March 27 coronavirus news

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9:08 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Will Boris Johnson continue to run the UK?

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab leaves 10 Downing Street after a Cabinet meeting on March 17.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab leaves 10 Downing Street after a Cabinet meeting on March 17. Will Oliver/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would stand in if UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was too unwell to govern the country.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will isolate for seven days after testing positive for the coronavirus, but 10 Downing Street has given no indication that he plans to hand control to Raab in light of his diagnosis.

Downing Street has previously confirmed that Raab would stand in if Johnson was too unwell to continue, PA Media reports.

If Raab also became ill, the Prime Minister has the power to delegate responsibility to any of his ministers, PA reported.

Who is Raab? Raab was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary in July 2019. He has also served as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Minister of State for Housing.

8:45 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Boris Johnson will isolate for 7 days following coronavirus diagnosis

From CNN's Luke McGee in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to Queen Elizabeth II on the phone during their Weekly Audience on March 25.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to Queen Elizabeth II on the phone during their Weekly Audience on March 25. Andrew Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will isolate for seven days after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Staff at 10 Downing Street will observe Public Health England guidelines on contact with the Prime Minister, and will remain 2 meters apart from him at all times in the event they have any contact with him, a spokesperson for the PM said.

The spokesperson said Johnson noticed he had mild symptoms on Thursday afternoon and was tested in 10 Downing Street on the advice of the government's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty. Johnson got the results of the test at midnight last night. 

The 55-year-old Prime Minister has been in self-isolation in his 11 Downing Street apartment, where he will remain, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the health of Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant. 

The official said other people in Number 10 have self-isolated as a result of having symptoms.

Coronavirus in Westminster: The confirmation comes just over a week after a top government adviser on the virus, Neil Ferguson, said he believed he had been infected and warned: "There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster."

Ferguson had met the Prime Minister, as well as Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance. It was unclear, however, where Johnson may have contracted the virus.

8:29 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

There will be 2% loss in annual GDP growth in major economies for each month of containment

From CNN's Chris Liakos

There will be a loss of 2% in annual GDP growth in major economies for each month of containment, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría unveiled the latest estimates in preparation to the G20 virtual summit yesterday, showing that the lockdown will directly affect sectors amounting to up to one third of GDP in the major economies.

“For each month of containment, there will be a loss of 2 percentage points in annual GDP growth. The tourism sector alone faces an output decrease as high as 70%." OECD said in a press release Friday.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría speaks in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría speaks in Davos, Switzerland, in January. Jason Alden/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The group said "many economies will fall into recession."

"This is unavoidable, as we need to continue fighting the pandemic, while at the same time putting all the efforts to be able to restore economic normality as fast as possible,” the statement said.

“Our analysis further underpins the need for sharper action to absorb the shock, and a more coordinated response by governments to maintain a lifeline to people and a private sector that will emerge in a very fragile state when the health crisis is past,” Gurria said.

8:15 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Queen remains in good health, the Palace says

 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Windsor Castle on March 25.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Windsor Castle on March 25. Buckingham Palace via AP

The Queen remains in good health, Buckingham Palace said Friday after news broke that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus.

“The Queen last saw the PM on the 11th March and is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare,” the Palace said in a statement.

Charles tested positive earlier this week: Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II's son and the heir to the British throne, is now self-isolating in Scotland, his office announced Wednesday.

8:04 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Criminals are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis, EU warns

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Criminals are taking advantage of the global coronavirus crisis and their activity is expected to rise as the pandemic drags on, Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency, said in a new report Friday.

"Criminals have been quick to seize opportunities to exploit the crisis by adapting their modi operandi or engaging in new criminal activities," Europol said. 

The number of cyberattacks against organizations and individuals is "significant and is expected to increase," Europol said. A cyberattack on Brno University Hospital in the Czech Republic forced the hospital to shut down its entire IT network, postpone urgent surgical interventions and re-route new acute patients to a nearby hospital.

A large number of new or adapted fraud schemes, such as telephone schemes, supply scams and decontamination scams, can also be expected to emerge over the coming weeks as "fraudsters will attempt to capitalize further on the anxieties of people across Europe," the agency said.  

The sale of counterfeit healthcare and sanitary products, as well as personal protective equipment and counterfeit pharmaceutical products, has also increased "manifold" since the start of the outbreak. Between March 3 and 10 alone, authorities have seized over 34,000 counterfeit surgical masks. 

Europol said organized property theft is also on the rise. Multiple EU member states have reported cases where perpetrators gain access to private homes by impersonating medical staff providing informational material or hygiene products, or conducting a "corona test."

7:44 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

First coronavirus case reported in the Kremlin

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina and Darya Tarasova in Moscow

A view of the Kremlin in Moscow on March 26.
A view of the Kremlin in Moscow on March 26. Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

The first case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in a Kremlin staffer, Russian president’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

“Indeed there are cases of the coronavirus within the administration,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters when asked to comment on recent media reports.

I know of one case and I can confirm it, I’m not aware of a second one... all necessary epidemiological measures are being taken to prevent the virus from spreading further."

According to Peskov, President Vladimir Putin was not in contact with the person who tested positive.

“The President continues to work, he cannot just stop,” Peskov said. "This once again proves the precautionary measures such as inviting everyone who attends the events with the President’s participation to undergo testing are justified."

7:47 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on March 25.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on March 25. WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, he confirmed on Twitter.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, the Prime Minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive. In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street," the spokesperson added.

7:26 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Spain death toll rises by 769 in single day

From Ingrid Formanek and Tim Lister in Spain and Max Ramsay in London

Volunteer workers from a regional search and rescue crew disinfect a stretcher in Pamplona, Spain, on March 26.
Volunteer workers from a regional search and rescue crew disinfect a stretcher in Pamplona, Spain, on March 26. Alvaro Barrientos/AP

At least 4,858 people have died from coronavirus in Spain, with 64,059 cases recorded, according to Spanish Health Ministry data released Friday.

The country's rise in deaths -- up 769 -- was a new record in Spain, though the rate of increase was slower than in the past two days.

Lower increase in cases: The increase in new cases -- 7,871 -- was lower than in the past two days.

On Thursday, Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa had said analysis of recent data from Spain indicated a “phase of stabilization” in the trend of diagnoses.

6:51 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Chinese government investigating test kit maker which supplied Spain

From Shanshan Wang in Beijing, Max Ramsay in London, Ingrid Formanek, Laura Perez-Maestro, and Al Goodman in Spain, and Mia Alberti in Lisbon

A Chinese government regulatory group said on Friday it has launched an investigation into Covid-19 test kit maker which supplied test kits to Spain that were recalled.

On Thursday, the Spanish government said it was recalling 9,000 kits after finding the results to be “unreliable.”

The tests, made by the Chinese company "Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology" were bought "some weeks ago" through a Spanish supplier that imported them from China, the Spanish government said in a statement sent to CNN. When the equipment was tested by Spanish authorities before being put into use, they didn't meet quality levels.

Obviously there was an obligation to return the batches and the supplier is going to change them,” Spanish health ministry official Fernando Simón said at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing. “Also, the health ministry is exploring other providers to provide rapid tests", he said.

The Shenzhen Market Supervisions Administration said on its Weibo account Friday it has launched an investigation into Bioeasy.

Bioeasy posted a statement on its WeChat account Friday to say that the nasopharyngeal swab samples might have been sampled, extracted and handled without strictly following the company's instructions, reducing the accuracy of the tests. Bioeasy added that it didn’t communicate instructions well with customers.