A passenger looks at his phone while wearing a protective face mask at the Phoenix International Airport on March 14, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Passengers are wearing masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is CNBC’s 24-hour blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This live blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.
- Global cases: More than 156,000, according to Johns Hopkins University
- Global deaths: At least 5,833, according to Johns Hopkins University
- U.S. cases: At least 2,952, according to Johns Hopkins University
- U.S. deaths: At least 57, according to Johns Hopkins University
10:00 am: Americans returning from abroad face hours-long lines at US airports
Thousands of Americans returning home faced cramped arrivals halls and hours-long waits for the Trump administration’s new coronavirus screenings at some of the busiest airports in the country, sparking some worry that it could further the spread of the virus.
Trump last week banned most Europeans from visiting the United States for 30 days in a bid to contain the virus. The unprecedented restrictions created chaos at European airports as Americans raced to get home before airlines canceled flights and European countries take their own drastic measures to fight the illness.
Returning American citizens and permanent residents would face “enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities,” the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.
Upon arrival in the U.S., however, some travelers waited more than four hours for screening. — Leslie Josephs
9:30 am: Hundreds of thousands could die, Fauci warns
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that hundreds of thousands of Americans could die from the coronavirus as the number of cases is expected to rise across the U.S.
“We are clearly going to have more infections,” he said on CNN’s “Face the Nation”. “The challenge we have right now is how do we blunt that.”
“We have to be realistic and honest. Our job, our challenge is to try and make that not happen. But to think if we go about our daily lives and not worry about anything, that’s it’s not going to happen — it could happen. And it could be worse,” he said.
While the virus is overwhelmingly affecting elderly people and those with underlying health conditions, Fauci warned that younger people could get ill and spread the virus to people who are more vulnerable. He also hinted that hot spots in the U.S. should consider closing still crowded bars and restaurants.
“I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction we see in restaurants and in bars,” he said. “There are going to be people who are young who are going to wind up getting seriously ill.”
Public health officials are urging “social distancing” to contain the spread of the virus in the U.S., as the government restricts large gatherings and travel from outside of the country. —Emma Newburger
8:30 am: Olympics 2020 torch handover behind closed doors in Athens
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games flame handover in Athens next week will be done behind closed doors amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Greek Olympic Committee said.
Greece on Friday cancelled the remainder of the domestic Olympic torch relay through the country to avoid attracting crowds a day after the Tokyo Games flame was lit in ancient Olympia. —Reuters
8:18 am: American Airlines to suspend nearly all long-haul international flights
American Airlines will start a phased suspension of almost all its long-haul international flights from the U.S. starting Monday, the airline said in a statement. The flights affected include those in Asia Pacific, Europe and South America.
The latest move will be implemented from March 16 to May 6, and will reduce international capacity by 75% year-on-year, the carrier said. It comes as the U.S. government imposes travel restrictions over the coronavirus outbreak that had already dampened demand.
7:23 am: Nike is closing all of its stores in the US
Nike is closing all of its stores in the U.S., along with other parts of the world, to try to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the company said Sunday morning.
Its locations across the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand will close from Monday through March 27, the company said. —Lauren Thomas
7:12 am: Health official says Iran’s death toll at 724
Alireza Vahabzadeh, an advisor to Iran’s health minister, has reportedly said the new coronavirus has killed a further 113 people in the last 24 hours.
The death toll now stands at 724 with total infections at 13,938, according to Reuters. — Matt Clinch
3:23 am: Pope’s Easter services to be held without faithful attending: Vatican
Pope Francis’ Easter services in April will be held without any faithful in attendance in an effort to limit coronavirus spread, the Vatican said Sunday.
The pope’s weekly Sunday blessings will continue to be held over the internet and television until April 12, the Vatican said on its official website. The Easter services typically attract tens of thousands of attendants to Rome and the Vatican.
2:50 am: South Korea declares disaster zones in areas hard hit by virus
South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared the country’s hardest-hit areas from the coronavirus as “disaster zones” on Sunday, announcing 76 new cases and three deaths in what was a decrease in new cases to double-digits for the first time in three weeks, Reuters reported.
The declaration was the first to happen in South Korea under the context of a disease, and allows the government to subsidize up to half of restoration expenses and clears residents of their requirement to pay taxes and utility bills. The country has 8,162 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 75 deaths, the highest in Asia after China.
1:48 am: Wife of Spanish prime minister tests positive
The wife of Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Reuters reported citing the PM’s office. Both Sanchez and his wife, Begona Gomez, are doing fine, the news agency said.
The news comes as Spain imposed a 15-day nationwide lockdown that began on Saturday as part of emergency measures to contain the spread of the virus, which has infected at least 6,391 people in the country so far, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Spain now has the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Europe, after Italy. —Joanna Tan
1:14 am: Australia to impose 2-week self-quarantine on anyone arriving from overseas
Australia will impose a two-week quarantine requirement for anyone arriving from overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday. The new measures, taken as the country battles to contain the highly contagious coronavirus, will take effect from midnight. “All people coming to Australia will be required — will be required, I stress — to self-isolate for 14 days,” he said.
In addition, the country will be barring all cruise ships from foreign ports for an initial 30 days before further decisions are made, he said.
There were 249 confirmed cases, including 3 deaths, in Australia as of 10:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, the health ministry said in its latest update. —Joanna Tan