March 16 coronavirus news

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9:17 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Ukraine International Airlines suspends all international flights

Ukraine International Airlines has suspended all international scheduled flights starting tomorrow through March 31, based on the decision of the country's government to temporarily ban foreigners from entering Ukraine.

Passengers who plan to fly starting from April 1 are advised to keep themselves updated on flight schedule and status changes.

Tomorrow, Ukraine International will operate flights from 11 cities to Kyiv. Only the citizens of Ukraine and foreigners with permanent or temporary residency permits will be accepted aboard. The cities are:

  • Dubai
  • Cairo
  • Tel Aviv
  • Yerevan
  • Tbilisi
  • Istanbul
  • Baku
  • Toronto
  • New York
  • Chisinau
  • Bangkok  
9:16 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Google-related coronavirus testing information website rolls out — but its users are confused

From CNN's Brian Fung 

Confusion greeted the launch of a coronavirus testing website built by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet and sister company to Google. The site launched Sunday night and is intended for people in the San Francisco Bay Area initially.

The website was supposed to direct Californians who live in the wider San Francisco area to one of two locations in the state where they could be tested for the novel coronavirus, if they met certain criteria established in an online questionnaire.

At first, users who reported they were suffering from symptoms such as “severe cough, shortness of breath, fever or other conceding symptoms" were advised they were not eligible for testing. If you went to the tool and answered “yes” to the symptoms question, the tool told you “based on your symptoms, in-person COVID-19 testing through this program is not the right fit.” 

When asked why those with symptoms were being advised not to receive testing, Verily spokeswoman Carolyn Wang told CNN that the tool is meant for those who are unsure if they are infected. 

"The initial question is meant to ensure that anyone who is seriously ill does not come to our sites because they are not prepared to provide medical attention,” she said in a statement. "We are early in this pilot and are going to be learning more that will help us refine this COVID-9 risk screening and testing.”

Verily later updated the questionnaire to ask if users are experiencing “severe symptoms,” and to emphasize that the tool is not for those with severe symptoms. 

The tool still advises those who report severe symptoms to “seek medical attention” and refers those visitors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. 

However, in testing the website, CNN also discovered that answering the questionnaire correctly — meaning responding in ways that met the site’s criteria for coronavirus testing — led to another error message The message said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to schedule more appointments at this time,” suggesting that there aren’t enough testing appointments available even for those who warrant testing. 

The Verily website launch follows a series of announcements from the Trump administration in recent days that Google was developing a large scale testing website. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence promised that “for Americans looking on … we’ll be able to give specific guidance on when the website will be available, you can go to the website, as the President said, you type in your symptoms and be given direction whether or not a test is indicated.” 

But only Verily, not Google, appears ready with a testing website at this time, and it is limited in scope to California. Google is developing an educational site to provide information about the coronavirus, but the company’s announcement stopped short of describing it as a website connecting users to test locations. 

Remember: Verily’s site is distinct from a nationwide informational website Google is building to address the coronavirus. 

Verily and Google are both owned by the same parent company, Alphabet, but Verily is a different business from Google. 

9:11 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

They trained for months. Then their marathons were canceled

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

Simon Crow is not a professional athlete. But he has spent the last three months running six times a week, clocking in between 40 and 60 miles. Feeling great, Crow was hoping for a new personal best in the Paris marathon next month. 

And then the novel coronavirus struck and his marathon got called off

"Twelve weeks of marathon training down the pan," said Crow, who is one of hundreds of thousands of runners who have had their big spring races canceled or postponed after months of training and sacrifice.

Paris, Tokyo, Boston, London, Rome, Barcelona, Manchester, Rotterdam and Vienna are among the cities that have announced their marathons would not take place as planned because of the outbreak.

Read the full article here

Elite runners take part in the Tokyo Marathon on March 1, in Tokyo, Japan. The 2020 Tokyo Marathon was restricted to elite runners only, in effort to contain the impact of the coronavirus.
Elite runners take part in the Tokyo Marathon on March 1, in Tokyo, Japan. The 2020 Tokyo Marathon was restricted to elite runners only, in effort to contain the impact of the coronavirus. Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images

8:59 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

US immigration hearings postponed after coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez 

New immigration hearings for migrants who are not in detention will be postponed, the US Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review has announced.

The EOIR said in a tweet late on Sunday all non-detained master calendar hearings -- cases of immigrants who are not in detention and are just beginning immigration proceedings -- will be postponed. Last Friday, the federal agency said those hearings would only be postponed at select immigration courts. 

Master calendar hearings often bring large groups of people to the courtroom, raising concern while the country tries to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The move to extend the postponing of these hearings came hours after immigration judges, lawyers and ICE prosecutors called for courts to be closed altogether. EOIR has not gone that far yet, saying that all other hearings will proceed.

The Seattle immigration court will be closed through April 10.

8:47 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

European Union announces new coronavirus support for member states

From CNN’s Nada Bashir in London and Barbara Wojazer in Paris

EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides gives a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on March 6.
EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides gives a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on March 6. Credit: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union launched measures to support its member states in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said Monday. 

As of today, we will be launching joint procurements for protective equipment, testing kits and ventilators,” Kyriakides tweeted after a video conference with European counterparts.

"Essential goods and medicines must be able to cross borders as smoothly as possible,” the European health commissioner added, calling for “solidarity and cooperation” across the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel on Monday met with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the EU response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Macron tweeted that European partners were “working together” to make “rigorous decisions” on a joint course of action.

Europe has become the new epicenter of the outbreak, with the number of confirmed cases and registered deaths across the continent climbing.

The European Commission spoke out against the implementation of internal border controls as COVID-19 spreads across the continent.

“People who are sick should not be denied entry but given access to healthcare,” it said in a statement, outlining that member states must always admit their own citizens, and should facilitate the transit of EU citizens and residents who were returning home.

8:31 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Bond actress Olga Kurylenko says she has coronavirus

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

French actress and model Olga Kurylenko poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards in London, in February 2019.
French actress and model Olga Kurylenko poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards in London, in February 2019. Cr

A former Bond girl has announced she has been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

Olga Kurylenko, who starred as Camille Montes opposite Daniel Craig in the 2008 James Bond film "Quantum of Solace," shared the news on Sunday via Instagram.

"Locked up at home after having tested positive for Coronavirus," she captioned a photo of the view out of a window.

The Ukranian-born former model said she had been ill for almost a week and that fever and fatigue were her main symptoms.

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks announced last week that that he and his wife, actress and singer Rita Wilson, had been diagnosed with the virus.

Read the full story here

8:24 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Tokyo 2020 “Flame Of Recovery” tour scaled down over coronavirus fears

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

People wearing face masks are pictured next to the Olympic Rings on March 13 in Tokyo, Japan.
People wearing face masks are pictured next to the Olympic Rings on March 13 in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images

Tokyo 2020’s “Flame Of Recovery” tour has been reduced in size due to the coronavirus outbreak, relay organisers confirmed on Monday.

The six-day tour, which takes the Olympic flame to parts of Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is set to begin on Friday. Organizers said that “the main displays of the Olympic Flame will be staged largely as planned” but that the welcoming event on Friday and various ceremonies have been canceled.

The “Flame Of Recovery Tour” is a precursor to the official Olympic Torch Relay, which is scheduled to begin in Fukushima on March 26 and visit all 47 Japanese prefectures.

Torchbearer Anna Korakaki of Greece, right, passes the Olympic flame to Japan's Mizuki Noguchi during a lighting ceremony on March 12 in Olympia, Greece.
Torchbearer Anna Korakaki of Greece, right, passes the Olympic flame to Japan's Mizuki Noguchi during a lighting ceremony on March 12 in Olympia, Greece.

Tokyo's Local Organising Committee confirmed on Monday that the test event for volleyball, due to take place in the newly built Ariake Arena from April 21-26, has been canceled.

Qualifying events for sports including climbing, boxing, fencing and judo have already been canceled or postponed with new dates yet to be announced.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe insisted on Saturday that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead this summer as planned.

Japan has had more than 1,400 cases of coronavirus, with 28 reported deaths, but has avoided the spikes seen in other countries.

8:09 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Fiat Chrysler suspends production across most of its European plants

From CNN’s Nicola Ruotolo in Rome and Duarte Mendonca in London

A cyclist wearing a respiratory mask rides past the Fiat Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, on March 11.
A cyclist wearing a respiratory mask rides past the Fiat Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, on March 11. Credit: Nicolo Campo/LightRocket/Getty Images

Italian-American auto giant Fiat Chrysler said Monday that it will temporarily suspend production across the majority of its European manufacturing plants.

“The temporary suspension, which will be in effect through March 27, 2020, continues the implementation of a comprehensive set of actions in response to the Covid-19 emergency and enables the Group to effectively respond to the interruption in market demand by ensuring the optimization of supply," the carmaker said in a statement.

"The suspension of production is being facilitated to enable the Group to be ready to commence production promptly once market conditions allow."

The company will close six plants in Italy, one in Serbia and one in Poland.

Italy on Sunday announced 368 new deaths in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 1,809, with more than 24,000 cases.

7:59 a.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort closes for deep clean after confirmed coronavirus cases

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump appears with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7.
President Trump appears with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7. Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

After multiple confirmed cases at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last week, including a fundraiser attendee and an aide to the Brazilian President, the club is undergoing a deep clean, a member told CNN.

Members were notified via email that the club will be closed Monday for cleaning. This includes its grand ballroom but excludes the beach club, which is across the street from the main area and will remain open.

Dinner will be served as usual Tuesday through Saturday.