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Coronavirus live updates: Trump tests negative, France shuts nightlife, Spain locks down

Trump is expanding the U.S. ban on travel from Europe to add the UK and Ireland, while Spain locked down its 46 million people and France closed the Eiffel Tower.

WASHINGTON —

Key Updates: 

  • President Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus. The White House says anyone close to the president or vice president will get a temperature check.
  • Trump's Europe travel ban is expanded to the United Kingdom and Ireland. He's also declared a national emergency. 
  • At least six states have announced that all schools will be closed for at least two weeks.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she and the Trump administration agreed to a deal on a coronavirus aid package. The House approved it early Saturday.
  • France is shutting down all restaurants, cafes, cinemas and retail shops that are not essential.
  • Spain has announced a lockdown of its 46 million people, following Italy's example of nationwide restrictions.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force updated the public at a press conference on Saturday about the latest efforts to contain the virus outbreak. 

President Donald Trump invoked emergency powers as the country works to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The head of the World Health Organization says Europe is now the epicenter of the world's coronavirus pandemic. 

Trump's 30-day travel ban from most of Europe started Friday at midnight Eastern time, after claiming in his Oval Office address Wednesday that U.S. clusters of the coronavirus were “seeded” by European travelers. 

The virus has infected more than 150,000 people and killed more than 5,700. The disease for most people causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness.

Results back: President Trump tests negative

President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, according to a White House memo.

The memo from the president's doctor to press secretary Stephanie Grisham says Trump's negative results were confirmed Saturday evening. 

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Virginia's first death was man in his 70s

The Virginia Department of Health and has reported the first person to die from the novel coronavirus in Virginia on Saturday.

The man was in his 70s and has been hospitalized after previously testing positive for COVID-19.

The cause of death was respiratory failure as a result of the virus. Officials say he caught coronavirus from an unknown source.

Louisiana reports first death, 77 total cases

Louisiana has reported it first death related to COVID-19. The New Orleans resident was a 58-year-old individual with underlying health conditions. 

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the first Louisiana death related to COVID-19 today,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

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Poland, Czech Republic other European nations to close borders

According to The Associated Press and other news outlets, Poland has planned to close its borders at midnight and deny all foreigners entry unless they live in Poland or have personal ties there. 

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Denmark closed its borders as well. The Czech Republic and Slovakia took similar action. 

Russia said its borders with Norway and Poland will be closed to most foreigners beginning Sunday.

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France shuts down all restaurants, cafes, cinemas

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that France is shutting down all restaurants, cafes, cinemas and non-essential retail shops, starting Sunday, to combat the accelerated spread of the virus in the country.

He said grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other public services including transport will be allowed to remain open.

French authorities had already shut down all schools, banned gatherings of more than 100 people and advised people to limit their social life. Philippe said these measures were “not well implemented.”

“We must show all together more discipline,” he added.

Philippe confirmed that nation-wide municipal elections will go ahead as planned on Sunday but with special measures to keep people at a safe distance and clean shared material.

Health authorities said more than 4,500 cases have been confirmed in France on Saturday, including 91 deaths.

President Trump says he has taken the coronavirus test and expects results soon

President Trump and Vice President Pence lead a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing Saturday afternoon and the president confirmed he has taken the coronavirus test. When asked when he expected to received results, he said he isn't sure but possibly in a day or two. 

President Trump says the White House is considering other travel restrictions within the United States and says they are working with the states on that.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says as of Saturday afternoon there were at least 2,226 cases of coronavirus. 

Vice President Mike Pence said all travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland has been suspended, effective midnight on Monday.

The U.S. Surgeon General said, "almost all people will recover" and that "we must lean in to protect the most vulnerable"

Vice President Mike Pence's Press Secretary Katie Miller said that according to the White House Medial Unit, the temperature of a journalist coming to Saturday's Coronavirus Task Force Briefing was not allowed in after having their temperature checked. 

The White House says the reporter's temperature was taken three times over the course of a 15 minute time span and it still registered above the CDC's guidelines of 100.4 degrees. 

Credit: AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Anyone close to President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence to get temperature checked

In a statement Saturday the White House said anyone close to President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will receive a temperature check. Reporters in the Brady Briefing Room said they had their temperature taken at about 11:30 p.m. Eastern before a Saturday press conference. Special Assistant to the president Judd Deere said, “Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President.”  

Spain to lockdown as virus cases soar

Spain is set to follow Italy on Saturday in declaring a far-reaching nationwide lockdown to slow the accelerating spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

 

Spain's decision Saturday came as European countries took ever more severe, though widely varying, measures to reduce contact between their citizens and slow the pandemic. 

China — where the virus first emerged late last year — continued to ease up lockdown measures in its hardest-hit region. Spain’s government planned to announce Saturday that it is placing tight restrictions on movement for the nation of 46 million people while declaring a two-week state of emergency. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was due to address the nation Saturday.

British budget airline Jet2 apparently turned back in midair all its planes bound for Spain as it announced the cancellation of all its flights to the country.

The company said it decided to cancel the flights as Spanish authorities moved to introduce tighter restrictions. “We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays which is why we have taken this decision.”

Air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said at least seven Jet2 flights with a destination in Spain turned around and came back to the U.K on Saturday.

US military halting domestic travel amid virus

The U.S. Defense Department is planning to halt all domestic travel for military members after President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.

The Pentagon says Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist has approved new travel restrictions on service members and Defense Department civilians assigned to military installations and surrounding areas within the United States and its territories.

The new guidance takes effect Monday and last through May 11. The Pentagon says it will “halt all domestic travel, including Permanent Change of Station and Temporary Duty.”

Service members will be authorized local leave only, although the Pentagon says exemptions may be granted “for compelling cases.”

The Defense Department has also suspended "unofficial visits" to the Pentagon and other facilities in the Washington area.

500K coronavirus test kits to be donated to U.S. by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma

Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba, says his foundation will donate 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits and 1 million masks to the U.S.

"Drawing from my own country's experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in prevent the spread of the virus," Ma said in a statement Friday on Twitter. 

US says immigrants can seek care without fear

The U.S. government says a new rule disqualifying more people from green cards if they use government benefits will not apply to immigrants who seek care for symptoms of the illness caused by coronavirus. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said late Friday that seeking treatment or preventive services won’t affect someone’s immigration status under the new public charge rule, which took effect last month. 

The announcement came after lawmakers and advocacy groups urged the government to suspend the rule during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Advocates say they have been fielding panicked calls from immigrants who are worried about the impact on their status if they seek health care.

Spring college athletes to get relief for season of eligibility

The NCAA has announced that spring athletes will get relief for a season of eligibility after winter and spring championships have been canceled over coronavirus concerns.

A statement released Friday from the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee says details of the eligibility relief will be finalized later.

The NCAA also says in-person recruiting has been banned. Campus visits are advised to be suspended too. This recruiting "dead period" will be in place until at least April 15, but phone calls and written correspondence can continue. 

Canada shuts Parliament, advises against travel as Trudeau is in quarantine

Canada shut down Parliament and advised against all nonessential travel outside the country while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau governed remotely from his home, in self-imposed quarantine after his wife tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam advised more social distancing, no handshakes and kisses.

The government is also advising the cancellation of all large events like concerts. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said cruise ships with more than 500 people will not be able to dock in Canada until July 1.

Overseas flights returning to Canada will also be restricted to a small number of airports in the country.

Brazil's President Bolsonaro tests negative for coronavirus

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has tested negative for the new coronavirus, according to a post on his official Facebook profile. 

He traveled to Florida last weekend and dined with U.S. President Donald Trump, and a member of the delegation that accompanied him had tested positive after meeting Trump. 

Bolsonaro received the test on Thursday after his communications director was confirmed to have the virus.

There had been a swirl of confusing information earlier Friday, with some media reporting Bolsonaro had received an initial positive test result.

Louisiana primary postponed to June

Louisiana's presidential primary has been postponed from its original date in April to June. 

Secretary of State kyle Ardoin announced the change at a press conference Friday. 

WHO chief: Europe now center of virus pandemic

The head of the World Health Organization says Europe, not China, is now the epicenter of the world's coronavirus pandemic.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva that "more cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.”

He noted that “5,000 people have lost their lives, a tragic milestone.”

He says Europe now has "more reported virus cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China."

Over 135,000 people have been infected worldwide, the most in China, where over 3,000 patients have died and over 62,000 have already recovered.

INDYCAR cancels races through April 

INDYCAR has canceled its season-opening race and all INDYCAR series events through April, due to coronavirus concerns. 

In a statement, INDYCAR said the cancellations begin with this weekend's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and stretches through the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, which was scheduled to take place April 24-26. 

Over the past few days, most major professional sports have announced plans to cancel events or suspend seasons to try and help stop the spread of coronavirus. 

NASCAR postpones next two races 

NASCAR announced Friday morning it would be postponing the race events this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

"We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport. We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we reassess future race events," NASCAR said in a statement. 

US names virus testing czar 

Responding to numerous complaints about the shortage of coronavirus tests in the U.S, the Trump administration on Friday named a testing “czar” at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Separately, the FDA posted on Twitter that labs having problems getting supplies for collecting patient samples for testing should call the agency’s toll-free information hotline.

And Medicare announced it will pay about $36 for the CDC coronavirus test and around $51 for tests from other providers.

The testing czar is Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health, and head of the government’s uniformed Public Health Service. He will be responsible for coordinating between CDC and FDA, as well as private labs and state and local governments.

The United States has tested far few people per capita than other countries like South Korea and Italy.

Boston Marathon postponed until September 14

The Boston Marathon, which was originally scheduled to be held on April 20, has been postponed. It will now take place on Monday, September 14. 

Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, said the decision to postpone was made with "guidance from the officials entrusted with protecting the public in this area." 

We understand our role, along with our partners, in ensuring a safe environment for all participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters that meets the standards set by those officials," he said in a statement.

The BAA said registered participants and volunteers for the race would receive more information in the coming days.

2020 Masters tournament postponed

One day after the PGA Tour canceled their events, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club Fred Ridley announced the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals would all be postponed. On March 4th, Ridley initially said all events would go as planned. 

"Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision," he wrote in a statement. "We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date."

The new date for the events was not specified.

Trump administration: $1.3M for fast virus test development

President Donald Trump's administration says it's awarding $1.3 million to two companies trying to develop rapid COVID-19 tests that could detect whether a person is positive for the new coronavirus within an hour.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday it's awarding $679,000 to DiaSorin Molecular, of Cypress, California, and $598,000 to QIAGEN, of Germantown, Maryland, to accelerate development of their tests.

It says DiaSorin's test could be ready within six weeks for consideration by the Food and Drug Administration and the QIAGEN test could be ready within 12 weeks for FDA consideration. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.

Pelosi, White House near agreement on coronavirus aid bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration are hoping to announce agreement on a coronavirus aid package.

The measure would provide sick pay, free testing and other resources in an effort to calm teetering financial markets and the mounting crisis.

Pelosi said late Thursday that she hoped to have an announcement on Friday. The deal would provide funding and resources for American workers, families and businesses reeling with health and financial problems from the crisis.

The House could swiftly vote on the measure Friday. The agreement could come as Washington strains for a comprehensive response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Arlington National Cemetery closes; family funerals still on

Arlington National Cemetery has closed to visitors except for families with scheduled funerals.

The cemetery announced the move in a series of tweets on Thursday, citing Defense Department directives and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency as the state's number of confirmed cases among Virginians grew to 17, and advised all Virginians to avoid large gatherings “for the time being.” Northam said the situation is fluid and changing rapidly.  

England suspends soccer leagues

The English Premier League has been suspended after three clubs put their entire playing squads in self-isolation because of coronavirus.

The league had expected to continue with a full schedule this weekend with fans, but later decided to suspend all matches until April 3 “at the earliest.”

The same suspension applies for the three lower divisions overseen by the English Football League and to England's top two women's divisions.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of the match against Brighton on Saturday. Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also had a positive test on Thursday, while Everton said Friday that a player had reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus and said its squad was self-isolating.

Two more clubs said some players or staff would isolate. Bournemouth said Friday that reserve goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four members of staff had symptoms consistent with the virus. Leicester said Thursday that three players had "extremely mild illness” and would self-isolate as a precaution.

Spain's first lockdown affects 60,000

Spain’s has ordered its first mandatory lockdown, confining over 60,000 people to four towns as infections for the new coronavirus increase sharply.

The rise is straining health services and putting more pressure on the government to act faster to fight the pandemic.

The country had more than 3,800 cases by Friday morning and at least 84 deaths. The Spanish capital, Madrid, has nearly 2,000 cases alone, many linked to nursing homes.

The Spanish royal palace says King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Norway announces first death

Norway has reported its first death from the coronavirus. Prime Minister Erna Solberg said “an elderly person” died Thursday in Oslo, without elaborating.

Protectively, King Harald V, members of the royal family and some government members have been put in quarantine because they had traveled abroad in recent weeks.

Japan gives prime minister power to declare emergency

Japan’s parliament enacted a law Friday that would allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency if the coronavirus outbreak worsens in the country.

The law is controversial because it can severely limit civil rights. It allows Abe to order legally binding school closures, confiscate private property to build medical facilities, order shipments of emergency supplies and take other measures related to the outbreak.

Japan has 675 confirmed cases, not including 697 others from a quarantined cruise ship.

Kenya announces first case

Authorities in Kenya say a woman has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the first case in the East African country.

Muhahi Kagwe, Kenya's health secretary, told reporters on Friday that the patient, a Kenyan citizen, is a woman who recently traveled from the United States via London.

The Kenyan case is the first in the East African region, where governments have been ramping up control measures as the virus spreads across the world.

Six U.S. states close all schools

Oregon is joining at least five other states in announcing that schools statewide will be closed for at least two weeks in an effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

Gov. Kate Brown announced late Thursday that schools will be shuttered this coming Monday through Tuesday, March 31. That includes the state's spring break.

Maryland is also closing schools for two weeks starting Monday. Ohio is closing schools for three weeks starting Monday. Michigan is also shutting down school until April 5. Virginia is shutting down K-12 schools from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27 at minimum. Louisiana's schools are closed through April 13.

Oregon has seen an increasing number of cases of the virus. The state is next door to Washington state, the U.S. epicenter of the virus. Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday that all schools in the greater Seattle area would close through April 24.

Pelosi: House close with Trump on aid agreement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she and the Trump administration are close to agreement on a coronavirus aid package, as negotiators struggle to hammer out a deal to provide funding and resources for American workers, families and businesses reeling with health and financial problems from the crisis.

Final details are being worked out. but Pelosi expects an announcement Friday. The House could swiftly vote.

The agreement could come as Washington strains for a comprehensive response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sports leagues shut down

Just about every major sport has turned out the lights, at least temporarily, in an effort to increase social distancing and curb the spread of the virus.

The NCAA has canceled all college winter and spring championship, including the lucrative men's and women's basketball championships.

The NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer, and Major League Baseball have all put their seasons on hold. Baseball opening day will be pushed back at least two weeks. 

Little League baseball announced it would be following suit after the Major and Minor Leagues made their announcement. The organization, which oversees more than 6,500 baseball and softball programs around the world, asked its leagues to suspend activities until April 6. 

"If your league chooses to continue to operate in its local community, then we strongly encourage you to seek the counsel of your community municipalities, public health departments, and local school districts," the organization said in a statement..

The PGA Tour canceled the rest of The Players Championship and said it would not play the next three weeks. 

The XFL has canceled the rest of its reboot inaugural season, but says players will get their game checks and the league plans to return in 2021.

At this point, NASCAR is the top remaining major U.S. sports league staying on schedule. It says it will race its next two events in Atlanta and Miami without fans present.

Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto told a news conference Friday that the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers are “not considering cancellation or a postponement, absolutely not at all.” The comments came after President Trump suggested postponing the Games by a year.

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Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson update

"We are taking it one-day-at-a-time."

That's the message from actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson as they recover from the coronavirus in Australia. The couple posted an update on Instagram Thursday night.

"There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no?" Hanks wrote.

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