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New Guidelines Released by White House; A Freeze on Social Activities; Coronavirus Infects Economy Worldwide. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired March 17, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. You are watching CNN Newsroom.

Ahead this hour, do not enter. The European Union is set to take drastic action to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Fears over the pandemic take another bite out of global markets, the Dow suffering its worst point drop in history.

And our new reality, we will speak with someone trying to adjust to life under lockdown.

Good to have you with us.

So, authorities around the world are taking dramatic measures to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The European Union is planning to close its borders to all nonessential travel. The move comes days after the World Health Organization said Europe is now the epicenter of the pandemic.

After downplaying the threat for several weeks U.S. President Donald Trump admitted the outbreak isn't under control. And the recession is possible. He announced new guidelines urging Americans to stop most social activities for the next 15 days, and avoid groups of more than 10.

And the WHO is urging countries to ramp up testing, as the best way to slow the viruses spread.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: You cannot fight a fire blindfolded, and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries. Test, test, test.


CHURCH: And CNN correspondents are covering the latest from across the globe. Al Goodman is in Madrid, Delia Gallagher is in Rome, and Jim Bittermann is in Paris. Good to see all of you.

So, let's begin with Al and the latest in Spain. So, Al, what are the numbers that you have, the most up to date numbers from Spain and how is that country dealing with this.

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. The latest numbers more than 9,100 cases of coronavirus across the country and 309 deaths. About half of that is right here in the capital in the region of Madrid which is really taking the hardest hit of all of this.

And this is a dramatic shift from just a little more than a week ago when Spain was behind Germany, behind France in a number of cases. Now it's the second biggest spot in Europe for the coronavirus after Italy.

And there is a state of emergency that was announced at the beginning of the weekend, the Spaniards are beginning to understand how this works, basically it says stay at home except for certain activities that you can do outside of the home. There's kind of a do's and don'ts list. We are out in the streets and here's how -- here's what we found with our story.

Yes, you can still walk your dog under Spain's state of emergency even as the nation battles the spread of coronavirus. Yes, you can still go to a pharmacy, some that are open look like this, and others like this, no access but actually open for business.

The police are stepping up enforcement of these restrictions on movements. In Madrid, even using drones to tell people to go home. Most Spaniards aren't complying says this officer, but some are taking way too much time to walk the dog or shop for food a trick to stay outside longer.

Police can issue fines to fight back starting at $100. "What's clear is that fines won't solve this," he says, "we all have to do this in solidarity knowing that everyone is staying at home."

No, you can't attend mass in Catholic churches here in Madrid because priests are celebrating mass alone, shown only on TV or social media. "We have to be in solitary with other people like us going through difficulty," he says, so that this will last the shortest time possible.

Yes, you can still shop for groceries but most people aren't wearing protection like this student of international relations.


MARTIN CANALES, STUDENT: Just in case because I've been having a cough, but I mean, I'm not worried, but just in case to prevent it, but I don't have any other symptoms, so I'm relaxed.


GOODMAN: Many others here aren't, the Spanish prime minister told the nation it could be weeks of difficult sacrifices. It's not just Spain's bars and restaurants that are closed, it's also

the cultural sites like the Prado Art Museum here in Madrid or the Royal Palace which draws large number of visitors every year from Spain and abroad.

Those closures and the stay-at-home order all aimed to reduce contact between people which experts say will eventually safe Spain from the coronavirus pandemic.


Rosemary, another part of the story is the gratitude Spaniards are showing nightly on their balconies coming out chanting and cheering for the medical workers and the medical workers are responding in a video that's gone viral here in Spain with sign saying thank you. This is from a hospital in northern Spain, thank you, we understand it, thank you very much.

Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And we thank them across the globe. Many thanks to Al Goodman bringing us that report from Madrid. Let's turn to Delia Gallagher who joins us live from Rome. Delia, Italy's health care system has struggled, is still struggling to deal with this coronavirus outbreak. What's the latest from there?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, there is a lot of pressure, particularly in the north, of course, if you consider that of the 28,000 cases that we have now. About half of those are in the north. And one of their problems is structures, hospital structures with enough beds for patients and enough ICU units.

So, the Lombardi region has announced, for example, that they are building a new structure with some 400 beds. There's also an American NGO called Samaritans Purse, which is coming over to build another temporary hospital structure for another 60 beds and eight ICU units.

So, there is a lot of activity happening in the north to try to help this crisis. Of course, the government has also announced a 25- billion-euro financial package, they say it's the first one, there should be another one in April that will go towards helping health care, and of course, families and workers who are going to lose wages because of this.

There is a call for blood donations throughout the country. So that is another urgent need here in Italy.

Pope Francis, as well, left the Vatican on Sunday. He walked the deserted streets of Rome. The Vatican said he was going to pray for an end to this epidemic.

He went to a church which is known for a famous crucifix, Rosemary, that Romans believed back in 1522 helped to end the plague.

So, you can still sense despite all of the pressure a great spirit here in Italy. Everybody is trying to show their support. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Indeed. Many thanks to Delia Gallagher bringing us the latest from Rome. Now to CNN senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann who joins us live from Paris. And Jim, as we talked last hour the country's president doesn't think the French are taking this virus outbreak seriously. And now how is he going to change that attitude?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What had changed since the last night, Rosemary, he made a speech to the nation last night in no less than five times said we are at war against coronavirus. So, I think people were getting a message and he's sort of preach solidarity as the French do what they could individually to avoid contact with others.

Just less than four hours from now the French have got to be where they're going because at that point the total lockdown takes place, a little bit like what Al was saying in Spain, the same sort of rules, you can go out for food, you can go out for essential activities, you can walk your dog.

But beyond that no collected activities. And if you do go out you have to download from the internet, and I just get this morning, download this form and you have to fill it out, basically getting your name and address and it gives the reason why you're out there out and about and what kinds of things you'll be doing and where you will be and then you have to sign it and the paper with you.

And when the police stop you, and they very well could, you have to fill this form. They could, because according to the interior minister, a- 100,000 police being mobilize across the country, basically to enforce the new rules. And there will be fines from 38 euros to 135 euros for people who are breaking the law or breaking these new rules. We'll see then how it goes.

One of the things the president said last night was that in fact this will be in place for 15 days. This confine will be in place for 15 days. But this interior minister when he was talking about the rules later on said, it could be for long.

So, 15 days that's the starting point but we'll see what happens after that. Rosemary.

CHURCH: It is a brave new world, no doubt. Jim Bittermann joining us live from Paris. Many thanks.

And as the coronavirus spreads faster in the United States officials are announcing stricter measures to fight the disease.

Just ahead, the impact on daily life across the country. Back in just a moment.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. While Wall Street had another devastating session on Monday, the Dow posted its worst point drop in history, closing 13 percent lower. But U.S. stocks are looking to rebound in the coming hours, futures are up significantly all across the board.

In Asia indices swung back and forth all day. The Seoul KOSPI had one of the biggest losses down more than 2 percent.

So, let's get more now from journalist Kaori Enjoji. She joins us live from Tokyo. Let's look at those numbers and what they could mean and what Tuesday opening on the markets and the United States might look like.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, Rosemary, if you look at futures, they are up 500 points, so that's just we could be in for a little bit of a rebound, still early hours though. We are seeing a little bit of stability comeback into some of the markets like Australia which tanked 10 percent yesterday is making up for that by rising close to 6 percent.

The first time in five trading sessions Tokyo's stocks are actually in the money, not by much just nine points, but after huge sell-off over the last four trading sessions, traders say they are seeing some buying in some of the blue chip's names like Toyota.

And this, they say, it suggests that maybe some public money, pension funds, in particular, may be coming in to buy and support the market. As has been outlined by the central bank, they said that they are going to purchase assets and pump liquidity into the money markets which they did very, very aggressively today, and that seems to be supporting sentiment.

But having said that I think people are still very concerned about the economic fallout, now trickling over of course, away from China but more towards the European markets and also the U.S. markets, especially at a time when some of these businesses are just seeing their operations resumed to normal, or close to normal in China.

So that does not bode well for many of these companies. What we're also seeing right now is some stability in the dollar, and also in oil prices hovering above $30 per barrel mark, so that is helping. I think there's also a lot of expectations of ongoing fiscal stimulus, new money by governments around the world to try and contain some of the economic fallout.

Japan is widely attracted to crafts, some kind of stimulus measure sometime this week, and we could hear from governments in Australia, as well later on this week, so I think that is supporting sentiment overall.

But judging by the huge swings that we are seeing in some of these markets, like Japan 1,200-point range on the equity market today, suggest that things are still very choppy and also at times very thin, which is also a concern because that tends to raise the volatility. But on the day, it wasn't really a repeat of the crash that we saw in the Wall Street session, and that in itself was a little bit of a relief. Rosemary.


CHURCH: Indeed. Kaori Enjoji, we'll see what happens in a few hours from now. I appreciate it.

Well, the novel coronavirus has officials around the world scrambling to get ahead of a potential surge of infections. On Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced all bars, clubs, discos, theaters, concert halls, and other establishments would be shut down. She said the country has never had to do this, but it is a necessary measure.

Mrs. Merkel also said German citizens should no longer travel in Germany or abroad.

And in the United Kingdom, public criticism appears to have motivated Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He previously suggested handwashing and a seven-day self-quarantine for those with symptoms.

On Monday, Mr. Johnson encourage people to avoid public places and nonessential travel. And he says whole households should self- quarantined for 14 days if one person in the home experiences symptoms.

Well, in the United States the White House is stepping up its efforts to slow the spread of the disease. It has issued new guidelines for Americans. Avoid large gatherings and stay at home whenever possible.

CNN's Erica Hill has more.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: An eerily quiet Times Square, the latest reminder that life today is different and will be for some time.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This afternoon we're announcing new guidelines for every American to follow over the next 15 days. Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Avoid discretionary travel.


HILL: The guidelines were announced on the heels of several states enacting new operating hours and restrictions for restaurants and bars now shifting to take out only.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Many people who get in their car and they'll drive to Connecticut to go to a bar which is the last thing we want.


HILL: Movie theaters gyms and casinos will be closed indefinitely. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made it clear more changes could be coming to his city.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): I have been asked repeatedly, are we considering travel restrictions, are we considering curfews? We are considering everything is the answer. Every option, every tool is on the table, we will decide in turn when we want to employ each.


HILL: The surgeon general warns decisions made today will determine much of what happens tomorrow.


JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We have a choice to make, do we really want to really lean into social distancing and mitigation strategies and flatten the curve or do we just want to keep going on, with business as usual and end up being Italy.


HILL: For millions of families starting the week with children at home it is far from business as usual. Parents are learning to teach, while also trying to work.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We're not surprised me at all if schools did not open again this year.


HILL: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calling on the president to close all schools nationwide through May 11th. Life on hold and nearly every industry bracing. Concert tours, sporting events, daycare, businesses large and small in limbo.

Walmart is cutting back hours to give stores a chance to restock the shelves. While markets ration some of the most sought-after items including milk and cleaning products.


HILL: Were you able to get everything that you needed this morning?



HILL: Doctors are increasingly concerned about their own supplies, including the nation's stock of lifesaving ventilators. The president today recommended states buying those supplies on their own rather than waiting for the federal government.

Hospital beds are major concern across this country. Here in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that they are expediting discharges and canceling elective surgeries across the city, as well as bringing new facilities online. He's hoping that can add thousands of available beds for what they predict will be an influx.

He has also warned that if you come to the E.R. and it is not an emergency you could be turned away. Back to you.

CHURCH: Thanks for that.

We'll take a short break. Still to come, Italy is in total lockdown as confirmed cases of the virus continue to emerge. We will speak to a woman living in Milan about how it changed her daily life. That's just after the break. Do stay with us.



CHURCH: Another Hollywood superstar says he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Actor Idris Elba twitted on Monday we all need to help fight this outbreak.


IDRIS ELBA, ACTOR: Look, this is serious. And now is a time to really think about social distancing, washing your hands, beyond that there are people out there who aren't showing symptoms and that can intensely easily spread it.


CHURCH: Elba says he is feeling Ok and showing no symptoms. Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced last week that they too have the coronavirus, they are now out of the hospital and in self quarantine.

Well, Italians are coming together to share their musical talents while they are under lockdown.

You just heard a little bit of the Italian national anthem sung by people in Rome trying to get their spirits up amid these tough times. On Monday, Italy reported more than 3,000 new cases of the virus.

And Cynthia Fart (Ph) joins me now. She is currently living under lockdown in Milan. If you can just get Cynthia (Ph) up here. Can you hear us, Cynthia? Have we got you? Have we got Cynthia (Ph)?

All right, we seem to have trouble with there. We'll endeavor to -- all right, Italy remains Europe's worse hit country as we mentioned. It recorded more than 3,200 coronavirus cases in the past day. And has nearly 28,000 overall cases.

As CNN's Melissa Bell reports that the country's health system is being pushed to the brink.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pictures become a symbol in Italy of a system in the north of the country that is stretched to its limit. Hospital workers, nurses, doctors, the heroes of the fight against coronavirus themselves near breaking points


DANIELA CONFALOIERI, NURSE (through translator): We are united, and we will fight this forsaken virus.


BELL: At a hospital in Milan, hallways and offices have been turned into makeshift intensive care units. In Brescia, tents are used to treat the sick, Rome too beefing up its capacity. When he lockdown the country, the prime minister explained.


GIUSEPPE CONTE, PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY (through translator): We live in a system in which we guarantee health and the right of everyone to be cured.


BELL: Italy's health care system is facing a challenge like no other. By its nature this is an epidemic that spikes quickly and in clusters requiring urgent and expensive treatment for some.

So far, the system here has delivered free tests, intensive care, emergency treatment all free of charge. So, is Europe's often criticized public health system now showing its true strengths?


ALAN FRIEDMAN, ITALY-BASED AMERICAN WRITER AND ECONOMIST: If someone wants to get treatment, they can wait weeks or months for appointment. That's the inefficiency of the national health. But the plus side is that at a time of crisis the tests for coronavirus are free for everybody. They take care of all their citizens and there is no worrying about insurance.


BELL: How does Italy systems stack up against America's private, profit-driven health care system? First, on capacity. As the crisis hits the United States has 2.8 hospital beds per thousand people, fewer than Italy's 3.2 beds per thousand people according to the OECD.

Then once the outbreak begins there's the question of the response and here the more fragmented American model could make coordination harder.


CARLO PALERMO, HEAD OF ITALY'S PUBLIC SECTORS DOCTORS ASSOCIATION (through translator): To deal with an epidemic which affects the population globally, the response must be centralized. There must one crisis unit that gives a unanimous response.



BELL: As infections continue to rise here at record daily rates Italy is a country where everyone fears getting the virus but no one need worry about being treated for it.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Rome.

CHURCH: So, you've decided to social distance, now what?

As Jeanne Moos reports self-isolation doesn't necessarily mean a lone time.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Going stir crazy how to fill those endless hours of quarantine. The internet has plenty of suggestions from a Pac-Man type puppet, cobbling up vehicles to the fitness instructor in Spain who gave a workout class to his neighbors. To turtle tic tac toe, the turtle is the O competing from permanent quarantine in aquarium. The turtle tanked.

There were plenty of cheerleaders like Max Brooks.


MAX BROOKS, MEL BROOKS' SON: This is my dad, Mel Brooks.

MOOS: Urging younger folks to protect the older ones like 93-year-old male.

BROOKS: If I give it to him, he could give to Carl Reiner, who could give it Dick Van Dyke. And before I know it, I've wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends.


MOOS: Model Heidi Klum posted herself kissing her husband through glass not to mention her own reflection. And Arnold Schwarzenegger trotted out a pet mini horse and donkey.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: This is yummy. And this is (Inaudible).


MOOS: To promote eating at home while these live-action matchsticks representing the power of social distancing caught fire online created by Los Angeles visual artist Juan Delcan and his wife Valentina. The message everywhere - don't be a spreader.


MEL BROOKS, FILMMAKER: Go home. MAX BROOKS: I'm going. I'm going.


MOOS: Let's hope the message is contagious.


SCHWARZENEGGER: Look at this (Inaudible).

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.


MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: Don't be a spreader, wash your hands and social distancing. That is the case. Thanks so much for watching CNN Newsroom. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Do stick around.



CHURCH: Hello, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church with your CNN News Now.

Wall Street is looking to bounce back after a devastating day on Monday.