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
186 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:04 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have left the hospital after coronavirus diagnosis

From CNN's Chloe Melas

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have left the hospital and are now self-quarantined at their residence in Australia as they continue to recover from novel coronavirus, Leslee Dart, a representative for Hanks, told CNN in a statement.

Hanks and Wilson announced they were diagnosed with COVID-19 and had been been hospitalized in isolation since last Thursday. They shared periodic updates on their illness and recovery on social media over the weekend.

The two were originally in Australia for pre-production on a film about Elvis Presley, in which Hanks is set to play Presley's manager.

7:00 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Georgia will close all public schools starting Wednesday

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered all public schools to close starting Wednesday until March 31.

Read his full statement:

"To keep our students, teachers, and administrators safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I am ordering the closure of all public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools in Georgia from March 18, 2020 to March 31, 2020. This measure is critical to reducing local transmission in communities across our state, and I ask Georgians to continue to follow best practices - washing their hands regularly, isolating the elderly and chronically ill, and avoiding large events if possible - in the days and weeks ahead."
7:51 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Ohio judge denies governor's request to move presidential primary

From CNN's Ross Levitt

Gene J. Puskar/AP
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Ohio will join three other states in holding its Democratic presidential primary as scheduled on Tuesday after a court denied a request from the governor to move the state's contest.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had asked the court to move the primary election to June due to coronavirus concerns. The court’s denial comes as the spread of the virus has caused a major disruption to American life as government officials work to stem the pandemic. 

Illinois, Florida and Arizona will also hold their elections Tuesday as planned.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this headline and story incorrectly said the Ohio primary would be delayed. A judge denied the request, and the primary will go on tomorrow as scheduled.

6:59 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

NASCAR postpones all races through May 3

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

NASCAR announced Monday that it is postponing all races through May 3 with plans to return to competition in Martinsville, Virginia.

NASCAR also said it still intends to hold all 36 of its planned races this season. NASCAR had postponed last weekend's event at Atlanta Motor Speedway and their upcoming events at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.

6:51 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Los Angeles County Sheriff releases inmates early due to coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Sarah Moon

In response to concerns over the coronavirus, Los Angeles County is releasing inmates early and is reducing the number of arrests in the county, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference Monday.

They have reduced the population of jails by releasing inmates with less than 30 days left of their sentence. On February 28, when the county first started taking actions, they had 17,076 people in custody. As of Monday, they have 16,459 people, Villanueva said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is directing local agencies to cite and release everyone they can. Authorities are being directed to seek medical attention first for anyone showing symptoms before booking them, the sheriff said.

The number of arrests have been reduced from an average of 300 per day throughout Los Angeles County to about 60 arrests a day, Villanueva said.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county jails, he said.

7:15 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

"Saturday Night Live" suspends production until further notice

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Michael Che and Cecily Strong during the March 7 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Michael Che and Cecily Strong during the March 7 episode of Saturday Night Live. Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)

"Saturday Night Live" has halted production until further notice and their episode slated for March 28 will not air, a NBCUniversal spokesperson told NBC News on Monday.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.

"The safety of our employees continue to be our top priority. We will monitor the situation closely and make decisions about future shows on an ongoing basis as further information develops," the spokesperson said to NBC News.


6:42 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

New limits on UK, Ireland travel poses another test for Trump administration after weekend airport meltdown

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands

At midnight Monday, the United States will implement a new slate of travel restrictions to combat coronavirus spread, limiting transit from the United Kingdom and Ireland, following a weekend of confusion and frustration at select airports nationwide. This time, though, officials say they'll be better prepared. 

A flurry of images on Saturday showed passengers squeezed together and waiting to get through US customs, after returning from overseas. Passengers shared stories of hours-long backups, inconsistent screenings, and waiting shoulder-to-shoulder to be processed through.  

Wait times have since decreased. But as the Trump administration remedies the issues raised over the weekend, it's on the cusp of putting in place more restrictions that could also sow confusion.

What we know: To avoid the backups that occurred over the weekend, US Customs and Border Protection is upping its staff at airports and adding more people on shifts. CBP has also streamlined the process, in coordination with others involved in screening, in order to expedite the processing and screening capacity to avoid long wait times.

The enhanced screenings are part of an administration effort to handle the coronavirus pandemic. Countries around the world have shut down their borders and placed increased restrictions on movement and social gatherings. 

The Trump administration began by restricting travel from China, then Iran. Last week, Trump extended those restrictions to include certain European countries, effective Friday night. The United Kingdom and Ireland were initially excluded, but limits for those countries take effect Monday at midnight. US citizens, green card holders and their family members are exempt from the restrictions.

What's happening Monday night: Starting at 11:59 p.m. ET Monday, people returning home from Ireland and the United Kingdom will also undergo enhanced entry at the same 13 airports, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Passengers coming in from Europe's Schengen Area—26 countries stretching from Iceland to Greece—have been funneled to the airports where they undergo enhanced screening. They first go through customs, then are screened by Homeland Security medical contractors, and in the event, someone exhibits symptoms or other red flags, passengers will be referred to CDC personnel on site.

Officials expect changes made to the system and collaboration with the airline industry will put CBP, and the agencies working alongside them, in a position to respond to new arrivals.  

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.

6:36 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

All schools in New York ordered to close by Wednesday, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed schools to close statewide by Wednesday until April 1.

School districts statewide will be required to submit a plan to the State Education Department.

7:27 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

McDonald's USA will close seating areas in restaurants due to outbreak

From CNN's Dave Alsup

McDonald’s USA company-owned restaurants will close seating areas to the public during the coronavirus outbreak, the company said in a statement.

Restaurants will shift business to drive-in pick-up windows and walk-in takeout orders. 

Here's what McDonald's USA said in the statement:

"To align with increasing regulations throughout the country, effective at the close of business today, McDonald’s USA company-owned restaurants will close seating areas, including the use of self-service beverage bars and kiosks, and shift our focus to serving customers through Drive-Thru, walk-in take-out and McDelivery."