U.S. nationals fly home as Europe intensifies lockdown

Americans race to cut vacations short and re-book flights home this weekend as Europe continues to lock down towns and cities amid the spread of coronavirus.

France’s prime minister said the country is getting ready to close all cafés, restaurants, clubs and cinemas because the spread of the virus has continued. Spain has declared a state of emergency and is telling people to stay indoors for two weeks, except for emergencies, to buy food or to go to work.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump tested negative for coronavirus, his doctor said. Vice President Mike Pence also said new travel restrictions would be put in place with regard to the U.K. and Ireland.

The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, ordered a curfew across the city starting Monday.

The United States has surpassed 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to 59, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

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Fauci: Americans are ‘going to have to hunker down significantly more’ to fight coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that Americans “should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing” to fight the growing COVID-19 outbreak.

Asked if the U.S. should consider a 14-day national shutdown similar to those in Europe, he said, “I would prefer as much as we possibly could … I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for over-reacting.”

Fauci said that the goal now is to “blunt” the curve of confirmed cases, keeping the number of those infected low enough so as to not overwhelm the U.S. hospital system.

“If you let the curve get up there, then the entire society is going to be hit,” he said.

Read more here.

Second coronavirus death reported in Louisiana

A 53-year-old Orleans Parish resident with underlying medical conditions died on Sunday, becoming Louisiana’s second COVID-19 death.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell mourned the man’s loss in a Sunday morning statement, saying he was her friend. 

“The news this morning of a second death in Orleans Parish is deeply heartbreaking to me, personally — and is additional tragic news for the people of our City,” Mayor Cantrell said. “The patient in this instance was a friend of mine, but every one of those impacted by this outbreak is someone’s friend, someone’s father, someone’s loved one. 

As of Sunday morning, Louisiana had 78 reported coronavirus cases.

‘Thanks to the Helpers’: Tom Hanks posts coronavirus update to Instagram

Actor Tom Hanks posted a short update to his Instagram account early Sunday morning days after he and wife Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus in Australia.

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First coronavirus death reported in Oregon

Oregon officials announced the state’s first official death due to coronavirus.

A 70-year-old man in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, died from COVID-19 on Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority announced.

The individual had underlying health conditions and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 10. He had not traveled internationally and had no known contact with a confirmed case. 

There were 36 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oregon as of Sunday morning. Its neighbor to the north, Washington, has seen 646 cases and 40 deaths. The national death toll from coronavirus now stands at 60.

The U.K. bans travel from the U.S. amid coronavirus crisis

A man waits for a traveler at the international terminal of O’Hare Airport in Chicago on Friday.Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hours after the White House said it would ban travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland, the U.K. has repaid the favor and banned travel from the U.S.

This comes as more than 1,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus, and more than 20 confirmed to have died. And with up to 10,000 suspected cases, the British government has called for a national effort to fight the spread of the epidemic similar to the one which helped the country through the Second World War.

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The scene in California

People shop for toilet paper and other provisions at a Costco store in Novato, Calif., on March 14, 2020.Josh Edelson / AFP – Getty Images

Danish government to cover 75 percent of workers’ wages

The Danish government announced a new agreement on Sunday that would cover up to 75 percent of workers’ wages for those whose jobs are threatened by the virus outbreak.

At a press conference, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the initiative will initially stretch retroactively from March 9 and will last until June 9. 

Frederiksen also called on companies to send home staff, but to avoid firing people as a reduction measure. 

Stuck in their apartments, Spaniards applaud health care workers

Despite the announcement of the lockdown of Spain “people have not forgotten to applaud medical staff from their balconies,” according to Twitter user @GiedreP who filmed a round of applause for health care workers in Madrid on Saturday night.

Bursts of applause are appearing on social media across Spain and also in other European countries, such as Italy, as housebound people look for ways to show their appreciation.

In a TV address Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez detailed the lockdown measures — similar to those imposed in Italy — as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in infections. Sanchez’s wife Begona Gomez tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

Hundreds of scientists warn U.K. government’s response is ‘risking lives’

An empty platform at Green Park Station in London, Britain, Friday.Simon Dawson / Reuters

Hundreds of scientists have warned the U.K. government that its response to the coronavirus epidemic is “risking many more lives than necessary,” in an open letter on Saturday night.

More than 300 academics living and working in the U.K. called for immediate measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19, criticizing the U.K.’s strategy of delaying widespread restrictions, as seen in other European countries, in a bid to achieve “herd immunity.” They argued that this would put the National Health Service under even more stress as the number of infections grows throughout Europe.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock however told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning that herd immunity was not part of the government’s strategy and that the immediate priority was the preservation of life.

Coronavirus fears leave ski slopes empty

Skiers walk past a closed chair-lift after the closure of all ski resorts, in Les Crosets, Switzerland, Sunday.DENIS BALIBOUSE / Reuters

American Airlines to suspend nearly all international flights

American Airlines said it will start a phased suspension of nearly all long-haul international flights starting Monday, due to reduced demand and travel restrictions from the outbreak.

Between March 16 and May 6, the company will reduce its international capacity by 75 percent on a “year over year basis,” it said in a statement Saturday.

The airline also anticipates its domestic capacity in April will be reduced by 20 percent compared to last year. It also projected it will be reduced by 30 percent in May.

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