March 14 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Ivana Kottasová and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT) March 15, 2020
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4:16 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health

From CNN's AJ Willingham

Coronavirus is a serious situation and deserves your vigilance and attention -- but the deluge of information, precautions and warnings can take a real toll on your mental health.

Here are some tips on maintaining a happy medium:

Pare down your sources of information. Find a few sources you trust, like the CDC or a community authority, and stick with them. Limit the frequency of your updates, be disciplined with your social media use and know when to walk away.

Name your fears. It may help to sit down and really consider what specific threats worry you. If your fears are practical ones, think about a plan: What are other options if you can't telework? Do you have savings or support? Being prepared for your fears will help keep them in scale.

Think outside yourself: Since action can allay our anxieties, you may want to also consider what you can do to help others who may be more affected by the outbreak than you, like service or hourly workers who may have to put themselves in disproportionate danger.

Seek support, but do it wisely. If you want to run to a friend to discuss the latest outbreak cluster or your family's contingency plans, try not to create an echo chamber where overwhelmed people further overwhelm each other.

Look for someone who is handling it differently, or for professional help if it's an available option.

Pay attention to your basic needs. Don't forget the essential, healthy practices that affect your wellbeing every day -- getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, physical activity, and getting outside as much as possible.

Don't chastise yourself for worrying. You are allowed to worry or feel bad, and those feelings are valid in times of crisis. The key is to work toward understanding and contextualizing your fears so they don't keep you from living your healthiest life.

Read the full story here:

3:58 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

US hospitals aren't prepared for coronavirus pandemic, experts warn

From CNN's Jen Christensen, Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield

Nurses at a COVID-19 testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle on Friday, March 13.
Nurses at a COVID-19 testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle on Friday, March 13. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

As the coronavirus spreads throughout the US, some health experts are warning that hospitals are not prepared to manage the anticipated number of patients if there is a spike in severe cases.

It's unclear exactly how many people might need to be hospitalized, but doctors are trying to figure that out as healthcare systems prepare for what could be a large influx of patients.

Here's one estimate by Dr. James Lawler at the University of Nebraska Medical Center:

On March 5, he predicted that over the next two months, 4.8 million patients will be hospitalized in the US because of the coronavirus -- including 1.9 million stays in the intensive care unit.

"This estimation is just that, an estimation," Lawler said in an emailed statement. "However it is based upon the best epidemiological modeling and opinion of experts in pandemics and respiratory viral disease."

The US healthcare system will likely struggle. Lawler's prediction of 4.8 million hospital patients could mean trouble for the US -- the entire country doesn't even have 1 million hospital beds, according to the American Hospital Association.

Of course, this 4.8 million figure wouldn't all happen at once. Rather, it would be spread out over many weeks, with outbreaks peaking at different times in different communities. Resources will still be severely stretched -- but not in all areas at once.

We can still lower these numbers if we act now. Lawler's estimate "assumes no attempt to lessen the outbreak" -- so the numbers can be altered if people follow official guidance like social distancing, avoiding gatherings, and practicing good hygiene, he said.

Read the full story here.

3:59 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

Test kits are "no longer available" in parts of Australia, health chief says

Medical staff conduct coronavirus tests at a hospital in Adelaide, Australia, on March 11.
Medical staff conduct coronavirus tests at a hospital in Adelaide, Australia, on March 11. Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

Stocks of coronavirus test kits have run out in parts of Australia -- and supplies elsewhere are running low, the government's chief medical officer has warned.

Dr. Brendan Murphy addressed fellow healthcare professionals in an open letter, posted to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners' website.

"Unfortunately, the extreme pressure on our personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks continues, and the situation regarding pathology test kits, reagents and swabs is deteriorating rapidly, with kits no longer being available in some regions of the country," he wrote.
"Pathology collection centres have also experienced large backlogs in testing appointments in some parts of Australia, and emergency testing facilities have had to be established in some areas to ensure that urgent patients can get access to testing."

To address the issue, he urged medical staff to only refer patients for a coronavirus pathology test if they meet the following criteria:

  • Traveled internationally in the 14 days before illness onset, OR close or casual contact with a confirmed case in the 14 days before illness onset.
  • Have symptoms of fever OR acute respiratory infection (shortness of breath, cough, sore throat) with or without fever.

Australia is bracing for a wave of infections. The country has 189 cases, according to the World Health Organization, and the number will likely keep rising.

Health officials in the state of Queensland say they are preparing for the possibility that up to 25% of the its population may be infected in the next six months. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland's population is 5 million -- meaning officials are preparing to deal with 1.25 million infections. 

Across the border in New South Wales, officials say they expect 20% of the state's population -- about 1.6 million people -- will be infected.

7:36 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

Apple is closing every store outside greater China until March 27

A closed Apple Store is pictured in a deserted shopping mall in Rome, Italy, on March 12.
A closed Apple Store is pictured in a deserted shopping mall in Rome, Italy, on March 12. Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Apple will close all its stores worldwide -- except those in greater China -- until March 27, CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet today.

The company has also committed $15 million to help with the global coronavirus outbreak.

All of Apple's stores in greater China have reopened after being closed for much of the past two months, while the region grappled with the coronavirus outbreak.

"As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers," the company said in a statement.

Apple employees worldwide will begin to work remotely where possible, while all sites will undergo deep cleaning and health screenings. Hourly workers will continue to be paid.

Customers can still shop on the Apple website, or get customer support online.

Apple's donations, totaling $15 million, have been directed to medical response for patients, and to help lessen the economic impact of the pandemic, the statement said.

3:04 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

Vietnam suspends entry for travelers coming from 26 European countries, as well as the UK

From Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

A passenger wearing a face mask walks in the nearly empty departure hall of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 12.
A passenger wearing a face mask walks in the nearly empty departure hall of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 12. Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Vietnam is suspending travel from certain European countries, according to a government statement issued Saturday. 

The ban will apply to travelers who have been in 26 European countries, known as the Schengen Area, and the UK in the past 14 days.

Visas upon arrival will also no longer be issued for all foreign nationals, the statement said.

The travel restrictions come into effect at midnight Sunday local time, and will last 30 days.

Vietnam has 32 cases of the coronavirus, 16 of which have been discharged from hospital.

A wave of travel bans: Vietnam's ban echoes similar ones imposed by the US, Hong Kong, Turkey, Cambodia and other countries in the past few days.

The US and Hong Kong both implemented bans for the Schengen Area. Turkey and Cambodia's bans didn't cover as many countries, and singled out several of the hardest-hit European nations, like Spain and Germany.

2:39 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

Colombia closes its border with Venezuela in response to coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Daniel Silva in Miami

People coming from Venezuela hold their documents on the border at Simon Bolivar International Bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia, on March 12. Colombia declared a "health emergency" due to the coronavirus pandemic.
People coming from Venezuela hold their documents on the border at Simon Bolivar International Bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia, on March 12. Colombia declared a "health emergency" due to the coronavirus pandemic. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia will close its border with Venezuela in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus, President Ivan Duque announced late Friday -- the same day Venezuela announced its first two cases.

The closure will take effect early Saturday local time, Duque said on Twitter. 

Colombia will also restrict access to foreign nationals and non-residents who have been to Europe or Asia in the last 14 days. Colombian nationals and residents returning to the country will face mandatory quarantine for 14 days. 

Colombia's border with Ecuador will remain open with greater control and coordination between both countries, Duque said.

The first two cases in Venezuela are a woman who traveled to the US, Italy and Spain, as well as a man who traveled to Spain. Both are in quarantine.

Colombia confirmed its first case on March 7 -- a 19-year-old-woman who traveled to Italy.

2:58 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

New Zealand wants all arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media on March 14 in Auckland.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media on March 14 in Auckland. (Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced that all travelers entering the country will be required to “self-isolate” for 14 days.

The new measures go into effect at midnight Sunday local time and apply to nearly every traveler, regardless of nationality, including New Zealand citizens and residents.

The only exemptions are the Pacific Islands -- but travelers from there will also need to self-isolate if they show symptoms.

“This decision will mean New Zealand will have the widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world,” Ardern said.

The measures will be reviewed in 16 days, she added.

New Zealand has six coronavirus cases so far. Ardern said none are the result of community transmission.

1:54 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

Trump doesn't need testing or quarantine, White House physician says

US President Donald Trump announcing a national emergency at the White House in Washington, DC, on Friday, March 13.
US President Donald Trump announcing a national emergency at the White House in Washington, DC, on Friday, March 13. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump does not need to be tested or quarantined for coronavirus despite being in proximity to infected dignitaries at Mar-a-Lago, the White House physician said in a statement today.

Three members of a Brazilian delegation that traveled to the US have tested positive. One of them was seated at the same dinner table as Trump at Mar-a-Lago last Saturday, while another shook the President’s hand and took a photograph with him, according to the physician’s statement.

"These interactions would be categorized as LOW risk for transmission per CDC guidelines, and as such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time," the statement said.
"Additionally, given the President himself remains without symptoms, testing for Covid-19 is not currently indicated."

There has been some flip-flopping about this: On Thursday, the White House press secretary said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "do not require being tested at this time."

Then on Friday, when asked about it by a reporter, Trump said he would "likely" receive a coronavirus test "fairly soon."

The White House was constantly evaluating whether to test the President and take measures to prevent the virus from spreading among Trump's close confidants, according to one senior official, who said aides are keenly aware of the optics of testing the commander-in-chief.

1:34 a.m. ET, March 14, 2020

House passes coronavirus relief bill backed by Trump

From CNN's Clare Foran

House TV
House TV

The House just passed the coronavirus relief measure negotiated between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration.

H.R. 6201, or the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed with bipartisan support and a final tally of 363-40, with 40 Republicans voting against it and Independent Justin Amash voting “present.”

President Donald Trump’s backing of the legislation cleared the way for a broad, bipartisan vote. The Senate is expected to take up the measure when it returns to session next week.

What's in the bill: The broad legislative package includes provisions for paid emergency leave and free coronavirus testing. Trump tweeted his support for the bill earlier this evening, after Pelosi announced a deal with the administration.

The deal came together after intense back-and-forth negotiation between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and prolonged uncertainty over whether and when a consensus deal could be struck -- with House Democrats warning that they would go ahead and pass legislation one way or another.

In a series of tweets, Trump put an end to the uncertainty by saying “I fully support” the legislation.

"This Bill will follow my direction for free Coronavirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers. I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt. I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!,” he said.