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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5:00 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

South Carolina limits gatherings of 3 or more people

From CNN’s Stephanie Gallman in Atlanta

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Monday the signing of an executive order in the state that would allow law enforcement officers to prohibit and disperse gatherings of three or more people if they feel the gathering is a threat to public health.

Police “would know it when they see it,” he said of such gatherings. The order would not apply to businesses or workplaces, McMaster said. 

At least five people have died of coronavirus in South Carolina, according to the Department of Health.

5:52 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

UK announces lockdown


PA Video/PA Images/Getty Images
PA Video/PA Images/Getty Images

The British Prime Minister has ordered the UK to lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

Calling the virus the “biggest threat” the UK has faced in decades, Boris Johnson said people across the country must “stay home” in order to halt the growth of Covid-19 and protect the health care system. 

“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses,” Johnson said in a televised address. 

People will be allowed to leave their homes for limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise a day — for example a run, walk, or cycle — alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Traveling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home. 

“If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings,” he said. The measures will be in place for three weeks and then will be reviewed.

Watch here:

4:38 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

US Supreme Court justices are holding meetings via teleconference

From CNN's Ariane De Vogue

John Roberts was the only US Supreme Court justice present in the conference room last Friday as the justices “met” for their regular meeting to discuss pending cases.

The other eight justices participated via a teleconference, said Kathy Arberg, the Court's public information officer.

It was Roberts’ idea “in accordance with the Center of Disease Control’s guidance on social distancing" for the other justices to work from home, Arberg said. It’s likely that when the justices meet again next Friday, they will continue the same pattern.

The news comes as the Court is making changes to grapple with the pandemic.

On Monday, for the first time in a decade, the court released opinions for an argued case without sitting on the bench. They also postponed oral arguments for the next two weeks — something the court has not done since 1918.

4:34 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Trump signs order to prevent hoarding and price gouging

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Trump has signed an executive order “to prevent hoarding & price gouging of supplies needed in our war against the #Coronavirus,” according to a tweet from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. 

She included what appears to be a White House photo of the President flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr. 

Reporters were not told about the Oval Office signing prior to the tweet and have no way to independently verify the picture was taken at today's event. 

4:32 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Ban on unnecessary surgeries and procedures includes abortion, Texas attorney general says

From CNN’s Ashley Killough

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that the governor's order to postpone "all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary" includes abortions 

Paxton said in a statement that the ban applies to "all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary, including routine dermatological, ophthalmological, and dental procedures, as well as most scheduled healthcare procedures that are not immediately medically necessary such as orthopedic surgeries or any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother."

The statement notes that "failure to comply with an executive order issued by the governor related to the COVID-19 disaster can result in penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time."

4:23 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

UEFA Champions League Final postponed 

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

All the UEFA Club Finals, including the Champions League Final, have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

UEFA said that decisions about rearranging the affected matches will be made in "due course."

All the matches were scheduled for May. 

4:11 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Stocks close lower on Monday

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

US stocks ended in the red on Monday, after the Senate failed for a second time to vote through the coronavirus economic relief package.

A slew of new stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve provided a boost to premarket trading, but it didn’t help stocks end the regular trading day higher.

  • The Dow finished down 3%, or 583 points. 
  • The S&P 500 closed down 2.9%. The index has now erased all of the gains accumulated under the Trump administration. 
  • The Nasdaq Composite finished 0.3% lower.


4:08 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Kansas will limit gatherings to 10 people

From CNN's Raja Razek

Kansas will issue an executive order tomorrow morning limiting mass gatherings to 10 people, Gov. Laura Kelly announced in a press conference on Monday. 

Kansas has a total of 82 coronavirus cases, with two deaths in the state.

4:05 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Clothing and textile manufacturers will deliver face masks to US government this week

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

A group of clothing and textile manufacturers, including Hanes, are planning to deliver their first shipments of three-ply face masks to the federal government by midweek to help health care workers respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The largest US yarn spinner, Parkdale Inc., and six other companies planned to begin production of the masks on Monday, according to the National Council of Textile Organizations.

The group aims to make up to 10 million masks a week in the US and Central America about a month from now. The coalition of companies, which also includes Fruit of the Loom, Los Angeles Apparel and American Giant, worked with the White House to set up the increased production, the industry group's statement said. 

The masks will be sent directly to the federal government, a spokesperson for Hanes said.