March 12 coronavirus news

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

Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT) March 13, 2020
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11:54 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Major League Soccer suspends games for 30 days

A general view during a match between the Seattle Sounders and the Colorado Rapids in 2012 in Seattle.
A general view during a match between the Seattle Sounders and the Colorado Rapids in 2012 in Seattle. Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Major League Soccer, with teams in the US and Canada, has announced it is suspending its season for 30 days as the coronavirus pandemic grows.

The decision goes into effect immediately.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

11:52 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

How can I tell whether I have coronavirus or the flu?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have the flu or coronavirus. But there have been problems with coronavirus testing — from faulty test kits to major shortages and delays in getting tested.

The flu and coronavirus share some common symptoms, such as fever and cough, but shortness of breath is a common hallmark of coronavirus.

Of course, some people with coronavirus have no symptoms at all. And asymptomatic people can still spread coronavirus to others.

So anyone who has had close contact with someone known to have coronavirus should ask a health care provider about getting tested, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Anyone who recently traveled to a part of the world where coronavirus is widespread should do the same.

11:50 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

ATP suspends tennis tour for six weeks due to coronavirus concerns

From CNN Sports' Jabari Jackson

The ATP has initiated a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to “escalating health and safety issues” surrounding the global coronavirus outbreak. 

“The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today’s circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities,” said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi in a statement.
11:47 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

New Jersey city will implement a curfew on large nightclubs, mayor says 

From CNN's Alec Snyder

Effective immediately, Jersey City, New Jersey, is rolling out a curfew on large nightclubs in response to coronavirus concerns, the city's Mayor said.

Mayor Steve Fulop said the fact that these clubs can welcome as many as 1,000 people each night is the cause for concern, but he did not elaborate on what capacity would fall under a curfew, nor what that curfew would be.

As of now, restaurants would remain unaffected. Fulop said, though he wanted to “find the balance” between a large restaurant and a small nightclub with respect to whom the curfews would apply.

Jersey City has no positive cases of COVID-19. Three people have been tested with a negative result and a fourth is awaiting a result.

1:11 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Brazilian president's press secretary tests positive for coronavirus days after visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago

From CNN's Shasta Darlington and Jonny Hallam

Fabio Wajngarten (right), the press secretary for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, March 7, 2020.
Fabio Wajngarten (right), the press secretary for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, March 7, 2020. from Instagram

Fabio Wajngarten, the press secretary for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, according to two sources who spoke to CNN.

The health of the Brazilian president is being monitored.

Wajngarten was with Bolsonaro on last weekend’s US trip, during which the Brazilian president dined with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. 

Wajngarten posted a picture of himself with Trump on Instagram a few days ago.

11:35 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

This is why Germany can't impose nationwide bans like other European countries

Analysis from CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A person walks past the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday.
A person walks past the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

While Italy imposes a nationwide lockdown, and Ireland announces school suspensions, blanket bans aren't quite so simple in fellow European country Germany.

Essentially, German chancellor Angela Merkel does not have the sweeping power to close down large parts of public life across the entire country.

Germany is a federal state. So when it comes to political decisions like canceling public events, closing down schools or implement new health regulations, those are taken at state level.

Merkel and her national ministers can only make recommendations. Over the last few days, Germany’s Health Minister, Jens Spahn, has repeatedly recommended canceling mass public gatherings with over 1,000 people.

Some of Germany’s hardest-hit regions have implemented this ban already — but not all of them have. The same goes for the closure of schools and universities. Some have been shut, while others continue to operate. 

11:33 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

What it's like inside Italy’s main international airport during the lockdown

The US has canceled travel from 26 European countries to the US for the next 30 days, beginning Friday, as the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide.

In Italy, the country is in total lockdown. CNN’s Melissa Bell is at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome, where air travel is highly restricted.

In a live broadcast for “Go There,” CNN’s show on Facebook Watch, Bell shows the quiet scene outside the international departures terminal and answers viewer questions about the lockdown and US travel ban.

11:34 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Why Iran likely has many more cases of coronavirus than it's reporting, according to researchers

From CNN's Sam Kiley

Iran’s estimates for the number of coronavirus infections early on in the epidemic are likely to be wildly inaccurate, according to research by a team from Toronto University.

The team estimated that Iran's official figures could be off by nearly 400 times.

The number of infected people in Iran could have been “around 18,000” — not the 50 that were officially acknowledged, according to assistant professor Ashleigh Tuite, one of the team members who modeled data from infections among people who had left Iran and been diagnosed elsewhere.

She said that the estimates today, based on the work they published in February, would be up in the "hundreds of thousands."

“Basically by looking at the number of infections that we were seeing in returning travelers, people who had been in Iran and then were diagnosed with COVID-19 in other countries, we were able to use that information, along with information that we have on the number of people who travel every month between Iran and different countries to estimate the number of expected cases that would have to be circulating within Iran," she said.

11:31 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

House Speaker Pelosi says coronavirus bill will be up for vote today

From CNN's Clare Foran, Haley Byrd, and Manu Raju

Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats still plan to bring their legislative coronavirus response package to the floor for a vote today, even as she noted that talks are ongoing with the White House in an effort to reach a consensus deal.

“Today we’ll bring to the floor our Families First legislation,” she said at her weekly news conference.

She said Democrats are “addressing” some Republican concerns in their coronavirus response legislation, saying the Trump administration’s suggestions are all “very reasonable.”

But she pushed back on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s suggestion that the House stay in session instead of leaving for a week-long recess in order to further negotiate changes to the coronavirus legislation. 

"We don’t need 48 hours. We need to just make a decision to help families right now,” Pelosi said during her presser, after McCarthy said in a news conference right before hers that he thinks the House should stay in session to reach a deal and is optimistic that could get done in the next 24 to 48 hours. 

“We are responding to their concerns, we don’t want them moving the goal posts, and that’s it,” she said. “I’m not sticking around because they don’t want to agree to language.”

She said members who have complaints should “save it for another day,” and for future legislation, arguing that now is the time to find common ground.

Pelosi also left the door open for other legislative initiatives that might be negotiated with the administration, saying, “there will be other initiatives that we want to work with the administration on that may be necessary as we go forward. Some that need more discussion."

Pelosi also talked about congressional offices’ preparation to work remotely.

“That is something that we’re actually encouraging people to be prepared for. They may choose to be coming in, but be prepared to do that. It isn’t a requirement yet, but it is that we want people to be prepared. We’re providing the technology, the training and all the rest to make sure that everybody is up to par on that.”