March 29 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Jenni Marsh, Amy Woodyatt and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020
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2:37 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

US Federal Bureau of Prisons announces inmate death in Louisiana from coronavirus

An inmate at a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, died Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said today in a statement. 

Patrick Jones, 49, began complaining of a persistent cough on March 19. After being evaluated by the medical staff at the prison, Jones was transported to a local hospital where he tested positive for Covid-19, said the statement. 

One day later, Jones was placed on a ventilator after his condition declined. 

Jones passed away Saturday at the hospital. According to the statement, he "had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe Covid-19 disease."

President Trump has already directed federal prisons to increase home confinement to at-risk inmates in order to slow the spread of the virus, joining states like New York and New Jersey in the effort to avoid mass infection within prison systems.

2:22 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

China reports 45 new cases, all but one imported, raising national total to 81,439

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Airport security wait to check the temperatures of travelers in the departures area of Beijing Capital International Airport on March 24.
Airport security wait to check the temperatures of travelers in the departures area of Beijing Capital International Airport on March 24. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

There were 45 new novel coronavirus cases reported in China today, bringing the national total to 81,439, according to the National Health Commission.

Out of the new cases, 44 were imported by people who had recently traveled abroad, with only one caused by local transmission.

In addition, China reported five more deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the country’s death toll to 3,300.

Of the 81,439 cases in the country, a total of 75,448 patients recovered and were discharged from hospital.

China was the first epicenter of the outbreak but the United States and Italy both now have more total cases.

2:13 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

India's Delhi and Uttar Pradesh authorities arrange buses for migrant laborers to head home

From CNN's Manveena Suri in Delhi

Migrant laborers wait for buses provided by the government to transport them to their hometowns, following a lockdown amid concern over spread of coronavirus in New Delhi, India, on March 28.
Migrant laborers wait for buses provided by the government to transport them to their hometowns, following a lockdown amid concern over spread of coronavirus in New Delhi, India, on March 28. AP

Hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers in India have potentially lost their jobs and livelihoods as construction sites and factories close amid a countrywide lockdown.

There were concerns in recent days that without a reliable job, thousands of these laborers would head back to their hometowns on food -- potentially undermining the lockdown.

Now the local governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have arranged buses for migrant laborers to head home despite fears of the coronavirus. 

A tweet from the office of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, released Saturday evening, said 1,000 public and private buses had been deployed. 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal confirmed on Saturday on his official Twitter account that buses have been arranged but urged people to stay home.

"Please stay in your home. Do not go to your village. Otherwise, the lockdown serves no purpose,” Kejriwal said. 

4:42 p.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Australia announces additional $678 million coronavirus package to support citizens

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison takes part in a G20 Leaders’ Summit to discuss coronavirus on March 26 in Canberra, Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison takes part in a G20 Leaders’ Summit to discuss coronavirus on March 26 in Canberra, Australia. Pool/Getty Images

Australia announced a $628 million (1.1 billion Australian dollar) package to fight the novel coronavirus, in a statement from prime minister Scott Morrison released on Sunday.

The majority of the package, about $412 million, will go towards expanding Australia's telehealth services to allow more citizens to get health care over the phone.

There will also be another $92 million to support citizens experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence. 

Morrison said Google is seeing the highest magnitude of searches for domestic violence help in the past five years. 

Finally, amid a spike in requests for emergency relief and mental health services, there will be about $168 million targeted at expanding support for the community in those areas.

The Australian government has already announced tens of billions of dollars in economic stimulus to try to boost the economy amid fears of an impending recession.

1:30 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

How Russia is using authoritarian tech to curb coronavirus

From CNN's Mary Ilyushina

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The Covid-19 pandemic is giving Russian authorities an unprecedented opportunity to test their new authoritarian powers and technology, and the country's privacy and free-speech advocates worry the government is building sweeping new surveillance capabilities.

Perhaps the most well-publicized tech tool in Russia's arsenal for fighting coronavirus is Moscow's massive facial-recognition system.

Rolled out earlier this year, the surveillance system had originally prompted an unusual public backlash, with privacy advocates filing lawsuits over unlawful surveillance.

Coronavirus, however, has given an unexpected public relations boost to the system.

Last week, Moscow police claimed to have caught and fined 200 people who violated quarantine and self-isolation using facial recognition and a 170,000-camera system. According to a Russian media report, some of the alleged violators who were fined had been outside for less than half a minute before they were picked up by a camera.

"We want there to be even more cameras so that that there is no dark corner or side street left," Oleg Baranov, Moscow's police chief, said in a recent briefing, adding that the service is currently working to install an additional 9,000 cameras.

Read the full article here.

12:52 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

How Spain became a hotspot for coronavirus

From CNN's Tim Lister and Claudia Rebaza

Emergency workers transport a coronavirus patient in Sabadell, Spain, on March 28.
Emergency workers transport a coronavirus patient in Sabadell, Spain, on March 28. Felipe Dana

On February 19, nearly 3,000 Valencia football fans traveled from Spain to Milan, Italy, to watch their team play Atalanta in a European Champions League game. 

Some 40,000 Italians were also at the game, many of them from Bergamo, in Lombardy, and the surrounding towns. According to the Mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, Milan was "buzzing" that evening.

But there may have been another attendee at the league game, one who travelled home to Spain with the visiting fans. "It is clear on that evening there was an opportunity for a strong spread of the (coronavirus)," Gori said.

More than 5,000 people have died since a coronavirus outbreak exploded in Spain. The country now has more than 54,000 active cases of the virus, according to recent figures from the ministry of health.

The league game in Italy is just one of a number of factors which could have caused the outbreak. Among the culprits could be unseasonably warm weather, which encouraged people to gather in bars, homes on the beach and the country's café culture.

But questions are still being asked -- why has Spain become one of the worst hit epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic?

Read the full article here.

12:39 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

One nation under coronavirus: How two weeks changed America

From CNN's Marshall Cohen and Curt Merrill

A man crosses a nearly empty street in San Francisco, on March 17.
A man crosses a nearly empty street in San Francisco, on March 17. Jeff Chiu/AP

US President Donald Trump announced a 15-day plan on March 16 to "slow the spread" of the coronavirus pandemic that has turned the country upside down.

Early next week, those 15 days will be up but the US numbers show no signs of slowing.

Trump has said he wants to ease restrictions on the public and start opening up the country, against the advice of public health authorities.

The disease is still spreading, with thousands of new cases and deaths despite the efforts to "flatten the curve." The toll of social distancing can be measured in millions of new jobless claims, a $2 trillion stimulus bill, and a modest bump to Trump's approval ratings.

CNN has put together a breakdown of the numbers that defined these two unprecedented weeks in America -- you can find it here.

12:27 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Italy's coronavirus death toll passes 10,000. Many are asking why the fatality rate is so high

From CNN's Valentina Di Donato, Sheena McKenzie and Livia Borghese

Don Marcello Crotti, left, blesses coffins with Don Mario Carminati in the San Giuseppe church in Seriate, Italy, on March 28.
Don Marcello Crotti, left, blesses coffins with Don Mario Carminati in the San Giuseppe church in Seriate, Italy, on March 28. Antonio Calanni/AP

When Milan resident Antonia Mortensen was pulled over by police while driving recently, it wasn't for a traffic offense. It was to instruct her fellow passenger to sit in the back of the car and to check that both were wearing face masks.

Such are the tight restrictions on Italians now living in the deadliest hotspot of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Italy's death toll is now the highest in the world at 10,023. Fatalities passed the grim milestone on Saturday, with an increase of 889 since the last figures were released on Friday, according to Italy's Civil Protection Agency.

With 92,472 confirmed cases, Italy appears to have the highest death rate on the planet. Compare it to China, the epicenter of the pandemic, which has a roughly similar number of confirmed cases at 81,999, but under a third as many deaths, at 3,304, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

Italy now has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States, which stands at more than 120,000. But the US has a fraction of the deaths, at just over 2,200.

As Italy enters its sixth week of restrictions, many are asking: why does its death rate seem so much higher than other countries?

Read the full article here.

12:14 a.m. ET, March 29, 2020

Florida governor says he doesn't regret leaving beaches open during spring break

Visitors enjoy Clearwater Beach on March 18, in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Visitors enjoy Clearwater Beach on March 18, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Chris O'Meara/AP

Governor Ron DeSantis said questions surrounding Florida beaches remaining open during spring break are "more of a political issue."

DeSantis said a family sitting outside in "sunshine, heat and humidity" was not "a problem," when compared with the New York subway being "packed like sardines." 

"Do you hear the same people complaining about the New York City subway system being open? I mean, give me a break. Which one is more conducive to having Covid-19 spread or any respiratory virus? It's not even close," he told reporters.

DeSantis noted that he had imposed a "10-person limit" for groups and local officials maintained limited access to beaches for residents.

Several Florida beaches were closed by local officials in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.