March 17 coronavirus news

49 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:13 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

A cruise ship passenger has died from coronavirus after visiting Grand Cayman

From CNN’s Jaide Timm-Garcia in Atlanta and Hira Humayun in Atlanta.

A passenger who disembarked a cruise ship in Grand Cayman just over two weeks ago has since died of coronavirus, the Italian cruise company Costa Cruises confirmed to CNN on Monday. 

In the statement to CNN, Costa Cruises said the passenger was aboard the Costa Luminosa ship, and disembarked in Grand Cayman on February 29. The passenger died on Saturday.

Costa Cruises said the man was one of three passengers who tested positive for the virus on the ship, but from two separate journeys. The other two infections -- a husband and wife -- disembarked in Puerto Rico on March 8 from a later Costa cruise journey.

The Cayman Islands government had first announced the death on Saturday, saying the 68-year-old patient was the first confirmed coronavirus case in the territory.

The patient had preexisting conditions. The man was a "cardiac patient who was traveling on a cruise ship when he was admitted to Health City in critical condition for urgent cardiac treatment on 29 February," said the government statement.

The statement added the patient "had two cardiac arrests and was resuscitated" on the way to the Cayman Islands, and had a prior medical history of cardiac issues. He was hospitalized upon arrival.

4:13 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

The US now has 4,475 cases and 87 deaths

A medical personnel store medical samples of patients at a "drive-thru" coronavirus testing lab set up by local community centre in West Palm Beach 75 miles north of Miami, on March 16.
A medical personnel store medical samples of patients at a "drive-thru" coronavirus testing lab set up by local community centre in West Palm Beach 75 miles north of Miami, on March 16. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

There are at least 4,475 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to state and local health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

70 cases are repatriated citizens, like those evacuated from China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

4,405 cases were detected, tested, and confirmed in the US.

Washington and New York are the hardest hit states, both with more than 900 cases each. California follows with 450 cases.

Only one state has yet to report a coronavirus case -- West Virginia.

The death toll remains at 87.

4:09 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Singapore reassures citizens that it has enough food

Singapore's Trade Miniser Chan Chun Sing on March 20, 2019.
Singapore's Trade Miniser Chan Chun Sing on March 20, 2019.  Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Minister Chan Chun Sing has sought to allay fears that it will run out of food stocks and other supplies.

"While we may have to make some adjustments to our choices, we do have sufficient supplies for all Singaporeans, so long as we buy responsibly," Chan said in a televised news conference.

Singapore imports 90% of the food it consumes and there has been a rush on panic buying in recent weeks, with concerns that the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt the city state's food supplies.

Those fears grew on Monday after Malaysia announced it will impose a nationwide movement control order that bars citizens from traveling abroad, while foreign tourists and visitors will be restricted from entering the country.

Contingency plans and stockpiling: Chan said Singapore has a contingency plan in place for such a scenario and that food stocks will be sufficient.

"A disruption of supplies from Malaysia is one of the contingency scenarios that we have planned for over the many years," he said. "As such we have plans to manage this contingency with a combination of stockpiling, local production and also diversification of the overseas sources for our supply."
"This will allow us time to bring alternative supplies should our usual supply lines be disrupted," he said.
3:59 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

A religious gathering is at the center of a coronavirus cluster in Southeast Asia

A man walks out from Seri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday, March 16.
A man walks out from Seri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday, March 16. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

A religious gathering at a mosque in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is at the center of a cluster of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia.

From February 27 to March 1, about 16,000 people attended a four-day "Ijtima Tabligh", or religious gathering at the city's Seri Petaling Mosque, according to Malaysia’s health ministry.

About 1,500 of those attendees were foreigners, with many traveling from around the region.

Health ministry director general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that to date, the ministry has identified 8,682 attendees.

Malaysia: On Monday, Malaysia confirmed 125 new cases in the country, 95 of which are linked to the religious gathering. On Sunday, the country reported 190 new cases, with most of those new infections linked to the meeting, the health ministry said. Malaysia has over 550 cases in total, according to the World Health Organization.

Brunei: Most of Brunei's 54 reported coronavirus cases are people who attended the gathering or had close contact with people who did, according to numbers from the country's health ministry.

Cambodia: Of 12 new coronavirus cases reported in Cambodia on Monday, 11 are from the religious gathering in Malaysia, according to the country's health ministry and Reuters.

Singapore: 90 people from Singapore were identified as having attending the event, and five of those have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

3:48 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

New Zealand announces $7.3 billion financial support package

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Finance minister Grant Robertson makes an exit at the conclusion of a coronavirus financial response package announcement at Parliament on March 17 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Finance minister Grant Robertson makes an exit at the conclusion of a coronavirus financial response package announcement at Parliament on March 17 in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand today announced a $7.3 billion financial package aimed to "support New Zealanders and their jobs from the global impact of Covid-19."

In a news release, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the pandemic was going to have a "significant" effect on the country's economy, and that the package aims to "soften that impact."

The package includes a $302 million boost for the health sector, $1.79 billion in tax changes to free up cash flow, and $3.2 billion for wage subsidies for affected businesses in all sectors and regions.

The package represents 4% of the country's GDP, Robertson said. He added that this isn't a one-off measure: "It is just the beginning. As we go through this crisis towards economic recovery the government will be constantly monitoring the situation and adjusting its response."

In the statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, "We've gone hard with our health response, and now we're going hard with our financial assistance."

This comes just days after the government announced that all travelers entering the country, including New Zealand citizens, will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

New Zealand currently has 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

 

3:42 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Egypt reports largest single-day spike in new cases

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi

A worker cleans lamp posts amid a sandstorm and coronavirus fears outside the Luxor Temple in Egypt's southern city of Luxor on March 12.
A worker cleans lamp posts amid a sandstorm and coronavirus fears outside the Luxor Temple in Egypt's southern city of Luxor on March 12. Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Egypt has reported its largest spike in daily cases, with 40 more people testing positive and two more deaths, the health ministry announced Monday night.

The first death was a 50-year-old Egyptian man, who died in the city of Dakahlia after coming in contact with a woman who last week also died of the virus.

The man’s family are currently under quarantine after testing positive for the virus, the health ministry said.

The second death was a 72-year-old German man who died in a hospital in Luxor, the health ministry said.

Last week, dozens of tourists were quarantined on a cruise boat, also in Luxor, after testing positive for the virus.

Egypt now has 166 coronavirus cases with a total of four deaths, the health ministry said.

3:35 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Hong Kong is using electronic wristbands to monitor those under quarantine

From CNN's Karina Tsui

When Declan Chan, a stylist based in Hong Kong, flew home from London this week, he was given a wristband to wear upon arrival.

It was an electronic band, and would track his movements while he stayed home for 14 days under mandatory quarantine, officials explained.

It's the latest preventative measure introduced in the city, which has seen a rise in imported coronavirus cases from overseas in the past two weeks, after a period of slowing infections.

The government announced new travel restrictions today, requiring all arriving travelers from foreign countries to undergo the 14-day quarantine. The wristbands, and an accompanying smartphone app, will alert officials if travelers violate the quarantine.

Chan said he was instructed to download the smartphone app, and to walk around his apartment once he arrived home, so that it could map his premises.

"So far, 5,000 reusable wristbands produced by the (technology) centre are readily available and another 60,000 disposable wristbands have been procured from the market, 5,000 of which were delivered and tested and the remaining 55,000 will be delivered in batches," said the government in a statement yesterday.
3:24 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Pakistan coronavirus cases triple in two days

From CNN’s Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Pakistan reported today that the country has 184 cases of the coronavirus -- more than three times the number reported just two days ago.

On Sunday, the national tally was 53 cases. And just the day before that, the tally was 28.

Many of the newly reported cases in these recent spikes have come from pilgrims who were retested in their home districts after already being quarantined two weeks ago at the Iran-Pakistan border.

Pakistan has shut down schools, cinemas, and courts, but public transportation and places of business still remain largely operational. On Friday, Pakistan also shut its borders with Iran and Afghanistan.

3:15 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020

Here's what social distancing looks like in New York, the biggest city in the US

From CNN's Amanda Jackson

An empty Starbucks in New York on Monday.
An empty Starbucks in New York on Monday. Credit: Ben Von Klemperer

New York City is usually packed and busy around this time of year. It's finally the beginning of spring; the streets, parks, and restaurants are usually full of people, even on a weeknight.

Instead, on Monday night, restaurants and cafes were empty as people stayed home.

“It was a difficult walk around my neighborhood tonight,” resident Ben Von Klemperer told CNN.
”Some of these are my usual after-work spots, and they hold a lot of good memories. I really hope they can pull through.”
Closed stores and restaurants in New York on Monday.
Closed stores and restaurants in New York on Monday. Credit: Ben Von Klemperer

Many of the stores and cafes were closed, with signs on the doors saying they would reopen at a later point.

Even the restaurants that were still open were mostly empty and eerie. Outside, there were few people on the street -- perhaps a sign that New Yorkers are listening to health officials' pleas for social distancing.

There were few people out and about on Monday in New York City.
There were few people out and about on Monday in New York City. Credit: Ben Von Klemperer