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EARLY START

Trump Restricts Travel From Europe to U.S.; Futures Pointing Down After Another Big Drop; How Coronavirus Changes the World. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 12, 2020 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[05:00:05]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: An extraordinary move to curb the spread of coronavirus. Why the White House had to walk some of that back moments later.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The president's plan did not calm the markets, not at all. Futures are way down this morning a day after the bull market ended its 11-year run.

ROMANS: The effects are big and getting bigger. A million students are out of school. The NBA season is on hold. March Madness will have no fans and the NBA suspended its season. And Tom Hanks has coronavirus.

We have reports this morning from the White House, London, Berlin, Shanghai and Rome.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START, everyone.

I'm Christine Romans. I do not like what I'm seeing in those futures markets. It's going to be an ugly day in Wall Street.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, March 12th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And breaking overnight, President Trump taking drastic steps to curb the spread of coronavirus in the United States. Until now, he's repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus, contradicting his own public health officials and even claiming it will just go away.

With cases in the U.S. now almost 1,300, the president delivered a somber Oval Office address finally, finally acknowledging the gravity of the situation and yet at the same time mischaracterizing his own policies. Even though he was reading from a teleprompter and he didn't answer the most basic of questions about a path forward.

ROMANS: He put blame for a global problem squarely on countries overseas. He falsely claimed insurers would waive all co-pays for treatment. He failed to give any real update on testing nationwide.

The president's boldest move sharply restricting travel to the U.S. from more than two dozen European countries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: But within minutes of saying that the administration was forced to admit the restrictions are not quite as extreme as the president made it out to seem. Exemptions apply to all U.S. legal permanent residents, citizens and some family members.

Overnight, the State Department raised the worldwide travel advisory level, urging all-Americans to reconsider travel abroad. The president's announcement causing major havoc for travelers already at airports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aer Lingus is going to probably come out with a commercial policy like most international airlines at some point in the next 24 hours. The only thing that we really can do here for you is if you really don't want to go -- listen, we're not going to make you go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: President Trump's address was the highest level reaction to a public health crisis that has engulfed the White House, caused global turmoil in financial markets, and disrupted every day lives.

Global markets dropping after the 11-minute speech from the president, after he announced the 30 day travel restriction. Look at markets around the world, really tough, tough day in Asian markets. They are close now. European markets have opened sharply lower. No surprise there. This will disrupt America's allies there.

And Wall Street pointing to more trouble ahead, futures down sharply here. Even proposed payroll tax to keep money in people's pockets did not help. Bull market confidence has been shattered. The Dow's 11-year bull market came to an end, finishing more than 20 percent lower from its high in February, the S&P 500 barely hanging on, briefly reaching bear market territory. Midway, it looks like it will smash into a bear market today, in heavy selling on Wall Street.

The market reaction in the weeks coronavirus headlines confirm a new reality. There are more cases. We are practicing social distancing. We are canceling school and events. These are things that grind the economy to a halt.

The president tried to sound a unifying tone last night, but his claims the last few weeks have been anything but that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're doing a great job with it. And it will go away, just stay calm. It will stay away.

Blindsided the world and I think we've handled it very, very well.

We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work but they get better.

Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus.

When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There are now almost 1,300 cases.

Look, after weeks of upbeat assessments, the White House is catching up to the markets. More than half of the S&P's gains since Trump took office are gone. Airlines and cruise lines cut in half. At Amtrak, futures bookings down 50 percent, cancellations up 300 percent. Boeing, the bluest of blue chip stocks less 18 percent yesterday.

Vicious selloffs. Treasury bonds also signaling a global recession.

JARRETT: Well, in an unprecedented move, the NBA shutting down the season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus.

[05:05:06]

Andy Scholes joins us now with more.

I mean, Andy, this is a huge, huge deal. Not just obviously for the fans but the revenue.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, huge deal, guys. Something we've never seen before. As for now, the NBA season on hold. We don't know when it will be back. This all unfolded very quickly last night.

The Thunder and the Jazz, they were on the court in Oklahoma City ready to play their game but right before tipoff, they were pulled off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The game tonight has been postponed. You're all safe and -- take your time in leaving the arena tonight. Do so in an orderly fashion. Thank you for coming out tonight. We are all safe. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: The NBA then releasing a statement saying a Jazz player had tested positive for coronavirus and following tonight's game, the rest of the season was suspended.

There were games already in action when the NBA sent that statement out. This was Mavs owner Mark Cuban when he saw the news about the season shutting down, this was his reaction.

Cuban saying after the game that all of this was unreal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK CUBAN, DALLAS MAVERICKS OWNER: This is something out of a movie and you just don't expect it to happen in real life, but that's the randomness of the world we live in. So, it's stunning, but we are where we are. And we have to be smart in how we respond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now, the Kings and Pelicans were supposed to play last night, but that game was canceled because one of the officials had ref'd the Jazz game on Monday.

Now, the NBA is never been shut down like this, and here's what some of the coaches around the league had to say about the unprecedented move.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DWANE CASEY, PISTONS HEAD COACH: Here it is, a player that is in our league and a lot of players have come in contact with. So that's a concern. And that's the prudent -- that's why it's prudent for Adam to, you know, suspend the season until we get ahold of it, get a grasp of it.

LLOYD PIERCE, HAWKS HEAD COACH: Obviously, health is the main concern for everyone and we're not exempt from that. 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now, LeBron James tweeting about the news. Man, we are canceling sporting events, school, office work, et cetera, et cetera. What we really need to do is cancel 2020. Damn, it's been a rough three months. God bless and stay safe.

For now, the NCAA tournament will go on but no fans will be allowed. Only team personnel and family will be allowed to be at the games. NCAA president Mark Emmert saying in a statement, while I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States. Emmert adding that they will continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.

Now, all the major conference basketball tournaments going on now following suit, they also restricting fans from their games starting today.

You know, guys, back to the NBA. In the last ten days, the Jazz, they played the Cavaliers, the Knicks, Celtics, the Pistons, the Raptors. So, that player that had coronavirus came into close contact with all of those players who then went on to play teams around the league. So, really, this is not just a Utah jazz problem.

ROMANS: No.

SCHOLES: All of the teams in the league, all of the players have come into contact with this and that's why the NBA is forced to shut down.

ROMANS: That's why this is called a pandemic. This is what it looks like.

All right. Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Allies in Europe simply blindsided by the president's travel ban. CNN is live in London.

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[05:13:15]

JARRETT: Welcome back.

European officials say they were completely blindsided by President Trump's announcement on new travel restrictions.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live in London with more.

Nic, what are you hearing this morning from European officials? Obviously, they were caught off guard.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, really, this wasn't something that had been communicated to them. It wasn't something they were expecting. They're all going through making these tough decisions themselves about what countries that they should restrict their own citizens from traveling to, et cetera, and other citizens traveling to their countries. That's -- the British government, for example, is having one of its top level emergency cabinet meetings on that issue.

The Irish prime minister says he still plans to visit the United States for the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. He will still meet with president Trump but it will be downgraded. Not the official handing over of the shamrock as part of that annual celebration.

But the reality is across Europe and there will be consternation about this because, for example, within all those countries that President Trump has lumped from Europe, Lithuania has only had three, so far, coronavirus cases, whereas Ireland had 43. The United Kingdom has had 459.

So, the logic doesn't entirely add up, but I think perhaps what the president is doing, and we can see that there's a certain logic to it here, that the countries that he is saying can no longer travel after Friday night, the citizens can no longer travel after midnight Friday to the United States are all part of the Schengen bloc of countries in Europe, those countries that you can travel between with no formal border.

[05:15:02]

So people can travel around. So while Italy has high coronavirus infection right now, that means potentially, it can spread further in Europe. But the hard reality is here in the United Kingdom there's a real expectation that the U.K. could follow a similar path to Italy as well and become as badly infected.

JARRETT: That's a great point. Nic, thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right. The World Health Organization is now calling the spread of coronavirus a pandemic. Overnight California joined Washington state in banning gatherings of more than 250 people.

Oscar winner Tom Hanks revealing he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, tested positive for coronavirus. In an Instagram post, Hanks said they contracted it in Australia. He's there for pre-production on the film about Elvis Presley.

The virus is disrupting the work lives of millions. Twitter now requiring its nearly 5,000 employees to work from home. Other big companies inside and outside the hot spots have done the same.

JARRETT: Overnight, Starbucks told customers in some stores, it will begin limiting sitting to improve social distancing. In some cases, only the drive thru will be opened.

A D.C. staffer from the office Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has tested positive becoming the first publicly known case among congressional staffers. Late night comics like Steven Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee all announcing they will tape without live audiences.

St. Patrick's Day parades in Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., all called off. New York City's parade was postponed but a new date hasn't been announced. Same in Chicago where officials say the city's parade and iconic river dying will move to a later date.

ROMANS: So, a programming note for you. Join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a second CNN global town hall "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears", tonight at 10:00 Eastern only on CNN.

Still ahead, the epicenter of the outbreak in China reporting a major drop in cases, but wait until you hear what the national security advisor says about the Chinese response.

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[05:21:23]

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, President Trump sharply restricting travel to the U.S. from more than two dozen European countries as a measure to try to contain coronavirus. After the president said he was suspending all travel for the next 30 days, the White House clarified it applies only to foreign nationals, nearing restrictions applied to China just last month.

JARRETT: The president framed the outbreak as, quote, a foreign virus, trying to pin it -- the blame for it elsewhere. But now the original epicenter of the outbreak, Hubei province in China, is reporting its lowest number of new deaths and cases in months.

CNN's David Culver is live in Shanghai for us.

And, David, the national security advisor here essentially trying to say the U.S. response was slow because China had some sort of cover- up?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Made those comments at the Heritage Foundation, Robert O'Brien, the White House national security advisor, suggesting that the cover-up in China is what put the rest of the world behind in responding here.

Now, this is not going over too well here in China we should point out. One of the things we stressed in our reporting, Laura, was that there were concerns of cover-up, there were concerns of underreporting at the epicenter of all this, within the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, and as the province -- in the province as a whole.

And what changed was the central government stepped in, fired several top party leaders within the provincial level and at the city level, pushed them, and treat it as like a military operation, begin opening the field hospitals, begin mobilizing in some of the military medical units and begin providing protective gear at a mass production level.

So, that was the turn around. There have been concerns we've reported on about the cover-up. However, to say that it goes the extent of two months and that the U.S. wasn't paying attention as this was all was going on is concerning here.

And the Chinese foreign ministries responding to these comments as well to suggest that they are to blame for the origin of this. In fact, I'm just going through a statement that was released by the foreign ministry, the spokesperson saying there, that we hope at this time, a few U.S. officials concentrate on responding to the epidemic situation and promoting cooperation instead of shifting blame on China. They go on to say the behavior is immoral, irresponsible and it does nothing to help the prevention and control of the outbreak in the United States.

I will say state media here has been floating this idea that the source of this virus is not Wuhan, that it did not originate in China. They haven't said where it originated but we're seeing this back-and- forth, and perhaps a shifting of blame on both sides to be quite honest, Laura, but I think everyday folks are just looking at this and suggesting, hey, we don't care where this started, let's just end it.

JARRETT: And certainly China has nothing to do with the fact that the U.S. has been slow on testing its own citizens.

CULVER: Right.

JARRETT: All right. David Culver, thanks so much.

ROMANS: So, Italy remains on lockdown this morning. The Piazza de Duomo in Milan clearly showing the effects. A busy town square before and after. Now, Italy is tightening the shutdown even further nationwide.

CNN's Melissa Bell joins us live from the airport in Rome.

And just pharmacies and grocery stores the only thing open, is that right?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It means what we're seeing is everyday practically the Italian authorities having to add new levels of restrictions to trying to bring these numbers under control after Monday's announcement of that countrywide lockdown. This latest move, everything but those essential grocery stores and pharmacies, now locked down.

This, of course, as the number of cases jumped again yesterday, more than 2,000 announced the number of deaths, as a result of coronavirus, as well, Christine, the largest jump since the outbreak began and nearly 200 extra deaths reported in that 24-hour period.

[05:25:04]

Still, this is not a country that has the thing under control. These lockdown measures the prime minister warned will take a bit of time to show.

Now, here in Rome International Airport, already, so many international airlines have stopped flying in and out as a result of the decree on Monday. And the American Airlines, America Delta Airlines have just stopped flying in and out of Italy altogether.

Now we're hearing as a result of this travel ban announced by Donald Trump overnight, that some of the European airlines, so Al Italia, which was one of the last carriers to fly out of Italy towards United States will be having its flight today ahead of that travel ban coming into effect, which means that a lot of Americans might be iffy figuring out pretty quick how they can get themselves on their flights or and -- this is one of the big loopholes, how do they get themselves to London and still get themselves back to the United States.

ROMANS: All right. Melissa Bell, just remarkable. Thank you for that. JARRETT: Well, the president trying to ease coronavirus concerns with

an Oval Office address after saying for days it would just go away. What he said, what he did not say had the markets rattled again this morning. Fallout reaching the NBA, NCAA, even Tom Hanks.

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