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Long Lines As U.S. Travelers Return; France And Spain Restrict Movement To Stop Spread Of COVID-19; Inside Hospital At Epicenter Of New York Outbreak; Pandemic Lessons For The U.S.; Third NBA Player Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Travelers Consider Taking Risks. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired March 15, 2020 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Chaos across the United States as international travelers come home to endless lines, close quarters and a lack of preparation. We'll have the latest.
Well, businesses across Europe are closing their doors as sweeping new restrictions kick in. We go live to Paris.
And things to think about before traveling abroad amid the pandemic. We're live in Hong Kong.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
COREN: We've been following the troubled chaos overnight in some of America's largest airports as the impact of the White House travel bans literally hits home.
Well, this was the scene in Chicago's O'Hare airport. Thousands of passengers coming in from multiple international flights. Forget any hope of social distancing. And hand sanitizers nowhere in sight.
Passengers describe being in line for hours before being screened for coronavirus and no one, not even staff, sure what was going on.
A short time ago, my colleague Michael Holmes spoke with a woman caught up in it all.
KATHERINE ROGERS, RETURNING TRAVELER: We got off our plane. We were directed down a hall in the international terminal. We've got on an escalator and it was just -- there were people just piled up at the bottom. And that line went all as far as the eye could see, around the corner, through the customs area and snaked around.
We went through two different Customs and Immigration checkpoints before CDC screening.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: This is clearly more than one plane.
So this was multiple planes coming in from Europe to beat the ban?
ROGERS: Yes, mostly Europe and I guess also a couple of other countries that are on the list.
M. HOLMES: Absolutely extraordinary.
What was the main holdup from your perspective?
ROGERS: We had a customs official make an announcement, work his way down the line, announcing what would happen, that we would go through multiple screenings and be checked by the CDC. He said this was at the request of the president.
He acknowledged that the situation was terrible and that there was nothing else they could do.
COREN: And it could get even worse after Monday. That's when the U.S. travel restrictions kick in for the U.K. and Ireland. The White House says President Trump has tested negative for the virus. There are now more than 2,800 cases in the country but the U.S. disease experts warn this is only the beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When this is all over and it will end, you will see a curve of how the coronavirus outbreak evolved. We have not reached our peak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: More now on how the Trump administration extended its European travel restrictions. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has the details.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: The U.K. government scrambling to make sense of new regulations from the United States, that European ban now expanded to include the U.K. and Ireland. That's 28 countries that for the next 30 days cannot have their foreign nationals traveling to the United States.
The exception is American citizens and green card holders who can travel back home as long as they undergo enhanced screening in about one of a dozen airports landing in the States.
Inside Heathrow airport, speaking to American citizens trying to make their way back home, they say they are confused. They don't know how to find new information and guidance and feel like everything is changing on them by the hour. As for the U.K. government, the foreign office saying this is a
decision for Americans. They're working hard to provide more information for British citizens.
We have seen a rise in the death toll here, over 20 people have lost their lives. There is over 1,000 confirmed cases but health experts warn there could be thousands more, up to 10,000 more cases across the country that aren't confirmed. Prime minister Boris Johnson has called on people to take common-sense measures, isolate yourself. They called this the delay phase of the pandemic.
But critics have argued that's simply not enough, that the government needs to tackle this head-on and avoid a further growth, a further spread of this pandemic before it gets worse -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.
COREN: France is closing all restaurants, cafes, cinemas and clubs to fight the coronavirus pandemic. It applies to all places that do not perform an essential function. Places of worship will remain open.
COREN: But religious ceremonies and events will be postponed. Catherine Norris-Trent joins us.
Tell us about the cases that have prompted this action.
CATHERINE NORRIS-TRENT, SENIOR REPORTER, FRANCE 24: Hello, there, Anna. Yes. There was a big spike on Saturday in France. 4,500 cases. They're only testing those with severe symptoms. And now 91 deaths from the coronavirus confirmed here in France.
And these led the French government on Saturday to announce sweeping new restrictions. All cafes, restaurants, bars and theaters ordered closed as of midnight on Saturday.
That took a lot of people by surprise. Many were still out in the streets of Paris enjoying a drink or a meal on the restaurant terraces here. When that announcement was made, it gave them four hours before the shutdown.
It's hitting home now, the severity of the situation. All schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed now. There's a real feeling that this shutdown is much more widespread here in France. All shops that are deemed to be selling nonessential items such as food and medicines are also closed, too.
So we're entering a new phase. France is initially in its stage 3 with its response to the coronavirus, which means coronavirus is actively circulating all across French territory.
COREN: Catherine Norris-Trent, thanks for the update.
The Spanish government is looking at the situation after a spike in coronavirus cases. The prime minister's wife tested positive for the infection. The restricted movement now in place have emptied the streets of Madrid. Journalist Al Goodman explains how it's changing life in the capital.
AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID CORRESPONDENT: What Spain's coronavirus state of emergency looks like in Madrid. The city of 6.6 million people told to stay home, like the whole nation.
With the restrictions, the capital is like a ghost town. This gourmet food market, which is normally packed, is closed, like all other bars and restaurants in town. But it does make it easy to get one of these tourist tuk-tuks (ph).
Spain suddenly has the second highest number of infections in Europe after Italy. Madrid is hardest hit with more than half of Spain's cases and fatalities. Prime minister Pedro Sanchez wants to slow down the pace of new infections that officials say could overwhelm hospitals.
Under the state of emergency starting late Saturday, the government banned people from leaving their homes except for a few essential activities. They can still go to food stores and pharmacies but they have to go alone.
People can go to work but driving must only be for essential activities and not for leisure.
This man out shopping for food is a medical doctor and a cancer specialist.
"I'm reasonably concerned, he says, "but also reasonably optimistic that this situation could be controlled more quickly than what is being predicted."
This butcher says clients are buying extra meat just in case. There are still supplies for now.
"As quickly as we opened we might have to close," he says. "The government says it will get worse.
Many people do not know how this will play out."
This couple arrived from Britain for a birthday celebration weekend. They are now out searching for food.
KEVIN MEEHAN, BRITISH TOURIST: I think the virus is spreading and all cities will be getting worse, maybe on lockdown sooner than we think.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it will be the same all over Europe very quickly.
GOODMAN: But the Spanish prime minister says not so fast. It will take weeks, he says, but Spaniards working together will stop the virus -- Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COREN: The Vatican is canceling Easter masses and holy week celebrations amid concerns about the virus. The WHO says Europe is the new epicenter of the disease and Italy has been the hardest hit in that region.
The White House now says it will screen anyone coming in close contact with the president or vice president for signs of fever. That resulted in one person being turned away from Saturday's press conference at the White House as the president waited for results from his coronavirus test. We get more now from CNN's Kristen Holmes.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump surprised reporters and Americans when he announced at a press conference this morning that he had decided to take the coronavirus test.
Remember this came after the president said that he wasn't too concerned, that he would probably take it but that he did not have any symptoms. Now we have the results back. We will pull up this letter for you. This came from the White House doctor late on Saturday night.
K. HOLMES: It said, "Last night after an in-depth discussion with the president regarding the COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed. This evening, I received confirmation that the test is negative."
He goes on to talk about the week after -- it's been a week since the president had dinner with the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-lago and that they'd been monitoring the president. At least one member of that delegation was positive for the coronavirus.
This is coming at a time when we had asked the president repeatedly if he was going to get tested. We asked what kind of precautions he was taking to keep himself safe. Essentially the president said he was not going to change anything. He said he would keep having those rallies.
He has since canceled some of them but he said he is going to keep shaking hands. We saw him as recently as yesterday him shaking hands with everyone in the Rose Garde, even though those whole health officials were the ones who told him not to come into contact, no handshaking, keep the social distancing.
This is clearly an effort to ramp up the reaction to the coronavirus, particularly when it comes to President Trump and his safety regarding the virus -- in Washington, I'm Kristen Holmes, CNN.
COREN: Caregivers are preparing for the worst at one of the U.S. epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak. When we return, we'll show you how one medical facility plans to keep up as the number of new patients continues to climb. (MUSIC PLAYING)
COREN: Well, imagine coming off your international flight, maybe a ticket you got last minute, as the U.S. travel ban took effect and arriving to this.
Of course, the irony is that efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading is what prompted the measure. And now you're packed shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other people at Chicago's O'Hare airport.
You heard earlier Michael Holmes talking with one of those passengers. Here's more of what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGERS: Everyone was kind of surprised. Most people got word in the middle of the night or the middle of Wednesday night, Thursday morning, wherever they were, but that something was up.
But if you called your airline and asked about what you should do -- and I am a citizen, can I come back, what do I do -- the airlines had no idea what was going on. So it was very confusing for everyone. No one knew if they needed to come home immediately or if they could even get a flight. So it was not a clear situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: This evoked anger from the Illinois governor. He tweeted to President Trump and vice president Pence, "Since this is the only communication medium you pay attention to, you need to do something now. These crowds are waiting to get through customs, which is under federal jurisdiction."
To drive the point home he added a short time later, "The federal government needs to get its s@#t together now."
State across the U.S. are beginning to utilize drive-through facilities to test for the coronavirus. New York state opened its first on Friday in the hardhit city of New Rochelle. It's home to one of the largest clusters of infections in the entire country.
And as new cases are diagnosed, hospitals in the area are preparing for a potential spike in new patients. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta gets a look at one facility at the epicenter of the state's outbreak.
DR. THERESA MADALINE, MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER: I am concerned. When we use the word pandemic, I think that tells us all it's very serious. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Theresa
Madaline is the epidemiologist who manages New Rochelle Hospital and the 10 other hospitals that make up the Montefiore health care system. She gave us a look at the hospital which is now at the center of one of the country's largest outbreaks.
On March 2nd, the first positive case appears in Westchester County, New Rochelle. A man who works in Manhattan. On March 4th, his two children and wife tested posted and then his wife and so did his neighbor.
By March 6th, the New Rochelle Hospital received its first patient. Not even a week later there are now at least 148 positive patients in the county.
GUPTA: If you look at the curves, they're like this and then like this. That's what you're preparing for here?
GUPTA: Your ICU is full.
So how are you going to handle this part of things.
MADALINE: We have plans to transferring patients to different places if we need to, plans to set up different units in areas of the hospital if we have to do that. It's a matter of keeping an eye on the situation all day, every day and being ready to push the button at any moment.
GUPTA (voice-over): Right now they have one confirmed case and six others they're closely monitoring.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started as a cold. I still don't know if I have it or not. But it started as a cold and, you know, I just want to be safe. Just got checked out.
GUPTA (voice-over): But here's the thing. With every new or suspected patient, it comes down to resources.
GUPTA: So this has become a pretty precious commodity.
GUPTA (voice-over): Ventilators, machines that can help people breathe are now in high demand. You can't just move them to any room. You need a backup power supply and an oxygen line.
MADALINE: I think sharing resources and thinking creatively, what about nationally?
I think we're going to be needing to collaborate together and thinking about this on a larger scale.
GUPTA: Are you able to keep up?
MADALINE: Right now we are but certainly things change quickly. Right now we're preparing if resources gets tight or it becomes a surge situation.
GUPTA (voice-over): That means keeping like masks under lock and key and stocking up on gowns and cleaning wipes in warehouses, all of this at a premium.
GUPTA: We saw what happened in China.
GUPTA: We hear about hospitals being filled to the brink really in Italy and tough decisions being made about patients and patient care over there.
Do you anticipate that happening here?
MADALINE: We certainly hope we won't need to make tough decisions like that but we have to be prepared to do so.
GUPTA: I imagine at some point, someone may not be able to get it because someone else may be more likely to survive or younger or healthier or whatever. That's the hardest part, I think, in all of this.
MADALINE: It's heart-wrenching. We're caregivers. We took an oath to take care of people. And to have to ration resources is a painful decision to make. When we are given a choice, we try to collectively come up with the best decisions that we can.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New Rochelle, New York.
COREN: We're now joined by Dr. Peter Drobac, a global health expert at Oxford University.
Good to see you. Let's start with Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report.
The fact is, is America's hospital system prepared for what it's about to face?
DR. PETER DROBAC, GLOBAL HEALTH EXPERT, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't that it is yet. Obviously a lot of work is going into it now. We've been a little bit slow out of the gates on this and the time to start preparing was probably about six or eight weeks ago.
There's been a very high degree of seriousness we've seen over the last couple of weeks, and we need to start preparing for the worst, making sure our hospitals and health care workers are protected.
You almost have to set up a system so patients with the coronavirus can be separated from the other hospital patients. We've seen in Italy what can change once the surge of patients comes.
COREN: Peter, I want your reaction of the scenes out of Chicago's O'Hare airport. When I saw those, I thought that must be the perfect breeding ground for the coronavirus. DROBAC: That's the irony. You have people standing in close proximity
for hours. We talk a lot about social distancing. This is the opposite of that. It's difficult to see. Screening is beginning but it's also a sign of the haphazard response that we've seen from the federal government in recent weeks.
COREN: Yes. I guess it goes to that point. You know, no hand sanitizer, which is what passengers were reporting. Few face masks were being worn. I guess it shows how ill-prepared authorities are.
I want to talk to you now about Europe, which is, of course, the epicenter of the virus and the lockdown in Spain, the closure of businesses in France and restaurants.
Will this stop the spread of virus?
DROBAC: The answer is we don't know. Obviously they're taking as aggressive measures as are possible to stop this.
If you look at the rising cases in France and Spain, they're just behind Italy on that exponential growth curve in cases and we can hope it's enough and the health care systems are enough. But I think they're taking the appropriate measures.
COREN: What else needs to be done to get on top of this in the epicenter, which at the moment is Europe?
DROBAC: Well, from what I can tell, I think everything that can be done at this time is being done, you know, taking the most aggressive measures to keep people at a distance and to prevent person-to-person spread is important. Everything that can be done to prepare hospitals and health workers.
The other thing you need to keep in mind is we know who the most vulnerable patients are, people are, to this particular virus and those are the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.
And so it's extremely important that we make sure that we have policies and we have services that are really targeted to protect those most vulnerable. Otherwise, we're going to see mortality rates much higher.
COREN: Peter, I just want to let our viewers know we're currently looking at live pictures in Madrid, in Spain, those two people just sitting there. There's a police car; we don't know if there's a police officer in the car. Yes. It looks like there's movement in the car, whether they're going to get out and move those people on.
Other than those people sitting there, it's a pretty empty street. You would have to assume law enforcement would move those people on, considering there's a lockdown in Spain.
Finally I want to ask you about the measures Australia and New Zealand have put in place, that arrivals must self quarantine for two weeks.
[05:25:00] COREN: Do you see other countries following suit?
DROBAC: I do. And, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if more countries restrict or isolate passengers coming from the U.S., where there is widespread community transmission.
Now the sorts of measures that were announced in Australia and New Zealand are probably going to be most effective in places where you don't yet have community transmission. And it's really important.
We're also seeing this voluntarily, people are traveling less. American Airlines announced the suspension of most of its long haul international flights, so we're seeing this decrease in massive travel. And that should only help to limit the further spread of the virus.
COREN: I guess you hope that people adhere to that self-quarantine because this is, of course, very hard to police. Dr. Peter Drobac, great as always to get your insight. We appreciate you. Thank you.
DROBAC: Thank you.
COREN: Countries around the world are trying to combat the coronavirus but it's taking a huge toll on the world's economic health. The stark warning from economists is next.
COREN: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Anna Coren. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
COREN: Central banks in Saudi Arabia and UAE announced a combined $40 billion stimulus plan and we're still in the middle of an oil price war, as Saudi Arabia and Russia fight over the price of crude oil. John Defterios joins us now from Abu Dhabi.
We've seen these measures being put in place in Europe that will have an economic impact.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: They're trying to put the health of the society first and then there's the damage, of course, to the economy. You have factories already shuttered and now we're seeing all consumers facing shutdowns as well.
I have to think of the bigger context of the major economies, if you take the three, France, Spain and Italy, 170 million consumers, that's a large market on their own. But they rank one, two and five in terms of tourism destinations worldwide around the world. It's incredible this can happen.
We have to think about losing half a year of growth, probably one to two quarters of deep contractions going here as a result of the decisions going here today. And it's that uncertainty that's hovering over the stock markets in Europe and the United States in particular.
Let's take a look at what we're seeing for Dow futures on Monday. We're looking at a loss of 0.66 percent to 1.25 percent. We had a huge rally taking place on Friday with a gain of 9 percent after President Trump put forth the emergency measures.
But we have to remind our viewers, we're in bear market territory in the United States with losses of still 20 percent in 2020, despite the 9 percent jump on Friday. We're in an extraordinary period of time, Anna.
COREN: You mentioned that bear market oil prices entered the bear market.
Is this why we see them moving to provide funds?
DEFTERIOS: And moving quickly. We got a call on Saturday night, they'll have this announcement on the table. It's about $40 billion between the two largest economies in the Gulf. That would be Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
I find it interesting the bulk is coming from the UAE itself, $27 billion. Yes, they're still dependent heavily on oil, despite all the efforts to diversify going forward.
You have to think back January 6th. The price of oil was $70. We're hovering below $35 a barrel. The government revenues would be cut in half. They were joined also on this Sunday by Egypt with some $6 billion on the table.
The market reaction has been interesting. Dubai was down 4 percent, nearly 5 percent. I see the losses are down below 2 percent and the Saudi Arabia is down 0.25 percent. But after having all the stimulus on the market, you would think it would rise on the day.
In the last hour of trading, we see Abu Dhabi, the financial market, is going to put a limit on trading. They don't want people trading on the floors because of the concern of the virus, although, I have to say, you don't see panic on the markets or on the street, just a lot of precautions taken by the government.
COREN: John Defterios, great to have you putting us at ease and all into context for us. Many thanks.
DEFTERIOS: Thanks, Anna.
COREN: The White House is facing criticism for the threat the virus poses. The U.S. lags far behind other countries in terms of testing and we've seen how decisions to close schools and public events are being made at a local level rather than a coordinated nationwide approach. Even as the travel bans expand, there are concerns what needs to be
done within the country to keep it from spreading.
COREN: Well, our Michael Bociurkiw is a global analyst and former spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
COREN: He raises the issue in an op-ed for CNN, writing, "While President Trump introduced travel restrictions for China on January 31st, the U.S. squandered the intervening weeks with confusing and inaccurate messages while continuing to cast the virus as a foreign threat all while failing to identify and test the growing number of cases within the country."
He joins us now.
You summed it up very succinctly. The United States has been behind the 8 ball from the get-go.
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. You know, Anna, even the press briefing today showing how uncoordinated and unprepared they are. And even the projected signaling from the White House, with the president standing so close to his team while advocating social distancing.
As I pointed out in the CNN op-ed, a lot of what we're seeing here is opposite of what we're seeing in Singapore and the Hong Kongs of the world.
Number one, they started early on and, secondly, really putting in strict measures like quarantines, like contact tracing and also the early, early bans on travel from China. A lot of experts have told me, it's only a one- or two-week delay between a disaster and success in combating this coronavirus.
COREN: Michael, as we know, this has been going on since December, certainly in China, and it has spread pretty quickly since then. Obviously China, Asia, which was impacted straight away, took it very seriously.
But in the rest of the world, America and the West, there's been this apathy.
Is that ignorance, misinformation or belief it was just China or Asia's problem?
BOCIURKIW: I think it's a mix of all of it. In Singapore and Hong Kong, the memories of the SARS outbreak, which was very, very difficult on them, is still fresh. They already have a couple of things that has helped them, the clean, sanitary mentality with very strict fines.
Also in times of crisis, they listen to their government. In terms of Western leaders, a lot of uncoordinated action. I listen to those WHO briefings every day. They have been advantage governments coordinated, planning, pre-position, get supplies in position before the crisis. They advised against travel and trade restrictions. That was ignored.
So I think we're in big trouble as a global community. Why?
If governments are not listening to a coordinating body like the WHO, which is very well positioned to deal with these outbreaks, we're going to be fighting this for a lot longer than we actually should be.
COREN: We heard from a top U.S. health official, he said the situation is going to get a lot worse before it improves.
How much worse, do you believe?
BOCIURKIW: It sends a chill down my back. I'm in New York and I was traveling around a bit on the island to Brooklyn. The trains are still packed. What you notice is a lot of people on the bottom of the economic ladder cannot take Ubers or afford the long walks, so social distancing is nonexistent.
And that's a big opportunity for the disease to spread. My big worry here is it seems like, (INAUDIBLE), when you have a president who (INAUDIBLE) wants to take victory laps but also points the blame elsewhere so that crucial public messaging of what to do is not coming out.
And now we're seeing local governments acting independently, proactively. Just, I believe, a few hours ago, the mayor of Hoboken declared a curfew. So all of this is going to be uncoordinated and doesn't bode well for the coronavirus response.
COREN: Well, Michael, just quickly, there was a great deal of criticism for places like China, Hong Kong, Singapore for, perhaps, their overreaction, paranoia. People are being hypervigilant. You cannot walk outside this building without putting on a mask. People will yell at you if your mouth is not covered.
In hindsight, should the West be taking this more seriously?
Should they be following what others are doing?
BOCIURKIW: Absolutely. Now is the time for draconian measures. Being here for a few days, I believe the American public is ready for sharp and short measures, even if that includes curfews, shutting down the economy.
BOCIURKIW: I think the mentality is, let's get this over with, have short-term pain and that's the only way we're going to beat this thing.
COREN: Really because, I mean, obviously Americans, they protect their independence. That is something they hold sacred. So being told, you know, they have to lock down. You believe they'll lock down. BOCIURKIW: I believe so. People are already taking their own measures,
canceling travel and meetings and things like that. But my big worry is when we're getting this confusing messaging from the White House and a president more concerned with his popularity ratings, it seems the Americans are in big trouble here.
I wish them the best, of course, and I hope that they will introduce some of the measures, for example, that Canada's prime minister Trudeau has introduced, that's based on science and fact and not just knee-jerk reactions.
COREN: Michael Bociurkiw, thank you for your insight. We really appreciate it.
BOCIURKIW: My pleasure.
COREN: Iran is lashing out at the U.S. as it faces the Middle East's worst coronavirus outbreak. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has written to world leaders, attacking U.S. sanctions.
He says they've hurt Iran's efforts to fight the virus. At least 12,000 people have been affected in Iran with more than 600 deaths. U.S. president Donald Trump is largely responsible for restoring sanctions on Iran. Tehran has rejected his offer of help with the virus.
The U.S. is trying to rectify a nationwide shortage of coronavirus tests.
So why can celebrities get the exam so quickly when average Americans cannot?
Our report is next.
COREN: Welcome back.
Yet another pro basketball player in the U.S. has tested positive for the coronavirus. He's a member of the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons played the Utah Jazz recently.
COREN: And as we know, the Jazz has two players who tested posted. It's raising questions about possible preferential medical treatment for celebrities.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fifteen minutes before the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz were set to start a Wednesday night game, doctors in a state laboratory across town in Oklahoma City were learning that Utah player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
The race was on to stop the game and control the spread of the virus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The game tonight has been postponed. You're all safe.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): A team of state health officials descended on the basketball field and tested 58 people. Before this night, the NBA and team physicians were reportedly told to have plans in place in case players started showing coronavirus symptoms.
The team didn't leave the arena until well after midnight on Thursday morning.
LAVANDERA: How did the team get 58 tests when there's been so much struggle to get testing done across the country?
How does this one team get 58 tests in less than 24 hours?
GARY COX, OKLAHOMA HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We didn't exactly know what the situation was. Once we got the one positive test, we didn't know what the extent of that was. So you certainly do want to concentrate on those who had close personal contact with a positive case.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Oklahoma health commissioner Gary Cox says the state can carry out 100 tests a day. So the testing of the Jazz team took up more than half of the state's daily resources.
LAVANDERA: The Oklahoma health commissioner tells CNN the testing of the Utah Jazz basketball team was prioritized because of the symptoms several players were showing but also because it was such a large group of people that had traveled extensively in the weeks before arriving here in Oklahoma City.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): At the same time, a string of celebrities have been tested. Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were tested and diagnosed with coronavirus in Australia. Celine Dion showed signs of the common cold and was tested after a series of shows in New York. The coronavirus test came back negative. And NBA legend Charles Barkley says he was tested Thursday.
CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA LEGEND: So I'm just kind of in limbo right now. I'm really hoping it was just a bug. But like I say, I was in New York earlier this week because that was a hot spot. And when I got to Atlanta, I just wasn't feeling well.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): But across the country, the lack of coronavirus testing has been a source of frustration and criticism. Kevin Hankins said he was on vacation at Disney World with his family and started feeling sick on the drive home. KEVIN HANKINS, VACATIONER: So there's no test kits that anybody's
aware of. There's no alternatives to go if somebody runs one of test kits. It's like a brick wall if you need to be tested for this.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says the U.S. testing system is failing.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It was not designed for the kind of mass distribution that we need now that we've seen in other countries.
LAVANDERA: What this week has proven is, even though the Trump administration has said repeatedly that anyone who wants a test can get one, that's not true -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Oklahoma City.
COREN: The U.S. may soon receive half a million coronavirus testing kits courtesy of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. The co-founder of e- commerce giant Alibaba says he'll also send 1 million face masks. His offer came when U.S. authorities were too slow to test and respond as the disease spread from Asia to America's shores.
Ma has also donated a million masks to Japan, almost 2 million to Europe.
Many have not canceled their travel plans but they should think about it. What you should consider if planning a pandemic vacation. That's ahead.
COREN: Thousands of Americans are returning to the U.S. from abroad only to encounter massive bottlenecks like this. Each person is being screened for the coronavirus, a process taking many hours. If you're joining us from the U.S., a live report is just ahead on "NEW DAY."
It's creating a dilemma for travelers, especially if they booked in advance. But not everyone is rushing to cancel their flight. CNN's Anna Stewart is looking at if it's still safe to take that trip.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coronavirus is continuing to spread fast around the world. Some governments have placed travel bans on passengers coming from certain areas.
So for some globe-trotters, that dream vacation may have to be put on hold. But for others, there's still the option to go. With many train stations and airports still packed with travelers getting off to various destinations, you may be wondering, should I stay or should I go?
The answer, well, it's something of an equation.
Where are you going?
Who are you?
What would happen if for some reason you get stuck at your destination?
And what will the impact be on your return?
Let's take the first of the equation: where are you going?
LIAM SMEETH, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE: The situation's really fast moving and changing almost every day so the key thing if you're going to travel is to check the government website of both your home country and where you are going. See if it's a high risk area.
There's some places you should not go at all, such as Wuhan province and Iran.
STEWART (voice-over): Some countries have closed borders and others have issued bans to and from specific regions of the world. The U.S. State Department has recently warned its citizens against traveling abroad.
Then there's the question of who you are.
SMEETH: There's a certain risk group of people with underlying illnesses and older people.
STEWART (voice-over): Underlying health conditions not to put people at risk include heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.
STEWART (voice-over): What happens if you get there but, due to the spread of coronavirus, you can't get home?
Are you covered by insurance?
If not, can you afford an extended trip?
SMEETH: Certainly people should not be traveling to areas if their governments or those of the countries are saying they don't want visitors because they won't be insured. Otherwise they need to speak with their insurance to know what is covered. You need to consider that you're going to be stuck for two weeks. STEWART (voice-over): Then the last thing to consider is if you will
need to self quarantine when you return. Depending where you travel or connect through, there are varying degrees of risk. You also need to consider how easy it would be to work from home and whether your employer will pay you to do that.
SMEETH: I think returning from very high risk areas, returners are asked to phone health authorities and self isolate, even if they're well. But for most areas, as long as you're well, get home safely and if you don't have any symptoms I think you will be OK.
STEWART (voice-over): So should you stay or should you go?
It will be different for everyone and you have to work out that risk. There's always next year and your health is much more important than a holiday.
COREN: Anna Stewart reporting.
That wraps up this hour of CNN. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. "NEW DAY" is straight ahead. For everyone else, I'll be right back with the headlines.