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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12:52 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Oregon governor orders all events of more than 250 people canceled statewide

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks in October 2015.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks in October 2015. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced at a news conference Thursday that all large gatherings of more than 250 people will be canceled statewide effective immediately for four weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Oregon health officials have previously recommend keeping schools open to support students’ well-being and access to health care and food, but Brown announced Thursday that all non-essential school-associated gatherings and group activities should be canceled — such as group parent meetings, field trips, and competitions.

12:24 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Trump says it would have taken too long to tell European leaders about new travel restrictions

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday. Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump suggested Thursday that he didn’t consult European leaders before announcing US travel restrictions on 26 European countries related to novel coronavirus because it would have taken too long.

“We get along very well with European leaders, but we had to make a decision and I didn’t want to take time and, you know, it takes a long time make the individual calls and we are calling and we had spoken to some of them prior to (the announcement),” he said.

The President also suggested the lack of communication was justified because European countries don’t inform him when they raise taxes on the US.

“But we had to move quickly. I mean, when they raise taxes on us, they don’t consult us and I think that’s probably one in the same,” he continued.

12:18 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

UN Human Rights Council suspends annual meeting because of coronavirus

From CNN’s Richard Roth in New York City

United Nations Human Rights Council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger is seen on a screen during a session in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday.
United Nations Human Rights Council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger is seen on a screen during a session in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday. Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations Human Rights Council is suspending its annual meeting in Geneva due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Council’s President Austria's Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisselberger announced earlier today. 

“This week we had taken new measures almost every day to create a safe environment for the continuation of the Human Rights Council. There was a bureau’s meeting every day and we took increasingly restrictive measures like moving the whole Council from Room 20 to Assembly Hall, restricting the number of seats given to delegations, restricting the number of NGOs who had access,” she said. 

Tichy-Fisselberger continued: “But yesterday, when WHO declared this is a pandemic which stretched to well over 100 countries and when we also had recommendations by the Swiss authorities, by UNOG and actually a lot of worries from various delegations we said the responsible thing now is to suspend the session in an orderly way, as we say.”

12:13 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Multiple college conferences canceling on-going basketball tournaments

Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Multiple college conferences that are holding basketball tournaments are canceling remaining games as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Here's who's canceling and their response:

SEC Conference

"Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Southeastern Conference today announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville," the SEC said

The Big Ten Conference

"The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately. announced today that it will be canceling the remainder of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, effective immediately. The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus," the Big Ten said.

The American Athletic Conference

"Commissioner Mike Aresco announced this morning that the 2020 Air Force Reserve Men’s Basketball Championship, scheduled to take place March 12-15 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, will not be played. The decision was made in consultation with the Conference’s leadership in light of recent developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a proactive decision to protect the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff and all involved with the tournament," the American Athletic said.

 

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

Trump explains why travel from the UK hasn't been restricted

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image

President Donald Trump said the UK was excluded from upcoming US travel restrictions on Europe because of their strong borders and low novel coronavirus infection numbers.

“One of the reasons UK basically has been (excluded from the restrictions is) it’s got the border. It’s got very strong borders and they’re doing a very good job,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.

“They don’t have very much infection at this point and hopefully they’ll keep it that way,” he added.

At least 590 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus, of which eight have died, according to the UK Department of Health.

12:10 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Top US infectious disease doctor says US is "failing" when it comes to testing

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said on Thursday during a House Oversight Committee hearing that the United States is currently failing when it comes to reducing the difficulty some Americans are facing when it comes to getting tested for novel coronavirus.

After Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was asked why people who wanted tests weren’t getting them, Fauci spoke up and said this:

“It is a failing. I mean, let’s admit it. The fact is the way the system was set up is that the public health component that Dr. Redfield was talking about was a system where you put it out there in the public and a physician asks for it and you get it."

“The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not,” Fauci added. 

12:13 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Trump says domestic travel restrictions haven't been discussed but are "a possibility"

 From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump said today that domestic travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus haven’t been discussed, but they remain a possibility.

“Are you considering travel restrictions within the United States, such as to Washington state or to California?” a reporter asked the President during an Oval Office meeting between Trump and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

“We haven’t discussed that yet. Is it a possibility? Yes, if somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot,” Trump said.

“You see what they’re doing in New Rochelle, which is good, frankly, but it’s not enforced,” Trump said of the New York area being impacted by the virus. “It’s not very strong, but people know they’re being watched.”

Watch:

12:08 p.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Houston megachurch cancels public services this weekend

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Public worship services at Lakewood Church in Houston have been canceled this weekend, according to a post late Wednesday night.

The services, hosted by Joel Osteen, will still be streamed on multiple platforms, according to the post. The public gatherings were canceled after Houston's mayor declared a public health emergency.

Lakewood hosts its services at the former Compaq Center, which hosted the NBA's Houston Rockets among other local teams until 2003. The arena holds approximately 16,000 people, a church spokesman told CNN last year.

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.”