Coronavirus Live Updates: Peter Dutton, Australian Official Who Recently Met Ivanka Trump, Has the Virus
An Australian official has the virus. He met Ivanka Trump last week.
Australia’s minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, who last week met with Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, said he had contracted the new coronavirus.
Mr. Dutton, a hardline conservative and former police officer who has been relatively quiet in the midst of the outbreak, said on Twitter on Friday that he tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.
“I feel fine and will provide an update in due course,” he wrote.
Last week, Mr. Dutton met with Ms. Trump and Attorney General William Barr in Washington.
Mr. Dutton is the latest in a string of foreign dignitaries who have met with associates of Mr. Trump in recent days, only to later learn they had been infected.
The Australian government announced that starting Monday, all events with 500 people or more will effectively be banned. On Thursday, the actor Tom Hanks tested positive for the virus in Australia.
The volley of developments suggests Australia may be moving into a more aggressive phase of contagion, even as officials roll out an economic stimulus package and continue to argue that a crisis has not yet arrived.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that isolation and the tracing of contacts have been shown to slow the spread of the virus. “And that’s why Australia right now is in a position where we have low rates of this virus and the number of cases that have presented. But we’ve always known that the number of cases will rise.”
The call for large events to be canceled brought an end to the Australia Grand Prix, a Formula One motor race, along with other major cultural and sporting events.
At least 6 states will close all schools, affecting millions.
At least six states and several large school districts moved on Thursday to close schools for at least two weeks, extreme measures that they hope will stem the spread of the coronavirus, but which come at the cost of upending the daily lives of 6 million schoolchildren and their parents.
All public schools, and many if not all private schools, in Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky and New Mexico were told to close beginning next week, and the governor of Washington State ordered all schools shut in three counties near Seattle. The Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in Texas, also said it was closing for two weeks.
The actions came as the number of people who have been infected with the coronavirus in the United States jumped by nearly 400 on Thursday. The virus has been diagnosed in more than 1,650 people in 46 states and has killed at least 41 people, according to a New York Times database. The closings could have a severe effect on parents who will need to find child care, and on the many students who depend on the cafeteria for food and the school for shelter.
In Kentucky, for example, 75 percent of public school students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. In Ohio, there are more than 25,000 students who are defined as homeless.
Some of the largest school districts in the country have remained open amid the coronavirus threat. Officials in New York, home to the nation’s largest school district, have said closing its schools would be a last resort. In Los Angeles, the second-largest district, the superintendent said on Thursday night that schools would remain open for the time being, despite the teachers’ union calling on him to close it.
A Chinese official promotes a conspiracy theory that the U.S. introduced the virus to China.
China is pushing a new theory about the origins of the coronavirus: It is an American disease that might have been introduced by members of the United States Army who visited Wuhan in October.
There is not a shred of evidence to support that, but the notion received an official endorsement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose spokesman accused American officials of not coming clean about what they know about the disease.
China, under diplomatic pressure for the early missteps in handling the outbreak, has sought to deflect attention from those failings at home and abroad and now turned to a well-worn practice of blaming internal problems on foreign actors.
“The conspiracy theories are a new, low front in what they clearly perceive as a global competition over the narrative of this crisis,” Julian B. Gewirtz, a scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, said of the Chinese.
In the United States, a number of politicians and media personalities have promoted comparably preposterous conspiracy theories.
Speaking on Fox News, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, raised the possibility that the virus was manufactured by the Chinese government in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan. Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist and Rush Limbaugh, a conservative radio talk show host, have also pushed this theory, which has been dismissed by scientists.
China said on Friday there had been eight new officially confirmed infections from the virus in the past 24 hours, and seven deaths from it. It was its lowest official tally since the country imposed emergency measures in January.
Economic package will include paid sick leave and free virus testing, aides said.
Congress on Thursday neared a deal with the White House on a sweeping economic rescue package to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
After a day of intense negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Ms. Pelosi told reporters that “we’ve resolved most of our differences” and that the House would vote on Friday on the measure, “one way or another.” It would then go to the Senate, which called off a recess that had been scheduled for next week.
The legislation, Democratic aides said, will include enhanced unemployment benefits, free virus testing and aid for food assistance programs. The package also ensures 14 days of paid sick leave, as well as tax credits to help small- and medium-size businesses fulfill that mandate. Language was still being drafted for provisions related to family and medical leave, according to a Democratic aide, as aides worked through the night to prepare the bill.
The fast-moving measure reflects a sense of urgency in Washington to enact a fiscal stimulus in the face of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the financial markets, which have proven impervious to other interventions.
The negotiations hit snags as Republicans balked at the sweeping proposal to provide paid sick leave, something Senate Republicans had already blocked when Democrats sought earlier in the week to bring up a separate bill. Mr. Mnuchin, in a frantic attempt to keep talks on track, spoke by phone at least seven times with Ms. Pelosi, negotiating additional changes to the House legislation so it could have a chance of winning the support of Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans.
Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned that even a large stimulus package might not stop the fall in markets and that the worst may still lie ahead.
“What stops the fear is evidence that the rate of increase of infections is slowing — believable evidence,” he said. “Everywhere you would look for reassurance, for leadership, for policy action, for reliable information — all are absent.”
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian prime minister, has the virus.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Thursday night.
“She is feeling well, is taking all the recommended precautions and her symptoms remain mild,” the statement said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trudeau announced that he, Ms. Grégoire Trudeau and their three children had voluntarily isolated themselves at the prime minister’s residence in Ottawa as they awaited the test result.
Mr. Trudeau continues to perform most of his official duties, although his meetings have become conference calls and he was absent from the House of Commons. He spoke with several world leaders during the day, including President Trump.
On the advice of physicians, Mr. Trudeau will continue to work from home for the next 14 days, the statement said, although he shows no symptoms and physicians are not testing him for the virus.
Earlier in the day the government said that Ms. Grégoire Trudeau felt ill after returning from a trip to Britain. Doctors decided to test for the coronavirus on Wednesday after she developed a mild fever, which has since passed.
Mr. Trudeau will make a speech to Canadians about the coronavirus pandemic on Friday following a conference call with the country’s provincial leaders
Tests are scarce in the U.S., even for those with symptoms.
First came a tickle in her throat. Then, a hacking cough. Then, a shortness of breath she had never experienced before. Hillary King, a 32-year-old consultant in Boston, who lives down the street from a hotel where dozens of Biogen executives contracted the new coronavirus, decided she had better get tested.
But getting tested is far easier said than done, even as testing slowly ramps up nationwide. Just days after President Trump announced that anyone who wanted a test could get a test, Ms. King’s experience shows how difficult it can be in the United States to find out if you have the coronavirus. Many who fear they have the virus have faced one roadblock after another as they try to get tested, according to interviews with dozens of people across the country.
Some have been rejected because they had no symptoms, even though they had been in proximity to someone who tested positive. Others were told no because they had not traveled to a hot spot abroad, even though they had fevers and hacking coughs and lived in cities with growing outbreaks. Still others were told a bitter truth: There simply were not enough tests to go around.
“The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Thursday. “It is a failing. I mean, let’s admit it.”
The inability to test widely in the United States — which is far behind other countries in this regard — has severely hampered efforts to contain the outbreak. An early test rolled out to states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was flawed, and delays have continued ever since. Public health experts have warned that each day people do not know whether they have the virus, they risk spreading it more widely.
Stocks plunge despite the Fed’s $1.5 trillion offer to banks.
Stocks plunged in the United States on Thursday, after President Trump’s latest effort to address the coronavirus outbreak — a 30-day travel ban on people from most European countries — disappointed investors who have been looking for Washington to take steps to bolster the economy.
Trading was turbulent, with a brief rebound after the Federal Reserve offered at least $1.5 trillion worth of loans to banks to help keep the financial markets working smoothly. But the downdraft gathered pace again by midafternoon.
The S&P 500 fell about 9.5 percent, its biggest daily drop since the crash in 1987 that came to be known as Black Monday. Stocks in the United States are now firmly in a bear market, meaning they have fallen at least 20 percent from the most recent peak.
On Friday in Asia, Japanese stocks dropped sharply in trading Other Asian stocks continued to suffer as well. In Tokyo and Seoul, South Korea, stocks dropped by nearly 8 percent. At one point, Japanese shares were down more than 10 percent.
Philippine diplomat at the U.N. tests positive.
A diplomat from the Philippine mission to the United Nations tested positive on Thursday for the coronavirus, prompting a lockdown at the consular offices on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, officials said.
It was the first known case among the international diplomatic corps in New York.
In a statement issued by the mission, it said, based on the advice of the city’s health department, it directed all diplomatic employees to quarantine themselves and seek medical attention if they developed any symptoms.
The mission said the diplomat developed flulike symptoms on Tuesday and saw her doctor, who prescribed Tamiflu after she tested positive for the flu. She was also tested for the coronavirus and received the results on Thursday, said the mission, which did not specify where she was being treated.
The mission said the diplomat was asymptomatic when she last visited the U.N. headquarters.
The foreign affairs secretary of the Philippines, Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., wrote on Twitter that the diplomat was doing well.
“She’s young, sprightly, smart and taking some doctor prescribed meds,” Mr. Locsin wrote.
Thai official says many Europeans fleeing virus “dress filthily.”
Europeans who try to dodge the coronavirus by escaping to tropical Thailand often “dress filthily and don’t bathe,” said Thailand’s health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, in a post on a Twitter account set up by his aides.
Thailand’s economy is dependent on tourism, but Mr. Anutin has made a habit of criticizing foreign visitors. While handing out surgical masks at a monorail station in Bangkok last month, Mr. Anutin said Westerners should be kicked out of the country for refusing to wear them. He later apologized for his remarks, which included a derogatory term for foreigners.
The Twitter account, which was set up just this month, was deactivated on Friday, hours after the post appeared.
Thai officials have sent contradictory messages about how the country would deal with visitors from places that have been affected by the virus. Earlier this week, the government said it would no longer provide visas on arrival for citizens of China, India and other countries, or allow people from Italy, Hong Kong and South Korea to enter without visas. The next day, officials reversed that policy.
Thailand has confirmed 75 cases of the coronavirus but has not instituted widespread testing.
Last week, about 80 Thai undocumented workers — known locally as “little ghosts” — who had returned from South Korea, which is dealing with a major outbreak, avoided health screening at the airport and scattered across the country, leading to fears that they might be spreading the virus.
The number of cases in Russia triples, but remain relatively small.
The number of officially reported coronavirus cases in Russia has more than tripled over the last week but remains tiny. This either indicates that sweeping precautionary measures taken by the Russian authorities are working — or that few people are being tested for the virus.
A state agency monitoring the pandemic reported on Thursday that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 34, far below the thousands reported by Italy and other European countries but still a big increase on the 10 cases officially registered last week.
Russia has barred visitors from China, with which it shares a 2,600-mile-long border, and imposed tight restrictions on people arriving from Italy and other countries with large numbers of cases. Courts in Moscow have also begun issuing deportation orders against Chinese nationals, mostly students, accused of ignoring self-quarantine.
A member of Russia’s Parliament, Sergei Katasonov, has faced strong criticism for violating a quarantine order on people who have visited 11 countries. Mr. Katasonov attended sessions of the legislature, including one on Tuesday attended by President Vladimir V. Putin, after a trip to France, without going into self-isolation.
The mayor, Sergey S. Sobyanin, on Thursday said the city’s public health system is in a state of “heightened readiness” and that construction had started on a new infectious diseases hospital on the southern outskirts of Moscow.
Italy’s health care system is overwhelmed. It’s a warning to the world.
The mayor of one town complained that doctors were forced to decide not to treat the very old, leaving them to die. In another town, patients with coronavirus-caused pneumonia were being sent home.
In less than three weeks, the coronavirus has overloaded the heath care system all over northern Italy. It has turned the hard hit Lombardy region into a grim glimpse of what awaits countries if they cannot slow the spread of the virus and ‘‘flatten the curve’’ of new cases — allowing the sick to be treated without swamping the capacity of hospitals.
If not, even hospitals in developed countries with the world’s best health care risk becoming triage wards, forcing ordinary doctors and nurses to make extraordinary decisions about who may live and who may die. Wealthy northern Italy is facing a version of that nightmare already.
“This is a war,” said Massimo Puoti, the head of infectious medicine at Milan’s Niguarda hospital, one of the largest in Lombardy.
This week Italy put in place draconian measures — restricting movement and closing all stores except for pharmacies, groceries and other essential services. But they did not come in time to prevent the surge of cases that has deeply taxed the capacity even of a well-regarded health care system.
Italy’s experience has now underscored the need to act decisively — quickly and early — well before case numbers reach crisis levels. By that point, it may already be too late to prevent a spike in cases that stretches systems beyond their limits.
Gyms, apartment buildings and offices: How to manage the outbreak.
Today, we look at how the places you interact with daily are ensuring they stay safe while still being able to function, including how gyms should be disinfecting their equipment, new guidance for building managers, and how needed changes may affect workers.
News analysis: Amid an outbreak, a leader who follows.
As he confronts the most serious crisis of his tenure, President Trump has been assertive in closing borders to outsiders, one of his favorite policies. But within the United States, as the coronavirus spreads from one community to another, he has been more follower than leader, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman write in their analysis.
Mr. Trump has essentially become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life.
For weeks, he resisted telling Americans to cancel or stay away from large gatherings, reluctant to call off his own campaign rallies even as he grudgingly acknowledged he would probably have to. Instead, it fell to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s most famous scientist, to say publicly what the president would not, leading the nation’s sports leagues to suspend play.
Mayors and county executives, hospital executives and factory owners received no further direction from the president on Thursday than they did during his prime-time address to the nation the night before. Beyond travel limits and wash-your-hands reminders, Mr. Trump has left it to others to set the course in combating the pandemic and has indicated he was in no rush to take further action.
Nepal cancels all Everest expeditions.
Not even Mount Everest, one of the most grueling tests of human conditioning and willpower, is escaping the coronavirus pandemic.
Nepal canceled all expeditions for the spring climbing season and stopped issuing tourist visas because of the virus. And on China’s side of the mountain, several expedition companies said that China had closed one of the two main routes used by climbers, known as the northeast ridge. The pass is the less popular of the two and is in the autonomous region of Tibet.
“It’s a wise decision although some may term it an unpopular move,” said Mira Acharya, the director of Nepal’s Department of Tourism, which issues climbing permits. “Since we are not well-equipped to stop the possible outbreak of coronavirus, nothing is more important than saving human lives.”
The spring climbing season wraps up at the end of May, and the outlook for reopening expeditions at any point was unclear.
Reporting was contributed by Steven Lee Myers, Andrew Higgins, Damien Cave, Farah Stockman, Hannah Beech, Heather Murphy, Gillian Wong, Bhadra Sharma, Emily Cochrane, Jeanna Smialek, Jim Tankersley, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Neil Vigdor, Jason Horowitz, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Rick Gladstone.