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Trump Restricts Travel from Europe to U.S.; Asian Stocks Plunge; U.S. Cities Ban Large Gatherings; Top U.S. Disease Expert: Coronavirus Deadlier than Flu; NBA Suspends Season Over Virus Concerns; Amendments Could Keep Putin In Power Until 2036; Weinstein Sentences To 23 Years In Prison. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 12, 2020 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I am Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, the U.S. president's latest travel ban, this time it affects much of Europe and it is aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic, impacting travelers from dozens of countries.

Concerns over the virus also forced U.S. pro basketball to take a drastic step, suspending all games for the season.

With cases across six continents, much of the globe is affected so we will have a doctor answer some of your questions about the virus.


CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

So president Donald Trump is taking a bold new step to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States and to the U.S. On the same day the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global pandemic, Mr. Trump announced new travel restrictions that caught many people, including European officials, by surprise.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight.

Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom. At the same time, we are monitoring the situation in China and the South Korea.

And as their situation improves, we will reevaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening.


CHURCH: It's worth pointing out the U.K., which is exempt from these new restrictions, has more than 400 cases of coronavirus. The pandemic has killed more than 4,000 people across the globe, with a foothold in every continent except Antarctica.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of global cases has risen past 126,000, Italy has the most cases in Europe and the U.S. has more than 1,200 cases and at least 38 deaths.

Many in Europe are now waking up to the news of this travel ban and CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in Berlin, where it is just after 7:00 in the morning.

Fred, we appreciate you being with us. So I do want to start with Germany and, of course, Chancellor Merkel has only warned citizens there, it could affect up to 70 percent of the population and now, of course, comes this travel ban.

What has been the reaction so far?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary, so far as far as German politicians, they're also just waking up and hearing this news so it is, I can tell you by far the top news item, obviously, in Germany especially after Angela Merkel, said yesterday if there is no vaccine and without treatment being found, effective treatment being found, between 60 and 70 percent of the German population could be affected by the novel coronavirus.

She said that that is something that experts have been telling her, so certainly that was also quite a wake up call and also pretty shocking news to a lot of people here in Germany as well.

This comes as this country is looking for a vaccine; it also has treatment here or they are trying to find treatments here that are effective against the coronavirus. In general, it must be, said Rosemary, German authorities do seem to be on top of this issue as much as one can be on top of it, as far as getting medical equipment out there to the people that need it as well.

As far as this new travel ban is concerned, it is extremely shocking news to Germany which has this giant transatlantic trade relationship with the United States, of course, one of the things Trump said was that the movement of goods will not be affected.

Of course, Rosemary, we know that there are a lot of transatlantic companies working between Germany and the United States, that constantly send specialists back and forth.

For instance, the German auto industry and the number of factories that they have opened, especially in the area of the U.S. Where you are right, now the area around Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, that is huge transatlantic travel that happens all the time.


PLEITGEN: A lot of companies, American companies, European companies, not just German companies, of course, in the past couple of weeks have sort of adjusted their travel bans and stopped non essential transatlantic travel, especially.

But of course, there are travel relationships and some business travel that is very difficult to stop. If you are talking about, for instance, moving specialists back and forth between the United States and Europe, that is something that seems to be impacted.

But at the same time, airlines seem to have been working towards something like this over the past couple of weeks as well. Lufthansa just yesterday announced they are canceling an additional 23,000 flights until the end of April.

Some of that is European travel. Some of that is transatlantic travel as well. So the industry seemingly has been preparing. But of course, this is still something that does come as quite a shock to many folks here in Europe.

In fact, our Alex Marquardt spoke to some European diplomats in United States yesterday and some said that they had expected something might happen but not of this magnitude. Other European diplomats said they were simply caught off cold by this altogether.

CHURCH: A big surprise and people are still trying to digest the consequences of all of this. Fred Pleitgen, bringing us the very latest from Berlin. Many thanks to you.

Of course, U.S. stock features have been falling since President Trump's address. You could see there are numbers all in the red, speak for themselves. And they follow Wednesday's sharp selloff when the Dow fell 20 percent below its most recent high, signaling a bear market.

And we saw Asian markets begin to plunge after President Trump's announcement. For more journalist, Kaori Enjoji joins me now from Tokyo.

So Kaori, what do those numbers look like at this hour?

KAORI ENJOJI, TOKYO BUREAY CHIEF, CNBC: The Tokyo equity market has just closed and is down very sharply, Rosemary, down 850 points on the Nikkei 225. That is a loss of more than 4.4 percent. At one point, the market was at its lowest level in more than two years in nearly three years I should say and this is because the address President Trump gave did not reassure investors that there was a long term approach that was being taken.

The fact that he had to clarify some of his comments regarding the travel ban, that it would not cover goods, this confused investors and drove the market lower. It has been a similar story throughout the Asian region, where we are seeing India come into play with huge losses there as well. So I think this piecemeal approach what investors are not liking, we are calling it a sort of patchy effort by various countries, not a collective effort. That seems to be what the market does not like at this. Point.

When you take a look at some of the individual countries. There are a lot of pressures right now on the Bank of Japan, the government is leaning on their central bank to do more.

What they could do, and there is already a lot of talk in the market about this, is that the Bank of Japan could step in, as they have been, to try and assure the equity market from what the exchange traded funds.

There could be that -- the market was speculating -- there could be an announcement that they will raise the amount of purchases like that. You have to remember that some of the central banks, including those here in Japan, the ECB, rates are already at zero or negative in some cases. Their hands are tied.

I think this just goes back to the central problem of this economic fallout, that this is not a financial crisis and a financial remedy is not going to be the medium and long term cure in a time when you have, already, some of the weaker companies declaring bankruptcy particularly in the tourism industry.

Some of the bigger companies starting to hoard a lot of cash in anticipation that these hard times are going to continue for a considerable period of time. That is the backdrop. And I think there is a discussion already, even before a week has passed since the last stimulus package, that the Japanese government might have to announce a third stimulus package to counter some of these declines.

I can tell you that the psyche is getting hit hard every day. You have the announcement last night that an iconic baseball event here in Japan, which is the high school baseball championship, a rite of spring, it has been canceled.

And these are the kinds of things that keep people at home, they keep people nervous and wondering whether schools are really going to start at the new fiscal year in April. That is going to weigh on sentiment, at a time when the economy was already deeply in the negative in the last three months of 2019.

If we get the numbers confirming that the first three months were also in negative territory, that technically means a recession. So people are worried about that.


ENJOJI: However, on the slightly brighter side, some corporations are saying that businesses are starting or trying to get back to normal in some parts of China. The factories there and that is helping their supply chains.

At the end of the day, it is still a long term economic story and investors are not concerned that there is a united, concerted effort.

CHURCH: It has everyone on edge for sure. Kaori Enjoji bring us the latest from Tokyo. Many thanks.

We will take a short break. Still to come, the pro basketball season in North America is on hold as a player tested positive to coronavirus. We will have the details in just a moment.

And CNN is marking the 4th annual My Freedom Day with students from around the world. Throughout this hour, we will show you some of the submissions about what freedom means. And here are some students from Ecuador.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is the ability to free oneself from socially infected conventions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is doing what you like and liking what you do and it is absolute happiness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish)





CHURCH: Global financial markets are in full retreat after U.S. president Donald Trump announced new travel restrictions on Europe in a bid to slow the coronavirus spread. In a nationwide address, Wednesday night, Mr. Trump said the U.S. would block many people coming from Europe for the next 30 days.

The White House then had to scramble to clarify the new policy. U.S. futures have been down ever since. A strong indication that Wall Street sell offs of recent days are not over yet.

Let's get reaction to President Trump's new travel restrictions on Europe, CNN's Melissa Bell is at the airport in Rome.

Of course, Italy is already in lockdown across the country as a result of the soaring death toll. Talk to us about the situation there and the reaction to the travel ban.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Airports like this, the main Rome international airport, were already really quiet because of that lockdown.

[02:15:00] BELL: So many airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, had already canceled all of their flights in and out. We see on the board inside here are already very quiet boards, with a list of departures.

And there are lots of canceled flights as well. But of course, the latest news came in the middle of the night. So one of the flights that is due to leave here this morning, to New York, in just a few hours' time, many people will be arriving, waking up to the news of what has happened with all these questions regarding the details of it exactly, who is allowed to leave, who allowed in the United States, what kind of screening are they going to get, what happens to permanent residents.

People will begin arriving for that flight to New York soon, many of them are simply not get able to get on. So a great deal of confusion this morning. Of course, you'd expect exactly what is going to happen to those Europeans, for instance, who had been hoping to travel to the United States.

Also that loophole regarding United Kingdom. We are going to have a lot of questions about whether people are going to try and head to London and onto the United States, given that there is that exemption for that country.

So as Europe wakes up to this news and especially in countries like Italy that already were hit so hard by the restrictions and the lockdown, what happens to those people hoping to get back to the United States or get to the United States in the next few days?

You can imagine it will be on the very quiet scenes we've seen in the last few days and a lot of chaos later on.

CHURCH: Still a lot of questions to be answered. A lot of surprise there, Melissa Bell bringing us the very latest from the very quiet Rome airport. Appreciate that.

Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks has announced that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. They are currently in Australia, working on a movie about Elvis Presley, and among more than 120 confirmed cases there.

Hanks posted on Instagram that they have slight fevers, body aches and felt tired, adding "Well, now, what to do next?

"Officials have protocols that must be followed, we Hanks will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it, than a one day at a time approach, no?"

With cities around the globe restricting large group gatherings, many are asking what they can do to protect themselves. Brian Todd has details on the steps public health experts are advising.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Seattle, market and restaurant traffic has slowed to a trickle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are seeing at least a 50 percent to 70 percent drop with tourists coming through the market and our sales.

TODD (voice-over): Washington state's governor has just announced a ban in three counties of gatherings of 250 people or more.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): Parades, concerts, festivals, conventions, fund-raisers and similar activities of that dimension are prohibited as we go forward.

TODD (voice-over): But Washington state is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. For the rest of the country, there important new advice from public health experts regarding our favorite places to gather in public.

TODD: Can we do something like go a restaurant for dinner and if we do, how do we modify our behavior?

ERIN SORRELL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: I think if we are a healthy adult that doesn't have underlying health conditions, going to a restaurant is perfectly fine. Thinking about washing your hands before you eat and also considering the cleanliness of the restaurant, making sure surfaces are wiped down and clean before you sit down to a meal.

TODD (voice-over): Experts say the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, including heart or lung disease, diabetes, should stay away from those places for a while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to start to cocoon themselves and try and avoid as much nonessential social contact as possible.

TODD (voice-over): What about going to the movies?

Or to church where we could be sitting with up to 200 people, in close proximity for maybe two hours at a time?

Precautions are advised.

SORRELL: Wash your hands; if you are sick I would stay at home. Regardless of what you have. If you have an influenza like illness, the common cold, stay home.

TODD (voice-over): Wandering around our local mall is lower risk because we are in motion. But always try and stay a few feet from others.

Our common travel, taking trains, cabs, rideshares and buses to work, traveling by plane are still OK for normally healthy people, according to experts. But now try to wipe off handles and armrest with sanitary wipes or wash your hands after you touch them. Remember one thing about planes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not the whole airplane that is infected of one person's coughing, it is usually just the rows surrounding that person. So it is important not to panic about that if you are on a plane and someone is coughing in the front and you are in the back.

TODD (voice-over): Some of our favorite larger public gatherings are already affected.

SORRELL: The virus spread through large droplets and close contact, so sporting events or large events, it is a perfect opportunity for the virus to potentially spread to average people.

TODD: Another question often asked is just how long do we have to modify our behavior when going out in public?


TODD: Health experts say we will probably have to do this at least until the end of the spring but they also say that some of those basic behaviors, like washing your hands a lot before you eat in a restaurant, wiping down surfaces with a sanitizer, in a plane or train, it is good to continue those things indefinitely -- Brian Todd, CNN. Washington.


CHURCH: People around the world have a lot of questions about the coronavirus and we have an expert joining us to answer some of those questions. Dr. Peter Rabinowitz is the director of the University of Washington Center for One Health Research.

Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Let's go through some of these fewer questions, starting with this one.

Somehow in less than a week, we have reached 500 cases in the Netherlands. two weeks ago, half of the country was celebrating Carnival.

Is the false sense of security the elephant in the room?

And is it the riskiest factor of the coronavirus?

RABINOWITZ: It's one of the factors, I think we are still learning about this virus. But if you're in the Netherlands and look a little bit to the east to your neighbor in Italy, you see what happens when the virus continues to spread within the country.

And the measures they're having to take right now to try and slow down the spread of it, so this is not a virus to be taken lightly. And we are not by any means over the hump of the full impact of this epidemic.

CHURCH: Doctor, here is the next question.

Is it almost true that young children under age 5 have more protection from getting the coronavirus?

RABINOWITZ: Some of the most serious cases have occurred in older people and people with medical conditions. But children can get it and, no matter what age you are, you really don't want to get this virus. Even if you are not seriously, ill it can be unpleasant virus to get and you can give it to other people.

Nobody is immune right now except for people who have recovered, perhaps they have some immunity but everyone else is at risk of getting this virus, no matter what age you are and you really want to avoid getting it at all costs.

CHURCH: Another viewer question, can this virus be transmitted on products and products coming in from other countries?

RABINOWITZ: I'm not aware of any evidence of that happening through an imported product but we do know that the virus can survive on surfaces. And depending on the environmental conditions it may survive on services for hours or days. So that good cleaning of surfaces wherever there have been infected people is important.

But a chance of it coming in through an imported product after sitting in a warehouse, is much lower than touching a surface that has recently been contaminated by an infected person.

CHURCH: Doctor, this question keeps popping up.

But can you catch the virus from a pet?

RABINOWITZ: We do know in this case that there has been a dog that had a weakly positive test and it may have been infected by a person. There is no evidence to my knowledge of pets infecting people.

But we do need to realize that these are animal viruses and as we deal with this outbreak and this epidemic, which has now been called a pandemic, we need to also think about preventing the next pandemic, which is to prevent more viruses from coming from wildlife into food animals and into people.

To do that we have to think about preserving biodiversity and wildlife habitat around the world, stopping at deforestation and looking at our food systems. But that is an important issue. Right now, it is less to worry about in terms of getting it.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Appreciate those answers to our viewer questions. Doctor, this country's top infectious disease researcher, Dr. Anthony Fauci, spoke at a congressional hearing on Wednesday and said this about the coronavirus. Let's take a listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. I think that is something that people can get their arms around and understand.


CHURCH: Dr. Fauci trying to send a very clear message about just how deadly this COVID-19 is.

At the same time, government officials, including the U.S. president, keep comparing the coronavirus to the flu but as we just heard there it is 10 times more deadly than the flu.

Is that message getting across?

And just how worried should people be about this?

RABINOWITZ: I think people should be worried and I think we can compare it to the flu sometimes, saying we need to do things like handwashing and everything else when you cough, not shaking hands as much, all things which are good for the flu as well. But this is a much deadlier virus, I agree with Dr. Fauci.


RABINOWITZ: And we are not by any means seeing the end of this pandemic. We are going to continue to see more cases in the United States, in Europe and it will be more disruption as with the recent ban on air travel.

And if that gives you a false sense of security, that is not good because the flu is very different and we have vaccines, antiviral medication if you get sick. Many people already have some immunity because they have had the flu before.

This is a brand new virus, we have no vaccine, we have no treatment and people do not have immunity from previous infections. It is a dangerous virus that we have to take seriously.

CHURCH: Dr. Rabinowitz, thank you so much for joining us and answering so many of our questions. We do appreciate it.

RABINOWITZ: It's a pleasure.

CHURCH: Some very important points raised there and just this note, CNN will be hosting another global town hall about the pandemic with chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, sharing useful facts on the coronavirus on Thursday at 10:00 pm in New York, Friday at 10:00 in the morning in Hong Kong.

We will be right back.




CHURCH: As the coronavirus crisis escalates, the Italian government is taking extreme measures. Right now Italy is Europe's worst hit country, it has more than 12,000 cases after it saw the big 24 hour increase since the outbreak began.

The government is now ordering the closure of all restaurants, bars and shops. Only grocery stores and pharmacies can stay open. To cushion the blow, Italy's government will set aside more than $28 billion to support families and companies. As life under lockdown intensifies, CNN's Ben Wedeman looks at how Italians are coping.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside the intensive care unit in a hospital in northern Italy, doctors and nurses struggle with what they say is a tsunami of new patients. Every day brings ever more new cases, ever more deaths.


Despite it all, the few tourists left in the northern city of Bologna pursue La Dolce Vita though many sites are now closed.

CAROLINA VERSAU, BRAZILIAN TOURIST: Italy is so beautiful outside, but I think inside it's better, but I have next, I think.

WEDEMAN: This country of 60 million souls is now in theory under lockdown. Movement is restricted, schools and universities closed, public gatherings prohibited, and all sporting events canceled.

FILIPPO BASSI, TEACHER: Every day, this main square is full of people that are talking with each other, very close, kissing, hand shakings, you don't see that now, so of course, it's like the (INAUDIBLE).

WEDEMAN: The bubonic plague killed thousands here in the 17th century. Bologna and went on to prosper. The cafes in the cities normally bustling central Piazza Maggiore are empty or they usual, yet the few patrons are hardly panicking. Life must go on. The dogs still need to get out.

Two dark clouds hover over Italy at the moment. Of course, there's coronavirus, but many people here are in fact more worried over the long term impact the virus will have on the economy. Business has all been evaporated. And if draconian measures are what it takes to bring it back, some say, so be it.

We have to face the emergency with the strictest measures like they did in China, says Alessandra Cavallero. It's a dictatorship but they did the right thing.

Across the street. Emanuela Pinatti says more should be done. I would be fine with the total 20 days shut down, she tells me, because afraid work is gone badly. It's bad, but the city has seen worse. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Bologna, Northern Italy.


CHURCH: Well, pro basketball is on hold in the United States. The NBA has suspended their regular season games following a player testing positive for the virus. The result came back just before the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were about to play Wednesday night. CNN Sports Carolyn Manno joins me now from New York with more on this.

Carolyn, good to see you. It is, of course, a historic decision, isn't it, with a lot of money on the line. What are the likely consequences of this decision?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good to be with you, Rosemary. You're right. It's completely unprecedented. And honestly, the consequences are nearly too far to count. The ripple effect is going to be extraordinary. I would say maybe the largest consequence at this hour, at least, is that you're going to see other leagues domestically in the United States continue to follow suit.

Logistically and financially, this has been a complete nightmare. And now that there is a player who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, at least preliminarily, you're going to see other leagues follow the NBA's lead. They set the precedent here. A lot of people have questions, fans are disappointed. I think we'll get more answers as to what happens to the fans' ticket refunds, that sort of thing in the coming days.

But even the superstar of the sport and the voice of the players LeBron James, I think, is expressing what many people feel right now. He sent out a tweet just a short time ago that let everybody know where he was at. And this is what it said. He said, "Man, we're canceling sporting events, and school, office, work, et cetera, et cetera. All we really need to do is cancel the year 2020. It's been a rough three months. God bless and stay safe."

Of course, that alluding partially to the difficulty of losing his friend Kobe Bryant. The NBA mourning that loss and now this with the league coming to a complete standstill. And the scariest part about it is that right now, Rosemary, at this hour, there is no timetable for when or if the league could pick back up and begin again. They just don't know. Here's what one NBA coach had to say.


LLOYD PIERCE, HEAD COACH, ATLANTA HAWKS: Obviously, health is the main concern for everyone, and we're not exempt from that. And with tonight's event, just understanding that someone in the league has caught the virus, you know, I think we were trying to prevent that moment, and it happened anyways. And so that's the right move.

You know, I think fear, when you start worrying about, you know what's happening or what could happen, that's the -- that's the wrong thing to do, trying to play games and trying to bring people into the stadium. So it was expected.


MANNO: Rosemary, that's Lloyd Pierce, the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. And just one other note about a player potentially being contagious here, the thing about athletes and I think the thing that's scary domestically for a lot of these leagues is that they are around each other so much, their immune systems are often weakened by just the fatigue that they pick up over the course of the season. They travel all the time, and they exchanged a lot of bodily fluids on the floor.

As you can see, fans reacting, this was just shocking to the entire sports world to see players exiting the arenas and fans not really knowing what's going to happen from here.


CHURCH: Yes, it's so right. And it has been a tough year and we're only in March. We'll keep an eye on all of this. Carolyn Manno, many thanks to you for bringing us up to date on that situation. I appreciate it. Well, a husband and wife who will quarantine for nearly a month in Japan are finally back home in the United States. And CNN's Will Ripley caught up with them as they prepare to leave. He joins me now from Tokyo.

So, Will, what an experience for this American couple. What did they tell you, and of course, what advice do they have for the rest of us?

WIL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, they're going back to a country that in many ways is unrecognizable from the one they left. The coronavirus crisis now escalating in the United States. Kent and Rebecca Frasure were among the first Americans in the world to be affected by this firsthand because Rebecca tested positive. Her message as she returns home, don't be afraid to live.


RIPLEY: We've been following Kent and Rebecca Frasure for more than a month. This is our first time all together.

It's surreal to be sitting here seeing both of you in person.


RIPLEY: Their luxury cruise on the Diamond Princess turned into a holiday from hell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know how long you have to stay in the hospital.

RIPLEY: Rebecca tested positive for coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he is negative.

RIPLEY: Kent tested negative. She went to the hospital, he stayed behind.

How long was it actually that you were separated?

R. FRASURE: 28 days.

RIPLEY: That's nearly a month in isolation in this hermetically sealed hospital room.

R. FRASURE: Good to see you. You're live.

RIPLEY: When Kent finally got off the ship, this was as close as he could get.

Did you guys add up how many test kits were used between the two of you?

R. FRASURE: Yes, it was close to 20.



RIPLEY: They worry the U.S. won't have enough of those test kits.

KENT FRASURE, FORMERLY QUARANTINED ON CRUISE SHIP: With so many people started getting tested that, you need even millions and millions.

R. FRASURE: There's so much panic and so much like, you know, just a general fear within the population.

RIPLEY: That fear, Rebecca says, is more dangerous than the virus itself. Like most patients, she fully recovered. Her advice --

R. FRASURE: Don't be afraid to live for one, and wash your hands. For the love of God, wash your hands.

RIPLEY: Now, it's time for Kent and Rebecca to go home. They fly out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport. It seems every surface is sanitized. Every employee wears a mask. The only thing missing, passengers. It's the emptiest I've ever seen.

They carry paperwork from the U.S. and Japanese government's certifying your both negative, both safe to fly.

K. FRASURE: It's been such a long journey.


K. FRASURE: It felt like this day would never come.

RIPLEY: Now, back home to Oregon. Back to the cats.

R. FRASURE: Back to the cats. They're going to be so angry.

RIPLEY: They carry a message of hope from the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. They survived and so can you.


RIPLEY: In many ways, they were less fearful of this virus after Rebecca tested positive because they learned that the vast majority of patients who catch it do recover. And yes, there are people in high- risk groups who get very sick and people have died and precautions need to be taken.

But at the same time, you know, this anxiety and fear that people carry with them can sometimes be more destructive than the virus itself. So the Frasures, their advice for their neighbors and people watching is just take a deep breath and remember, life goes on and wash your hands.

CHURCH: Yes. Washing of the hands is critical for everyone. Will Ripley, many thanks to you for following that couple. I'm glad they're home even though it is a changed world for them. And many thanks to live report there from Tokyo. I appreciate it.

Well, South Korea is reporting six new deaths due to the virus. It also has close to 8000 confirmed cases. Now, the numbers may seem high but easy access to testing could have driven those numbers of reported cases. And CNN's Ivan Watson has that.



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, South Korea has aggressively tested for the disease. With the help of drive-through testing facilities that speed up the process, South Korea has already tested more than 220,000 people. The quick rollout made possible thanks to fast work by Korean biotech companies like Seegene which gave CNN exclusive access to its research facilities.

This is the laboratory where a team of scientists came up with the test kit for diagnosing coronavirus. And they did it in under three weeks.

When we started, we did not expect either this kind of the pandemic or outbreak will happened in Korea. Nobody expected it at all.

Chun Jong-Yoon is the founder and CEO of Seegene, a company that designs and sells test kits to identify at least 116 different kinds of diseases. In mid-January, Chun says he first instructed his researchers to invent a new test for coronavirus, which was then starting its deadly spread across China.

So you guys were already working on Coronavirus before the first confirmed case of the illness in South Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just hearing the news from China, we thought it will be impacted on the Korean peninsula. So we thought that there is emergence cases.

WATSON: The molecular microbiologists got to work without ever having a physical sample of the virus. Instead, they relied on a genetic blueprint of the new virus distributed by the World Health Organization and health officials in China, highlighting three specific genes. Seegene's scientists then had to come up with a way of spotting those coronavirus genes in future samples taken from patients.

Was there more pressure than usual?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because it's an emergence case, rapidly spread in the coronavirus into our country.

WATSON: Not long ago, it would have taken Seegene two months to a year to come up with a test. But using artificial intelligence --

You were able to come up with a test in less than two weeks?

CHUN: Right.

WATSON: That's pretty quick.

CHUN: Very quick.

WATSON: Chun says on February 12th, the Korean government fast-tracked approval of the new coronavirus test kit less than a month after Seegene started working on it. These six vials, some of which only contain a teardrop worth of solution are what you need to conduct tests on 100 patients for coronavirus.

And that can be completed in just four hours. Seegene is now working overtime, even drafting scientists with PhDs to work on the assembly line.

That's how much demand there is right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, crazy demand. Not only from domestic market, also, you know, from the overseas market.

WATSON: The demand is urgent because identifying coronavirus is one of the best ways to stop the spread of this disease. Ivan Watson, CNN, Seoul.


CHURCH: Incredible. Well, we'll take a short break here. But still to come, 16 more years, a change in Russian law means President Vladimir Putin could be president until 2036, and many in Russia are not happy about that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe freedom is the ability for me to say, to think, and express myself in my own way without fear of judgment from outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is the act of being free and not being controlled by anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is doing whatever you want, anytime you want. Believing whatever you want, and no one can infringe your right to do what you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is the ability to express what you need to express.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Russia's parliament is backing new measures that could allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in office until 2036. Those who don't support the bill are not staying quiet. CNN's Matthew Chance reports now from Moscow.


MATTHEWS CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is Russia's parliament basically paving the way for Vladimir Putin to potentially stay on as Russian President Until 2036. He's already been in power, of course for 20 years. And after his current presidential term ends in 2024, he's constitutionally barred from standing again.

Putin has already been elected president four times, and he's twice been Prime Minister. But these latest amendments would reset to zero his number of presidential terms, allowing him the possibility of staying into -- stay in office for two more six-year periods. By the end of which, the Russian leader is now 67, would be 83 years old.

Well, as you might expect, opposition figures in Russia have expressed outrage. Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says he believes Putin will now try to become president for life. And opposition activists say that organizing protests later this week against the move to allow Putin to stay on.

Well, the measures which have now been passed by both houses of the Russian parliament still have to jump over a few more legal hurdles before they become law, including scrutiny by the country's constitutional court. And finally, a public vote on April the 22nd, in which Russians themselves could decide whether they want to potentially keep Vladimir Putin as their leader. Matthew Chance, CNN Moscow.


CHURCH: Well, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was taken to a New York hospital just hours after he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. The 67-year-old convicted sex offender was transferred there after experiencing chest pains at Rikers Island jail. It capped off an eventful day for Weinstein as our Jean Casarez reports.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judge James Burke issued a sentence of 23 years in prison for Harvey Weinstein. Criminal sexual act in the first degree, the maximum was 25 years. The judge issued a 20-year sentence. And rape in the third degree, the maximum is four years. The judge issued a sentence of three years.

In the front row on the prosecution side were all six female accusers that had testified against Weinstein during the trial. At this moment they were overcome with emotion. There was crying. Actress Annabella Sciorra actually hugged Gloria Allred. Harvey Weinstein had a blank stare when that sentence came down.

But moments before that he had spoken to the court with probably the most emotional things we have ever heard him say. He told the judge, I really feel remorse. I feel it deeply in my heart. I will spend my time caring and really trying to be a better person.

The prosecution had asked for the maximum term of imprisonment saying that Harvey Weinstein was drunk on power because of the immense success that he had gotten in the Hollywood community. The defense had argued for five years in prison saying with his age, and his health, and no criminal convictions and the charity work he had done, five years was appropriate.

After the sentencing, they said that the sentence imposed was wrong. It was unfair. Harvey Weinstein will have to register as a criminal sex offender. Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.



CHURCH: The coronavirus outbreak is impacting America's universities and schools in a dramatic way. We will take a look at the extreme measures being taken to protect students and faculty when we come back.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the world of sport can't outrun the reach of the coronavirus. America's National Basketball Association is suspending its season after a player tested positive for the virus. But the country's March Madness college basketball tournament will continue without fans in the stands.

In hard-hit Italy, all sporting events have been suspended until at least April 3rd. A player for Italian soccer champion Juventus has tested positive for coronavirus. And talk about defeating the purpose of social distancing, Paris St Germain may have played a football match in front of empty seats Wednesday, but that didn't stop their supporters from partying in true fanatical fashion outside the stadium in Paris.

And social distancing is also in effect at American universities and schools. CNN's Athena Jones takes a look at the extreme measures being taken and how students are reacting.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A growing number of colleges and universities suspending classes. As Harvard's campus empties out at the end of this week for spring break, students living on campus are being asked to pack up their things and leave until further notice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're making us move out by Sunday morning -- Sunday morning at 5:00 p.m. from all the dorms. But I think we have to stay calm and that's what we're doing.

JONES: Harvard's decision to move all in-person classes online was not taken lightly. The university president says -- President Lawrence Bacow telling students, "We are doing this not just to protect you, but also to protect other members of our community who may be more vulnerable to this disease than you are."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I definitely understand the precaution. It's definitely coming from like a young person who may be the corona threat isn't as pressing for me, upsetting that I maybe won't be able to finish my freshman year the way I wanted to, but I also like sympathize and understand like where the university is coming from.

JONES: Georgetown University announcing similar measures. From coast to coast, schools are suspending or even canceling in personal classes, opting instead to teach remotely, including schools like Duke, Yale, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Schools are heeding the advice of top infectious disease experts to take caution with high population areas. Limiting in-person interaction with a disease can move quickly.

FAUCI: Start seriously looking at this kind of mitigation. They call it social distancing, but it's common sense stuff. You don't want to go to a massive gathering, particularly if you're a vulnerable person.

JONES: Some K through 12 schools also temporarily closing across the country. All Seattle public schools closing for a minimum of 14 days, as well as Elk Grove Unified School District in Northern California. North Shore school district in Western Washington in closing and moving classes online.

In New Rochelle, New York one of the hardest-hit parts of the country, multiple schools will be closed for the next two weeks.


HOWARD ZUCKER, HEALTH COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK: One of the places where people gather together particularly is the school systems in schools and other areas, events, and daily or weekly activities. And we believe that the most important thing from a public health standpoint is to minimize that.

JONES: We've also learned that a teacher at the United Nations International School in Manhattan has tested positive for COVID-19. That teacher had not traveled internationally in the last few months. Now, two schools are closed until Spring Break starts on March 20th. Bottom line, this is a trend that doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. Social distancing and virtual instruction are becoming the rule here at Harvard and at schools all across the country. Athena Jones, CNN, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. But first, some more highlights from young people sharing their thoughts on My Freedom Day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, freedom is the freedom to dance and the freedom to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom for me is knowing that I can achieve anything even though I come from Kibra.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom for me is getting education.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, freedom is when you're free to do something and there's no one that can stop you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be free is to be happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are protesting against human trafficking and especially we are raising our voice for children because 50.6 percent of human trafficking involves children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is doing what you'd like and liking what you do is absolute happiness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, freedom is being able to decide what I want to do with my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, freedom is to choose who I spend my time with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is to save us from hunger and starvation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is to save us from coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is a chance to be better.

CROWD: Freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, freedom is when society will accept me from what I am. Because first, I'm a part of the LGBTQ community, so sometimes people discriminate from what I am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means to be able to make live life without the fear of being kidnapped and tortured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, freedom is being able to make my own choices for my life and future career.

KIDS: Freedom.