March 13 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:49 p.m. ET, March 13, 2020
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7:45 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Bollywood megastar shares poem about fighting coronavirus

From CNN's Manveena Suri

One of India’s most influential people has shared a poem on Twitter about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus in a country of more than a billion people.

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan posted a video of himself reciting a few lines of verse that he had “doodled.”

The poem talks about listening to government advice such as washing your hands regularly, staying indoors and practicing social distancing.

"They (officials) ask us to stay at home and they say, 'do not say hello without washing your hands with soap or stay at home.' Yes, we will do what you ask us to do,” says Bachchan as he recites the Hindi poem for his 40.3 million followers.

“Big B,” as he is known across India, also posted a photo of himself preparing to record a message on coronavirus for UNICEF and the Indian government.

Considered a national institution in India, Bachchan has starred in more than 200 movies and hosts the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

He is known for promoting social causes. In 2016, he starred in the courtroom drama “Pink," in which he plays a lawyer fighting for three young female victims of unwanted sexual advances in New Delhi, often considered one of the most unsafe cities for women in India. 

In 2018, he cleared more than $560,000 worth of debt owed by farmers amid an agricultural crisis that had forced many into extreme poverty.

7:47 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Confusion over the availability and criteria for testing is leaving sick people wondering if they're infected

From CNN's Ashley Fantz, Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin

Samples being tested for respiratory viruses are pictured at Leeds General Infirmary in Leeds, England, on Thursday.
Samples being tested for respiratory viruses are pictured at Leeds General Infirmary in Leeds, England, on Thursday. Credit: Danny Lawson/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

A group of first responders in Washington state, a scientist in California, a woman at an assisted living facility in Florida -- all worried because they believe they might have coronavirus but say they can't get tested.

They and many others tell CNN they're suffering symptoms associated with Covid-19, and are worried they may have come into contact with someone who has the virus. They are angry and frustrated after trying to get tested, only to be turned away.

Their stories came into CNN's tip line even as Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday told CNN's morning show, "New Day," that anyone with a doctor's order could get tested.

"There's no barrier ..." Pence said. "Make no mistake about it, we're making steady progress."

A primary care doctor in Massachusetts said Pence's assertion that anyone with doctor's orders for testing can get it is "totally false."

There is strict criteria for testing: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is only approving testing for people who are critically ill, have been exposed to an infected patient, or who have recently traveled to certain heavily impacted countries outside the US.

Even if a patient is approved for testing, there just aren't tests on hand to use, said the physician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Even if the patient were around and exposed to someone coughing, sick, sneezing, I cannot give them a coronavirus test," the doctor said. "We are being crippled by our department of public health and the CDC on our ability to combat this pandemic."

Read the full story here:

7:23 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Chilling photos of abandoned schools, theaters and stadiums across the world

A teacher walks along a hallway of an empty public school in the village of Labastida, in northern Spain, on Wednesday, March 11.
A teacher walks along a hallway of an empty public school in the village of Labastida, in northern Spain, on Wednesday, March 11. Credit: Alvaro Barrientos/AP

Museums, theme parks and places of worship are closing down across the world, leaving usually bustling attractions eerily empty.

In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, people have been asked to avoid crowds and limit their travel, while students and workers are being sent home.

Sporting events have been suspended, trains and planes canceled and conferences postponed.

The result is a strange silence descending on some of the busiest streets and venues in the world.

See all the latest photos here.

7:25 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

English Premier League matches suspended until April 4

Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the English Premier League, addresses journalists during a media briefing on February 4, in London, England.
Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the English Premier League, addresses journalists during a media briefing on February 4, in London, England. Credit: Alex Morton/Getty Images for Premier League

The English Premier League has been suspended until at least April 4, subject to medical advice and conditions at that time.

The decision was made after shareholders met on Friday and unanimously decided to suspend the professional game in England, the EPL said in a statement.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said that the league wished Arsenal's head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi "speedy recoveries," after they both tested positive for coronavirus.

"In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA (Football Association) and EFL (English Football League) and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority," he added.

The aim is to reschedule fixtures when it is safe to do so and further updates will be provided when appropriate, the statement said.

7:08 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

This company created coronavirus test kits in three weeks with the help of an AI-run super computer

From CNN's Ivan Watson, Sophie Jeong, Julia Hollingsworth and Tom Booth

An assembly line where scientists work to create coronavirus test kits at Seegene's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on March 6. 
An assembly line where scientists work to create coronavirus test kits at Seegene's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on March 6.  CNN

Before there were any cases of novel coronavirus confirmed in South Korea, one of the country's biotech firms had begun preparing to make testing kits to identify the disease.

On January 16, Chun Jong-yoon, the chief executive and founder of molecular biotech company Seegene, told his team it was time to start focusing on coronavirus.

That was before the virus sweeping China had been named Covid-19 and four days ahead of South Korea confirming its first case.

"Even if nobody is asking us to, we are a molecular diagnosis company. We have to prepare in advance," he remembered thinking at the time.

Fast forward two months, and South Korea is among the world's worst affected countries, with nearly 8,000 people infected, according to the World Health Organization.

But one reason why South Korea might have a higher number of infections than other countries is its aggressive approach to testing.

While some nations have struggled to get enough test kits to diagnose suspected patients, South Korea has provided free and easy access to testing for anyone who a doctor deems needs it. To date, the country has tested more than 230,000 people.

Part of the reason it was able to do that is the availability of test kits developed by companies like Seegene.

Read the full story of how Seegene created its test kits here.

7:19 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Minister rejects false rumors that "those with black skin cannot get coronavirus" as Kenya records first case

From CNN’s Mia Alberti in London and Bethlehem Feleke in Nairobi

Kenya's Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe, center, announces the first confirmed coronavirus case in Kenya, on Friday.
Kenya's Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe, center, announces the first confirmed coronavirus case in Kenya, on Friday. Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Kenya has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, prompting its health secretary to warn that being black is no protection against COVID-19.

Secretary of Health Mutahi Kagwe rejected rumors that “those with black skin cannot get coronavirus” at a news conference, adding that the patient was African.

The government said the patient was a 27-year-old woman who traveled from the United States through London on March 5. The case was identified on March 12 and the government said it had traced all those who had come into contact with her.

Kagwe told reporters the patient is “stable, her temperature has gone down to normal, she’s been eating -- but she can’t be released until the test comes back as negative.”

The government said in a statement that it was strengthening “measures to ensure no further transmission of the disease" in Kenya.

Kenya’s Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, said the country’s economy would be “hit badly,” and that the tourism sector would be the most affected.

Balala said the government has allocated 500 million Kenyan shillings ($4.8 million) for “PR and marketing post-coronavirus.”

6:41 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Kazakhstan confirms first two coronavirus cases

From CNN's Isaac Yee

Kazakhstan has confirmed the country's first two cases of the novel coronavirus as two citizens who had been in Germany.

"Unfortunately, we should inform that two nationals of Kazakhstan have tested positive for the coronavirus. They both arrived from Germany," said Minister of Healthcare Yelzhan Birtanov on Friday, according to state news agency Kazinform.

Birtanov added: "Both of them were hospitalized. Neither of them has clinical symptoms, they feel well."

Earlier on Friday, Kazakhstan's Civil Aviation Committee announced it had suspended international flights to countries including the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the UK.

6:31 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

Iran rejects Trump’s offer of coronavirus help as "hypocritical" and "repulsive"

From CNN’s Radina Gigova

Iran has rejected an apparent offer by US President Donald Trump to help the nation in the fight against coronavirus, calling it “hypocritical” and “repulsive” and accusing the US of “economic and medical terrorism.” 

“Instead of hypocritical displays of compassion and repulsive bragging, you should end your economic and medical terrorism so that medicine and medical supplies can reach medical staff and the Iranian people,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Friday, according to state-run Press TV. 

“We do not need American doctors,” Mousavi said on Friday, adding that Iran has “the best, bravest and most component medical staff in the world.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, on January 5.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, on January 5. Credit: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua/Getty Images

During a meeting with Ireland’s Prime Minister at the White House on Thursday, Trump said the US was offering “assistance” to Iran. 

“We have the greatest doctors in the world, we offer Iran assistance,” Trump said. 

There are 10,075 confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran and 429 deaths, according to the latest Health Ministry numbers. 

6:31 a.m. ET, March 13, 2020

English Premier League side Everton self-isolating after player reported symptoms

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

Everton merchandise is seen on display outside Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, on March 1.
Everton merchandise is seen on display outside Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, on March 1. Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

English Premier League side Everton confirmed on Friday that their entire first-team squad has been placed into self-isolation following medical advice after a first-team player reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus.

The football club said it was in regular contact with the player in question and is monitoring the wellbeing of all players and staff and had closed down all of its workplaces, including its Goodison Park stadium and USM Finch Farm training ground.

Everton joins Premier League sides Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City in having players tested or in quarantine. 

Premier League side Watford confirmed on Friday that one player is awaiting test results on his symptoms.

“We've had players who have had symptoms of not being well," manager Nigel Pearson said at a news conference. "We've got one player awaiting tests results on his symptoms. We are trying to be proactive and hopefully the Premier League will make a strong decision based on what is good for everybody.”

With the exception of Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Arsenal, which has already been postponed, all games in the English Premier League this weekend are currently due to go ahead as planned.