March 12 coronavirus news

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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

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

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.

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

Greece reports its first coronavirus death

A 66-year-old Greek man is the first coronavirus patient to die in the country, the Greek Health Ministry said in a statement today. 

The Ministry said the man died around 3:15 a.m. local time today at a hospital in Patras.

Greece has confirmed a total of 99 coronavirus cases.  

8:13 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence will be on CNN later today to talk about the coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the White House on March 3.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the White House on March 3. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence will be answering questions about the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus on CNN’s New Day, which starts at 7:30 a.m. ET.

The outbreak in the US has reached 43 states and the District of Columbia. President Donald Trump suspended travel from 26 European countries and announced additional measures late Wednesday night to help steady a rattled nation and diving markets.

You can watch the show on air, on CNN and CNN.com and all digital platforms, and streaming devices on CNNgo.

8:30 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Viking Cruises will temporarily suspend cruise operations until May

The Viking Sun, operated by Viking Cruises, at London's Greenwich Pier in August 2019.
The Viking Sun, operated by Viking Cruises, at London's Greenwich Pier in August 2019. Credit: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Viking Cruises announced today that it is temporarily suspending cruise operations until May, in response to the coronavirus situation. 

"We have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from March 12 to April 30, 2020 – at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve," said the statement.
"This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known."

The statement also said guests who already booked cruises during that period would be offered a voucher for a future cruise worth 125% the original cruise price, or a total refund for the amount paid.

3:14 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

Staff on an Australian TV talk show are in quarantine after Rita Wilson's appearance

Rita Wilson at WCRF's "An Unforgettable Evening" on February 27 in Beverly Hills, California.
Rita Wilson at WCRF's "An Unforgettable Evening" on February 27 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for WCRF

Staff from the Australian morning talk show “Today Extra” will be quarantined after coming into “prolonged contact” with actress and singer Rita Wilson, who was a guest on the program on Monday.

The show airs on CNN’s affiliated Nine Network.

Rita Wilson and her husband Tom Hanks announced earlier today that they had contracted the coronavirus. The couple are now being treated in Australia's Queensland state, said the state premier.

After the diagnosis, Nine Network enacted its “crisis response plan," it said in a statement.

"Today Extra" hosts David Campbell and Belinda Russell are now undergoing testing for the virus. Speaking on Radio 2GB today, Campbell added that he would pull his children . out of school while waiting for test results, and that Wilson "didn't seem to have any symptoms of anything." 

3:04 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic

Workers clean a subway station in New York City on Wednesday.
Workers clean a subway station in New York City on Wednesday. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A lot has happened in the past few hours. Here's the latest:

  • This is now a pandemic: The World Health Organization has announced the new classification of the novel coronavirus as a pandemic, but cautioned that this doesn't mean the global health watchdog or individual countries will change their response. Calling it a pandemic just formally acknowledges that the virus is deadly, has spread worldwide, and has sustained person-to-person transmission.
  • The US has new travel restrictions: President Trump announced earlier today that travel from 26 countries to the US will be suspended for the next 30 days, beginning Friday at midnight. Several European ambassadors in the US say they had no warning of the announcement, and are still working to figure out what the restrictions mean.
  • Basketball is on hold: The NBA is suspending its regular season, after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus. The test result was reported just before the tip-off of Wednesday night's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena, which was immediately canceled.
  • Tom Hanks infected: The two-time Academy Award winning actor and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have been diagnosed with coronavirus and are being treated in Australia's Queensland state.
  • Cases rise worldwide: The US reported more cases today from several states -- 43 states and the District of Columbia have reported infections. Australia, India, China, and South Korea are among the countries also reporting new infections today. As cases rise, major events around the world are being canceled, schools are being suspended and classes moved online, and people are staying home under self quarantine.
8:13 a.m. ET, March 12, 2020

The US now has 1,272 coronavirus cases and 38 deaths

The United States has at least 1,272 cases of the coronavirus and 38 deaths, according to state and local health agencies and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

70 cases are repatriated citizens, like those evacuated from China or from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

1,202 cases were detected on US soil, spread out across 43 states and the District of Columbia.

These include presumptive positive cases that are still pending final confirmation from the CDC labs.