March 17 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 0220 GMT (1020 HKT) March 18, 2020
76 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:52 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

UK tells citizens to avoid non-essential travel for 30 days

A traveler is pictured at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland on March 16.
A traveler is pictured at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland on March 16. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

British nationals are being advised against any non-essential travel globally for 30 days because of the coronavirus pandemic, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the House of Commons Tuesday. 

He reiterated that the Foreign Office was continuing to work to repatriate citizens who were stranded on cruise ships, but added that government-supported repatriations were costly and only undertaken in exceptional circumstances. 

He added that freight would not be impacted as it’s considered essential travel.

8:51 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

German foreign minister rules out exclusive access to coronavirus vaccine, without mentioning Trump

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas gives a press statement about the coronavirus on Tuesday, in Berlin.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas gives a press statement about the coronavirus on Tuesday, in Berlin. Credit: Thomas Imo/Photothek/Getty Images

Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas told reporters that “others” would not be allowed to buy German coronavirus research exclusively, without naming US President Donald Trump.

“German researchers are taking a key role in developing medication and vaccines as part of global cooperation networks. We cannot allow a situation where others want to exclusively acquire the result of their research,” Maas said in an interview with Funke media group. The quote was confirmed to CNN by the German Foreign Office.

Over the weekend reports surfaced that Trump had been interested in buying research into a coronavirus vaccine by German biotech company CureVac. The German interior minister called the reports “accurate.”

CureVac denied a report that Trump was trying to lure its scientists to the US in a statement Sunday. It did not deny being in touch with the President or US government, but rejected rumors of an acquisition.

On Monday, Dietmar Hopp, a lead investor in the company, issued a statement saying that it should be available anywhere, also without mentioning Trump. CNN has reached out to Hopp for more information.

Maas said that everyone shares the goal of slowing the spread of the virus and saving lives.

"Every country is trying to protect its citizens as best it can, depending on the situation on the ground, and some countries are even imposing temporary travel restrictions," he said.

"In the crisis we feel more than ever how much we depend on each other. That is why we need more, not less, cooperation right now."

Maas added that he had discussed cooperation with colleagues from Canada, South Korea, Brazil and Australia, and will also do so with G7 ministers.

"We'll only defeat this virus together, not against each other," he said.

"We support the WHO so that help can be given where it is most needed, including in poorer countries.”

8:31 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Seattle will offer $800 grocery store vouchers to 6,000 families

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaks at a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, in Seattle, Washington.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaks at a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Elaine Thompson/AP

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city will provide more than 6,000 families $800 in vouchers for any Safeway store in the state, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

The program will benefit “eligible families who are currently enrolled in city-supported child care programs and food assistance programs,” the statement said. 

“As schools and child care facilities close, we need to do everything we can to support families and ensure they can put food on the table,” Mayor Durkan said in the statement.

The Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) will distribute the grocery vouchers in two $400 installments, and vouchers will be distributed by mail as early as this week, the statement added. 

The vouchers will allow recipients to buy food and household goods but not tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets or fuel, the Mayor’s office explained in the statement. Voucher use will also requires a free Safeway membership, which residents can immediately access at any Safeway location.

8:27 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

AMC Theatres close during coronavirus pandemic

An AMC movie theatre is pictured in Santa Monica, California, in February 2018.
An AMC movie theatre is pictured in Santa Monica, California, in February 2018. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak has forced AMC Theatres to temporarily close all of its theaters until further notice, the company announced on its website. 

AMC said they are working in accordance with local and federal guidelines and will reopen when those guidelines allow. 

Regal Cinemas also announced that they are closing all screens due to the outbreak.

8:26 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Jordan's security forces prepared to "use force" to enforce virus lockdown 

From CNN's Tamara Qiblawi and Ghazi Balkiz in Beirut

An ambulance carrying a patient leaves the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan, on March 16, in the final hours before the closure of Jordan's borders.
An ambulance carrying a patient leaves the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan, on March 16, in the final hours before the closure of Jordan's borders. Credit: Jordan Pix/Getty Images

Jordan’s Directorate of General Security have said they are “prepared to use force” to enforce the kingdom’s coronavirus lockdown, according to state-owned Jordan News Agency. 

Security forces said they will use all the means available to them, including “the use of appropriate force to implement the decisions that aim to protect citizens and preserve their safety.” 

On Tuesday, the kingdom announced a two-week lockdown to stop the spread of the pandemic.

People can only leave their homes in cases of “extreme necessity,” public transport has been suspended, and work in the private and public sector has also been temporarily stopped. Only “emergency” medical surgeries and consultations are permitted. 

The country’s military is also set to deploy at the entrances and exits of main cities. The government has banned people from moving between provinces.

Jordan has 35 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus. More than 4,700 people are in quarantine, according to Minister of Health Saad Jaber.

8:50 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

The global coronavirus recession is beginning

From Julia Horowitz, CNN Business

As restaurants, shops, airlines and factories shut down around the world, from New York to Paris and Madrid, economists are warning that a global recession is no longer a looming threat. It's here.

Dire economic data released by China on Monday showed that the country was pummeled by the coronavirus outbreak in January and February. The world's second biggest economy looks unlikely to recover any time soon.

A trader works during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on March 16. Trading on Wall Street was halted immediately after the opening bell Monday, as stocks posted steep losses following emergency moves by the Federal Reserve to try to avert a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A trader works during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on March 16. Trading on Wall Street was halted immediately after the opening bell Monday, as stocks posted steep losses following emergency moves by the Federal Reserve to try to avert a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Now, with governments and central banks in Europe and North America pursuing drastic measures to try to control the pandemic, Asia still on high alert, and financial markets in meltdown, a growing number of experts say that a global contraction is beginning.

"Whereas 10 days ago there was some legitimate uncertainty about whether the global economy was in the process of going into recession — 10 days later, there's no question that it is," David Wilcox, former head of research and statistics at the Federal Reserve Board, told CNN Business.

Read the full story here.re.e

Electronic stock market displays reflect pedestrians in Tokyo, Japan, on March 16.
Electronic stock market displays reflect pedestrians in Tokyo, Japan, on March 16. Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images

8:50 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Spain coronavirus deaths approach 500

From CNN's Max Ramsay

Medical staff move a patient into an ambulance at La Paz Hospital on March 16, in Madrid, Spain.
Medical staff move a patient into an ambulance at La Paz Hospital on March 16, in Madrid, Spain. Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in Spain have risen to 11,178 with 491 deaths, a health ministry official said Tuesday.

In the last 24 hours 1,987 new cases have been diagnosed, said Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Coordinating Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, speaking at a press conference in Madrid.

The largest share of cases continues to be in the Spanish capital, Simón added.

8:28 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

IKEA to shut all stores in Germany

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A view of a parking lot at a closed IKEA in Stuhr, Germany, on Tuesday.
A view of a parking lot at a closed IKEA in Stuhr, Germany, on Tuesday. Credit: Sina Schuldt/picture alliance/Getty Images

Furniture dealer Ikea will close all 53 of its stores in Germany from Tuesday in order to protect employees and inhibit the spread of coronavirus, the company confirmed in a statement sent to CNN.

‘’Current developments worldwide show that the situation can change on a daily basis. In this challenging situation, it is our aim to always act calmly and prudently and to live up to our responsibility as a large retailer. For this reason, we are closing all 53 furniture stores in Germany from today," reads the statement.

"IKEA is currently working on concepts for how customers can continue to be served as best as possible under the changed framework conditions. Online orders and deliveries are always possible without restrictions.’’

7:44 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Iran confirms largest jump in virus cases over 24-hour period

From CNN's Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Firefighters disinfect a street against the coronavirus in Tehran, Iran, on March 13.
Firefighters disinfect a street against the coronavirus in Tehran, Iran, on March 13. Credit: Vahid Salemi/AP

Iran has confirmed 1,178 new cases of coronavirus, the biggest increase the country has seen over a 24-hour period.

The total number of cases is now 16,169, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpour said on state TV Tuesday. 

He announced 135 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the country's total death toll to 988.