March 23 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, James Griffiths, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 9:46 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020
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3:43 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

New York City has more than 12,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Mark Morales

A nearly empty Times Square is seen on Monday, March 23, in New York City.
A nearly empty Times Square is seen on Monday, March 23, in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York City is now reporting at least 12,339 cases of coronavirus and 99 deaths.

There are at least 20,909 cases and at least 157 deaths in New York state.

3:37 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

TikTok gives $10 million to coronavirus response

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard



The World Health Organization on Monday announced that its Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund received a $10 million donation from TikTok, the popular app used to make short videos. 

WHO said that the contribution will be used to provide medical workers around the world with more tools to fight the coronavirus pandemic — including masks, gloves and personal protective equipment.

WHO also announced that it had received a $10 million contribution to its response fund from FIFA, the Federation International de Football Association.

The group's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked both organizations for their contributions.

"To date, the fund has raised more than $70 million, in just 10 days, from more than 187,000 individuals and organizations, to help health workers on the frontlines to do their life-saving work, treat patients and advance research for treatments and vaccines," he said.
3:35 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

A 13-year-old girl died of coronavirus in Panama

From Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota and CNN's Jackie Castillo in Atlanta

Panama's health ministry confirmed Monday the death of 13-year-old girl due to coronavirus.

According to a statement from the ministry, the girl and a 92-year-old man are the latest patients to die from the virus.

Panama has reported at least 313 cases and three deaths as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Johns Hopkins University.

3:33 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Toronto declares state of emergency

From CNN’s Paula Newton

An almost empty stretch of Bathurst Street seen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, March 21.
An almost empty stretch of Bathurst Street seen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, March 21. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

Toronto Mayor John Tory has declared a state of emergency in the city.

The decision came after he received advice Monday morning from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and the Office of Emergency Management.

The declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the city's ongoing efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, and the mayor hopes to ensure the municipal government can continue to “act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead," the city said in a statement.

3:22 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Zimbabwe closes all borders due to coronavirus concerns

From Columbus Mavhunga in Zimbabwe

In an address to the nation on Monday night, Zimbabwe��s President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the closure of all borders except for returning residents and cargo effective immediately.

Mnangagwa also announced that all gatherings with more than 50 people will be banned.

He said bars, nightclubs, gyms and swimming pools will be closed in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

3:20 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

 3 doctors die of coronavirus in France

From Barbara Wojazer in Paris and Lindsay Isaac in London

Three doctors who had contracted coronavirus have died, the French National Health Agency said in a statement on Monday.

The doctors were all from the Grand Est region in northeast France. The victims include a general practitioner in Moselle, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Mulhouse and another general practitioner in Colmar. 

On Sunday, France reported its first doctor had died of coronavirus.

In all, 490 medical staffers in the Parisian region have contracted coronavirus, a spokesperson for the Public Hospitals of Paris told CNN. The spokesperson added that 32% of them are doctors and 15% of them are nurses. Three of the patients are in intensive care.

3:06 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

The World Health Organization's coronavirus treatment trial will enroll patients this week

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard and Minali Nigam

The World Health Organization's SOLIDARITY Trial — which will examine potential treatment options for Covid-19 — plans to enroll its first patients this week, WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said during a call with reporters today.

WHO announced last week that it had organized the trial to test coronavirus treatment approaches across several countries and compare data to find which treatments may be most effective. When the announcement was made, WHO noted that many countries agreed to join the trial, including Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

“Randomized clinical trials normally take a lot of time to set up and get running, but you can see that the team has been able to put together this trial," Swaminathan said.

"Hopefully we’ll start enrolling in the first few countries this week," Swaminathan added. "We should be able to enroll thousands of patients in a matter of weeks or months — we can’t exactly predict right now."

The number of patients enrolled will depend on the course of the coronavirus pandemic, said Dr. Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo, a medical officer at WHO's Department of Immunization Vaccines and Biologicals.

“Nobody knows how many cases we are going to have and whether or not they are going to occur at the hospital where we are setting the trial," Henao-Restrepo said during the call.

In a separate media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that "small, observational and non-randomized studies will not give us the answers we need" when it comes to identifying effective coronavirus treatments.  

3:05 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Nigeria will close its land borders for 4 weeks

From Bukola Adebayo

Nigeria is closing its land borders for four weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson said Monday.

Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority has banned all international flights except essential or emergency flights.

The country recorded 36 cases and one coronavirus-related death in a patient with an underlying illness by Monday morning, Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control tweeted.

Most of the new cases were found in Nigerians who had just returned from Europe, Canada, and the United States, prompting authorities to impose a travel ban on citizens from countries with more than 1,000 cases last week.

3:04 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

State Department official: More than 13,000 US citizens abroad are seeking help to get home

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Tourists from the United States wait outside the closed Jorge Chavez International Airport,i n Callao Peru, for a member of the U.S. Embassy to escort them to a flight that will fly them back to the U.S. on Friday, March 20.
Tourists from the United States wait outside the closed Jorge Chavez International Airport,i n Callao Peru, for a member of the U.S. Embassy to escort them to a flight that will fly them back to the U.S. on Friday, March 20. Martin Mejia/AP

The State Department is tracking approximately 13,500 US citizens abroad who are seeking assistance in being repatriated, a senior State Department official said Monday.

The official said the State Department is examining a variety of means to get those citizens home, saying that “no option is foreclosed out.” They said the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is working with private charters to get them into places to help with repatriation efforts.

“We are using some cases — and I expect this will be happening in expanded fashion as we go out from here – we’re using what's called the K Fund. It's a special fund authorized by Congress to allow us to meet unexpected emergencies,” they said on a call with reporters. “We have organized a number of flights already on the K Fund, K-Fund charters.”

“We're looking at 16 or so flights in the next five days. And we've got additionally about 1,600 passengers, over 1,600 passengers identified for those flights with room for more,” they said. 

They said that in addition to the K-Fund charters, they are using DOD backhauls in some cases.

“We're also working with the Department of Homeland Security. They're flying planes into Central America, and they are prepared to bring folks back on those aircraft. So it's a variety of different US government aircraft,” they said.

The official said they are prioritizing space on the flights for those with vulnerabilities, such as age and medical conditions.

“If we have somebody who is 70 years old with an underlying condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, that person is going to get a higher priority on one of those flights, than the hale and hearty 20 year old,” they said.

That official said about 5,700 people had been brought back, and “the great majority of those were coming back through State Department chartered aircraft.�� They cited the 800+ brought back from Wuhan in late January, the 300+ from Yokohama and “approximately 1200 came out of Morocco last week.” They said they “had other people come out of Central America recently.”