UK Health Minister Tests Positive For COVID-19; Bernie And Biden Cancel Rallies: Live Updates


  • The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival set to take place in April has been postponed until October due to COVID-19.
  • UK Health Minister announces she's tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating
  • National Guard is deploying to New Rochelle, area businesses, schools will close, Cuomo says
  • Washington State reports two more coronavirus deaths, bringing the total up to 24 and 267 cases.
  • 6th patient dies from Cov-19 in UK
  • US CDC Chief: "the US is beyond virus containment in some areas"
  • Washington State considering "Rapid Lockdown", new benefits announced for workers
  • Mortality rate in Lombardy hits 8% - higher than Wuhan
  • Lagarde calls on European governments to embrace "rapid fiscal action."
  • Austria, Switzerland close borders with Italy
  • NJ Governor declares state of emergency
  • North Carolina declares state of emergency
  • Air Canada latest airline to suspend routes to Italy as traffic expected to plunge due to quarantine
  • Mass. declares state of emergency after confirming 51 'presumptive' cases; Boston cancels St. Patricks Day Parade
  • NYC Mayor says outbreak "evolving very rapidly"
  • Harvard moves classes online
  • Xi takes victory lap in Wuhan
  • Trump says had 'great' meeting with Repubs on stimulus plan, but no details released
  • Italy reports 36% jump in deaths, cases climb above 10,000
  • Three Canadians test positive in Calgary
  • Spain suspends parliament after lawmaker infected
  • Austria total cases hits 182
  • First case reported in Philly
  • EU suspends parliament indefinitely
  • Italian government suspends mortgage payments across country
  • CDC says nearly 5,000 tests have been conducted in US through Monday
  • New Jersey confirms first death

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Update (1900ET): UK Health Minister Nadine Dorries announced on Tuesday that she has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating, according to Sky News. She's the first MP in the country to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

"I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus," Dorries said in a statement. "As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home."

Public Health England (PHE) has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.

I would like to thank PHE and the wonderful NHS staff who have provided me with advice and support.

Six people have died in the UK so far and there are currently 382 official cases, up 54 from Monday.

Meanwhile, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which typically attracts around 100,000 attendees per day, has been postponed until October in Indio, California according to Forbes.

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Update (1820ET): A NJ coronavirus patient who died was an employee at the Standardbred Owners Association working in an office based at the Yonkers Raceway, according to a statement from MGM Resorts. He was last at the track 8 days ago. Pence added that everyone on the 'Grand Princess' would be isolated and quarantined while the crew will be quarantined on the ship offshore, and HHS Secretary Azar said about 450 passengers of the roughly 3,500 passengers and crew had been de-boarded.

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Update (1800ET): Just as VP Pence was beginning the White House coronavirus task force's press conference on Tuesday evening, Washington State confirmed two more deaths, bringing its total to 24, with 267 cases, according to state officials.

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Update (1715ET): Both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have cancelled their campaign rallies in Ohio tonight as Americans in six mostly Midwestern states vote in the latest round of primaries. The pundits claim Bernie Sanders will need a big upset Tuesday night to remain viable.

Bernie's campaign spokesperson Mike Casca told CNN that the campaign had cancelled the planned Cleveland Rally to celebrate "Super Tuesday 2".

In a statement, Casca cited "concern for public safety" because of the coronavirus. 

"Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland," he said.

Joe Biden's Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield announced that his campaign rally, which was also set to be held in Cleveland, had been cancelled for similar reasons.

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Update (1530ET): NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio finished his latest public press update on Tuesday (notice how he and Cuomo are apparently refusing to appear together as they tackle the crisis? It's amazing how petty political rivalries really do trump all) a few hours ago,

De Blasio urged New Yorkers to do whatever they could to avoid crowds - take the subway during off-hours, telecommute, if you can. If you're sick, stay home. "Take it seriously," de Blasio said.

He added that he would ask the federal government for another 300,000 N95 respirator masks, primarily for use by health-care workers.

Those who are eligible and who are looking for a way to help out should donate blood, de Blasio said.

Across NYC, case numbers are "evolving very rapidly," de Blasio said. Since private labs started testing on Friday, the number of tests processed has improved rapidly.

In other NY news, NY State's opioid trial, which had been scheduled to begin later this month, has been delayed because of the outbreak, a spokesman for NY AG Letitia James said.

The Boston Globe just reported minutes ago that Mass Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency following the outbreak at a conference for employees of biotech company Biogen. The announcement comes alongside the reporting of 51 new "presumptive" positive tests, more than doubling the number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts.

As a reminder...

Earlier, Boston cancelled its St Patrick's Day Parade, a huge tourism event for the city.

On a day that has been particularly notable for the number of airlines cancelling routes to Italy as sales are expected to plunge given the nationwide quarantine (no one in or out for two weeks, remember?), Air Canada has joined the fray, announcing that it will temporarily suspend all routes to and from Italy.

Meanwhile, some things we missed earlier: Philly reported its first "presumptive" positive; after closing its borders to Italian travelers, Austria reported 70 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing its national total to 182, with 43 cases in Vienna; and this tweet highlighting an alarming fact about the coronavirus-linked mortality rate in Lombardy.

Let's hope, for Italy's sake, that this quarantine works.

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Update (1420ET): As CNBC just reported, the novel coronavirus has finally hit Wall Street. Barclays on Tuesday confirmed that an employee in its New York City midtown office has tested positive for Covid-19. The employee worked on the second floor. Morgan Stanley said an employee at its Purchase office has contracted the virus, but they started self-quarantining early enough to likely avoid exposing coworkers.

An employee at BlackRock in New York has also tested positive. And let's not forget Steve Cohen's Point72, where a back-office employee who worked on the 14th floor of the firm's NYC office reportedly tested positive.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Gov. Cooper declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon, becoming the latest state to do so. The decision activates the Emergency Operations Center to help agencies coordinate their response, while also making it easier to purchase medical supplies, protects consumers from price gouging, and increases county health funds.

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Update (1400ET): The last half-hour has been absolutely jam-packed with virus-related news, so we're going to do a  quick and dirty review of each key story.

Following reports about American soldiers catching the virus in South Korea and Italy, the Pentagon has just confirmed that three active-duty soldiers have been infected with the virus. The announcement was made during a press conference at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

In another press conference, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday that the entire state of Washington might need to be quarantined because of the outbreak. With so many expected to be out of work, Inslee said the state would be expanding unemployment benefits to cover anybody who misses work because of the virus.

Inslee added that state employees will have additional leave available to them.

Inslee said that cases could increase to 64,000 by May if the state doesn't take action. If necessary, Inslee said the state would implement mandatory restrictions on travel, possibly even a complete quarantine, as Seattle local TV station KOMO reported.

people could be infected with coronavirus in Washington state within two months if actions aren't taken now to stop its spread, Gov. Inslee said Tuesday.

Given the situation at the nursing home in Kirkland, where more than a dozen residents have died and families have been made furious by a perceived lack of communication, the state will also consider imposing new standards on nursing homes in the state.

In Frankfurt, Christine Lagarde demanded "rapid fiscal action" by EU members to battle the virus: Italy is already planning to blow out its deficit to try and compensate for what is now a country-wide lockdown. While German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is pushing for the country to suspend its constitutional "debt break" and shake a few more coins out of its federal purse to combat the virus. Talk of a "shadow budget" has been bandied about, as has a standard-looking government rescue package.

After meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, President Trump announced plans to help the cruise line industry, and insisted that all Republicans in Congress would back the plan (though some privately expressed their reservations to reporters). Lindsey Graham said that the idea of a 'shale gas' bailout had been raised during the meeting. Beforehand, the Washington Post reported that the administration was indeed devising a plan to bail out American frackers who have been hard-hit by the downturn (and who have also helped the American economy achieve near-total energy independence, but this is often lost on the industry's critics...).

Sen. Ron Wyden, who has been criticizing Trump's plans since...well...since before Trump really even had a plan, said Tuesday that Trump's payroll tax relief wouldn't go nearly far enough to encourage consumers to spend. More surprisingly, Mitch McConnell has also reportedly expressed some trepidation about whether this would be the right way to go about it.

However, Trump offered no concrete details about the plan during a set of brief comments with reporters after the meeting's conclusion. More importantly, Trump also advised Americans to "stay calm", asserting "the coronavirus will go away," once again sound too nonchalant about the situation to assuage the market's fears that he isn't taking this seriously enough.

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Update (1310ET): Shortly after an account associated with The League, the right-wing party led by former Deputy PM Matteo Salvini, reported another 135 deaths on Tuesday in Lombardy alone...

...Italian national health officials confirmed that death toll has climbed 36% in one day, adding 168 deaths to bring the total to 631, while another 977 cases were confirmed, bringing Italy's total confirmed cases above 10,000.

Around the same time, Slovenia announced it would close its borders to Italian travelers, joining Switzerland and Austria. Now, all of Italy's northern neighbors - with the exception of France, which is struggling with its own spiraling outbreak - have closed their borders to Italian travelers. Air France announced Tuesday evening that it would suspend all Italian flights between March 14 and April 3, becoming the latest airline to do so. However, there still appear to be flights taking off from Italy. Here's the schedule from Milan's Malpensa Airport, according to FlightRadar24. Most flights were canceled, but some still made it out.

PM Conte, meanwhile, told reporters on Tuesday that he would call on the ECB to do "whatever it takes" (borrowing some familiar phrasing from former ECB chief Mario Draghi) to save the European economy in the face of the outbreak.

Notably, worldwide, the new deaths reported in Italy brought the global death toll north of 1,000, according to AFP.

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Update (1250ET): President Trump has arrived on Capitol Hill to brief Republican lawmakers on the administration's fiscal stimulus agenda, following reports that Trump was basically winging it last night when he promised payroll tax cuts and other measures to help offset the economic shock caused by the coronavirus.


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Update (1235ET): New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his daily press update on Tuesday that he is establishing a 'containment zone' in the city of New Rochelle, the epicenter of the state's outbreak. All schools and businesses within one mile of the Westchester town will be closed for two weeks, and the National Guard will be sent in to help local police maintain order.

Watch the rest of Cuomo's update below:

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has confirmed the state's first coronavirus-related death. Read the full statement below:

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Update (1115ET): CDC Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers this morning during House tesimony that "the US is beyond virus containment in some areas"

Additionally, Redfield warned that Europe was the "New China" on the virus front and that US nursing homes were the most vulnerable to the virus.

Redfield's remarks echo comments made by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the few remaining "Never Trump" Republicans, who explained that even though the state's six coronavirus cases were all travel related.

"It is going to shift from containment to trying to deal with the situation on the ground," Hogan said. "It starts to escalate pretty rapidly."

At least 73 people in Maryland have tested negative for the new coronavirus as of Monday night.

Later during the presser, Redfield added that roughly 4,850 tests had been carried out through Monday by the CDC, more than double the number reported by the Atlantic on Monday. The US isn't the only major economy that struggled to get enough tests together by the time the virus hit - Japan was also caught flat-footed - but it looks like officials are truly catching up, having sensed the threat to President Trump's reelection prospects if the administration allows the outbreak to become "Trump's Katrina" (just like "Hurricane Maria" and all the other hurricanes that have occurred since Trump's election).

In other news, we neglected to mention earlier that Calgary health officials confirmed three new cases in the Canadian province last night, according to one local newspaper.

Elsewhere, the Swiss government followed Austria's lead on Tuesday and announced that it would ban travelers from Italy, becoming the second of Italy's neighboring states to try and suspend all travel between the two countries, as the Italian government tries to keep its citizens at home.

Earlier in the day, the EU Parliament (Switzerland isn't an EU member though it participates in the single market) announced that it would suspend business indefinitely as local lawmakers around the continent test positive for Covid-19.

Finally, investors try to suss out how bad the fallout will be in the US, here's another chart to help put the outbreak - and various government-led suppression efforts - in context.

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Update (0950ET): A sixth patient has succumbed to the coronavirus in the UK, BBC News reports.

UK has managed to keep the body count lower than several European peers (notably France and Spain) while Germany only just recorded its first death.

For some context:

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Update (0850ET): As the US market open draws near, investors are parsing a flood of coronavirus related news overnight, including the good (President Xi's to Wuhan and a sharp drop in new cases in South Korea), the bad (US confirmed cases nearing 1,000), and the ugly (Italy's crackdown is starting to resemble China's, as the video below would suggest).

In another landmark move, Italian government officials announced Tuesday that payments on mortgages will be suspended across Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak, Italy's deputy economy minister said.

"Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households," said Undersecretary of Finance Laura Castelli during an interview with Radio Anch'io (Me Too).

Italy's banking lobby ABI said on Monday that lenders representing 90% of total banking assets would offer debt moratoriums to small firms and households grappling with financial stresses from the outbreak.

While we've focused on some of the new developments in the US earlier, there's plenty going on in Europe to rattle investor confidence. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Spain has doubled in the past few days, prompting the government to shut all schools in Madrid and the surrounding area for 2 weeks.

The Spanish parliament's lower house suspended all activities on Tuesday for at least a week after a lawmaker with the country's right-wing Vox Party was confirmed to have the virus.

MP Javier Ortega Smith was diagnosed with the virus, El Pais newspaper reported, citing sources from with Vox.

Ortega Smith is Vox's No. 2 leader, and in this capacity participated in a large scale political rally last weekend, where we interacted with constituents and other lawmakers, Reuters said.

While the outbreak is rapidly waning in Daegu, Korean Air Lines warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak could threaten its very survival after more than half of the world restricted passengers entering from South Korea, forcing the company to practically eliminate its international routes. In the US, the largest airlines are allowing passengers to rebook tickets through April 30 without paying fees to change flights citing uncertainty about traveling during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mainland China reported 19 additional coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths on March 9, another marked drop in daily cases, bringing the total number of cases in China to 80,754 and death toll to 3,136.

Chinese President Xi arrived in Wuhan for the first time following the outbreak, while there were also reports that China’s Hubei province is to implement a health code system to start permitting people to travel within the province. All 14 temporary coronavirus hospitals have been shuttered.

In France, Minister of Culture Franck Riester has tested positive for the virus according to France's Health Minister Olivier Véran, who made the revelation during a Monday evening interview with a French news station.

Last night, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte expanded the country's 'lockdown'-lite travel restrictions to all of the country, advising 60 million Italians to "just stay home" until the outbreak is over. In the country, more than  9,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus and 463 have been confirmed dead.

Following in the footsteps of Columbia and NYU (which have cancelled classes and, in NYU's case, advised students not to return after an upcoming week-long break), as well as Stanford & Princeton (which have moved all classes online), Harvard is the latest school to move all classes online for the rest of the semester.

According to the official figures, the coronavirus has killed 54 more people in Iran in the past 24 hours, the largest single-day jump in deaths since the virus arrived in Iran early last month, according to Al Jazeera.

As Iran's official death toll climbed 54 to 291, the country also confirmed 881 new cases increasing the total to 8,042.

In a sign that some European countries have grown weary of the EU's warnings that closing borders and restricting travel between Italy would be overreactions, Austria on Tuesday announced that it would ban all travelers from Italy unless they could produce documentation proving they were virus-free. This comes after Israel banned all foreigners from traveling to the country for 2 weeks. The government in Austria, led by conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the country's youngest-ever leader, has also pushed for schools to close and workers to work from home, as events with more than 100 people have been banned.

Denmark and Serbia joined in by cancelling all inbound flights from countries and regions hard-hit by the virus (including Italy), while British Airways has cancelled all flights to Italy. Even Kazakhstan, has barred entry to travelers from Italy, and will soon add France, Germany and Spain - three countries where outbreaks are rapidly spiraling out of control - to the list beginning March 12, according to chief sanitary doctor Zhandarbek Bekshin.

The first virus-linked death has been recorded in Lebanon, which just announced its plans to default on a debt payment for the first time as its own domestic financial crisis worsens.

Though it cautioned that this didn't constitute a "stimulus package", Japan released its second package of measures worth about $4 billion in spending to cope with the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, focusing on providing support to small and mid-sized firms, amid mounting concerns about the fragile economy.

The package of ¥430.8 billion - $4.1 billion - reflects the pressure policymakers are facing to stem the risk of corporate bankruptcies and buttress Japan's listless economy.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said he will not hold large campaign meetings ahead of elections in May to try and stop the spread of the virus, while in the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who called on Italy to close its borders, which it eventually did, said he would temporarily close all schools and universities while also banning gatherings of more than 100 people.

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NYC-based bankers better have a bugout base in Antarctica, because all the suburban bedroom communities preferred by wealthy financiers have already been infected with the coronavirus: Westchester, New Jersey, Fairfield County and Long Island (though thankfully not the Hamptons) have all reported cases of the virus (even scarier: a handful of infections have no clear connection to another case, potentially offering a glimpse into what might be a much wider 'community outbreak').

At around 11 pm on Monday, as thousands of financial professionals were probably passed out, exhausted after the most brutal trading day since the financial crisis, New Jersey Gov. and former Goldmanite Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency or some kind of public health emergency in New Jersey, joining Washington, Missouri, Florida, Maryland, New York and others (in Missouri, St. Louis has activated 'emergency operations).

As President Trump and VP Pence dangle tax cuts and more fiscal stimulus in front of the market and the real economy, state governors and their top public health officials will ultimately be responsible for most of the 'containment' activities in their states.

Murphy's declaration follows an emergency order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo a couple of days ago. Murphy said he based his decision "on the facts on the ground."

"We are acting based on the facts on the ground and by the latest medical science," Murphy said in a video statement on his Twitter account.

"We have been ahead of the curve in terms of our whole-of-government preparations and this declaration will help keep is there," he added.

Since Friday, confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Tri-State Area have tripled, from 49 to 156. As of Monday afternoon, New York has the most cases of any state in the country, though it hasn't yet recorded any deaths. These cases include dozens in Westchester County, which has become one of the nation's biggest hotspots that's not on a cruise ship.

Among the new cases in NYC is a 7-year-old, an FDNY EMS and, of course, Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton. Department of Health Officials said that some who were in contact with Cotton should adhere to a 14-day quarantine policy, with March 6 being the earliest possibly date of concern for transmission.

As of Tuesday morning, at least 729 people in 36 states and Washington DC have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a new database from the New York Times that is committed to tracking every single confirmed case in the US in detail.

Last night, San Francisco Mayor London Breed confirmed another 5 cases, bringing the country's total to 13. All five patients know each other and are all quarantining at home, according to local media reports.

At a press conference Monday evening where President Trump assured markets that more fiscal stimulus is on the way, Pence and the leaders of the CDC promised that testing capacity has been rapidly expanded as more public and private labs have come online.

Hopefully, America's dismal testing rate will soon see a large bump, exposing the true extent of the outbreak.