March 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:23 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020
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8:25 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

Twitter encourages all employees to work from home

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Twitter is asking all of its employees worldwide to stay away from their offices until further notice to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, the company said in a message posted Monday on the its official blog.

Beginning today, we are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able," wrote Jennifer Christie, chief human resources officer.

The guidance is not mandatory for most employees, and Christie said Twitter’s offices will remain open. 

The company will be deep cleaning its facilities to protect employees who feel they need to come to work. Christie said they are taking steps “out of an abundance of caution and the utmost dedication to keeping our Tweeps healthy.”

Employees based in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are now required to work from home, due partially to government restrictions already in place in those countries.

The company announced Saturday it was suspending all non-critical business travel and events.

8:32 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

Carnival Cruise Lines changing some itineraries over coronavirus concerns

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Amanda Jackson 

Carnival Cruise Lines is changing some ship itineraries as some countries are not allowing ships to dock because of concerns over coronavirus. Carnival said in a statement it is changing itineraries for ships scheduled to sail to Grand Cayman and Jamaica this week.

"A number of Caribbean destinations continue to work through their policies with regards to cruise ship visits. And while we are following all US CDC and World Health Organization screening protocols and guidelines, we want to avoid any possibility of a visit to a destination where there is uncertainty or we risk being turned away," the cruise line said in a statement.

8:17 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

San Antonio is suing the federal government over coronavirus quarantine protocol

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

The city of San Antonio filed a lawsuit Monday against the federal government, including several agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, to prevent further releases of individuals who have been quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base without the city’s input and demands.

The move follows the CDC’s release of a woman from quarantine at Lackland AFB, who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The litigation filed in US District Court aims to obtain a temporary restraining order over the government’s actions to release individuals from quarantine and the government’s “failure to consult with and incorporate local government in the planning and implementation process, and risks imposing a serious burden on the City's emergency services.”

As part of its efforts to protect its community from the outbreak, the city is also demanding that patients undergo three tests for coronavirus, instead of the current two, as part of the protocol to end their quarantine.

The lawsuit is also seeking a protocol that would be agreed between the city, the state of Texas and the CDC prior to releasing patients who are under quarantine.

City officials are also asking the court to maintain the status quo of the surgeon general’s exercise of quarantine authority. The surgeon general, with the approval of the health and human services secretary, is legally authorized to make and enforce a quarantine if he deems it necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States.

8:13 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

Australia may use biosecurity laws to detain citizens suspected of carrying coronavirus, attorney general warns

From CNN’s Eric Cheung 

Australia will consider invoking the Biosecurity Act to detain its citizens suspected of carrying the coronavirus, Attorney General Christian Porter warned Monday.

In an interview with CNN affiliate Sky News Australia, Porter said there is a range of powers available that will allow the government to control people’s movements as it handles outbreaks such as the novel coronavirus.

He said detention may be an option for those who refuse to cooperate with health officials, including undergoing "a brief decontamination" or providing "information on where they have been or who they have been in contact with.”

The government will also consider declaring “human health zones” that will require everyone entering or leaving a certain area to be screened.

8:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

No confirmed coronavirus cases in Colorado, Denver’s mayor says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

There are no confirmed coronavirus cases in the state of Colorado after all 23 people who were tested had negative results, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Monday.

There are currently nine pending tests, Hancock told reporters.

Among the negative cases, six were in Denver and there are three pending, Hancock said.

8:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

44-story downtown Seattle tower closes amid coronavirus concerns 

From CNN's Dave Alsup

The F5 Tower, center, in downtown Seattle.
The F5 Tower, center, in downtown Seattle. Paul Christian Gordon/Alamy Stock Photo

The 44-story F5 Tower in downtown Seattle closed for cleaning Monday after F5 learned an employee had been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, according to The Seattle Times.

Rob Gruening, a spokesman for the company, told the Times the employee tested negative, but the building was closed as a precaution.

8:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

First responders in Washington to begin wearing protective gear for all calls

From CNN's Kay Jones

Local emergency responders in Kirkland, Washington, are changing their procedures after four local nursing home residents died of the coronavirus.

Kirkland emergency medical technicians will now wear protective clothing every time they are called out to respond to a sick patient, even if that person does not tell them about any coronavirus symptoms, city spokeswoman Kellie Stickney told CNN. 

Stickney said there were two recent cases in which first responders treated people without any special protection, learning only after the fact that the patients had been experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Stickney said she did not know whether either of those patients were later determined to be infected with coronavirus.

7:34 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

Washington governor says people should reconsider attending large events because of coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Andy Rose

Inslee, right, talks to the media about Washington's coronavirus efforts on Monday, March 2.
Inslee, right, talks to the media about Washington's coronavirus efforts on Monday, March 2. Rachel La Corte/AP

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee advised residents to stay home more in order to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus. 

“We think folks should begin to think about avoiding large events and assemblies,” Inslee said in a news conference Monday.

Washington is the only state in the United States so far where people have died as a result of coronavirus. There are six confirmed fatalities out of 18 total cases in Washington.

Inslee said he has the power to declare an emergency and force large events to be canceled, but he does not think that step is necessary right now. 

The governor also said he has the ability to call up the National Guard if needed to assist medical teams and provide security. Inslee says he discussed the possibility of eventually using military assets in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force.

Four of the people who died of coronavirus were residents of a single nursing home, Life Care Center in Kirkland. Officials have not speculated about how those patients may have been infected, but Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman tells reporters, “If I have a loved one in a nursing home or a hospital, I should not go visit them if I’m sick.”

7:18 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

San Antonio mayor declares public health emergency after patient was mistakenly released by CDC from quarantine

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a local public health emergency Monday following the CDC release of a woman from quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

“It's worth reiterating that this declaration is explicitly designed to ensure evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship cohort remain at Lackland AFB until further testing is completed,” Nirenberg tweeted.

Lackland Air Force Base is in San Antonio.