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
49 Posts
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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.

6:54 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Iran confirms 144 new coronavirus-related deaths, total cases surpass 30,000

From Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

A convention center is converted into a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran on March 21.
A convention center is converted into a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran on March 21. Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran has reported 144 more coronavirus-related deaths since Thursday, raising the overall death toll to 2,378, Iranian health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced on state television on Friday.

Cases surpass 30,000: 2,926 additional cases were recorded, bringing the total number of infected people to 32,332, Jahanpour added.

6:26 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Communications issue prevented UK from joining EU ventilator scheme

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

The UK did not take part in the EU’s scheme to acquire extra ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic because of an “issue in terms of communication,” according to UK Business Minister Alok Sharma.

Responding to British media reports, Sharma told the BBC’s Radio 4 on Friday: 

The tendering process on those schemes had already started… If there are future schemes we will absolutely look to see if we will be joining them.”

Britain's Business Minister Alok Sharma arrives at 10 Downing Street in London on March 17, ahead of a Cabinet meeting.
Britain's Business Minister Alok Sharma arrives at 10 Downing Street in London on March 17, ahead of a Cabinet meeting. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

He said the UK has its own “ventilator challenge,” which has seen around 3,000 companies respond with offers to help. 

On Wednesday, James Dyson, the founder of British technology company Dyson, confirmed to employees in a letter shared with CNN that it had received an order from the UK government for 10,000 new ventilators to support efforts by the NHS to treat the growing number of patients who have contracted coronavirus.

Dyson's new ventilator, called the "CoVent," attached to a hospital bed, in a handout photo from Dyson.
Dyson's new ventilator, called the "CoVent," attached to a hospital bed, in a handout photo from Dyson. Dyson

Asked about Dyson-produced ventilators being in use by next month, Sharma said Dyson or any other company will need to meet the regulatory requirements before newly acquired ventilators are put into use in the National Health Service (NHS).

Pressed on the timescale, Sharma said: “What we want to see is prototypes coming forward in a matter of weeks before we move into large scale production.”

He said although the government is trying to move at pace, “the critical point is to make sure that any machines that come forward actually meet the requirements and are safe”.

6:15 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

London's Abbey Road repainted amid coronavirus lockdown

From CNN's Lilit Marcus

One of the most famous streets in the world has had an unexpected makeover thanks to the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.

London's iconic Abbey Road, which is normally a tourist magnet thanks to its appearance on the Beatles album cover of the same name, is now empty as locals hunker down inside.

That has provided a rare opportunity for municipal employees in the UK capital to give the famous crossing a new coat of paint.

Read the full story here:

5:52 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Hong Kong reports largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, bringing total to 518

From Isaac Yee and Vanessa Yung in Hong Kong

A passenger wearing a protective suite arrives at Hong Kong International airport on March 24.
A passenger wearing a protective suite arrives at Hong Kong International airport on March 24. May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Health officials in Hong Kong have confirmed 65 new novel coronavirus cases, in the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began.

Links to Europe: In a press conference held on Friday, Dr Chuang Shuk-Kwan of the Center for Health Protection said 41 of the 65 new cases had recent travel history to places in Europe including the United Kingdom and Portugal. She added 14 of the new cases were students returning to Hong Kong. 

The 65 new cases brings the city-wide total to 518. Some 338 cases are still currently being treated in hospitals, including four cases in critical condition.

5:46 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

At least 82,250 coronavirus cases in US; 1,196 deaths

Cars line up to get a Covid-19 test at a free public testing station on March 24, in Hayward, California.
Cars line up to get a Covid-19 test at a free public testing station on March 24, in Hayward, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The United States now has more coronavirus cases reported than any other country in the world. 

According to CNN Health’s tally of cases that are detected and tested in the United States through public health systems, there are at least 82,250 cases of the novel coronavirus. 1,196 people have died.

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.

5:36 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Italian financial police seize 900 unauthorized coronavirus test kits

From Valentina DiDonato in Rome

Police in the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria have seized 900 unauthorized coronavirus test kits for failing to have validation and certification.

The kits were seized as part of checks to identify cases of commercial fraud or fraudulent rises in the prices of medical services during the pandemic, financial police said.

Checks found that some people had already made bank transfers to buy the uncertified products online -- however, the police seized the kits before they were delivered.

The sale to unsuspecting and vulnerable citizens of devices for which efficacy has not been proven in any way, seriously endangers public health and safety given that any negative response of the test could hypothetically contribute to the spread of the virus,” a statement from the financial police said.