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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1:25 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Italy records highest daily jump in coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite in London

Medical staff get ready to receive a Covid-19 patient arriving by helicopter at the Spedali Civili Hospital, in Brescia, Italy, Friday, March 27.
Medical staff get ready to receive a Covid-19 patient arriving by helicopter at the Spedali Civili Hospital, in Brescia, Italy, Friday, March 27. Luca Bruno/AP

The number of people who died of coronavirus in Italy has risen by 969, the biggest daily jump since the crisis began. 

The total number of deaths now stands at 9,134, according to Italy's Civil Protection Agency. 

There has been an increase of 4,401 cases of coronavirus in the past day, the Civil Protection Agency said. 

The total number of recorded coronavirus cases in Italy, including deaths and those who recovered, now stands at 86,498.

Clarification: The 969 figure includes 50 deaths that were not included in Thursday’s figures.

12:41 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Alabama governor orders all nonessential business to close


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday she is ordering the closure of all nonessential businesses in the state due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

All nonessential businesses are being asked to close at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Ivey said they have broken their nonessential businesses into four categories:

  • Entertainment, athletic venues, nonessential “close contact” service establishments, and nonessential retail stores.

The businesses will remain closed through April 17. 

Ivey went on to say that she will not be issuing a statewide shutdown. 

As of Friday morning, Alabama has recorded 540 cases of coronavirus.

12:35 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Vermont will close schools for the remainder of the year

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said in a news conference today that he has closed in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year, but is asking schools to continue virtual learning.

He said he fully understand this is hard and the impact it will have on families, but he believes it is important to keep people safe.

12:34 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Apple releases website and app for coronavirus screening

From CNN’s Brian Fung


Apple on Friday released a website and an iOS app that allows users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms, marking another response to the pandemic by a major tech platform. 

Both tools were developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the White House's Coronavirus Task Force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Apple said in a statement to CNN. The app and website include a questionnaire and information about the novel coronavirus. 

The website is

The app can be downloaded here:

Apple said it will not collect or store users’ answers to the questionnaire, though it will collect anonymous information about usage of the tools.

12:33 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

World Health Organization will ship equipment to 60 more countries

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

As the world faces a global shortage of medical equipment, the World Health Organization is planning to ship personal protective equipment to doctors in 60 more countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing in Geneva today.

"The chronic global shortage of personal protective equipment is now one of the most urgent threats to our collective ability to save lives," Tedros said Friday. 

"WHO has shipped almost 2 million individual items of protective gear to 74 countries that need it most and we’re preparing to send a similar amount to a further 60 countries, but much more is needed," Tedros said. "The problem can only be solved with international cooperation and solidarity."

12:32 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Illinois health officials say they are in "desperate need" of protective medical equipment

Illinois has a "desperate need" for personal protective equipment, the state's Department of Public Health tweeted Friday.

IDPH is asking for anyone who can donate gloves, masks, and gowns to protect health care workers to reach out to the state to arrange for a donation.

More on this: Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a news conference Thursday that Illinois is competing with other states, the federal government and other countries in the marketplace to obtain more PPE.

Pritzker called on President Trump to enforce the Defense Protection Act executive order to make it easier for states to produce and purchase more PPE. 

12:28 p.m. ET, March 27, 2020

House will say GOP congressman doesn’t have the second to request a roll call vote

From CNN's Manu Raju 

The House will say GOP Rep. Thomas Massie does not have a sufficient second to request a roll call vote, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Members still had to return to the Capitol because they need to establish a quorum to do this. Members are sitting in the upstairs gallery to ensure they have enough for a quorum and to maintain social distancing

Massie needs one-fifth of the members to rise and be counted to get a sufficient second for a roll call. That won’t happen, sources said.

This is highly unusual, sources said, to say a member doesn’t have enough for a second.

What this is about: 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. 

Leadership has hoped to pass the measure by a voice-vote.

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.