March 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Sheena McKenzie and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT) March 13, 2020
43 Posts
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8:10 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Wyoming reports its first coronavirus case -- making it the 44th US state with infections

Wyoming has confirmed its first coronavirus case, the state's Department of Health said in a news release.

“Lab testing at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory has identified the first known case of a state resident with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)," the release said.

The patient is a woman from Sheridan County who has recently traveled domestically.

The state health department said it is working “to learn more details about the person’s exposure risk and to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the patient.”

44 states infected: That means 44 out of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have now reported coronavirus cases.

The number of patients in the United States has doubled since Sunday.

The new numbers bring the national total to 1,274 cases, including 70 cases of citizens repatriated from abroad.

8:41 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Tokyo governor: Canceling the Olympics would be "unthinkable"

From CNN's Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo and Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

Commuters walk along a sidewalk on Tuesday, March 3, in Tokyo.
Commuters walk along a sidewalk on Tuesday, March 3, in Tokyo. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Canceling the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would be "unthinkable," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said today.

Speaking to reporters about the World Health Organization's (WHO) official declaration of a pandemic, Koike said: "There will be an impact, but it is unthinkable that (the Olympics) would be canceled."

Olympic organizers have insisted for the past month that preparations for the Games are proceeding as planned. On Thursday, the organizers said they were monitoring the situation.

Here's their statement:

"The Organising Committee is aware of the World Health Organisation Director-General’s remarks.
As we have done thus far, the Organising Committee, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee will monitor the situation carefully while seeking the advice of the World Health Organisation.
We will continue to coordinate our response with the Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and other stakeholders as we prepare for a safe and secure delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Games in July this year."

Cancelling or postponing the Games would be a massive and financially costly move -- but other major sporting events have been suspended amid the pandemic, including the NBA regular season.

Tokyo 2020 is due to officially begin on July 24.

8:11 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Pope urges Italians to support the government during pandemic

From CNN’s Mia Alberti in London

Pope Francis holds his general audience at the Vatican, on Wednesday, March 11.
Pope Francis holds his general audience at the Vatican, on Wednesday, March 11. Vatican News via AP

Pope Francis dedicated Thursday’s homily to Italian authorities, asking people to support the government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities often feel “alone” during times like these, but “it’s for everyone’s common good,” the Pope said.

“Let’s pray for our leaders that have to take these decisions over these measures, let them feel supported by the people,” he said.

Italy was placed under total lockdown on Monday -- meaning schools are closed, movement restricted, events canceled, public services suspended, and many public spaces are empty as people stay home.

Italy now has the most coronavirus cases outside of China.

8:33 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Stock markets plunge after Trump announces European travel ban

A display of the Tokyo Stock Exchange today, which closed down 4.41% after President Donald Trump announced a surprise travel ban.
A display of the Tokyo Stock Exchange today, which closed down 4.41% after President Donald Trump announced a surprise travel ban. Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

European shares have fallen sharply at the open, as investors react to new travel restrictions from the US.

President Trump announced late Wednesday night local time that the US was suspending travel from 26 European countries for the next 30 days, effective Friday midnight.

In the opening minutes of trade, Europe's main markets were all down. The FTSE 100 was down more than 2%, the German Dax was 5% lower and the French CAC 40 fell 3%.

Airline stocks were among the big fallers. IAG, owner of British Airways and Iberia, was down 7%, Lufthansa was down 9% and Ryanair was down nearly 10%.

Shockwaves were felt in Asia too. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped into a bear market, defined as a drop of more than 20% from the most recent high. The benchmark index closed down 4.4%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) was last down 3.6%, while South Korea's Kospi (KOSPI) closed down 3.9%. Both indexes are flirting with bear market territory.

These countries are affected: The 26 countries included in the ban are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. 

8:11 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be tested for coronavirus

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Great Hall of the People in August 2019 in Beijing, China.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Great Hall of the People in August 2019 in Beijing, China. Photo by How Hwee Young-Pool/Getty Images

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who turns 75 this month, will be tested for the coronavirus, according to a Facebook post by presidential aide Bong Go.

Go said that both he and Duterte are undergoing testing to “ensure that we are fit and healthy to engage the public and perform our duties."

The decision was taken after some cabinet members were exposed to confirmed cases of the virus and are now under self-quarantine, according to the post.

The Philippines confirmed 15 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the national total to 35.

8:11 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

There are 208 employees at a Seoul call center. A total of 80 have tested positive for the virus

From journalist Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul

Among 208 employees of a call center in Seoul, who all work on the same floor, 80 have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the South Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are also confirmed cases from other floors in the same building.

The call center was identified as a new cluster earlier this week, with a spike in cases in Seoul after a few days of diminishing daily cases.

Some 553 other employees on different floors of the building are now under self-quarantine and are being tested, as health officials continue their investigation into the cluster transmission at the call center.

The building has been closed and disinfected, and the area where it's located has been designated an "infectious disease special zone."

Health authorities are now trying to figure out whether the confirmed cases on different floors are linked or separate cases, according to Kwon Joon-wook, vice-director of the KCDC.

8:33 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

There are now more than 124,500 coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the WHO

The coronavirus has infected more than 124,500 people globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Global cases: 124,519
  • Global deaths: 4,607
  • Countries or territories with cases: 118

China remains the most heavily impacted country, with more than 80,000 cases, according to the WHO. Italy has the second highest number of cases, topping 12,000, and Iran follows, with around 9,000 cases.

8:32 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Beijing is enforcing a 14-day quarantine on international travelers

From CNN's Joshua Berlinger

A woman wears a face mask as a preventive measure against coronavirus as she waits at Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing on March 11.
A woman wears a face mask as a preventive measure against coronavirus as she waits at Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing on March 11. Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Beijing has announced it will enforce a 14-day quarantine on all international travelers arriving in the Chinese capital, as the number of coronavirus cases outside Asia continues to rise.

On Tuesday, Beijing reported six new confirmed cases -- all imported, including five from Italy and one from the United States.

The move is one of several travel restrictions being introduced across the region, as governments step up efforts to prevent a surge in cross-border infections.

The new ruling requires all passengers arriving in Beijing from overseas to self-quarantine, either at home or in a designated facility, for 14 days.

International business travelers will be required to stay at a select number of designated hotels in Beijing where they will be tested for the virus. They will not be permitted to leave until their test results have been returned.

It used to be the other way around: At the beginning of the pandemic, it was China and other Asian countries dealing with an exponential rise in cases and the ensuing travel restrictions enacted by countries and airlines around the world.

Many of those restrictions are still in place -- but the tone of panic versus containment has completely flipped. China only reported 15 new cases yesterday -- six imported from overseas -- suggesting the virus was mostly contained within the country.

By comparison, Italy is now under complete lockdown, 43 US states have confirmed cases, and every country in the European Union has reported infections, with numbers continuing to spike by hundreds every day.

Read more:

8:32 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Trade group: Trump’s new travel ban could cost the US more than $3 billion

From CNN's Sherisse Pham

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday. Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s new restrictions banning travel from 26 European countries could cost the US travel industry billions of dollars, according to the US Travel Association.

The 30-day suspension, which begins Friday at midnight, marks a sharp escalation of measures taken to insulate Americans from the coronavirus outbreak.

"Temporarily shutting off travel from Europe is going to exacerbate the already-heavy impact of coronavirus on the travel industry and the 15.7 million Americans whose jobs depend on travel,” said US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow in a statement today. 

The travel restriction extends to countries in the Schengen zone, which includes Italy, Germany, France, Spain and 22 other nations. The United Kingdom is not included.

Why this will hit hard: Thousands of Europeans visit America every month -- and during that time, they spend a lot of money.

About 850,000 international visitors flying from Europe -- excluding the United Kingdom -- entered the United States in March 2019, accounting for about 29% of total overseas arrivals to the country, according to US Travel Association economists. Those visitors spent some $3.4 billion in the United States.

US citizens and permanent residents who are in Europe will still be allowed back into the United States during the 30-day period, though will be screened upon entry and face quarantine or restrictions on their movement.

Even so, it remains unclear whether airlines will still fly the routes if passenger demand from European nationals dries up because of the ban.