March 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, James Griffiths, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:04 a.m. ET, March 28, 2020
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1:42 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

England's chief medical officer says he has coronavirus symptoms

From CNN's Jo Shelley in London 

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty
England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has coronavirus symptoms and is self-isolating at home, he tweeted on Friday.

"After experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19 last night, in line with the guidance, I will be self-isolating at home for the next seven days. I will be continuing to advise the Government on the medical response to Coronavirus, supported by my deputies," Whitty tweeted.

The news comes just hours after the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced they had also tested positive for the coronavirus.

With three of the key people in charge of the UK's response to the pandemic now infected by the virus, it raises the question of how many more people at the top of the British government have been affected.

Johnson had been criticized for continuing to shake people's hands in public while government advice was to keep around two meters away from other people. The Prime Minister, Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance had also been giving regular in-person news conferences to journalists until Tuesday.

Neil Ferguson, a top UK government adviser on the virus, said he believed he had been infected just over a week ago, warning: "There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster."

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, also tested positive for coronavirus this week.

12:24 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

A temporary mortuary will be built at Birmingham Airport in UK

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London 

Work has started on creating a temporary morgue at Birmingham Airport in central England "in preparation for a predicted rise in the number of fatalities from coronavirus," the area's West Midlands police said in a statement on Friday. 

The site will initially be able to accommodate 1,500 deaths, but will expand to hold more, and could ultimately hold all deaths across the West Midlands region including those not related to coronavirus, the statement said.

“Birmingham Airport can confirm that it is working with the authorities to provide land and a hangar for a temporary mortuary site at the Elmdon side of Birmingham Airport, to support with the Covid-19 pandemic," a Birmingham Airport spokesperson said. 

Authorities say they will do everything they can to accommodate different religious requirements, and are working with faith leaders and religious groups. 

“We understand that it is a very difficult time for everyone and we will do all that we can to make sure bereaved families understand what is happening to their loved ones and to release them for funeral as soon as we can," senior Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt said.
12:20 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

France extends coronavirus confinement measures until mid-April

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer in Paris 

The French government has extended measures to confine citizens to their homes during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Friday.

Speaking during a news conference in Paris, Philippe confirmed that government-enforced restrictions on movement will continue to be in place until April 15. 

"After 10 days of confinement, it is clear that we are only at the beginning of the epidemic wave,” the French prime minister told reporters. 

“This period may be extended, depending on the health situation," he added. 

12:21 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Cuomo says his plea for 30,000 more ventilators is based on data and science

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared to respond to comments from the President that the state may not need as many ventilators as the governor has been asking for this week.

Cuomo didn't directly call out President Trump, but he said, "everyone is entitled to an opinion" when asked about pushback on his projection that New York needs 30,000 more ventilators.

He added, "I don't operate on opinion."

On the 30,000 additional ventilators he believes New York needs, Cuomo said, "that's what the data and the science said." He noted that scientists have told him the state may need 140,000 hospital beds and as many as 40,000 ventilators at the apex of the outbreak.

Cuomo said he will "make the decisions based on the data and the science" and "the numbers say you may need 30,000" additional ventilators.

More context: During an interview with Sean Hannity on Thursday, Trump appeared to downplay Cuomo's request for tens of thousands of more ventilators for his state. "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," Trump told Hannity, an apparent reference to New York.

12:17 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

GOP Rep. Massie says he will seek a recorded vote in person on the House floor for stimulus bill

From CNN's Ted Barrett and Manu Raju

Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie tweeted that he will seek a recorded vote, meaning that members would be required to show up in person and vote on the historic stimulus bill. 

Earlier on the House floor, there appeared to be an intense discussion, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seated, Massie standing and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seated behind.

When asked if there will be a roll call vote after Massie's tweet, McCarthy said, "No, we’ll get the bill done with out that."

12:30 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Cuomo: "When someone needs something, there’s no place I’d rather be than New York"

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lauded New Yorkers for showing strength, resiliency and love during the coronavirus outbreak.

“New Yorkers never cease to amaze me, how big their heart is. You know, they talk about New Yorkers are tough. Yeah, you know, we’re tough. To live in a place like this, you have to be tough. But as tough as we are is as loving as we are, and is as big as our heart is,” Cuomo said.

“And when someone needs something, there’s no place I’d rather be than New York.” He also called the outpouring of more than 62,000 retired health care volunteers and 10,000 mental health volunteers in the state “beautiful," he added.

12:11 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

New York governor: "This is a moment that's going to change this nation"

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the coronavirus pandemic will "change this nation." He told New Yorkers that, one day, they'll tell stories about the outbreak to their children and grandchildren.

"You are living a moment in history," he said at a news conference. "This is going to be one of those moments they're gonna write about, they're going to talk about for generations. This is a moment that's going to change this nation."

He continued:

"This is a moment that forges character, forges people, changes people. Make them stronger, make them weaker but this is a moment that will change character, and ten years from now you'll be talking about today, to your children or your grandchildren, and you will shed a tear because you will remember the lives lost, and you'll remember the faces and you'll remember the names and you'll remember how hard we worked, and that we still lost loved ones."

"But you will also be proud," he added. "You'll be proud of what you did. You'll be proud that you showed up. You showed up when other people played it safe, you had the courage to show up."

12:01 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

New York governor says it's "good news" the rate of hospitalizations is slowing

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said hospitalizations from the coronavirus are now doubling every four days. However, he noted that this is a decrease in the rate of hospitalization from earlier this week, when it was doubling every two or three days.

Cuomo said this was "good news" that the rate of hospitalizations is slowing. But he reiterated that rate of new cases of coronavirus is still going up in the state.

"We want to see the rate slowing, and then we want to see the number of actual cases coming down or flattening," Cuomo said.
11:57 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

More than 500 have died from coronavirus in New York, governor says

State of New York
State of New York

At least 519 people have died from coronavirus across New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

That's up from 385 reported deaths.

"That is going to continue to go up, and that is the worst news that I could possibly tell the people of the state of New York," Cuomo said.