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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10:56 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

More than half of coronavirus cases in France under intensive care are below the age of 60

More than half of France's 300 coronavirus patients in intensive care are under the age of 60, according to the head of the country's national health agency.

“We have counted this evening 300 serious cases in intensive care. We have serious cases also amid adults and let me remind you that more than 50% of people in intensive care are under 60," Jerome Salomon said at a news conference on Saturday.

Salomon did not specify the age range of those under 60.

As of Sunday, French health authorities said there are 5,423 confirmed cases in the country, with 127 deaths reported.

That is an increase of 29 deaths and more that 1,300 cases from the day before, according to health authorities.

10:44 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Guatemala announces first coronavirus death

An 85-year-old man with pre-existing health issues has become the first person in Guatemala to die of the novel coronavirus, according to a statement released Sunday by the health ministry.  

The victim had entered the country from Madrid in February. According to the ministry, there is one confirmed case of coronavirus in Guatemala.

10:34 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Just joining us? Here's the latest on the coronavirus

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic:

The numbers: As of Sunday afternoon in Geneva, the World Health Organization was reporting at least 153,648 cases worldwide. A separate tally by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases reported by the WHO and additional sources, estimates that number may now be around 167,000, with over 6,400 deaths.

More cases outside China than inside: Mainland China reported 16 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 14 new deaths as of Sunday, bringing the country's total number of cases to 80,860. There are now more cases outside of mainland China than there are inside.

Italy cases spike: Italy on Sunday announced 368 new fatalities in just 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in the country to 1,809. The total number of cases there reached 24,747, with an increase of 3,590 new cases recorded in 24 hours, according to the country's Civil Protection Department.

Fed cuts rates: In a bold, emergency action to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve announced it would cut its target interest rate to zero. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the measures were "essential to contain the outbreak," but will "take a toll on the economy in the near term."

US emergency measures: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends canceling or postponing events involving more than 50 people for eight weeks as US cases rise past 3,400. Some 29 states have announced school closures and several states are ordering bars and restaurants to close.

Travel restrictions: More countries are enacting border or travel restrictions. Lebanon announced a two-week lockdown, closing its airport, borders and ports, and people there are obligated to stay in their homes. The UK is advising against “all but essential travel to the USA." Iraq is restricting movement in Baghdad for nearly a week, Colombia will block entry for all non-residents and require residents who enter the country to self-isolate for 14 days, and Germany is restricting border access with France, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Mexico is asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel, and the Czech Republic is shutting down public services to prevent the virus spreading.

Asia measures: Singapore will impose a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for new visitors traveling from several East Asian countries, Switzerland and the UK. Hong Kong is urging its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Ireland, the UK and US. The Philippines has suspended land, sea and air transport in the Metro Manila area, limited the number of people entering the capital, shut schools and banned mass gatherings.

Africa action: South Africa has declared a national disaster and announced travel restrictions to combat Covid-19. Kenya's government announced new travel restrictions after confirming two more cases. Morocco has suspended all international flights to and from its territory “until further notice.”  

10:39 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

United Airlines to cut flight capacity by 50% in April and May

From CNN's Greg Wallace 

A United Airlines plane sits parked at a gate at San Francisco International Airport on March 6 in California.
A United Airlines plane sits parked at a gate at San Francisco International Airport on March 6 in California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a letter to employees, United Airlines says it will slash its capacity by half in April and May due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis.

"Tomorrow, we will announce an approximately 50% cut in capacity for April and May. We also now expect these deep cuts to extend into the summer travel period," the letter states.

The company also says it is in discussions with the union about reducing payroll expenses.

"While it's now clear that this is going to painful for our people, we promise that you are at the very top of our priority list. We are working night and day on support and ideas to keep as much pay as we possibly can flowing to you -- even if gets worse from here and demand temporarily plummets to zero," the letter explains.

The letter says corporate officers will have their pay cut by 50%. 

10:23 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

The majority of coronavirus cases have now been outside of mainland China

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman and Arman Azad

There have now been more reported cases of the novel coronavirus outside of mainland China than inside, according to numbers from the World Health Organization and public health agencies tracked by CNN.

While China, the early epicenter of the outbreak, has still had more confirmed infections than any other country -- over 80,000 -- cases in several other countries have surged in recent days.

Italy now has more than 24,000 cases, while Iran has almost 14,000, and Spain has at least 7,000.

On February 26, the WHO reported for the first time that the majority of new cases per day had come from outside of China.

The trend has continued as newly confirmed cases in China have dwindled in recent days, while other countries have discovered thousands of new infections – including the United States, which has now reported more than 3,400 cases.

10:03 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

US coronavirus cases now above 3,400, death toll rises to 65

There are at least 3,482 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems, there are now cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories.

In total, 65 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the US.

At this stage, West Virginia is the only state yet to report a case of coronavirus.  

9:54 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Parts of the Las Vegas strip are shutting down due to coronavirus

An exterior view shows MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday.
An exterior view shows MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Las Vegas strip is feeling the effects of coronavirus as a number of resorts and casinos close in an effort to create social distancing.

Wynn Resorts has announced it will close its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore properties beginning on Tuesday and continuing for two weeks.

MGM Resorts will close its properties, announcing casino operations will close on Monday and properties will close on Tuesday.

Caesars Entertainment announced on their verified Twitter account that all live ticketed performance would be suspended beginning Sunday night.

These are the latest in a series of high profile closures in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic, including Broadway theaters and Disney theme parks.

9:55 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

Panama will limit entry into the country to residents and citizens, President says

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann and Jackie Castillo

Only citizens and residents of Panama will be able to enter the country starting Sunday, Panamanian President Nito Cortizo announced in a tweet.

Panamanian travelers and residents allowed entry will have to complete a 14-day period of home quarantine to combat the spread of coronavirus nationwide, he said.

9:43 p.m. ET, March 15, 2020

US federal government agencies asked to offer "maximum telework flexibilities" around DC

From CNN’s Sara Murray

The US government has called on federal agencies to "assertively safeguard the health and safety of their workforce" by allowing for the ability to telework wherever possible.

In an update from the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) today, agencies were told to "offer maximum telework flexibilities to all current telework eligible employees."

The OMB said the decision was being made “in light of the evolving situation concerning the corona virus and the National Capitol Region (NCR) experiencing community transmission."
It added that all efforts must also be made to "(remain) open to serve the American people and conduct mission critical functions."

There are now 16 confirmed or presumptive confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Washington DC.