The Latest: Florida gov wants NYC passengers quarantined
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 374,000 people and killed over 16,000. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 100,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Florida governor wants arriving New York passengers to self-quarantine
— Brazilian official overseeing virus suppression tests positive
— Puerto Rico restricting incoming flights to single airport
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he plans to issue an executive order mandating that anyone arriving on a flight from New York City and the surrounding area submit to self-quarantine for two weeks.
DeSantis says over 100 such flights arrive daily in Florida and he believes each one contains at least one person infected with the coronavirus. Passengers will be screened when they arrive and told they must self-quarantine. They won’t be allowed to stay with family or friends because that is one way the virus is spread.
DeSantis says he’s been in contact with federal officials about curtailing such flights, but hasn’t heard back yet. He didn’t say how the self-quarantine would be enforced.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he understands DeSantis’ order since New York is an epicenter for the virus in the U.S. However, he has mixed feelings about travel restrictions and says, “I’m not sure it’s the most enlightened approach.”
SAO PAULO — In Brazil, the head of Sao Paulo state’s center overseeing the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus has tested positive.
Gov. João Doria on his official Twitter account confirmed the diagnosis of Dr. David Uip, an infectious disease specialist.
Doria appeared with Uip in multiple news conferences recently. Doria says he was recently tested for Covid-19 and will release results once they are available.
Brazil has reported 1,891 cases of coronavirus, the most in Latin America. Almost 40% are in Sao Paulo, which is Brazil’s most populous state. That’s wherer 30 of the nation’s 34 deaths have occurred.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — All commercial passenger flights bound for Puerto Rico will be forced to land at the island’s main international airport.
Gov. Wanda Vázquez says the Federal Aviation Administration approved her request in a bid to curb coronavirus cases.
The Luis Muñoz Marín airport in San Juan is the only one in the U.S. territory with temperature scanners. The National Guard is posted there and has screened over 25,000 passengers. At least nine are awaiting test results.
Puerto Rico has a total of seven airports, including a second international one located in the northwest town of Aguadilla. The island has reported two deaths and 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
ROME — The man known in Italy as Patient No. 1 in the country’s devastating outbreak of the coronavirus is out of the hospital a month after he arrived in critically ill condition.
Authorities in Italy’s hardest hit region of Lombardy played an audio message recorded by the 38-year-old man in which he says, “You can get cured of this illness.”
The man identified only by his first name of Mattia spent 18 days in intensive care on a respirator. After that time, he says he began to do on his own “the most simple and beautiful thing: that is, to breathe.”
The man is awaiting the birth of a child within days. Last week, Italian media reported the death of his father, who lived in one of the first towns in Lombardy that were at the heart of the outbreak’s start.
Italian doctors say that even before Mattia’s case, they suspect the virus was circulating in Italy and that some patients who died of pneumonia last fall might have had coronavirus.
PHOENIX — An Arizona man has died and his wife is in critical condition after the couple took an additive used to clean fish tanks.
Banner Health says the couple in their 60s took chloroquine phosphate and got sick within 30 minutes.
Last week, Trump misstated that the malaria medication chloroqine was a known treatment for COVID-19. Even after the FDA chief clarified that the drug still needs to be tested, Trump overstated the drug’s potential upside in containing the virus.
Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director of Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, says the last thing health officials want is for emergency rooms to be swamped by patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.
KIRKLAND, Wash. — Federal inspectors say they found three serious problems during their check of a Seattle-area nursing home hard-hit by the new coronavirus.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with state regulators, found in a March 16 inspection that the Life Care Center of Kirkland failed to rapidly identify and manage sick residents and didn’t notify the Washington Department of Health about the increasing rate of respiratory infections among residents. The nursing home also lacked a backup plan in the absence of Life Care’s primary doctor, who fell ill.
At least 35 COVID-19 deaths are linked to the nursing home. Life Care officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s daily newspaper is suspending its print edition as a result of the coronavirus-related shutdown.
It is only the second time in its more than 150-year history that L’Osservatore Romano will cease printing starting Thursday. The other time was on Sept. 20, 1870, when Italian forces entered Rome in the final major push of the process to unify the Italian peninsula and defeat the Papal States.
Editor-in-chief Andrea Monda says the newspaper’s online edition will continue unchanged throughout the crisis, and the print edition will return as soon as possible. Italy, the European epicenter of the virus pandemic, has ordered all non-essential industry to shut in a bid to contain the virus.
L’Osservatore Romano prints a daily edition in Italian and weekly or monthly editions in English, Spanish, French, German and Polish. The content skews heavily toward international news and features on religion and culture, though the daily also publishes papal speeches, decrees and appointments.
CAIRO — Sudan’s transitional authorities say they are releasing over 4,200 prisoners as part of government measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
SUNA, the official news agency, says the first group went free Monday from a prison in Om Dorman, the twin city of the capital Khartoum. It said the rest would be released in the coming days.
Sudan announced a nightly curfew across the country starting Tuesday to stem the spread of coronavirus. Sudan has two cases, including a fatality.
MILWAUKEE — Democratic National Committee officials are exploring contingencies in case the coronavirus outbreak makes a routine presidential nominating convention impossible.
Statements from convention planners don’t explicitly outline the possibility of a virtual convention. But their acknowledgement underscores the unknowns the party faces amid the pandemic and stay-at-home orders across the county.
The convention is scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee. It would attract about 4,000 delegates and tens of thousands of activists, Democratic donors and media.
SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney and Utah state leaders are criticizing a large gathering of family and friends who converged at Salt Lake City’s airport to welcome home missionaries even though people are supposed to be keep their distance to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Photos and videos show hundreds of people gathered Sunday inside the airport’s parking lot to greet 900 missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints returning from the Philippines. Many people stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus among the missionaries who were serving. Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff declined to comment on the criticism.
NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo promises 1,000 temporary hospital beds will be set up inside a Manhattan convention center as officials race to prepare for an overwhelming number of coronavirus patients.
Cuomo says the pandemic is “is going to get much worse before it gets better.”
The number of positive coronavirus cases in New York state has surged to over 20,000, with more than half the cases in New York City. The city has emerged as a worldwide hotspot for the outbreak, with more than 12,000 known cases.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city plans to reserve thousands of hotel rooms for people with mild cases of the coronavirus and others unable to return to their homes while awaiting test results.
Lightfoot says the city has partnered with five hotels and will have 1,000 rooms available by Tuesday. Chicago officials describe the plan as a proactive measure to keep hospital beds available for people with severe symptoms.
Illinois officials have reported 1,285 cases as of Monday and 12 deaths; that’s up from 1,049 cases and nine deaths a day earlier.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus has stepped up restrictions on the movement of all citizens in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus with a nationwide three-week ban on all unnecessary trips outside the home.
President Nicos Anastasiades says that a “disobedient, ill-disciplined and reckless” minority of people who continue to flout existing restrictions are potentially putting lives at risk. He warned in a televised address that the measure is necessary to head off the unchecked spread of the new virus that could lead to the collapse of the health system.
Anastasiades ordered all citizens to remain indoors unless they have to go to work, pick up food and other essential supplies, visit the doctor or a pharmacy, go to the bank or help others in need. The order remains in effect until April 13.
Anastasiades says all citizens who must be outside have to carry their I.D. card or passport and those who don’t conform could face criminal charges and an on-the-spot fine of 150 euros ($161).
Cyprus has 116 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death.
SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Navy hospital ship set sail from San Diego and planned to spend a few days at sea getting its newly formed medical team used to working together before arriving in Los Angeles to help the city free up its hospital beds.
USS Mercy commanding officer Capt. John R. Rotruck says the ship has 1,000 beds and will begin taking patients who do not have coronavirus from area hospitals a day after it docks in Los Angeles. The ship will have 1,128 active-duty medical personnel on board, 58 reservists and nine of its 12 operating rooms will be ready to perform surgeries.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom had called on President Donald Trump to send the ship to the Port of Los Angeles because of the growing number of cases in the state.
For now, Navy officials say the ship will remain in the area as long as it’s needed. It could be sent on to other cities on the West Coast.
The USS Comfort hospital ship is preparing to go to New York, where the governor has been pressing for medical help.
PARIS — France’s health minister says authorities reported 186 new deaths from coronavirus in 24 hours, taking the total to 860 in the country that is experiencing Europe’s third-worst coronavirus-linked death toll.
Olivier Veran says France has 19,856 infected people, accounting for about a 20% rise in just one day.
He says 2,082 people are in intensive care with the virus across the country.
YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar has announced its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19, one in the nation’s biggest city, Yangon, and the other in the western state of Chin.
An announcement on the Facebook page of the Health Ministry says the Yangon patient is a 26-year-old male who had recently traveled from the United Kingdom and was hospitalized Saturday. The 36-year-old male patient from Chin State is said to have recently traveled from the United States and was hospitalized Monday.
There had been widespread skepticism that Myanmar had no cases of the coronavirus until now, because it has a long, porous border with China and a decrepit health infrastructure which would have trouble detecting the disease. The government had already restricted the entry of visitors from countries considered to have serious outbreaks and canceled April’s celebrations of the Thingyan annual traditional water festival.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to address the nation tonight amid mounting speculation that he is to announce more draconian restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson, who cancelled his daily afternoon news conference, is currently meeting with senior members of his government and health experts within the COBRA emergency committee.
The prime minister is coming under mounting pressure to introduce tougher measures, even of an Italy-style lockdown, after many people were seen over the weekend not observing the government’s social distancing recommendations.
British government figures Monday show another 54 people who had tested positive for the COVID-19 disease had died from the previous day, taking the total to 335.
The British government has also updated its travel advice and is now urging all British travelers to return home as soon as possible.