March 22 coronavirus news
The government of Italy has made a direct appeal to Defense Secretary Mark Esper for US military aid in combating coronavirus, according to a US defense official.
Specifically, Italy's defense minister has asked Esper for critical medical equipment like masks and ventilators as Italy has nearly 60,000 confirmed cases and has had more than 5,000 deaths. The Italian government has requested that US military personnel stationed in Italy assist Italian authorities by providing medical personnel and field hospitals in support of Italian troops already responding to the crisis there.
Esper recently made the Defense Department’s stockpile of masks and ventilators available to civilian hospitals in the US to help respond to the pandemic. The military has activated units capable of constructing field hospitals to help relieve the burden on civilian hospitals.
The Italian plea for assistance from its NATO ally comes as the Russian military has made a very public effort to provide the Italians with assistance, using military aircraft to fly in medical personnel and equipment.
Retired South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, the 2012 Olympic 100-meter breaststroke champion, says he has coronavirus.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, the 31-year-old discussed dealing with the illness, calling it "by far the worst virus I have ever endured."
Van der Burgh retired from swimming in 2018.
The International Olympic Committee's executive board said Sunday it is considering postponing -- but not canceling -- this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo because of the coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump approved California's request for a disaster declaration Sunday, according to a White House news release.
The declaration means the state can receive federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts to areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the release said. It also provides federal funding for crisis counseling for all those affected in California.
President Donald Trump said Sunday he is considering an executive order to free elderly "totally nonviolent" federal prisoners.
"We have been asked about that, and we're going to take a look at it. It's a bit of a problem. But when we talk about totally nonviolent, we're talking about these are totally nonviolent prisoners, we're actually looking at that, yes," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference.
Several states, including California, New York, Ohio and Texas, and New York City have started releasing low-level offenders as well as those who are elderly or sick because of the virus.
The number of coronavirus deaths in Ecuador doubled between Saturday and Sunday, according the country’s health ministry.
The ministry reported 14 coronavirus deaths Sunday, up from seven Saturday.
Ecuador’s health ministry reported the number of positive cases more than tripled in a one-week span. On Sunday, the health ministry reported 789 confirmed cases of the virus. At the beginning of the week, the government had reported 58 confirmed cases.
The United Arab Emirates suspended all inbound and outbound passenger flights and "the transit of airline passengers" in the UAE for two weeks to combat the spread of coronavirus, according to the UAE's state-run news agency WAM.
The decision will take effect in 48 hours, WAM reported.
Saudi Arabia has ordered a daily curfew between 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time beginning Monday, according to Saudi state-run SPA news.
The curfew is scheduled to last for 21 days and came directly from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, SPA said in its report.
Security, health, water, electricity, trash collection and media sectors are excluded from the curfew, according to SPA.
Saudi Arabia says it is taking these measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Pennsylvania’s largest city announced a stay-at-home order Sunday, prohibiting "all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit," according to a press release from the Philadelphia mayor's office.
The order will go into effect Monday at 8 a.m.
Essential personal activities, such as obtaining essential goods and services, seeking medical attention, caring for family members in another household, or reporting to a job at an essential business, are exempt from the restriction.
Two Chicago Police Department officers have tested positive for coronavirus, according to city police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
In a statement on his Twitter account, Guglielmi says that "both officers are in good spirits & all cases appear separate and distinct from one another."
Chicago police are working closely with the city's health department to "implement best possible infection controls for affected officers & areas," Guglielmi said.
The total number of Chicago police officers who have tested positive is now three, according to Officer Steve Rusanov.