March 15 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Ivana Kottasová and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 10:22 PM ET, Sun March 15, 2020
105 Posts
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6:05 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

New York City public schools will close Monday until at least April 20, mayor says

From CNN’s Laura Ly 

In a decision he described as "extraordinarily painful," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he is closing the city's public schools on Monday until at least April 20.

The mayor said the city would make every attempt to reopen schools at that point, but that it’s possible schools could remain closed for the rest of the school year.

As part of the school closings, de Blasio announced the following:

  • Remote learning will begin on March 23
  • There will be special sites created for children of crucial health care workers and first responders
  • The city is working to supply technology to children who need it
  • The city is working to provide meals to children who depend on school breakfasts and lunches. This week, schools will be open for grab-and-go meals.
6:04 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Public schools in New York City and three surrounding counties will close this week, state governor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

Public schools in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties will close this week to limit the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a news release Sunday.

The exterior of P.S.175 Henry H. Garnet in Harlem, New York, on March 14.
The exterior of P.S.175 Henry H. Garnet in Harlem, New York, on March 14. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Schools in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties will close for two weeks beginning on Monday, Cuomo said. Nassau and Suffolk counties are on Long Island while Westchester County is just north of New York City.

New York City officials must develop a plan within the next 24 hours to ensure schoolchildren who rely on school meals will continue to receive them. Parents, especially those who are health care workers or first responders, will be provided access to childcare as needed, Cuomo said.

5:53 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

South Carolina closes all public schools

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

South Carolina will close all public schools due to the coronavirus outbreak until the end of March, according to an executive order by Gov. Henry McMaster.

McMaster made the announcement at an afternoon news conference.

5:42 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

First lady: 'Social distancing at this time is very important'

From CNN's Kate Bennett

First Lady Melania Trump tweeted about social distancing Sunday:

5:45 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

California to close bars, nightclubs and wineries

From CNN's Stella Chan

All California bars, nightclubs, wineries and brew pubs will be closed because they are "a non-essential function," state Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a press conference Sunday.

Restaurant capacities must be reduced by half to practice social distancing, Newsom said.

5:33 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Federal Reserve will cut target interest rate to zero

From CNN’s David Goldman

On March 3, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced a half percentage point interest rate cut.
On March 3, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced a half percentage point interest rate cut. Mark Makela/Getty Images

In a bold, emergency action to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve on Sunday announced it would cut its target interest rate to zero.

The last time the Fed cut rates to zero was during the global financial crisis just over a decade ago.

President Donald Trump, who has been very critical of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, praised the move as "great for our country."

"That brings us in line with what other countries are," Trump said. "They actually have negative rates, but look, we got it down to potentially zero, so that's a big step and I'm very happy they did it." 

5:39 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Princess Cruises says passenger tests negative for coronavirus

From CNN's Larry Register and Taylor Barnes

A passenger aboard the Golden Princess has tested negative for coronavirus, according to an email from Princess Cruises to CNN.

The passenger who tested negative had previously been on an international flight with another passenger who tested positive for the infection, according to the email from the cruise line's media department.

The Golden Princess sits anchored off the coast of New Zealand on Sunday, March 15.
The Golden Princess sits anchored off the coast of New Zealand on Sunday, March 15. Mark Baker/AP

Passengers on the cruise ship docked in a New Zealand harbor were not being allowed to disembark, as three people aboard have been quarantined by the ship's doctor, according to the Canterbury District Health Board.

One of the quarantined passengers had coronavirus symptoms and was being treated as a suspected case. The two others had been in contact with a confirmed case in the past two weeks, said the health board.

The Golden Princess remains anchored at Akaroa Harbor with "guests staying on board to enable New Zealand health authorities to conduct a precautionary health test on a guest who had travelled to Australia on an international flight from Los Angeles." 

The Golden Princess departed from its Melbourne home port on March 10 and was to have completed a 13-night New Zealand itinerary.

5:07 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Los Angeles mayor: 'Gathering in big groups puts lives at risk'

From CNN's Saba Hamedy

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter he needs everyone "to stay home as much as possible, avoid being in crowds, practice social distancing."

Let me be very clear: gathering in big groups puts lives at risk," Garcetti tweeted.

The mayor said everyone is a first responder "in this crisis."

"I know this doesn’t feel normal and it’s hard to change our habits," he tweeted. "This is a difficult time and it’s putting a strain on our families, our communities, our businesses. There are other ways you can support local shops: buy a gift card over the phone, get takeout, order online. We can support local business and practice social distancing."

4:42 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Ireland calls on pubs to close and asks people not to participate in any parties

From CNN’s Jackie Castillo 

The Republic of Ireland’s government is calling for all pubs — including hotel bars — to close to halt the spread of coronavirus, the country’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Twitter.

The Irish government also urged that people not organize or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues that would put other people's health at risk.

The closure will take effect Sunday through at least March 29.