Mar 20, 2020 11:59 PM

Coronavirus Live Updates (Friday): New York State Orders Everyone to Stay Home; U.K. Orders All Pubs to Close



Friday, March 20, 11.59 p.m.

In Italy, the European country worst hit by coronavirus, the number of deaths climbed by 627 to 4,032 Friday, the largest daily rise since the outbreak began and pushing the country’s total past that of mainland China. Italy is “facing the most difficult moment” history has ever put before it, the country’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Friday.

In the U.S., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday ordered all workers in nonessential businesses to stay home to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The executive order takes effect Sunday evening. A day earlier, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said he does not think a national lockdown order is needed.

The State Department is suspending routine visa services at all embassies and consulates worldwide after issuing a global Level 4 Travel Advisory urging Americans not to travel abroad.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that the Trump administration will move the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have the additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.

Student loan borrowers will be able to suspend federal student loan payments without penalty and without accruing interest for at least 60 days, the Department of Education said Friday.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close Friday. The closure also applies to nightclubs, gyms, cinemas and leisure centers, he said during a daily press conference.

Poland’s government declared a state of epidemic threat and will cancel school classes until Easter, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday. Poland closed its borders to foreigners earlier this month. Poland has 411 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with five deaths.

Thirty-six passengers from Costa Cruises’ Costa Luminosa cruise ship tested positive for coronavirus and one was hospitalized, according to local authorities in Marseille, France, where the ship was allowed to disembark some passengers.

Compiled by Denise Jia

Friday, March 20, 6 p.m.

Hong Kong recorded its biggest daily jump in cases so far on Friday with 48 new infections, the South China Morning Post reported. A total of 36 had a relevant travel history, according to the Centre for Health Protection. The region has seen a total of 257 cases.

Spain became the fourth country to have more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths, after China, Italy and Iran, Reuters reported. The number of deaths in the Iberian nation jumped by 235 from Thursday, while nearly 20,000 people have contracted the disease in the country.

The number of cases in South Korea spiked on Thursday and Friday, with 152 and 87 cases reported (link in Chinese) respectively. This came after the country saw five consecutive days with less than 100 confirmed new infections. The country’s Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters said the spike was due to a cluster of infections at a nursing home in the city of Daegu. A 17-year-old died of the disease in Seoul after being tested 13 times and finally getting a partial positive result on this final test.

Cathay Pacific to reduce capacity

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. announced on its website Friday that it and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon will cut passenger capacity by 96% in April and May “in light of the severe drop in demand triggered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and multiple travel restrictions” imposed by countries across the world. Cathay Pacific will reduce its number of routes down to 12, and Cathay Dragon will bring its number to three. “We need to take difficult but decisive measures as the scale of the challenge facing the global aviation industry is unprecedented,” said the company’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam.

Monaco’s head of state tests positive

The palace of Monaco announced Thursday that its ruler Prince Albert II has tested positive for the novel coronavirus but that he is not in serious condition. The prince holds the dubious distinction of being the first head of state to contract the disease. The 62-year-old is working from his home office and is in contact with members of his government.

In other coronavirus-related news

• Another employee at the Central Hospital of Wuhan has died from the disease (link in Chinese), the fifth since the epidemic broke out. Liu Li, 45, worked at the hospital’s ethics committee and was a colleague of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang. She was first diagnosed with viral pneumonia on Jan. 28 after running a high temperature for nearly a week, and was later diagnosed as having Covid-19. More than 230 of the hospital’s around 4,000 employees have been diagnosed with the disease.

• Four passengers on the cruise ship Ruby Princess, which docked in Sydney Thursday, have tested positive for the coronavirus after disembarking the ship, the New South Wales state government confirmed on Friday, local media reported. The ship carried 1,100 crew and nearly 2,700 passengers when it arrived in Sydney, New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. The ship departed the same day for New Zealand, where it originally came from, with only crew on board.

Compiled by Lu Yutong

Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus

Friday, March 20, 11 a.m.

The U.S. confirmed more than 5,000 new virus cases on Thursday, bringing its total number of infections to 14,250 with 205 deaths, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Global infections passed the 240,000 threshold as of Thursday, with more than 10,000 deaths.

The Chinese mainland reported no new confirmed or suspected cases in the outbreak epicenter of Hubei for the second straight day, the latest data from the National Health Commission showed (link in Chinese). A total of 39 new infections were reported Thursday on the mainland, all imported from overseas, bringing the total number of imported cases to 228. Among them 14 were detected in southern Guangdong province, eight in Shanghai and six in Beijing. Three more patients died of the disease on the Chinese mainland, two of those in Hubei province, bringing the total death toll to 3,248.

G7 meeting moves online

The 46th G7 summit, scheduled for June 10-12 in the United States, was canceled by President Donald Trump and will be switched to a video-conference instead, the White House announced Thursday, Reuters reported. G7 members include Japan, the United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. The cancellation came after the U.S. raised its travel alert to the highest level and the World Health Organization declared Europe the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Republicans propose economic rescue plan

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a sweeping economic plan to support idled workers and businesses following President Trump’s request for Congress to “go big” amid the virus shutdown, AP reported. The plan will give $1,200 to each taxpayer via direct checks, provide $300 billion for small businesses and $208 billion in loans to airlines and other industries. “We need to take bold and swift action as soon as possible,” McConnell said when announcing his plan.

In other coronavirus news

• California issued a statewide “stay-at-home” offer to residents starting Thursday evening. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the move at a press conference, marking the most stringent effort to control the virus in the country so far, Bloomberg reported. The order, however, allows people to go out for essential activities like purchasing groceries. Newsom earlier estimated 56% of the state’s population will contract the disease.

• Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, a region once hit hard by the epidemic, lifted its three-week “state of emergency” after reporting no new infections on Tuesday. Elsewhere in the country, clusters of infections occurred in Hyogo and Aichi prefectures, with 92 and 132 cases, respectively.

Compiled by Lu Yutong

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