March 16 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:14 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020
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4:47 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Switzerland bans all events and closes shops

From CNN's Mia Alberti and Lauren Kent

Switzerland’s government banned all private and public events from midnight local time on Monday for more than a month, according to a statement from the Swiss Federal Council.

"Until April 19th, every shop, restaurant, bar and all recreational areas should remain closed. There will be an exception for supermarkets and health services,” the statement said. “From midnight today we'll also impose border controls with Germany, Austria and France."

The Swiss government also deployed 8,000 military personnel to assist with coronavirus measures.

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga said in an Instagram post: “Right now we need the support of everyone, young and elderly. We have to make sure our hospitals can keep treating the seriously injured and sick. Respect rigorously the measures and recommendations of the federal Council. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

4:44 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trump asks Americans not to hoard goods

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

In a series of tweets, President Trump discussed supply at grocery stores and asked Americans not to hoard goods.

“We are confident that supply will continue to meet demand nationwide,” and that grocery stores will remain open “no matter what," Trump tweeted.

He then urged Americans to band together.

5:02 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Nearly 7 million San Francisco Bay area residents ordered to shelter in place

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly seven million people living in a wide swath of Northern California, including Silicon Valley, are being ordered to shelter in place starting at midnight on Monday.

Along with San Francisco, which previously announced its order, residents in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties, along with the city of Berkeley are being required to stay home, according to an order from health officials in those jurisdictions.

“This decision is exponentially difficult,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody said, but added that a regional approach is necessary. “We know we need to do this.”

Health services, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, and food delivery services will remain open. Mass transit will stay open, but it is only to be used for travel to and from essential services.

4:52 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

New Orleans mayor orders all bars and nightclubs to close

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

A man sits at a bar in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 15.
A man sits at a bar in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 15. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a proclamation today closing all bars, nightclubs, casinos, movie theaters, malls, gyms and health clubs in the city due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Restaurants will be required to end dine-in services and offer takeout and delivery only.

4:39 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Pennsylvania closes all state liquor stores indefinitely

All Pennsylvania state liquor stores and licensee service centers will close indefinitely tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced.

“This was a tremendously difficult decision to make, and we understand the disruption our store closures will have on consumers and licensees across the commonwealth,” Board Chairman Tim Holden said in a statement.

Holden continued:

“But in these uncertain and unprecedented times, the public health crisis and mitigation effort must take priority over the sale of wine and spirits, as the health and safety of our employees and communities is paramount.”

The liquor control board handles all beverage alcohol distribution in Pennsylvania, operating nearly 600 wine and spirits stores statewide. It licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers, according to the statement.

4:29 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

A CDC employee was diagnosed with novel coronavirus

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its first employee diagnosed with novel coronavirus, according to a statement.

The agency, which is leading the national public health response to the pandemic, said the employee who tested positive is in "good condition and is isolated to prevent spread of infection to others."  

The infection was confirmed by CDC's own lab testing. 

The agency specified that the employee was not involved in its response to the outbreak, nor have they been on the premises since March 6 — at which time they did not have any symptoms. Other employees in the same unit are working remotely while their office undergoes deep cleaning, the statement added.

The CDC said it is not sharing further details about this case, or other potential cases down the line, due to privacy concerns.

On March 9, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters the agency that no one of the "more than 1,500 people who have worked on this response so far" had tested positive for the virus.

4:27 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Boeing asks employees to work from home, but says it will still build planes

From CNN's Chris Isidore

Boeing said Monday it is directing employees who are able to perform their work from home to telecommute until further notice — but that won't stop it from building planes.

The company did not say how many employees will continue to report to work to build planes. But it said it has enhanced cleaning procedures in work spaces, common areas and on high-touch surfaces in its assembly plants.

"We’re assessing the safety of all of our sites and their alignment with local, state and national government guidance as we continuously monitor this evolving situation," said Boeing's statement.

Washington state is one of the areas of the United States with the most severe outbreaks of the disease.

The company had 161,000 employees as of Dec. 31, according to a company filing. About 35,000 are members of the Machinists union, and they are primarily involved building planes.

There are about 18,000 technical and engineering employees who are also represented by a union, and while some of them may be able to work from home, others are needed on the assembly line to oversee construction. The company also has a nonunion assembly plant in South Carolina.

4:24 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Sudan closes its borders due to coronavirus concerns

From Yassir Abdullah in Khartoum and Nima Elbagir in London

Sudan has closed its borders, sealing of all sea ports, land crossings and airports, Mohamed Al-Faki Suleiman, spokesperson for Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council, said in a press statement. 

The Council has formed an executive committee to put in place measures to further prevent the entry coronavirus into the country and has declared a state of medical emergency.

"The first undertaking by the committee is hereby to close all ports, airports and land crossings, with the exception of trips that carry aid and technical and humanitarian support and scheduled air freight flights," Suleiman said.

The Council also laid out all the necessary measures to receive citizens stranded in land crossings and prepare places for them to go into quarantine.

Elsewhere in Africa, Eritrea has issued travel bans and Kenya has denied entry to anyone traveling to Kenya "from any country with reported Coronavirus cases."


4:22 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trump says he would give himself a 10 for his coronavirus response 

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

President Trump gave himself a 10 when asked how he would grade his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also praised the professionals who work on the coronavirus task force.

Trump went on to criticize the testing system he inherited calling it “obsolete.”

When asked if the buck stops with him, Trump said “yeah normally” but once again discussed things that took place in 2009 and 2011.

In his Rose Garden address on Friday, Trump said, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all” for the delay in coronavirus testing.