March 4 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Steve George, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes, Rachel Bowman and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:15 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020
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9:55 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

32 new cases of coronavirus diagnosed in England

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

There have been 32 new cases of coronavirus diagnosed in England, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care said in a tweet today.  

In a statement, it said 29 cases had recently traveled from “recognised countries or recognised clusters which were under investigation.”

“Three additional patients contracted the virus in the UK and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad. This is being investigated and contact tracing has begun.”

The total number of UK cases is 85.

9:32 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Italy considers closing schools across the country

Italy is considering a country wide closure of all schools and universities in an effort to stop a further spread of coronavirus.

Some international schools have already issued letters informing parents and guardians they will be closed as a preventative measure as of Thursday, with remote online teaching beginning Friday. 

The Italian cabinet is currently meeting to discuss the proposition to close schools and an official announcement is expected afterwards. 

"No decision on the closure of schools has been made, we asked the technical-scientific committee for further information. the decision will come in the next few hours," the Minister of Education Lucia Azzolina said in a statement to CNN sent from the Prime Minister’s office. 

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect that the Italian cabinet is considering closing all schools.

9:50 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Lufthansa grounds 150 jets over coronavirus

From CNN’s Eoin McSweeney

Lufthansa planes are seen in Frankfurt, Germany on February 18.
Lufthansa planes are seen in Frankfurt, Germany on February 18. Credit: Boris Roessler/picture alliance/Getty Images

Lufthansa will ground 150 aircraft as it cancels flights over coronavirus. The German airline says it will ground 125 short-haul aircraft and 25 long-haul aircraft.

It comes after Lufthansa announced plans on Saturday to reduce the number of flights it was operating because of a fall in demand due to coronavirus. It has cut short-haul flights by 25% for the coming weeks.

9:21 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Singapore reaches 112 cases of novel coronavirus

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma

Singapore reported two new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus taking the total tally to 112, the nation's Ministry of Health (MOH) announced today.

One of the case involves a 43 year-old male Permanent Resident of Singapore who had been in Malaysia from February 18-21.

He's not known to have traveled to any of the other affected countries and regions recently, the MOH said.

The other confirmed case is of a 62 year-old female Singapore citizen.

She too has no travel recent travel history to any of the affected countries and regions but is linked to a previously confirmed case involving a 64 year-old female Singapore citizen.

Of the total 112 confirmed cases, 7 are in critical state, 26 are stable and 79 have fully recovered and have been discharged, the MOH said.

9:14 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Italy's top soccer league is "very likely" to play matches behind closed doors for one month

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok and Sharon Braithwaite in London and CNN’s Valentina Di Donato in Rome

A general view shows the Giuseppe Meazza stadium closed due to the coronavirus emergency in Milan, Italy, on March 1.
A general view shows the Giuseppe Meazza stadium closed due to the coronavirus emergency in Milan, Italy, on March 1. Credit: Mourad Balti Touati/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Italy’s government is “very likely’ to order all top-flight Serie A football matches to be played behind closed doors for one month in efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak in the country, a spokesperson for the Italian Sports Minister confirmed to CNN.

The government last month banned sporting events in the worst-affected northern regions of the country – Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

So far, 10 Serie A matches have been postponed as well as two in the Coppa Italia.

Representatives from the 20 Serie A clubs are meeting today at the Italian Olympic Committee's Headquarters at the Foro Italico in Rome to discuss the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak and scheduling changes to the Italian football calendar.

9:15 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

A 3rd coronavirus case has been reported in New York

Yeshiva University in New York announced today that one of their students has tested positive for coronavirus. This marks the third case in New York.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well as to all those affected,” the University said in a health alert.

The release did not identify the student.

Some context: Westchester County and New York City and state officials said in various briefings yesterday that the son of a man infected with coronavirus attended Yeshiva University. 

It's not clear if the case Yeshiva University announced today is the man's son.

Yeshiva also announced Tuesday a law school student is in self-quarantine as instructed by his or her doctor, as a precaution because of contact with the infected man’s law firm. The student is reporting no symptoms.  

The school said that it is “taking every precaution” by cancelling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights for Wednesday March 4, 2020.

All classes and operations at other campuses continue as normal.

8:52 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Czech Republic bans most people from buying face masks

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova

Respirators are seen on February 7 at Pardam nanotechnology company in Roudnice nad Labem, Czech Republic, a factory that has seen an increased demand for orders of face mask products.
Respirators are seen on February 7 at Pardam nanotechnology company in Roudnice nad Labem, Czech Republic, a factory that has seen an increased demand for orders of face mask products. Credit: Martin Divisek/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Czech government has banned the sale of FFP3 medical face masks to anyone but healthcare and social care facilities, public health bodies, emergency rescue services and other state administration bodies.

The government said the FFP3 type of masks is most effective.

The move is an attempt by the government to stop people from panic-buying the protective gear and leaving medical professionals at risk.

“Providing medical assistance and ensuring the functioning of the healthcare system is an absolute priority …. we must be able to provide our citizens with medical assistance and treat the infected. If health workers become infected, the health system will fail and we will not be able to stop the disease and protect our citizens. That is why we have to provide a sufficient number of respirators for medical professionals and then, of course, for the Integrated Rescue System, ” the country’s Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said in a statement.

Five people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Czech Republic.

One school in Prague, the country’s capital, has been shut over a suspected coronavirus case. A number of public events have been cancelled, and the government announced the Biathlon World Cup, scheduled for this week, will take place without spectators.

8:35 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Your coronavirus questions, answered

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Ask it here — we'll be answering some of your questions through out the day.

8:16 a.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Israel asks soccer match attendees to self-quarantine

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

Israel's Ministry of Health has asked thousands of people who attended a soccer match in Tel Aviv to self-quarantine as it confirmed 15 cases of coronavirus in the country.

In a statement released this morning, the Ministry of Health said a young man who tested positive for coronavirus entered Bloomfield stadium through Gate 8 on Monday to watch a match between Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Anyone who entered the ground through the same gate has been instructed to self-quarantine for two weeks. Israeli TV reports put the number affected at more than 5,000.

The young man worked a toy store in Or Yehuda, a town in central Israel and a girl who visited the store has also tested positive for coronavirus, the Ministry said.