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
135 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
2:43 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

New York's Statue of Liberty closes indefinitely

Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE
Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE

The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island has suspended operations, effective Monday, due coronavirus concerns, according to a statement from the National Parks Service. 

A reopening date has not yet been determined.

The park is working with the NPS Office of Public Health, US Public Health Service, and state and local authorities to closely monitor the outbreak, and park officials will notify the public when they reopen, NPS said. 

2:48 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Actor Idris Elba says he's tested positive for coronavirus

Actor Idris Elba tweeted on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and said he feels OK.

"This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus," Elba wrote.

Here's his message:

2:25 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Pentagon puts "a bubble" around civilian leaders during coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's Mike Conte

The Pentagon is keeping the two top civilian leaderships posts “physically separated” in order to create “a bubble around them” with limited personal interactions. 

“Starting today, the secretary and the deputy secretary are remaining physically separated, so we are attempting to put a, for lack of a better term, a bubble around the two of them. That means they and their staffs will only interact via teleconference. We’re screening people that are entering the secretary’s suite and limiting the number of people who have access as well,” Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathon Hoffman said Monday. 
2:53 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

MLB pushes back Opening Day indefinitely

From CNN's David Close

Major League Baseball has announced that the opening of the 2020 season has been pushed back indefinitely.

MLB said the league is following the recommendation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Because of those recommendations, "the opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

MLB stated last Thursday that the season would be delayed at least two weeks.


2:24 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Israel prepares convert 4 hotels to quarantine sites

From CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem

Israel is preparing to open four hotels across the country as quarantines sites for confirmed cases of coronavirus, Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett announced Monday night. The hotels will be used to treat people exhibiting mild symptoms of the virus.

The first two hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are expected to be ready for use as quarantine sites by Tuesday, the head of Israel’s Home Front Command told reporters in a conference call. The other two hotels — one in the north of the country and one in the south — will be ready by the end of the week, the Defense Minister said.

Each hotel is expected to hold up to 500 patients but capacity could be increased up to 2,000 in each hotel if necessary, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai told reporters.

On Sunday, Bennett said in a news conference, “We have to tell the public the truth: we simply don’t know how many cases there are.”

“We currently do not have a vaccine for corona. The real vaccine is awareness, caring, and responsibility,” he added.

2:21 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Olympic boxing qualifiers in Europe and the Americas suspended due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

The European, Americas and final world qualifying boxing tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been suspended due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced in a statement on Monday.

It said the European qualifiers, which have been taking place in London since Saturday and were due to run until March 24, would end after Monday’s evening session.

The European qualifiers, which featured athletes from over 60 countries, will now resume in May to allow participants to adjust their travel plans and return safely home “amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures.”

The statement added that the BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily with the aim of completing the distribution of the remaining boxing quota places for the games in May and June.

Several Olympic qualifying events, including those for climbing, fencing and judo, have already been canceled or postponed with new dates for those events yet to be announced.

3:40 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

UK government will not legally enforce its new social distancing measures

From CNN’s Lauren Kent and Sarah Dean in London

The UK government will not enforce its new social distancing coronavirus measures with fines or legal threats because the UK is “a mature and grown up democracy where people understand the advice being given to them,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“On powers, you may be amazed to know, this government already has tremendous powers in this field,” Johnson said.

He explained: “Don’t forget that other countries are in different stages in their movement up the curve. The crucial things is timeliness. Our interventions should be timely to have the maximum effect… when you come to more extreme measures like curfews and things we’ve seen in other countries, we’re keeping all things under review… we’re keeping school closures under review.”

The UK is not currently testing everyone with coronavirus symptoms, a strategy that has been questioned by experts.

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said they would "continue to scale up testing, but I think it’s important to realize the scale for testing which has been substantial, and we will continue to scale up from here.”

He said “the next level out” will be for healthcare workers and other critical workers with symptoms to be tested.

“People should be thinking of a minimum of weeks to months, people should realize we are in this for the long haul,” Whitty said, in regards to how long the new social distancing measures might last.

2:30 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Canada will deny entry to anyone who isn't a citizen or permanent resident

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

CTV Network
CTV Network

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country will deny entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

"This measure will carve out some designated exceptions including for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, and at this time, US citizens,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.

2:32 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

More than 3,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Italy in the last 24 hours

From CNN’s Nicola Ruotolo

A patient in a biocontainment unit is carried on a stretcher at the Columbus Covid 2 Hospital in Rome, Monday, March 16.
A patient in a biocontainment unit is carried on a stretcher at the Columbus Covid 2 Hospital in Rome, Monday, March 16. Andreas Solar/AFP/Getty Images

The Italian Civil Protection Authority reported a spike in new coronavirus cases today, with 3,233 new cases in the last 24 hours alone.  

Total cases in Italy now stands at 27,980, which includes current cases, recovered cases and deaths) 

At least 2,158 have died from coronavirus in Italy. That figure is up by 349 in the last 24 hours.