March 25 coronavirus news

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4:24 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

First coronavirus case confirmed in Cox's Bazar, near world's largest refugee camp

From CNN's Rebecca Wright and journalist Salman Saeed

People cross a stream in a Rohingya refugee camp on January 23 in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
People cross a stream in a Rohingya refugee camp on January 23 in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Allison Joyce/Getty Images

The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, a local Bangladeshi woman was confirmed to be positive on Tuesday afternoon local time.

The hospital in the town of Cox’s Bazar is around one hour’s drive from sprawling camps which are home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees.

Many of them fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape violence in neighboring Myanmar. Currently, no coronavirus cases have been identified among Rohingya refugees, Louise Donovan, communications officer for UNHCR, told CNN Wednesday.

"The health and well-being of refugees is our top priority," Donovan said.
"While there are currently no suspected cases of Covid-19 in the camps, UNHCR takes the situation very seriously and is closely monitoring."

On Tuesday, the Bangladeshi government confirmed that most services in the refugee camps would be suspended, in an attempt to prevent an outbreak of the virus.

Mahbub Alam Talukder, the refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, confirmed to CNN that non-essential activities would stop, including educational programs and other advocacy work carried out by NGOs.

However, emergency work would continue. Nay San Lwin, a Europe-based Rohingya activist, said that markets in the camps had been closed, making it hard for the families to gather supplies.

"As markets are ordered to close, prices go up," Nayheld CNN. "Refugees are really worrying, but helpless."

All people entering and exiting the camps are now being closely controlled, Talukder said.

They have 47 beds ready and 342 beds on standby for potential coronavirus patients.

Talukder added that a Rohingya family of four from Australia -- who came to visit their relatives in one of the refugee camps -- was put in quarantine under UNHCR supervision.

Donovan said hygiene measures, communication and staff training have all been increased inside the camps, and planning is underway for additional medical facilities.

"There is an extremely limited capacity in Cox’s Bazar district to provide intensive care treatment for any medical condition, such as Covid-19," Donovan said.
"However, efforts are currently being employed to expand the existing treatment capacities, including higher levels of treatment in the camps."

Bangladesh currently has 39 confirmed cases of coronavirus, four of whom have died, data from the Johns Hopkins University shows. Myanmar confirmed its first two cases on Tuesday, imported from the UK and US, state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar reported.ed.

3:29 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Why New Zealand is moving so fast on coronavirus

Closed notices relating to the coronavirus are seen outside the entrance to the Auckland War Memorial on March 25 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Closed notices relating to the coronavirus are seen outside the entrance to the Auckland War Memorial on March 25 in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty Images

At 11:59 p.m local time, New Zealand's alert Level 4 will go into force, placing "the most significant" restrictions on its people "in our modern history," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

A national state of emergency has been declared, schools will close, people have been told they must stay at home and non-essential businesses will shut.

The order comes as cases in the country rose by 30% on Wednesday. But with just 205 coronavirus cases reported in total and no deaths, New Zealand is responding much faster than other countries around the world.

In her statement announcing the measures, Arden acknowledged no other country has moved as fast to restrict daily life, but the trigger was early evidence of community transmission in New Zealand.

"Unlike so many other gravely inundated countries, we have a window of opportunity to stay home, break the chain of transmission, and save lives. It’s that simple," she said.

Flattening the curve: Ardern said the country needed to get "ahead of any potential over-run of our hospitals, and ahead of any deaths on New Zealand soil."

Break the chain: "You may not be at work, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a job. Your job is to save lives, and you can do that by staying home, and breaking the chain," she said.

Act like you have Covid-19: "Every move you then make is a risk to someone else. That is how we must all collectively think," Ardern said.

New Zealand's swift action marks a drastic departure from some countries, such as the UK and US, which have been criticized for not acting quickly enough to stop outbreaks from accelerating in their own nations.

3:13 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

South Korea to quarantine passengers from US starting Friday

From Yoon Chaeeun in Seoul

A woman wearing protective gear moves luggage as she waits for her flight at the Incheon Airport in Incheon, South Korea, on Thursday, March 19.
A woman wearing protective gear moves luggage as she waits for her flight at the Incheon Airport in Incheon, South Korea, on Thursday, March 19. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea will require passengers arriving from the United States to undergo a 14-day quarantine starting from Friday.

Those arriving who have residence in South Korea will be allowed to stay at home, while those without will be required to stay in a government facility, the Central Disaster Relief Headquarters’ Disease Prevention team leader Yoon Tae-ho said on Wednesday.

In addition to the quarantine, short-term stay foreigners will be tested for the virus during entry procedures and will be allowed into the country if their test comes back negative.

South Koreans and long-term stay foreigners without symptoms will also be tested if they show any symptoms during the 14-day quarantine. They will be tested immediately upon arrival if presenting with coronavirus symptoms.

The government will continue monitoring the number of imported cases from the US and consider testing all arrivals if necessary.

3:03 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

It's morning in Europe. Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic if you're just waking up

An Italian soldier walks inside the field hospital built in Crema, Italy, on Tuesday, March 24.
An Italian soldier walks inside the field hospital built in Crema, Italy, on Tuesday, March 24. Antonio Calanni/AP

A record deal: White House and Congressional leaders worked into the early hours of Wednesday morning to strike a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package to give the US economy a much needed respite from the dire effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures enacted to limit its spread. More than 52,000 people have been infected with the virus throughout the country.

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, called the package "the single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States" at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

In the past 24 hours, the elements of the proposal have come into sharper focus -- $250 billion will be set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

Ordered indoors: The stimulus comes as more than half the population of the United States has been put under travel restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus. At least 15 states and 30 municipalities have ordered more than 166 million people, or 51% of the US population to stay home, according to data compiled by CNN using US Census population estimates. 

At least two additional states and five municipalities will have orders going into effect later this week. When those take effect, more than 180 million people -- 55% of the US population -- will be impacted.

Billions at home as borders shut: It's not just the US -- 2.5 billion people worldwide are under coronavirus-related movement restrictions. Countries worldwide are asking citizens who do not work in "essential services" to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

The most audacious of all these stay-at-home orders is likely in India, which has asked the majority of its 1.3 billion population to stay home for 21 days.

Antipodean isolation: Australia and New Zealand are hoping that recently enacted travel restrictions combined with their geography -- specifically that they have no land borders with other countries -- will help them combat the spread of the virus.

2:54 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Manchester City manager donates €1 million to help Spain's coronavirus battle

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on March 8.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on March 8. Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has donated €1 million ($1.1 million) to help with the fight against the coronavirus in his native country Spain, a spokesperson for the English Premier League soccer club confirmed to CNN.

Spain is one of the worst hit countries from the pandemic.

Deaths from Covid-19 in Spain rose to 2,696 Tuesday with 39,673 cases recorded in total, according to health ministry data.

Spain has the third largest number of Covid-19 deaths of any country in the world, behind Italy and China.

2:44 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

South Korea says US asked for testing reagent

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Seoul

A lab technician works with testing equipment at a Bio Safety Level 3 laboratory at the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, on March 11.
A lab technician works with testing equipment at a Bio Safety Level 3 laboratory at the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, on March 11. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea’s health agency says the country can export testing materials as long as it doesn’t impede its own fight against Covid-19.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jung Eun-kyeong, said it was her understanding that the United States had requested diagnostic reagent for Covid-19 during South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s call with President Donald Trump Tuesday.

“Five diagnostic reagents have received emergency use approval, so nearly 20,000 tests are being conducted every day in South Korea, “ Jung said at a news conference Wednesday. “We can support as long as it does not impede the domestic prevention of the epidemic.”
2:35 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns says his mother is in a medically-induced coma after contracting coronavirus

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, California, Monday, February 3.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, California, Monday, February 3. Rich Pedroncelli

Karl-Anthony Towns of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves said that his mother contracted coronavirus and is currently in a coma.

Towns said that his mother went to the hospital after not improving over a period of a couple days.

"She kept getting worse," Towns said. "Her fever was never cutting from 103, maybe going down to 101.9 with the meds ... her lungs were getting worse, her cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating."

Towns said that there was a day where it appeared his mother had turned a corner, but the condition of her lungs deteriorated further and she needed to be put on a ventilator.

She was later put in a medically-induced coma.

"It's rough," he said. "Day by day, we'll just see how it goes. We're being positive."

The two-time NBA All-Star shared his mother's story on social media in order to emphasize just how serious the global pandemic is.

"The severity of this disease is real. This disease needs to not be taken lightly. Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don't be in places with a lot of people.

Watch his message:

2:26 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

More than 6,000 fans attended a sports event in Japan, despite calls for its cancellation

By CNN's Emiko Jozuka

Fans enter the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Sunday, March 22, for the K-1 World GP event.
Fans enter the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Sunday, March 22, for the K-1 World GP event. The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

The organizers of a mixed martial arts competition held in front of 6,500 fans at an indoor arena in Japan are facing a backlash after ignoring calls for its cancellation.

The “K-1 World GP” event went ahead at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday, defying government guidelines on social distancing and large public gatherings.

“It is regrettable (that the event went ahead), as we asked them several times for cooperation,” Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono said in a statement.

Saitama prefecture requested the event be canceled before it was held and relayed the message to the Saitama Super Arena, which provides guidelines to events organizers on its website, but does not enforce a ban on public gatherings. 

The K1 event organizers insisted they would take adequate measures to protect the thousands of attendees from the novel coronavirus by providing masks and making sure hand sanitizer was available, in a statement released on March 19.

On that same day, a central government expert panel called on organizers of large-scale events to exercise caution, including canceling plans, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

2:13 a.m. ET, March 25, 2020

New Zealand sends emergency alert to citizens: "We are depending on you"

Starting from 11:59 p.m. local time (6:59 a.m. ET) on Wednesday, New Zealand will elevate its "Alert Level" to 4.

The country has also declared a state of national emergency.

All citizens who don't work in essential services have been told to stay at home. Public transport and domestic air travel will be limited to people undertaking essential services. 

The move comes as coronavirus cases in the country jumped by 30% on Wednesday, according to Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director of health. There were 47 new confirmed cases and three new probable cases, bringing the country’s count up to 205.

On Wednesday evening, New Zealanders received the following emergency alert on their phones. The message tells citizens to "act as if you have Covid-19."

"This message is for all of New Zealand. We are depending on you," it reads.

The alert signs off with the Maori phrase “Kia kaha," which means stand tall, or stay strong.