March 24 coronavirus news

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11:17 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

India orders 3-week nationwide lockdown

Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE
Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting at midnight Wednesday. 

All of India's 36 states and territories will be under a complete lockdown in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

 Here's how Modi explained it on a televised address:

"You have seen the worldwide situations arising from the coronavirus pandemic in the news. You have also seen how the most powerful nations have become helpless in the face of this pandemic. It’s not that these nations aren’t making efforts or face a lack of resources. But the coronavirus is spreading so rapidly that despite all these efforts, the challenge is increasing. The result of a two-month study of these countries and what the experts are saying is that social distancing is the only option to combat coronavirus. That is to remain apart from each other and stay confined to within your homes. There is no other way to remain safe from coronavirus. If we have to stop the spread, we have to break the cycle of infection."

"I request you to remain wherever you are in this country. In view of the current situation, the lockdown shall be enforced for 21 days, which means the next 21 days are crucial for us,” Modi continued.

These are the essential services that will be operational:

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Health services
  • Fire services
  • Groceries
  • Municipal services.

All shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices, markets and places of worship will be closed. Interstate buses and metros will be suspended. Construction activity will also be on a halt during this period.

11:13 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York governor says the peak of pandemic is 14 to 21 days away

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the apex of the coronavirus will be "higher" and "sooner" than experts anticipated — and it could be two or three weeks away.

"We haven’t flattened the curve," he said at a news conference. "The apex is higher than we though and the apex is sooner than we thought. That is a bad combination of facts."

New York revised its estimated needs to 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ICU beds.

Currently, the state has 53,000 hospital beds, he said.

11:13 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York governor: "We haven't flattened the curve ... the curve is actually increasing"

State of New York
State of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said "the rate of increase has gone up" when it comes to new coronavirus cases across the state.

He said that new infections are "doubling about every three days," which he called a "dramatic increase in the rate of infections."

On the rate of infections in the state, Cuomo said, "We're not slowing it, and it is accelerating on its own."

He said that, based on what experts are telling him, the new projection for hospital capacity is "as high as 140,000" hospital beds in the state to treat cases.

"We haven't flattened the curve, and the curve is actually increasing," Cuomo said.
11:04 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Celebrity chef says restaurants need "direct income replacement"

Tom Colicchio
Tom Colicchio Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

US chef Tom Colicchio said he thinks three in four of restaurants won’t be able to rebound after the coronavirus. 

Colicchio, a “Top Chef” judge, said “direct income replacement” is required to stop the bleeding of the restaurant industry, and he hopes to see it in a government stimulus bill.  

“Once we get open, it’s really important that we stay open,” he said. "We need those employees to stay employed, so we’re going to need some additional runway to get our restaurants open and some cushion until we can get up to full capacity.” 

Some context: The United States restaurant industry employs more than 15 million people, and about 70% of restaurants are small and independent.

The National Restaurant Association wrote a letter last week to President Trump and senior federal lawmakers, seeking $325 billion in aid.

Watch more:

11:03 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

Brits who ignore government lockdown instructions will be fined $35 on the spot

Brits who fail to follow the government's instructions to stay at home face an on-the-spot fine of 30 pounds — or about $35.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesperson announced the measures this afternoon and indicated that the fines could be subject to increase.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a number of restrictions on the movements of the British public. British people may only leave their homes to get groceries, visit the doctor, exercise once a day or to go to work if it is not possible to do so from home.

A Downing Street spokesperson confirmed to CNN a report by Reuters announcing that police will be able to impose these penalties "as soon as possible and by Thursday at the latest." The measures have been taken to help "disperse groups of people who are flouting the rules."

The spokesperson confirmed that the amount would be regularly reviewed and could be increased "significantly if it is necessary to ensure public compliance."

10:55 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

The 2020 Paralympics will also be postponed

International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons is backing the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games until 2021, saying it was “the only logical option.”

After weeks of speculation and mounting criticism at the delay in announcing a postponement, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed earlier today that the event would be rescheduled for “no later than summer 2021.”

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games had been scheduled to take place from August 25 until September 6. Now, the Paralympic Games will also be delayed, Parsons said.

“Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do," he said. “The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.”

"Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is," he added. “When the Paralympic Games do happen in Tokyo next year, they will be a spectacular global celebration of humanity coming together again as one.”

The Olympics have never been rescheduled in peacetime. In 1916, 1940 and 1944, the Games were canceled because of World Wars.

10:39 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

New York City mayor says he requested 15,000 ventilators from the federal government

WABC
WABC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city requested 15,000 ventilators from the federal government for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

De Blasio made the comments as he toured the NYC Emergency Management Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, this morning.

10:45 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

White House has agreed to oversight of $500 billion bailout fund

Claire Hambach/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Claire Hambach/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been negotiating the deal with Senate leadership, has agreed to an inspector general and congressional oversight for $500 billion fund proposed for distressed companies, a senior White House official tells CNN.

Some background: Pressure has been intensifying for days on the Senate to pass a massive stimulus package to respond to the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

After four straight days of marathon negotiations, the Trump administration and senators again failed yesterday to secure an agreement on a roughly $2 trillion plan to provide a jolt to the economy and give aid to hard-hit workers and industries.

But leaders emerged from late-night meetings in the Capitol optimistic that a deal could be struck today.

10:29 a.m. ET, March 24, 2020

US Senate leader says negotiators "very close" to stimulus deal

Senate TV
Senate TV

In another sign that a deal is imminent, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in floor remarks said, “at last I believe we’re on the five-yard line,” adding that “we are very close."

"We are close to a bill that takes our bold Republican framework, integrates further ideas from both parties and delivers huge progress on each of the four core priorities I laid out a week ago. So today, the Senate has a chance to get back on track. Today we can make all of the Washington drama fade away, if we act today what Americans will remember and what history will record is that the Senate did the right thing – that we came together.”

McConnell went on to address his belief in the urgent need for Congress to pass something immediately.

“The clock has run out. The buzzer is sounding. The hour for bargaining as though this was business as usual has expired,” he said. “The American people need our Democratic friends to take yes for an answer. Now I hope that will happen today.”

“I hope today is the day this body will get it done,” he added.