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China to close borders to foreign nationals as worldwide cases rise about 500,000

1 min ago

“Nearly every school” in the US is considering early graduation for medical students

From CNN’s Minali Nigam and Gina Yu

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Medical schools across the US are considering early graduation for their senior medical students to become doctors, as demand for health care providers rises due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, NYU became the first medical school in the country to offer this option.

“While the AAMC has not yet surveyed its member medical schools, the [Liaison Committee on Medical Education] has been working with several other schools that are considering or offering their students the option of graduating early. We are aware that nearly every school is considering early graduation as an option in our continued response to the pandemic,” said Dr. Alison Whelan, chief medical education officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges, in an email to CNN.

All four medical schools in Massachusetts — Tufts University School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School — are in discussions to have a fast-track option, said Massachusetts HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders on Thursday. 

“We’ve been working with the deans of the medical schools in Massachusetts to graduate students early,” she said. 

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in New Jersey also sent an email to its senior medical students on Thursday gauging interest and offering early graduation.

1 min ago

Panic buying hits Tokyo shops after governor’s stay-at-home request

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Empty shelves in a supermarket on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
Empty shelves in a supermarket on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Tokyo residents started panic buying basic goods Thursday soon after the capital’s governor urged people to stay at home over the weekend.

Bread, rice, pot noodles and meat sold out quickly across the Japanese capital, with shoppers stocking up on similar items in neighboring Chiba prefecture, too.

Rush for essentials: The latest shopping spree comes as Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Wednesday urged residents in the city to avoid making “non-essential outings” this weekend as the city reported an increase in its number of novel coronavirus cases.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Koike said Tokyo is now at a “critical moment” to stop the infection rate from spiking. She asked event organizers to refrain from holding large gatherings and urged Tokyo residents to work from home as much as possible and avoid social meetings and crowded places until April 12.

On Thursday, Koike worked with four other prefectural governors, who requested residents in Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Yamanashi prefectures to refrain from visiting Tokyo over the weekend.

Koike’s latest remarks will be a test for the city of over 9 million people, which has been reluctant to impose a lockdown on its residents. While other countries have been quick to enforce restrictions on their citizens to contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Japan it’s largely been business as usual. 

Japanese authorities this week announced the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

12 min ago

K-pop group BTS postpones parts of world tour due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Jake Kwon

BTS performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2019 Presented by Capital One at the Forum on December 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
BTS performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball 2019 Presented by Capital One at the Forum on December 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

K-pop group BTS, one of the world’s biggest boy bands, has postponed part of their upcoming world tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The North American section of the tour was scheduled for April 26 to June 6, but will now be postponed to a later date, according to a statement from BTS’ parent company Big Hit Entertainment.

New show dates have not yet been announced, but will be shared as soon as possible, said the statement.

Another statement posted on the official BTS Facebook page added that they were working to secure dates and venues in the South Korean capital Seoul “when the situation stabilizes.”

“With the global spread of Covid-19, in some countries and cities, the level of unpredictability is becoming higher to prepare for the shows. As a result of the current global circumstances, we anticipate having to make changes to the current tour schedule,” the BTS statement said.

“We will place the highest priority on the health and safety of our artists and fans and do our utmost to keep the promises we made to our fans.”

16 min ago

Designer Ralph Lauren donates $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts

From CNN’s Amanda Jackson

Designer Ralph Lauren attends the Ralph Lauren fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Skylight Clarkson SQ.
Designer Ralph Lauren attends the Ralph Lauren fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Skylight Clarkson SQ. Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is committing $10 million toward coronavirus relief efforts through the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, according to a letter from the Ralph Lauren Team.

The funds will go to employees facing special circumstances like medical needs, to the World Health Organization’s global response fund, and to other institutions like the cancer care Pink Pony Fund and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

The company is also looking to help produce equipment like medical-grade masks and isolation gowns, it said in the letter.

It added that Ralph Lauren stores have closed in virus-hit regions, and employees are working from home where possible or needed.

20 min ago

Art Basel postponed as Switzerland closes borders

From CNN’s Oscar Holland

One of the art world’s biggest events, Art Basel, has been postponed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip Europe.

The Swiss art fair, which last year attracted almost 93,000 visitors from around the world, was due to take place in June. The four-day event will now be held in September.

After the announcement of tightened travel restrictions across Europe, organizers said in a press release that the decision to postpone was reached “in close consultation with a wide range of gallerists, collectors, partners, and external experts, with the goal of both protecting the health and safety of our community, and ensuring that the fair will be attended by the largest possible number of collectors, curators, and arts professionals from our global network.”

The world’s biggest art fair: Now in its 51st year, Art Basel is a key date in the cultural calendar, offering over 250 galleries an opportunity to court collectors in an industry still heavily dependent on in-person sales. Organizers have not yet announced details about refunds or compensation for exhibiting galleries and ticket holders.

In a statement, Global Director of Art Basel Marc Spiegler said: ‘We thank our galleries for the support and understanding of our highly complex decision to postpone the fair. We hope that the situation improves swiftly, and we will work closely with our exhibitors to deliver a successful fair in September.”

16 min ago

Tokyo records highest single-day jump in coronavirus infections

From CNN’s Junko Ogura and Yoko Wakatsuki

People enjoy blossoms during cherry blossom season on March 26 in Tokyo, Japan.
People enjoy blossoms during cherry blossom season on March 26 in Tokyo, Japan. Carl Court/Getty Images

Tokyo recorded its highest single-day jump in coronavirus infections Thursday, with 47 new cases.

The increase in people testing positive for the virus comes as Tokyo’s governor Yuriko Koike urged citizens to stay at home over the weekend. She also requested people work from home during weekdays and refrain from attending and organizing large gatherings until April 12.

On Thursday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered a government task force be set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of cases in the country spiked. 

The establishment of a task force is a requirement to declaring a state of emergency — though Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday that the country was not yet at the point of declaring one. 

On Thursday, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said that the government feared the number of new coronavirus cases was on the rise in big cities.

34 min ago

Nicaragua announces first coronavirus death in the country

From CNN’s Mario Medrano in Managua, Nicaragua, and Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Nicaragua’s health authorities announced the country’s first coronavirus death in a statement released today.

The patient was diabetic, hypertensive and HIV positive, said the statement.

Nicaragua has reported two cases of the coronavirus so far, including the deceased patient.

34 min ago

Mexico reports 110 new cases of coronavirus in one day

From CNN’s Natalie Gallon in Mexico City and Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Mexico’s health authorities announced 110 new cases of novel coronavirus today, bringing the national total to 585 cases.

Two more deaths were also reported, raising the death toll to eight.

Mexican authorities have been criticized for being dismissive of the outbreak:

As recently as last week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was not practicing social distancing and downplaying the virus’ threat, telling families to live as they normally would.

He has changed his tone over the last few days, as Mexico’s caseload has more than doubled since March 20, urging people to be safe and stay home.

Mexico’s federal government has also ramped up preventative measures. Beginning what it calls phase 2 of its crisis response, the government has shuttered schools, closed nonessential federal offices and encouraged people to say home and socially distance. A nightly press conference by the Ministry of Health has also been established to update the public on the status of the outbreak.

Read more about the situation in Mexico here:

Mexican governor claims poor people are
36 min ago

China reports 55 new cases, all but one of which were imported

From CNN’s Yuli Yang in Singapore

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, firefighters conduct disinfection on the platform of Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, on March 24.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, firefighters conduct disinfection on the platform of Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, on March 24. Zhao Jun/Xinhua via AP

China confirmed 55 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 3,292. The majority of those, 2,896, are in Hubei province, where the virus was first detected late last year.

Of the new cases, all but one were imported, China’s National Health Commission said.

Five more deaths were also recorded, all in Hubei province, four of which were in the provincial capital Wuhan. The country has recorded 3,292 deaths in total related to the virus.

China’s national reported number of confirmed cases — which includes both active cases and people who have recovered — now stands at 81,340, behind the United States, which has now confirmed over 82,000 cases.

37 min ago

Number of patients on ventilators “more than doubled” in past three days, NYC doctor says

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

Dr. Craig Smith, chair of the department of surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, said the number of patients on ventilators at his hospital “more than doubled” in the past three days.

“We have not exhausted our existing supply of ventilators but if we keep doubling every three days, we might,” Smith wrote.

Smith said the increase is placing pressure on ICU capacity, and that operating rooms have been converted to ICUs, and an entire 36-bed floor has been renovated to be converted to ICU space.

Smith said a call went out yesterday for doctors to volunteer to staff ICUs and within a few hours, 20 surgeons volunteered.

38 min ago

The US now has the most reported coronavirus cases in the world

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston

38 min ago

At least 24 states reported over 100 new cases today

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston

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