March 22 coronavirus news

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2:14 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

German chancellor goes into self-quarantine

From CNN’s Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going into home quarantine immediately, after a doctor who gave her a vaccination on Friday has tested positive for coronavirus, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert announced in a press statement on Sunday.

Seibert also stated that the chancellor will continuously be tested for coronavirus because a test at this early stage would not be reliable. Merkel will continue her full workload from her quarantine, Seibert added.

Earlier Sunday: Germany has implemented a "contact ban" rather than a full nationwide lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, Merkel said.

Merkel said in a press conference Sunday that the country would toughen measures and "reduce contact with people as much as possible."

 

2:36 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Half of patients tested at one New York health care system yesterday were positive for Covid-19

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman

NewYork-Presbyterian performed more than 500 tests for the novel coronavirus Saturday, and 50% came out positive.

"That's very high," Chief Operating Officer Dr. Laura L. Forese said in a leadership briefing Sunday.

Forese said the hospitals had 558 Covid-19 inpatients, and about 1 in 5 are receiving ICU care.

That number "is a snapshot. It's changing probably as I'm speaking to you today," she said. "We have many more who have been sent home, either Covid-positive tested, or presumed to have that."

Some context: Like other health care systems around the country, NewYork-Presbyterian is not able to test every patient for Covid-19, citing a shortage of swab kits.

Of nearly 30,000 cases in the United States, more than 15,000 are in New York state, including more than 9,000 in New York City.

2:27 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Sen. Rand Paul has coronavirus

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a tweet sent from his official account.

“He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person," the tweet said.

Sen. Paul’s Deputy Chief of Staff Sergio Gor expanded on the tweet saying in a statement, “He (Paul) expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Paul.”

More context: Paul had part of his lung removed last year as a result from the assault by his neighbor which also broke five of his ribs.

Read Paul's tweet:

 

2:04 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

TSA officers in Orlando and New York test positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Greg Wallace

The interior of Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 12.
The interior of Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 12. Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Transportation Security Administration officers at the airports in Orlando and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport have tested positive for coronavirus, the agency said Sunday. 

This brings the total to 22 TSA officers who have tested positive, according to TSA records.

The officer in Orlando is the fourth one to test positive there, according to the TSA, and most recently worked one week ago, in the morning and early afternoon of March 15. 

Some context: The agency has previously reported three other cases at the Orlando airport. Those officers most recently worked March 16, March 11 and March 10. 

A fifth security screening officer at JFK has tested positive for the coronavirus, TSA said Sunday. 

The officer last worked overnight on Wednesday. 

The other TSA screeners at JFK who tested positive worked their most recent shifts on March 15, 13 and 12. 

1:40 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Italy coronavirus death toll rises by 651 in past 24 hours

From Barbie Nadeau in Rome

The death toll in Italy from coronavirus has risen by 651 in the past 24 hours to 5,476 according to the Italian Civil Protection Agency.

That is a smaller increase than the previous 24 hour period, but still represents an increase of 13.5 percent since Saturday.

Overall, the number of confirmed cases has risen by 5,560 to 59,138. which is also a smaller increase than Saturday’s figures.

1:29 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Germany to ban gatherings of more than 2 people

From CNN’s Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

People sit outside at the East Side Gallery in Berlin on March 22.
People sit outside at the East Side Gallery in Berlin on March 22. Paul Zinken/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany has implemented a "contact ban" rather than a full nationwide lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Merkel said in a press conference Sunday that the country would toughen measures and "reduce contact with people as much as possible."

"To that end, Germany will ban gatherings of more than two people," Merkel said.

Merkel extrapolated on the ban in a phone conversation between herself and the 16 German state premiers on Sunday, saying a contact ban will be implemented, meaning no more than two people would be allowed to interact with each other — with the exceptions of families and people living together.

Merkel said that "a minimum distance of 1.5 to 2 meters" should be adhered to and meetings in groups are now unacceptable and will be sanctioned if not adhered to. 

Further, Merkel added that restaurants, as well as hair salons, and tattoo shops will also be shut down.

Merkel said these measures would be in place for at least two weeks.

1:25 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Rural areas tell UK city-dwellers to stay away

From CNN's Rory Sullivan

A mobile home in Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday.
A mobile home in Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday.

People in the United Kingdom are being told to stay at home and to not travel to remote communities, amid growing worries in the regions over the spread of coronavirus. 

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s tourism secretary, told the BBC that tourists could “compromise the health” of people living in rural areas, including the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Tourism businesses along one Scottish road, the A830 which runs from Fort William to Mallaig, have also urged people to stay away. 

The Road To The Isles group, which is made up of 100 tourism businesses along the route, said that “vital services” in the area are “struggling to cope with demand," according to PA Media news agency. 

The area has just one doctor and one ambulance serving an ageing population. In a statement on its website, Visit Scotland asked everyone “not to travel to or around Scotland.”

People were also discouraged from traveling to Cornwall, a county in western England. A joint statement issued by Cornwall Council and the tourism site Visit Cornwall on Friday urged people planning a trip to the county to “consider deferring their visit.”

Steve Double, the Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay in Cornwall, told Sky News on Saturday: “Please do not travel to Cornwall, we do not want to spread this virus any further.”

Elsewhere, Snowdonia National Park in Wales experienced its “busiest ever visitor day” on Saturday with people flouting guidance on social distancing, according to its website. 

“We are calling on the Prime Minister and the First Minister of Wales to provide stronger measures on unnecessary travel and social distancing, to ensure that we do not see a repeat of yesterday’s scenes across Snowdonia," Emyr Williams, chief executive of the Snowdonia National Park Authority, said in a statement on Sunday.
1:24 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Tennessee governor issues order restricting businesses

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks to the press on March 16.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks to the press on March 16. Mark Humphrey/AP

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has issued an executive order Sunday with sweeping changes to businesses in response to the coronavirus.

The issue prohibits gatherings of 10 or more and enacts restrictions on businesses.

Restaurants are ordered to only offer drive-thru, take out or delivery options and can sell alcohol by delivery or pick up to those over 21, a release from the governor's office said.

Gyms and other fitness facilities are closed until April 6 and encouraged to pursue digital programs, according to the release.

Nursing homes and other long term care facilities are no longer allowed to accept visitors unless they are essential to care, the release said. 

1:02 p.m. ET, March 22, 2020

Actress Rita Wilson raps to Naughty by Nature

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

from Instagram
from Instagram

Actress Rita Wilson continues to amaze and entertain followers while recovering from coronavirus.

Wilson posted a four-minute long video of herself rapping every word of Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray."

"Quarantine Stir Crazy See it to believe it," Wilson said in the Instagram caption.

Watch Wilson's video: