March 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, James Griffiths, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:04 a.m. ET, March 28, 2020
28 Posts
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2:48 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Sydney’s famous beach district has the most coronavirus cases in the country

From Hilary Whiteman in Brisbane

A general view of a closed Bondi Beach is seen on March 22 in Sydney, Australia.
A general view of a closed Bondi Beach is seen on March 22 in Sydney, Australia. Jenny Evans/Getty Images

The Sydney district of Waverley Council has reported more coronavirus cases than any district in Australia, Mayor Paula Masselos said in a statement today.

Waverley includes some of Sydney's famous beaches, including Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte.

“This is a message I did not want to have to share, but we now know Waverley Council currently has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Australia, with 105 being recorded as at 8 p.m. on 25 March,” Masselos said.

“I cannot stress to you enough that we need to be more vigilant than ever in following social distancing. It is now more important than ever. I am appealing to the community to take ownership of their health and respect the restrictions we have in place," she added.

Bondi Beach closed last weekend after thousands of people were seen at one of the city’s most famous landmarks despite public health warnings to stay home and away from crowded areas.

2:30 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Do you wear contact lenses? You should switch to glasses to stop spreading the virus

From CNN's Sandee LaMotte

To reduce the spread of the pandemic, experts suggest it's time to put your contact lenses on the shelf and dazzle the world with your frames.

That's because wearing glasses can help you stop touching your face, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a key way any virus is spread.

Contact lens users not only touch their eyes to put in and remove their lens twice or more a day, they also touch their eyes and face much more than people who don't wear contacts, said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

"You touch your eye and then you touch another part of your body," said Steinemann, an ophthalmologist at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

"You rub your eyes, then rub your face, scratch your face, put your fingers in your mouth, put your fingers in your nose," he added. "Some people are not very hygienic and may have forgotten to first wash their hands."

Read the full story here:

2:23 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Trump touts great success as US becomes world's worst virus epicenter

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

As America became the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump downplayed the escalating national crisis.

His comments at Thursday's afternoon briefing underscored the growing duality of the fight: While the President is telling a tale of great successes, front-line health care workers are facing grim scenes in hospitals in a growing number of hot spots.

All the evidence of the virus's advance suggests the situation is getting worse and that normal life could be weeks or months away. Once, Trump minimized the looming impact of the crisis. Now his assessments conflict with the reality of its deadly march.

Massive jump in cases: A week ago, there were a total of 8,800 confirmed infections in the United States and 149 deaths. On Thursday, that figure reached more than 82,000 with nearly 1,200 deaths.

Were those figures the result of a hurricane or a terrorist attack, their human toll would be more obvious, and it would be more difficult for the President to spin the situation. But as people die unseen in hospital wards and emergency rooms, the emotional impact of the accelerating tragedy is less obvious than it would be during a natural disaster.

Trump's contradicting message: On Thursday, a day that saw more reported deaths from Covid-19 than ever before in the United States -- Trump bizarrely turned the focus to what he said was a far lower mortality rate than he had expected.

And despite the clearly widening spread of the pandemic, Trump intensified a push to reopen the economy, saying he would issue a relaxation of some social distancing guidelines next week.

Any president and any administration would have been battered by combating a virulent "invisible enemy," as Trump calls it. But it's unlikely any other modern administration would spend so much time praising its own performance -- even as the crisis magnifies by the day.

Read the full analysis here:

2:09 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

The Chinese government is investigating test kit maker that sent supplies to Spain

From CNN's Shanshan Wang in Beijing

A Chinese government regulatory group said today that it has launched an investigation into Bioeasy, a coronavirus test kit maker that sent supplies to Spain, that were later recalled

Yesterday, the Spanish government said it was recalling 9,000 kits after finding the results to be “unreliable.”

Bioeasy posted a statement on its WeChat social media account today, saying the nasopharyngeal swab samples might have been sampled and extracted and handled without strictly following the company's instructions, which reduced the accuracy.

The company added that it didn’t communicate instructions well with its customers.

2:06 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

American stranded in India under lockdown: "I am very concerned"

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu

Ryan Birch, an American citizen now stranded in Goa, India.
Ryan Birch, an American citizen now stranded in Goa, India. Courtesy Ryan Birch

Foreign citizens in India have found themselves stranded after the government declared a complete nationwide lockdown on Wednesday.

The lockdown is in place across all of India's 36 states and territories, home to 1.3 billion people.

Ryan Birch, a 28-year-old American from New York, is now stuck in the Indian state of Goa, along with other friends from the US and UK.

"I am very concerned about what is happening here," he told CNN.

He had already been living under state-imposed curfew, which prohibited them from leaving their accommodations during certain hours, said Birch. Then news of the lockdown came during curfew hours -- leaving him unable to go out and buy the necessary food and supplies.

Now, authorities are sending mixed messages, feeding confusion and anxiety. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said essential stores would be open for food and medicine, but the Goa minister had told the state's citizens that all stores would be closed, said Birch.

Birch said he had reached out to the US embassy in Mumbai, but they hadn't been very helpful in figuring out what to do next either. "It's all a mess," he added.

1:44 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

WHO says new study doesn't provide evidence of airborne transmission

From CNN's Jen Christensen

A security guard with a face mask stands outside a pharmacy in Sydney on March 27.
A security guard with a face mask stands outside a pharmacy in Sydney on March 27. Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

A study published earlier this month suggested that the coronavirus could linger in aerosols -- the suspension of tiny particles or droplets in the air -- for up to three hours.

But this experiment doesn't reflect the situation in the real world, and so doesn't offer any evidence of airborne transmission, said the World Health Organization in its daily coronavirus report on Thursday.

In the report, the WHO said the experiment used high-powered lab equipment that “does not reflect normal human coughing or sneezing nor does it reflect aerosol generating procedures in clinical settings.”

The findings “do not bring new evidence on airborne transmission” since it was already known that particles that contain the virus could spread during medical procedures that generate aerosols, WHO said.

Here's what we do know about how the virus spreads. The WHO said evidence shows that the coronavirus transmits through close contact with respiratory droplets, like when someone coughs.

It is also transmitted by fomites, meaning materials that have been contaminated with droplets of the coronavirus. 

It spreads directly between people when coronavirus droplets reach the nose, mouth or eyes of an uninfected person. Since the droplets are too heavy to be airborne, they land on objects around that person. People can become infected by touching those contaminated objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. 

So is it airborne? Not that we know of --- the one way airborne transmission may occur is through aerosol-generating procedures used to help patients with coronavirus, said the WHO. It recommends health care workers wear medical masks for the regular care of patients and respirators for aerosol-generating procedures.

1:37 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Trump and Xi Jinping just spoke about the coronavirus

From CNN's Shanshan Wang in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping has spoken with US President Donald Trump, according to Chinese state television CCTV.

Trump also tweeted about the conversation, saying he and Xi were "working closely together."

"China has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus," he said -- notably omitting the term "China virus," which he has used several times in the past week.

Earlier at a press conference, Trump had mentioned he was due to speak with Xi, but took a more cautious tone. “Number one, you don’t know what the numbers are in China,” he said of the case numbers, which have dropped dramatically in the past few weeks.

1:26 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

India records largest increase in coronavirus numbers

From CNN's Swati Gupta and Vedika Sud in New Delhi

People maintain social distancing, due to the coronavirus pandemic as they wait for their turn to collect medicines from a pharmacy in Srinagar, Kashmir, India on March 26.
People maintain social distancing, due to the coronavirus pandemic as they wait for their turn to collect medicines from a pharmacy in Srinagar, Kashmir, India on March 26. Faisal Khan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

India saw its largest spike in coronavirus cases Thursday, increasing by 75, according to the Ministry of Health.

India has recorded 724 cases so far and 17 deaths.

Earlier, the Indian government extended its ban on inbound international commercials flights until April 14, according to a statement from the government’s Director General of Civil Aviation.

This extension allows the inbound travel ban to coincides with the 21 day national lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week.

The restrictions do not apply to cargo flights.

1:08 a.m. ET, March 27, 2020

Philippines top military commander tests positive for virus

Philippines Armed Forces Chief Felimon Santos Jr. has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to CNN Philippines.

Santos has been on home quarantine since March 24 after coming into contact with a senior officer who had tested positive for the virus. Santos received his results Thursday night and informed the Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana, CNN Philippines reported.

There are 707 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines, and 45 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.