March 24 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 1:09 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020
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12:05 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Alaska limits public gatherings, requires all arriving travelers to self-quarantine

Nearly empty streets are seen in downtown Anchorage, Alaska on March 21.
Nearly empty streets are seen in downtown Anchorage, Alaska on March 21. Mark Thiessen/AP

Alaska announced a series of new measures today to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including an order for people to maintain a six-foot “social distance” in public.

Businesses that can’t abide by that guideline are required to close by 5 p.m. Tuesday. 

"The purpose of this mandate is to limit all close contacts,” said Adam Crum of the Department of Health and Social Services in a news conference.

Nonessential public gatherings of more than 10 people are also banned until further notice.

The state is also requiring all travelers entering Alaska from another state or country to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The rule goes into effect Wednesday, and violators could be prosecuted, according to Crum.

11:55 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

World leaders are pleading with their citizens to stay home

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the Covid-19 situation from Ottawa on Monday, March 23.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the Covid-19 situation from Ottawa on Monday, March 23. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP

As coronavirus cases continue to spread rapidly, health officials and leaders around the world are appealing to citizens to stay inside their homes and maintain social distancing.

Outraged people on social media have been sharing images of busy streets and tourist spots, and branding those ignoring the rules as "covidiots." Vacationers have been flooding to remote communities, raising fears that small hospitals could very quickly reach capacity.

Italy: The coronavirus outbreak in Italy is the deadliest in the world, and officials are taking to social media or scolding people who are going outside despite orders to stay in.

"Go home, this is not a film on TV, this is a national emergency!," Antonio Decaro, Mayor of Bari, stressed to his residents last week. "Go home, you can't play ping pong, go to your Playstations," he said.

More than 80,000 people have been reported in Italy because they did not comply with the coronavirus emergency restrictions.

Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a message for Canadians who choose to ignore social distancing advice: "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home." 

"If you choose to ignore that advice, if you choose to get together with people or go to crowded places, you are not just putting yourself at risk, you are putting others at risk too," he said.

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson ramped up his country's response and essentially sent it into lockdown after a weekend where many people flocked to parks, beaches and rural areas.

"You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say 'No.' You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home," he said.

Johnson added police would enforce the rules by breaking up public gatherings and issuing fines.

US: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said: "This is a moment where we need some straight talk," he told reporters. "As individuals and as a community, we need to do more to meet this moment."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, "This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks." He said people should heed the closures and stay home. "That doesn't mean gather elsewhere. This is serious. Stay home and save lives."

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, "I am disappointed to see photos and videos on social media of boats close together and large groups of people congregating."

"We are in a state of emergency, and I cannot stress enough the need for personal responsibility."

11:46 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Singapore sees its biggest single-day surge in new cases

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

Singapore confirmed 54 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday -- the country's biggest one-day surge since the outbreak began.

Of the 54 new cases, 48 are imported from overseas, with travel histories to Europe, North America and Southeast Asia.

This raises the national total to 509 cases, according to Singapore's Ministry of Health.

Of these 509, two patients have died, 152 have been discharged from hospital, and 355 remain hospitalized, including 15 in critical condition.

11:35 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Tokyo may go into lockdown if coronavirus cases spike, governor warns

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka and Yoko Wakatsuki

People walk under the cherry blossoms at Ueno park in Tokyo on March 22.
People walk under the cherry blossoms at Ueno park in Tokyo on March 22. Behrouz/AFP/Getty Images

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike warned on Monday that the capital could be placed under lockdown if the number of coronavirus cases spike. 

Koike said the next three weeks were critical, and urged residents and events organizers to avoid large public gatherings and exercise restraint to avoid tougher movement restrictions.

“Depending on future developments, it’s possible we may need to adopt strong measures such as a so-called lockdown of the city,” Koike said in a news conference. “We must avoid that so I would like to request further cooperation from the people of Tokyo.”

Koike’s announcement comes as the Tokyo metropolitan government reported its highest number of cases in a single day on Monday, with 16 new infections taking the capital’s toll to 154.

11:40 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

New York's infection "attack rate" is five times higher than the rest of the US, health expert warns

Doors lead into the Emergency Department at St. Barnabas Hospital on March 23 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Doors lead into the Emergency Department at St. Barnabas Hospital on March 23 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Misha Friedman/Getty Images

New York, the hardest-hit state in the US, now has 21,689 coronavirus cases and 157 deaths.

New York City alone has 13,119 cases. At least 2,213 of those patients are hospitalized and 525 are in the intensive care unit.

Earlier today, health expert Dr. Deborah Birx said at a news briefing with President Donald Trump that the greater New York City area has an "attack rate close to one in a thousand" -- five times higher than what other areas are experiencing. 

Some 28% of tests in New York are positive, she said -- compared to less than 8% in the rest of the country. 

"(New Yorkers are) the group that needs to absolutely social distance and self isolate at this time. Clearly the virus had been circling there for a number of weeks to have this level of penetrance into the community," she said.

Watch:

11:13 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Just joining us? Here’s the latest on the coronavirus pandemic

Medical workers transport a patient into an intensive care unit at San Raffaele hospital in Milan, on March 23.
Medical workers transport a patient into an intensive care unit at San Raffaele hospital in Milan, on March 23. Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

The global toll: There are 381,293 cases of novel coronavirus and 16,508 deaths globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking figures from the World Health Organization and additional sources. 

China: For the first time in six days, China has reported a new case of coronavirus in Hubei province -- ground zero for the pandemic. Mainland China reported 78 new cases on Monday, of which 74 were imported, and seven new deaths, according to the National Health Commission. A total of 73,159 patients in mainland China have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

43% of US population told to stay at home: At least 16 states have issued stay-at-home orders, which will impact 142 million people, or 43% of the US population, according to data compiled by CNN using US Census population estimates.

UK lockdown: Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the most stringent social restrictions on the British public since the end of World War II. The public is being told stay at home, with exceptions for shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; medical need; and, for designated key workers, traveling to and from work.

More countries restrict movement and travel Cuba is limiting travel to and within its borders. From Tuesday, all schools will be closed for a month and the government will “regulate” Cubans ability to leave the communist-run island. South Africa will enforce a three-week lockdown starting at midnight on March 26. Zimbabwe announced the closure of all borders, except for returning residents and cargo, effective immediately. The Netherlands will ban all public gatherings until June 1. More than 750 million people across India are under lockdown.

Virus hotspots: Italy has confirmed 601 new coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 6,077 and 63,927 cases. US state health officials reported more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day for the first time during the outbreak. There are at least 42,663 cases of the coronavirus in the US, and 541 people have died.

Sports: There is a growing chorus of voices calling for the 2020 Summer Olympics to be postponed. The IOC said it has given itself a deadline of four weeks to make a decision on the Games. Meanwhile, all UEFA club soccer finals, including the Champions League Final, have been postponed indefinitely. 

Hospitals running out of supplies: Hospitals in Oklahoma have just 9.3 days worth of personal protective equipment on hand, on average, and California is calling for 50,000 more hospital beds. Meanwhile, some of Brazil’s soccer stadiums, arenas and convention centers will be converted into field hospitals to treat patients infected with the virus. The US military is also looking into deploying field hospitals and personnel this week to areas in need like Seattle and New York City.

11:05 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Myanmar reports first two cases of the coronavirus

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

Staff members of the Yangon City Development Committee rest after disinfecting the Pazontaung market in Yangon, Myanmar on March 21.
Staff members of the Yangon City Development Committee rest after disinfecting the Pazontaung market in Yangon, Myanmar on March 21. Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

Myanmar has reported its first two cases of the coronavirus, according to a report in the state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar.

The patients are a 26-year-old man and a 36-year-old man, both of whom reported recent travel history, the report said. 

Neither have shown symptoms of fever or cough, and both are currently in isolation.

10:57 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

At least 16 US states have issued stay-at-home orders

People walks along Zuma Beach, March 23, in Malibu, California.
People walks along Zuma Beach, March 23, in Malibu, California. Mark J. Terrill/AP

At least 16 states across the US have issued stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100.5 million people -- about 31% of the national population -- are currently under restrictions, according to US Census population estimates. 

But not all orders have been activated yet -- when all 16 state orders go into effect, more than 142 million people will be affected, or 43% of the country.

Apart from statewide orders, several individual cities and counties like Atlanta, Georgia, have also issued their own stay-at-home orders.

These states have issued stay-at-home orders:

  • California: started Thursday
  • Illinois: started Saturday
  • New Jersey: started Saturday
  • New York: started Sunday
  • Louisiana: started Monday
  • Connecticut: started Monday  
  • Washington: started Monday 
  • Ohio: started Monday
  • Oregon: started Monday 
  • New Mexico: effective Tuesday 
  • Massachusetts: effective Tuesday 
  • Delaware: effective Tuesday
  • Michigan: effective Tuesday  
  • West Virginia: effective Tuesday 
  • Indiana: effective Tuesday  
  • Hawaii: effective Wednesday

UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect that at least 16 states have issued stay-at-home orders.

10:47 p.m. ET, March 23, 2020

Calls to postpone Olympics grow as coronavirus pandemic spreads

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka

A boat passes by the Olympic rings in Tokyo's Odaiba district on March 23.
A boat passes by the Olympic rings in Tokyo's Odaiba district on March 23. Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Calls to postpone the Summer Olympics are growing as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates around the world. 

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said that the organization has heard the concerns from Team USA athletes regarding the upcoming 2020 Games, and that the “path toward postponement is the most promising,” in a statement released Monday.

“We are thankful to the 1,780 Team USA athletes for sharing their voice and honest input with us as we address the issues related to COVID-19 and the Tokyo Games, and make good on our promise to put athletes first,” the USOPC said.
“We encourage the IOC to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors,” the statement continued.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to start on July 24. Current options include a postponement or a scaled-down version. Cancellation is “not on the agenda,” the IOC said on Sunday. 

But countries are taking a stand. In recent days, a growing number of countries and athletes have called for the games to be postponed. Canada and Australia said they would not send any teams on Monday. 

Speaking to lawmakers on the same day, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said postponing the Games is a possibility. This was the first time Abe has wavered from his staunch public position that the Olympics will start July 24 as scheduled. 

Abe is scheduled to speak with IOC chief Thomas Bach over the telephone later Tuesday.