Italy surpasses China in number of coronavirus deaths
From CNN's Mia Alberti, Nicola Ruotolo and Valentina Di Donato
Italy has just surpassed China for the most number of deaths related to COVID-19.
The total number of cases in the country rose to 41,035 on Thursday, which includes 5,322 new cases, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said at a news conference.
The number of deaths in Italy has reached 3,405. Italy has become the deadliest center of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The current number of deaths in China stands at 3,242, according to the World Health Organization.
1:12 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Chinese coronavirus experts warn northern Italy's lockdown measures are not enough
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome
The coronavirus measures in place in the hard hit Lombardy region of northern Italy are “not strict enough,” according to Chinese medical experts helping the country deal with the crisis.
The situation in Lombardy right now "is similar to what we experienced two months ago in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of COVID-19," the Chinese Red Cross vice president, Sun Shuopeng, said Thursday in a press conference in Milan, Italy.
"In the city of Wuhan after one month since the adoption of the lockdown policy, we see a decreasing trend from the peak of the disease," Sun Shuopeng said. "Here in Milan, the hardest hit area by COVID-19, there isn't a very strict lockdown: public transportation is still working and people are still moving around, you're still having dinners and parties in the hotels and you're not wearing masks. We need every citizen to be involved in the fight of COVID-19 and follow this policy.”
He advised Italians to stop all “economic activities and cut the mobility of people.”
Everyone should just stay at home, he added.
1:07 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
California's Ventura County issues shelter-in-place order for senior citizens
From CNN's Stella Chan
Ventura County is ordering residents ages 70 and older to shelter-in-place until at least April 1, joining other regions of California attempting to stem the spread of coronavirus.
“All individuals currently living within Ventura County, equal to or older than 75 years of age, or equal to or older than 70 years of age with an active or unstable comorbidity, are ordered to shelter at their place of residence from March 18, 2020 to April 1, 2020," the country said in its order.
The order adds: "Exceptions shall only exist as necessary to seek medical care, nutrition, or to perform essential work in healthcare or government."
Violation of this order is a misdemeanor and could result in a fine or imprisonment.
“We have no plans on arresting 75-year-olds,” said Ashley Bautista, a Ventura County spokesperson. However, the cost for violation is to illustrate how serious coronavirus is to the community.
By the numbers: Ventura County has 13 cases of coronavirus. The state of California has 834 cases, including 17 deaths.
1:08 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Dutch Health minister resigns one day after fainting in parliament
From CNN’s Mick Krever in London
The Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Bruno Bruins, has resigned, the Dutch government said in a statement to CNN.
The announcement comes one day after he collapsed during a parliamentary session.
Bruins was responsible for the Netherlands’ COVID-19 response.
After collapsing Wednesday, Bruins tweeted last night that he had been suffering from “faintness because of over-exhaustion and intensive weeks.”
He said at the time that he was doing better, and was looking forward to “getting back to work to fight the corona crisis as well as possible.”
Until a new appointment is made, Minister Hugo de Jonge will take over Bruins’ responsibilities.
1:02 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Queen Elizabeth: "We all have a vitally important part to play as individuals"
From CNN’s Max Foster
In a message put out by Buckingham Palace Thursday, Queen Elizabeth said "we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals" as the UK battles to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Here's the Queen's complete message:
"As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty. We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them. At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal. We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months. Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part."
1:03 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Trump on repercussions for China: "We're working on that right now"
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
President Trump said he is considering “repercussions” for the Chinese government’s handling of coronavirus, after days of placing the blame for the virus on the country.
“It would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier,” the President said at a news conference Thursday. “It could have been contained to that one area in China where it started. And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did.”
Some context: Trump was initially very complimentary of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s handling of the outbreak, but in recent days he has taken to calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.”
After consulting with medical experts, and receiving guidance from the World Health Organization, CNN has determined that that name is both inaccurate and stigmatizing.
The President also expressed skepticism of China’s claim that they had no new cases of coronavirus Thursday.
“As far as believing what they’re putting out now, I hope it’s true,” he said. “Who knows? But I hope it’s true.”
When asked if he was considering repercussions on the country, Trump answered: “We’re working on that right now.”
12:51 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Trump says he hopes members of Congress who test positive for coronavirus get better
From CNN's Betsy Klein
President Trump on Thursday reacted to news that multiple members of Congress have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
“I know all of them. I don’t know if they’re sitting like you people are sitting, you’re actually sitting too close,” Trump said, apparently joking that he’d like to “get rid” of about 75-80% of the reporters in the briefing room.
“But look, I know all of them. They tested positive. Hopefully they’ll all going to get better. It’s one of those things, it’s Congress,” Trump said.
He noted that many members have self-quarantined and that “most people” diagnosed with the virus “are getting better… doesn’t mean it’s not a tough one.” He praised the measures many members have taken.
“I think Congress has behaved unbelievably well in that regard,” he said.
12:51 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Will the 15 day social distancing guidelines be extended? We'll know on day 14, Trump says
From CNN's Betsy Klein
President Trump wasn’t able to provide any specifics when asked when life will get back to normal for Americans who are practicing social distancing.
“I hope very soon. We’ll see. This is unchartered territory as you know… I would hope very soon,” he said.
Asked later whether he expects the 15-day guidelines to be extended, he said, “I can only tell you on the 14th day. We’ll have to see.”
12:46 p.m. ET, March 19, 2020
Trump says Japan's prime minister has not made a decision about the Olympics
President Trump said he discussed the possibility of canceling the Olympics with other world leaders on a call recently, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is hosting the event.
Trump deferred to Abe on whether the Olympics will go on as planned this summer.
"We'd live with his decision," Trump said, referring to Abe.
He added that Abe "has told us he has not made a decision."