The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence has tweeted that the CDC is urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut “to refrain from non-essential travel for the next 14 days.”

The advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came after President Donald Trump backed away from calling for a quarantine for coronavirus hotspots. Instead, Trump directed Saturday night that a “strong Travel Advisory” be issued to stem the spread of the outbreak.

The notion of a quarantine had been advocated by governors, including Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who sought to halt travelers from the heavily affected areas to their states. But it drew swift criticism from the leaders of the states in question, who warned it would spark panic in a populace already suffering under the virus.

Trump announced he reached the decision after consulting with the White House task force leading the federal response and the governors of the three states. He said he had directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government.”

He added: “A quarantine will not be necessary.”

Subways, long-distance train service reopened in Wuhan, China

BEIJING — The city at the center of China’s virus outbreak has reopened subways and long-distance train service in another step toward ending restrictions that confined millions of people to their homes.

Subway passengers in Wuhan in the central province of Hubei were required to wear masks and be checked for fever after service resumed Saturday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It said signs posted in subway cars tell passengers to sit with empty seats between them.

Most access to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, was suspended Jan. 23. Bus and subway service within the city was suspended.

Restrictions have gradually been relaxed. The last controls that block residents of Wuhan from leaving Hubei are due to be lifted April 8.

Also Saturday, more than 12,000 passengers arrived by high-speed train as the Wuhan train station reopened, Xinhua said.

Meanwhile, the first cargo train to Europe since the start of the outbreak left for Germany on Saturday carrying auto parts, electronic productions, optical communication fiber and medical supplies, Xinhua reported.

Washington, D.C. reports fifth death

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has announced that a fifth person has died from the coronavirus.

The nation’s capital has reported 342 positive infections.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a state of emergency, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close. White House and Capitol tours have been cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center have closed.

Toronto bans gatherings of more than five people

TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province is prohibiting gatherings of five people or more.

Ontario said Saturday it has issued an emergency order based on the advice of the province’s chief medical officer.

It is effective immediately. The order replaced one that prohibited public events of over 50 people.

The new order does not apply to households with five people. Child care centers supporting health care workers and first responders are exempt. Funerals will be permitted with up to 10 people at one time.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says if they are going to stop the spread of the virus, extraordinary measures are need to ensure physical distancing. The province has already closed all nonessential services.

First federal inmate dies of coronavirus

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Prisons says the first federal inmate in the U.S. has died after contracting coronavirus.

Officials tell The Associated Press that the man died Saturday. He had been housed at FCI Oakdale I, a low-security prison in Louisiana.

The Bureau of Prisons has said five inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Louisiana prison complex.

Attorney General William Barr said earlier this week that one of the inmates had been hospitalized after showing coronavirus symptoms, including having a fever. He said on Thursday that the man had “significant pre-existing conditions” and was in critical condition.

Advocates and correction officers have been calling for reforms to head off a potential outbreak in the federal prison system. So far, 14 inmates and 13 staff members have tested positive.

Health officials have been warning for more than a decade about the dangers of epidemics in jails and prisons.

Confirmed U.S. coronavirus-related deaths double in two days, hitting 2,000

Confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the United States doubled in two days, surpassing 2,000 Saturday and highlighting how quickly the virus is spreading through the country.

Johns Hopkins University reported that confirmed deaths rose to more than 30,000 around the world. The U.S. ranked sixth in deaths, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy alone had more than 10,000 dead.

The U.S. death toll has risen abruptly in recent days. It topped 1,000 just Thursday.

Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus, leaving just three states with zero reported deaths: Hawaii, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The risk of death from COVID-19 is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. In most cases, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough and milder cases of pneumonia.

Read more on this story here.

Illinois Gov. says infant with COVID-19 has died

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says an infant with COVID-19 has died and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.

Officials didn’t release other information about the infant, who was from Cook County, which includes Chicago, including whether the child had other health issues.

The risk of death and severe illness from COVID-19 is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. In most cases, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization.

Children have made up a small fraction of coronavirus cases worldwide. A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Chinese researchers earlier this month reported the death of a 10-month-old with COVID-19. The infant had a bowel blockage and organ failure, and died four weeks after being hospitalized.

Separate research published in the journal Pediatrics traced 2,100 infected children in China and noted one death, a 14-year old. The study found less than 6% of children were seriously ill.

Rhode Island reports first two deaths from virus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus on the same day that the state National Guard was expected to go door to door in coastal communities to find visitors from New York.

One person in their 80s died Friday night, the other person in their 70s died Saturday, the state Department of Health said.

There are now only three states with zero reported deaths: Hawaii, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Guard was said to be asking people if they are visiting from New York and telling them about the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from the state. The measure is needed to help control the spread of the new coronavirus because the New York City area is the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., Gov. Gina Raimondo said Friday.

Trump says he is considering coronavirus quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut

President Trump said Saturday that he had spoken with some governors and was considering some type of an enforceable quarantine to prevent people in New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut from traveling.

Trump told reporters at the White House that it would be for a “short period of time, if we do it at all.” He said he had spoken with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Cuomo said he did not talk about any quarantine with Trump.

“I don’t even know what that means,” Cuomo said during a briefing in New York. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable, and from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. … I don’t like the sound of it.”

It isn’t clear whether the federal government has the power to impose such restrictions on states. Under the country’s constitutional system, states have the power and responsibility for maintaining public order and safety. The federal government is empowered under the law to take measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases between states, but it’s not clear that means Trump can order state residents to stay put.

Trump made the comments on his way to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy medical ship en route to New York City to help with pandemic response there.

Read more here.

Florida’s governor says state will quarantine visitors from N.Y.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and close ally of President Donald Trump, tells reporters he had spoken with the president about the possibility of a coronavirus quarantine for the New York City area.

DeSantis says Florida will soon set up a checkpoint along Interstate 95 to screen travelers from that area, similar to one already in place along Interstate 10 to screen people from Louisiana. Many airports in Florida also are screening travelers from certain areas, requiring travelers to self-isolate for 14 days.

“I think whatever works is what we need to do,” DeSantis said. “We’re either fighting the virus or we’re not. The more people are being shuttled around the country, I just think it makes it more difficult. I think it would make it a lot easier if we didn’t have folks coming in from hot zones.”

Italy’s COVID-19 deaths down slightly from previous day

ROME — Italy’s COVID-19 deaths are down slightly from the previous day.

Civil Protection officials said there were 889 deaths in a 24-hour period ending Saturday evening in the country, where intensive care units have been overwhelmed at the heart of the outbreak in the north. That compares to 969 a day earlier, which was a one-day high in the country which has the world’s highest number of deaths of persons with confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The day-to-day rise in new cases was just under 6,000, about the same as the previous day’s figure. Overall, Italy has at least 92,472 cases of COVID-19 and days ago surpassed the total of China, where the outbreak began in early 2020.

The current national lock-down decree expires on April 3, but health experts have said the need to try to contain contagion in the outbreak will likely last weeks beyond that.

U.S. Navy hospital ship heading to NYC for coronavirus aid

WASHINGTON — President Trump will send off a naval hospital ship Saturday before it heads to New York City, as he aims to highlight the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed hospital ship, had been undergoing planned maintenance, but was rushed back into service to aid the city which is now the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak. It is scheduled to arrive Monday at a Manhattan pier a week after its sister ship, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles to preform similar duty on the West Coast.

The president acknowledged that making the 140-mile trip to Naval Station Norfolk wasn’t necessary, but said he was doing it to recognize the work of sailors and medical professionals who worked to get the ship out of maintenance more than a week ahead of schedule.

You can read the rest of this story here.

Germany takes patients from Italy

BERLIN — The German military is flying six COVID-19 patients from Italy’s worst-hit region to western Germany for treatment.

A German air force plane landed in Bergamo in northern Italy early Saturday. It was due to return to Cologne after taking the Italian patients, who will be treated at various hospitals in the region.

Several German state governments have offered to take in patients from Italy. Some have already arrived. Germany also has taken in some patients from hard-hit eastern France.

Germany has a large number of coronavirus cases but a relatively low death rate compared with Italy’s. Its health system hasn’t been overwhelmed by severe cases so far.

Spain sees deadliest day yet

MADRID — Spain has seen its deadliest day yet during the coronavirus crisis with 832 deaths reported on Saturday for a total of 5,690 fatalities. Infections have increased by over 8,000 in 24 hours to reach a national total of 72,248.

Spain is approaching two weeks of its stay-at-home restrictions and store closings but its infections and deaths keep rising. On Friday, Spain reported a total of 64,059 cases and 4,858 deaths.

The medical system is being pushed to the limits in the hot spots in Madrid and northeast Catalonia with doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers falling ill at an alarming rate and working non-stop.

Pablo Rojo, an ambulance medic at Barcelona’s Dos de Maig hospital, says the average age is decreasing. He says: “They’re not 80 years old anymore, they are now 30 and 40 years old.”

Finland enforcing blockade

HELSINKI — Finnish police and assisting military forces and border guard officials have started to enforce a blockade of a key southern region that includes the Nordic nation’s capital, Helsinki.

The exceptional order by Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government to block the movement of citizens into and out of the Uusimaa entered into force on Saturday.

The region is home to some 1.7 million people including Helsinki’s 650,000 residents.

Police have set up road blocks to main entry and exit points in Uusimaa and are checking each arriving or departing vehicle for a legitimate reason for movement. Finnish conscript soldiers are patrolling on local trains for possible regulation dodgers.

Albanians need permit to go out

TIRANA, Albania — The Albanian government has announced that people will have to apply for a permit to go out for necessities following stricter measures to contain the virus outbreak.

Prime Minister Edi Rama says people can apply online via e-albania.al or with a text message. Only one person per family may go out.

The only shops open are those selling food, medicine and other basic items and people may only go out between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.

No movement or business activity will be allowed from Saturday at 1 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m., with police and military forces patrolling the streets.

Albania has reported 186 cases of the new coronavirus with 10 deaths.

Tourists rescued from Mount Everest

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Scores of tourists on the foothills of Mount Everest have been flown to safety days after being stranded on the only airstrip serving the world’s highest mountain.

Dhurba Shrestha, an official at the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla, says that 174 foreign tourists and four Nepali nationals left the mountain by air on Saturday in 12 small planes and two helicopters.

The airport at Lukla, located at an altitude of 2,800 meters (9,184 feet), is the only airport in the Mount Everest region.

Foreign embassies and local travel agents have been urging Nepal’s government to allow these rescue flights to the Everest region since the country imposed a lockdown last week.

Nepal’s government has halted all flights and ground transportation, shutting down offices and shuttering businesses to control the spread of the coronavirus. Nepal has four confirmed cases including one person who has recovered.

China sends help to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — The foreign ministry says China is sending a plane containing medical personnel and supplies to aid Pakistan in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Pakistan is a key link in China’s ambitious multi-billion dollar, one-road project linking South and Central Asia to China.

China is also a key military supplier for Pakistan, having supplied the country with missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Pakistan currently has 1,321 confirmed cases, 10 deaths and 23 patients who have recovered. Most of the infected people returned from Iran where the confirmed cases are more than 30,000 with more than 2,300 deaths.

Germany will be locked down through April 20

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff says Germany won’t loosen its restrictions on public life before April 20.

German authorities closed non-essential shops and banned gatherings of more than two people in public at the beginning of the week. Schools, bars, restaurants and clubs are also closed.

Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told Saturday’s edition of the daily Tagesspiegel that “we are not going to talk about any easing before April 20 – until then, all measures will remain in place.” He said that officials will say “in a timely manner before then” what will happen after that date.

Braun said that “the older and the sick will have to reduce their contacts for significantly longer.”

Germany has recorded more than 50,000 cases of the new coronavirus, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, with 351 deaths – a lower death rate than in many other countries.

Thousands arrested for breaking curfew in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka police say they have arrested thousands, including many who were praying in a mosque, for violating a countrywide curfew imposed as a part of stringent measures designed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The number of positive cases has risen to 106 and the government has ordered police to strictly impose the curfew to ensure social distancing across the country.

On a tip that a group of people were praying in a mosque in the town of Horowpathana, about 124 miles (200 kilometers) north of Capital Colombo, police and health officials went to the mosque and arrested 18 while several dozens have fled.

The government has banned nonessential travel. Police have arrested 4,600 and seized 1,125 vehicles for violating curfew since March 20.

UN reports 86 staff members infected

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations says 86 staff members around the world have reported cases of COVID-19.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said most of the infected staff members are in Europe, but there are also staffers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States that have the coronavirus.

To try to reduce transmission, he said the vast majority of U.N. staffers are working from home.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, where a normal day would see staffers’ passes swiped 11,000 times, the number of swipes Friday morning stood at 140, Dujarric said.

In Geneva, he said, the number of staff at the U.N. office has dropped from around 4,000 people on a regular day to just about 70 on Thursday. In Vienna, more than 97% of U.N. staff are now working remotely, he said. And, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 99% of staff are working from home.


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