “the situation is very serious and changing every day, unfortunately not for the better.”

Meanwhile, in a statement released Monday, the German Ministry for Economics said that the coronavirus outbreak was affecting the country's economy.

Trucks line up at a border crossing between Austria and Germany, in the Bavarian town of Kiefersfelden on Monday.
Trucks line up at a border crossing between Austria and Germany, in the Bavarian town of Kiefersfelden on Monday. Credit: Peter Kneffel/picture alliance/Getty Images

"How strong and for how long cannot yet be reliably assessed because no meaningful economic data are available yet," read the statement.

“It is also still too uncertain how fast and how much the coronavirus will spread. Due to the very dynamic development, however, relevant economic effects must be expected.

"The German economy was in the process of overcoming the phase of weakness which had persisted since the beginning of 2018, related to the global industrial recession and the trade conflicts ... This is no longer expected.”


6:57 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

NBA player donates $100K to help with coronavirus testing

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns announced Sunday that he is donating $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic to assist with coronavirus testing.

"My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall Covid-19 response," the Minnesota Timberwolves center wrote on Twitter.

Dr. William Morice II, chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic, said in a statement: “Our team has been working around the clock for the past month to develop a test for Covid-19. We are blown away by Karl’s gesture to help us fast-track offering testing to more patients across Minnesota and the nation."

According to the statement, the clinic expects Towns' donation to help increase testing capacity from 200 per day to more than 1,000 tests per day in the coming weeks. 

6:48 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

A woman in India fled coronavirus testing. A police case has been opened against her father

From CNN's Manveena Suri and Esha Mitra in New Delhi

Police in India have opened a case against a man for misleading health officials about the whereabouts of his daughter who tested positive for coronavirus.

The man in the northern city of Agra was booked for “unlawfully or negligently spreading a disease that is dangerous to life," according to police officials.

His daughter, whose husband had tested positive for coronavirus on March 12, evaded testing in the southern city of Bengaluru and fled to her parents home in Agra.

When health authorities began reaching out to close contacts of the husband, the woman's father said she had already left the city for New Delhi. Later police discovered the woman was still in Agra and has since tested positive for coronavirus, according to Prabhu N. Singh, the city's district magistrate.

A case was registered against the father for “a malignant act likely to spread infection of disease."

The woman's husband arrived in India from Greece on March 6, according to B. Sriramulu, Minister of Health and Family Welfare for Karnataka state.

7:12 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Dow futures plunge 1,000 points after Fed cuts interest rate to zero

From CNN’s Rob McLean, Laura He and Julia Horowitz

Global stock markets plunged Monday as investors were unnerved by drastic action from the US Federal Reserve to cushion the blow from coronavirus and data showed the outbreak has caused an unprecedented economic collapse in China.

Markets were battered across Asia, with Australia's benchmark index crashing nearly 10% in its worst day on record. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 fell 7% in early trading, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX dropped roughly 9%. 

A view of digital market boards at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney, Australia, on Monday.
A view of digital market boards at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney, Australia, on Monday. Credit: James Gourley/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

US markets were poised to suffer heavy losses. Dow futures were last down 1,041 points, or about 4.5%. S&P 500 futures slumped 4.8%, while Nasdaq futures shed 4.5%. There are now more than 3,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to government agencies and the CDC.

Investors bailed out of stocks despite a major intervention by the US Federal Reserve on Sunday. The central bank slashed rates to close to zero at an emergency meeting, and said it would purchase another $700 billion worth of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

The rate cut is designed to prevent the economic shock leading to the kind of credit crunch and financial market disruptions that occurred during the global financial crisis -- the last time the Fed cut rates all the way to the bottom. 

"I don't think [the Fed] would have done this unless they felt the financial markets were at significant risk of freezing up tomorrow. They're very concerned the financial markets won't work. So I don't know how the markets take solace in this," Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, told CNN Business.

On Monday, airline stocks were badly hit as they announced waves of flight cancellations in response to global travel restrictions. Air France KLM opened 12% lower and IAG, owner of British Airways, fell 16%.

Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, declined 6% to $31.83 per barrel.

Read the full story here


6:24 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Russia to shut Belarus border in one of several "proactive steps"

From CNN’s Nathan Hodge in Moscow

Russia will close its border with neighboring Belarus because of the coronavirus pandemic, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Monday.

Mishustin said in a meeting that the decision to prevent the movement of people across the border was one of several “proactive steps” the Russian government was taking to combat the spread of the virus.

“People all over the world are being forced to change their usual way of life,” he said. “The proactive measures that we took back in February of this year allowed us to seriously limit the spread of coronavirus in Russia. We must do everything so the situation does not develop as it has in other countries, and we are consistently, depending on the spread of the pandemic, closing our borders.”

Russia moved to close its lengthy border with China as coronavirus spread in Asia. Russia has 63 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and Belarus has 27.

6:12 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Two US ER doctors in critical condition with coronavirus

From CNN's Alta Spells

Two emergency doctors in the US are in a critical condition after they were infected with the coronavirus, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

One doctor is in his 40s in the state of Washington, the second is a 70-year-old from New Jersey.

The physician in Paterson, NJ, leads his institution’s emergency preparedness and was admitted to the hospital several days ago with upper respiratory problems. He remains in isolation in its intensive care unit.

ACEP President William Jaquis said: “I am deeply saddened by this news, but not surprised. As emergency physicians, we know the risks of our calling. We stand united with our colleagues and our thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery are with each of them and their families.

"It is my hope that these colleagues and their cases serve as a reminder to each of us to stay vigilant. This virus is dangerous, and its impact is still unfolding," Jaquis added.

"As emergency physicians, we answer the call to care for our most vulnerable, even at great personal risk. Knowing that, I urge each of you to meticulously follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself."