March 23 coronavirus news

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9:46 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

9:25 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Amazon suspends thousands of sellers over coronavirus price gouging

Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images/File
Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images/File

Amazon says it has removed more than half a million listings that it believes are engaging in price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The online giant also says it has suspended nearly 4,000 accounts in the US for violating the company’s rules on pricing.

In its corporate blog, Amazon says it is monitoring sellers to make sure they are not price gouging or making false claims related to Covid-19.

Amazon says it has reached out to every state attorney general to help monitor price gouging.

“We are also proactively sharing information with state attorneys general and federal regulators about sellers we suspect have engaged in egregious price gouging of products related to the Covid-19 crisis,” Amazon’s statement reads.
9:07 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Cuban government will lock down island over coronavirus concerns

Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images
Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

Cuban officials on Monday announced they are limiting travel throughout the island and abroad for their citizens and closed all schools starting Tuesday for nearly a month to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  

The Cuban government will “regulate” Cubans ability to leave the communist-run island, said Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, “to protect their health, their family neighbors and work comrades.” 

Marrero said Cubans would need to present a “humanitarian reason” for travel abroad and for Cubans traveling between different provinces on the island. 

Last week, Cuban officials said tourism is banned on the island starting Tuesday and that all Cuban and foreign residents returning from abroad would have to undergo supervised quarantine for 14 days.

Despite that announcement, Marrero said, more than 32,000 foreign tourists remained on the island. Starting Tuesday, he announced, tourists would be banned from leaving their hotels as the government worked to return them to their home countries. 

“No one can go into the street,” Marrero said of the tourists.

School classes would be suspended starting Tuesday until at least April 20, he announced. All Cubans are required to study in state-run schools.

So far, Cuba has announced the island has 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 1,036 people have been hospitalized for observation.

Marrero also announced that Cubans waiting in “colas” or long lines for hard to find items would need to keep at least one meter (approximately 3 feet) in distance from other people.

He said additional police would be dispatched throughout the island to enforce the new measures.  

 

 

9:10 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

US Olympic & Paralympic Committee says path to postponing 2020 Games is "most promising"

Jae C. Hong/AP
Jae C. Hong/AP

In a statement released Monday night, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland and Chair Susanne Lyons said that the organization has heard the concerns from Team USA athletes regarding the upcoming 2020 Games, and that the “path toward postponement is the most promising.”

Hirshland and Lyons continued: “We encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors.”

8:57 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Washington state orders residents to stay at home for next 2 weeks

Elaine Thompson/AP
Elaine Thompson/AP

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee issued a new order Monday night that requires residents to stay at home for the next two weeks.

The order takes effect immediately. Exceptions were made for jobs deemed critical and grocery shopping.

"This weapon — distancing ourselves — is the only weapon we have against this virus," Inslee said in a televised address.

8:36 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Children's hospital in Chicago cancels mobile testing site due to lack of materials

One of Chicago’s leading children’s hospitals had to scrap plans to host a mobile testing site, which was scheduled Tuesday on the city’s north side after it said both of its vendors weren’t able to fill orders for testing supplies.

It’s another example of how difficult it can be to get tested for Covid-19.

Julie Pesch, spokesperson for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, told CNN the site was designed to be for pediatric patients not admitted to the hospital who are experiencing symptoms of the virus.

The hospital was hoping to alleviate an onslaught of pressure both its hospital and individual pediatricians across the city are facing. But because of the high demand for testing and a lack of testing supplies like nasal swabs, those plans were cut short on Friday. 

“Our normal operational process is to hold 2-4 days of supply on a product like this. Last week (March 16) when we went to purchase an elevated quantity, due to the Covid-19 needs, we were informed by both our primary and secondary vendors that they were not able to fill orders,” Pesch said 

The hospital was hoping parents with an appointment would be able to get a child tested every 15 minutes. But now the hospital says sick patients will need to go through their regular pediatricians for testing.

The lack of supplies to launch such an effort “is a big deal,” Pesch said. “The more testing that we can do, that means the less children that we have in the emergency department, in the pediatrician's office. That means we don’t have to use as much PPE. That is the main message that we’re trying to get across.”

“Other hospitals are in the same situation,” said Danny Chun, spokesperson for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. The lack of testing supplies remain a problem, he added.

The Advocate Aurora Health hospital system announced Friday that it was suspending a similar program that had already launched because of the national shortage of test kit supplies.

8:25 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

US Army Fort Jackson confirms two positive coronavirus cases 

A Fort Jackson, South Carolina, officer and a soldier have both tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement Monday. 

Both service members are in isolation and receiving the necessary medical care, and the Fort Jackson Public Health Team is working to identify anyone else who may have been exposed to the virus, according to the statement from Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. 

Following the announcement of the two cases, Fort Jackson tweeted to visitors, urging them "to plan ahead and to expect delays at Gates 1, 2, and 4" as "the Department of the Army Security Guards are conducting a general health & welfare assessment, including a temperature check, of everyone entering Fort Jackson."

8:55 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Melania Trump tested for coronavirus

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

First lady Melania Trump has been tested for coronavirus and is doing fine, President Trump said at Monday's briefing.

This is the first time the President confirmed his wife was also tested for Covid-19.

The President, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have all been tested for coronavirus, and all were negative.

“The first lady was tested on the same night as President Trump was tested, out of an abundance of caution. The test was negative,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN. Both Trumps were tested at the White House on March 13.

8:01 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

San Diego closes all parks, beaches and trails to prevent the spread of coronavirus

In response to numerous reports of gatherings at parks and beaches over the weekend, San Diego will move forward with the closure of all parks, beaches, boardwalks, city lakes and trails, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced at a news conference Monday. 

"It's time to protect each other," he said. "Physical distance is the key to beating this virus and that is why we're acting today. It is simply irresponsible to congregate and it is unfair to the rest of San Diego."

Faulconer went on to say that San Diego police officers will be permitted to enforce the new rules with fines.