NYC Declares Emergency; France Closes All Schools: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- New York City declared a state of emergency.
U.S. stocks tumbled, with benchmark gauges posting their worst drop since 1987.
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Two New York Hospitals Ask Doctors Not to Travel (5:35 p.m. NY)
Two major New York City hospital systems have asked physicians and other staff to stay close to home in case they’re needed because of a surge of infected patients. Northwell Health has requested that doctors not make personal or business trips, said a spokesman. A physician at Mount Sinai Health System, another of the metropolitan area’s largest hospital groups, said doctors had been told not to take personal trips.
Disney to Shut California Theme Parks (4:49 p.m. NY)
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will be closed from March 14 through the end of the month. The move follows an order by California Governor Gavin Newsom for the state to limit public gatherings to 250 people.
NYC Declares Emergency (4:22 p.m. NY)
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency for New York, saying the city would enforce its decree against many public gatherings to combat the new coronavirus outbreak.
“All of our large venues will no longer have gatherings,” the mayor said at a news conference. “I suspect it will be a number of months.”
The order also applies to restaurants and bars, he said. Venues under 500 capacity will operate at 50% occupancy.
He called the overall numbers of new virus cases “striking and troubling.”
“We now have 95 confirmed cases, 42 new since yesterday,” the mayor said, “29 in mandatory quarantine, more than 1,700 in voluntary quarantine.”
Ohio Closes Schools, Bans Mass Gatherings (4:07 p.m. NY)
Ohio is banning mass gatherings with 100 or more people, with exclusions including normal operations at airports, offices, factories, restaurants, and a few other venues. Governor Mike DeWine also said children will get an extended spring break for at least three weeks starting at the end of the school day on Monday.
France to Close All Schools (3:35 p.m. NY)
France ordered the closing of nurseries, schools and universities from the beginning of next week to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which President Emmanuel Macron called the worst health crisis in a century.
France urged people to work from home, limit travel, and keep the most fragile citizens and people over 70 in their houses.
“The government will use all the financial means necessary to save lives, whatever the cost,” the president said.
Baseball, Boston Marathon Curbed (3:15 p.m. NY)
Major League Baseball will suspend spring training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks, it said in a statement.
The iconic Boston Marathon will be run in September instead of on April 20, CBS Boston reported.
Pro basketball, hockey and Nascar have all announced curtailed activities in recent days.
New York to Ban Events Over 500 People (2:28 p.m.)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 500 people to slow the virus’s spread. He also banned visitors to nursing homes, though the restrictions didn’t apply to them, nor to hospitals, schools or mass transit.
He said the density rules will apply to Broadway, starting Thursday night.
The New York Philharmonic canceled performances through March, it said in a statement.
Cuomo reported a 112 new cases in New York for a total of 328. There were no deaths, he said.
Trump Had Limited Interaction With Infected Brazil Official (2:15 p.m. NY)
The White House said President Trump had “almost no interactions” with a visiting staff member of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. The aide had attended a dinner with the president at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend and has since tested positive with the coronavirus.
Pictures show the aide, Fabio Wajngarten, Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, side by side with Trump, wearing a “Make Brazil Great Again” hat.
“I’m not concerned,” Trump said at a news conference.
U.K. Sees Peak in 10-14 Weeks (1:46 p.m. NY)
U.K. coronavirus infections are likely to be between 5,000 and 10,000, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said in a press conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Vallance said the peak of the outbreak may be 10 to 14 weeks away in the U.K.
The number of cases will rise sharply and more people will die, Johnson said, as he described the outbreak as “the worst public health crisis for a generation.” Johnson also confirmed the government has moved on from trying to contain the virus to instead focus on delaying the worst of outbreak.
NHL Suspends Games, Nascar Bans Fans (1:45 p.m. NY)
The National Hockey League has decided to follow the National Basketball Association’s lead and suspend its season in response to the coronavirus. NASCAR will hold its Miami, Atlanta races without fans.
Italy Deaths Surge By Third, Surpass 1,000 (1:22 p.m. NY)
The death toll in Italy rose to 1,016 from 827, civil protection officials said on Thursday. The European nation has 15,113 total cases, up from 12,462 previously reported.
Metropolitan Museum to Close Starting Friday (1 p.m. NY)
The Metropolitan Museum’s three sites in New York City are closing starting on Friday, joining cultural and sports institutions globally that have shut to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. There was no date set to reopen, according to a phone operator.
Virus Threatens to Overwhelm EU Health Care (12:39 p.m. NY)
The coronavirus threatens to exceed health care capacity across the European Union, according to the bloc’s disease prevention office.
Trends across Europe mirror those seen earlier in China, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which called for and “immediate targeted action” to counteract the spread of the disease. The virus has reached all EU countries and the U.K., with a total of 17,413 cases in the region as of March 11, with more than half of those cases in Italy, the agency said.
“In a few weeks or even days, it is likely that similar situations to those seen in China and Italy may be seen” in other countries in the region, the organization said in a statement.
Democrats Move Debate to Washington Without Audience (12:35 p.m. NY)
The Democratic debate between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden will be held in the nation’s capital on Sunday without an audience to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
U.S. Should Put on Hold Sports Events for 8 Weeks (12:09 p.m. NY)
Large events, especially sports like the NCAA’s March Madness should be put on hold for four to eight weeks until the significance of the outbreak is determined, said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trudeau to Self-Isolate After Wife’s Illness (12:01 p.m. NY)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in self-isolation and working from home while his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
U.S. Testing System a Failing, Fauci Says (11:41 a.m. NY)
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers Thursday that the U.S. testing system for coronavirus is “a failing” and not yet ready to ramp up to test more Americans.
“The idea of anyone getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not setup for that,” he said at a House Oversight Committee hearing.
Netherlands Canceling All Events of More Than 100 (11:02 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands plans to cancel all events, including sports games and trade shows, attended by more than 100 people for the rest of the month. The move scales up measures announced earlier in the week that targeted only the province hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
At a briefing in The Hague, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he sees no reason to close schools. He also said that health officials have noticed new cases that can’t be traced back to a specific source. Dutch Minister for Medical Care Bruno Bruins called on all people with a cold, cough, or fever to stay home, while calling on the country’s residents to work from home as much as possible.
As of Thursday, the Netherlands has 614 confirmed cases, an increase of 111 from the day before, and five deaths.
Emirates to Delay Delivery of A380 Planes (10:15 a.m. New York)
Dubai’s Emirates is seeking to delay delivery of the last handful of Airbus’s A380 double-decker jetliner it has ordered, as the coronavirus pandemic eviscerates demand for flight. The world’s largest long-haul airline still plans to take the eight remaining A380s and is discussing the timing of the handovers with Airbus, people familiar with the matter said.
Two European Countries Restrict Entry (9:02 a.m. NY)
Carnival’s Princess Cruises Pauses Operations (9 a.m. NY)
Carnival Corp. fell as much as 24% in London after its Princess Cruises unit said it will pause global operations for two months because of the impact of the coronavirus, which has spread on several ships worldwide. Some voyages under way will be completed.
ECB Holds Rates, Boosts QE (8:40 a.m. NY)
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde followed through on her pledge to counter the economic shock of the coronavirus outbreak with a stimulus package that included more bond purchases and loans for banks but not an interest-rate cut.
Lagarde called for an “ambitious and coordinated policy response” to counter the economic effects of the virus.
Germany Ready to Ditch Balanced Budget (8:28 a.m. NY)
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration is prepared to abandon its long-standing balanced-budget policy to help finance measures to contain the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Given the threat of an economic recession from the pandemic, Merkel and her economic team are now willing to accept deficit spending to help finance containment measures, according to people with direct knowledge.
U.S. Urging 14-Day Isolation for Americans Coming from Europe (8:10 a.m. NY)
“Americans coming home will be funneled through 13 different airports, they’ll be screened and then we’re going to ask every American and legal resident returning to the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days,” Vice President Mike Pence told CNN.
JPMorgan Tells NY Employees to Work From Home (8:05 a.m. NY)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is planning to implement a staggered work-from-home plan for its New York-area employees after the governor asked businesses to help the state slow the spread of the coronavirus.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an interview on CNN Wednesday he would ask businesses to voluntarily consider staggering shifts for employees and letting them telecommute to help stem the spread of the highly contagious virus. New York cases jumped to 212 on Wednesday after not having a single case less than two weeks ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Singapore Prepares Second Virus Package (8 a.m. NY)
Singapore is preparing a second package of support measures as the coronavirus outbreak weighs on the economy, but it isn’t going to lock down the city-state with more stringent measures, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The city-state will take steps to support firms and workers, Lee said, without providing financial details on the package. The government will assist companies with their costs and cash-flow, while also helping people keep their jobs and retrain them during their downtime, he said.
U.K. Looks at Contingency Plan for EU Brexit Talks (7:44 a.m NY)
The U.K. is looking at “a contingency plan” for next week’s trade talks with the European Union in London due to the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters. There will be a joint EU-U.K. decision on the talks, spokesman James Slack said.
Merkel’s CDU Postpones Meeting to Select New Leader (7:36 a.m. NY)
Outgoing CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the scheduled April 25 meeting in Berlin will not take place and will be rearranged “as soon as the situation around this epidemic permits it.”
Ireland to Shut Schools (7:33 a.m. NY)
Irish PM Leo Varadkar said schools and colleges will close from 6 p.m. Thursday until March 29, as will cultural institutions. He said mass outdoor gatherings should be canceled, indoor meetings curtailed, and urged people to work form home where possible. Speaking to reporters in Washington, he said stores and cafes can remain open, but urged caution in social settings.
Separately, news agency NTB reported Norwegian schools and kindergartens will also be closed to limit the spread of coronavirus, as part of measures to be announced by Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Cases Soar in Iran (6:50 a.m. NY)
Iran reported 1,075 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total count in the country to 10,075. The health ministry revealed 75 new deaths in the past day, with 429 total fatalities. The country has asked the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion to help deal with outbreak.
Iran earlier said the virus had probably passed its peak in two of its worst-hit provinces, Qom -- where the country’s outbreak started -- and Gilan in the northern Caspian Sea region. Iran currently has the capacity to carry at 6,000 coronavirus tests daily, but is hoping to increase that figure to 10,000.
EU Hits Out at Trump Travel Ban (6:40 a.m. NY)
“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” the heads of the European Union’s main institutions said in a statement. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel said in a joint statement.
President Trump said he will suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days, the most far-reaching measure yet in the administration’s efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus. The restrictions, which will not apply to the U.K., will go into effect Friday at midnight, he said in an Oval Office address.
--With assistance from Adveith Nair, Tim Ross, Jennifer Jacobs, Saleha Mohsin, Michael Hirtzer, Cecilia Yap, Clarissa Batino, Jason Scott, Alexandra Veroude, Derek Wallbank, Golnar Motevalli, Stuart Biggs, Nikos Chrysoloras, Dara Doyle, Layan Odeh, Siddharth Philip, Joost Akkermans, Rudy Ruitenberg, Alexander Ruoff, Alex Morales, Scott Soshnick, Kevin Miller and Mark Niquette.
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