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President Donald Trump’s consideration of a quarantine for metropolitan New York has drawn criticism from the state’s governor. Italian deaths exceed 10,000, a third of the world’s total.
Russia will shut its borders after a sharp rise in cases over a week. Japan is planning an “unprecedented” stimulus.
Hyatt will furlough two-thirds of its U.S. employees. France seeks to nearly triple hospital intensive care units.
Cases near 650,000; 30,000 dead, 137,000 recovered: Johns HopkinsItaly’s Death Toll Tops 10,000N.Y.’s Cuomo opposes quarantineRonaldo and his Juventus teammates get a pay cutRhode Island self-quarantines out-of-state visitorsPentagon to buy 8,000 ventilators
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Italy’s Juventus in Deal to Cut Salaries (4:40 p.m. NY)
Juventus Football Club SpA, home to star player Cristiano Ronaldo, agreed with its players and coach Maurizio Sarri to reduce compensation as the outbreak forced Italy’s Serie A and other leagues to halt games.
The team owned by the Agnelli family will cut players’ salaries by an amount equal to the monthly wages of March, April, May and June, the company said in a statement. A spokesman for Juventus confirmed the measure applies to Ronaldo and all team players.
Juventus will save about 90 million euros ($100 million) for the 2019-2020 financial year.
Read more here
Pentagon to Buy 8,000 Ventilators (4:25 p.m. NY)
The Pentagon’s logistics agency will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators from four vendors, with an initial 1,400 delivered by early May. The announcement didn’t name the companies involved.
The Pentagon is adjusting about 1,500 contracts to raise the “progress payments” to 90% from 80% for large businesses, and to 95% from 90% for small businesses.
“This will provide immediate cash flow to industry, especially small businesses in the supply chain, once incorporated into the contract,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews said in a statement.
Hyatt Furloughs Two Thirds of Workers (4:10 p.m. NY)
Hyatt Hotels Corp. will furlough or significantly reduce the schedules of two-thirds of its U.S. corporate employees as the company cuts costs as hotel revenue plunges.
The steps begin April 1 and continue through the end of May and affect employees in other regions, said a company spokesman. Hyatt will fund health insurance premiums for the workers, and employees who aren’t sent home will take temporary pay cuts.
Hyatt Chief Executive Officer Mark Hoplamazian and Chairman Tom Pritzker aren’t taking salaries, the spokesman said. The company’s senior leadership team is taking a 50% pay cut.
Read more here
Kansas Orders Statewide Lockdown (4 p.m. NY)
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered people to stay at home in most cases amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying state action is needed to resolve a patchwork approach taken by local health departments.
Kelly’s executive order that takes effect March 30 and runs through April 19. As of Saturday, the state had 261 cases of Covid-19, and five deaths.
“The patchwork approach that has developed is inconsistent and is a recipe for chaos and, ultimately, for failure in our statewide fight,” the governor said in a statement.
France Seeks to Triple ICUs (3:30 p.m. NY)
France is working to nearly triple the number of hospital intensive care units as eastern regions and Paris face shortages of beds for the most serious cases, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Health Minister Olivier Veran said Saturday during a press conference. The country has a total of 37,575 cases and 2,314 deaths.
Veran and Philippe warned of possible shortages of some medications and equipment used for rapid diagnostic tests in the coming weeks and said authorities have ordered 1,000 ventilators from French manufacturer Air Liquide SA, as well as 5 million rapid diagnostic tests.
Germany Ties Aid to Pay Cuts (3:15 pm. NY)
The German government may demand pay and bonus cuts for senior managers of companies that tap financial aid in the coronavirus crisis, Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier said.
“It’s important to me that management boards and senior executives contribute in emergencies, especially with respect to bonus payments,” Altmaier told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
After the virus impact subsides, Germany will require an economic “fitness program” that includes boosting the competitiveness of industries including biotech, steel and cars, Altmaier told the Sunday newspaper.
Cuomo Opposes Trump Quarantine (2:44 p.m. NY)
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he opposed President Donald Trump’s idea to quarantine the New York metropolitan area, now the epicenter in the U.S., describing it as a “scary concept.”
Cuomo said he had spoken with Trump earlier Saturday but that they didn’t discuss a quarantine.
Cuomo said that New York state’s deaths from coronavirus soared on Saturday to 728, from 519, still by far the most in the U.S. The total number of cases rose to 52,318, up 7,681 overnight, he said.
In Florida, Governor Ron Desantis said he discussed the quarantine with Trump, telling reporters “whatever we need to do” to reduce the spread. He said it is “bad policy” to have people leave New York with many infections and head to states such as Florida.
Read full story here
FDA to Work at Home Past Trump’s Easter Goal (3 p.m. NY)
The Food and Drug Administration told most employees to expect to work from home through at least May 1, rejecting the president’s goal of reopening the country by Easter Sunday. “The health and well-being of our FDA family continues to be our focus as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves,” James Sigg, chief operating officer, wrote Thursday in an email obtained by Bloomberg.
Trump softened his stance Saturday on the Easter goal. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Read the full story here
Italian Deaths Exceeds 10,000 (2:30 p.m. NY)
Italy’s coronavirus death toll topped 10,000 even as the daily total slowed to 889 from a record 969 on Friday. The nation reported 5,974 new infections, about the same as the previous day.
Italy, which has the pandemic’s highest death toll, is set to extend drastic containment measures until mid-April and will more than double the financial stimulus for its paralyzed economy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and French President Emmanuel Macron are advocating a joint European Union response, exposing an EU rift dating back to the euro-area debt crisis.
Turkey Limits Flights, Crowds (1:55 p.m. NY)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan further restricted movement and banned large gatherings, saying in a televised speech that everyone must observe a “voluntary quarantine” or face more stringent controls.
Erdogan said all flights abroad are suspended and intercity travel is banned unless officially authorized. Some public areas such as picnic spots will be closed during weekends and large groups won’t be allowed in on weekdays.
Bilal Eksi, the chief executive officer of Turkish Airlines, said on Twitter that domestic flights would be limited to between 14 cities starting on Sunday, down from 42 domestic destinations usually.
Rhode Island Shuts Retail (1:45 p.m. NY)
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo ordered out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine, shut all non-essential business from Monday until April 13, and limited public gatherings to no more than five people.
Raimondo on Saturday reported the state’s first two deaths from Covid-19.
Read full story here
HHS Warns Against Discrimination (1:30 p.m. NY)
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department is reminding health care workers that they must not discriminate against patients because of their age or disability when deciding how to allocate scarce resources.
“We are not a society governed by utilitarianism,” Roger Severino, director of HHS’s civil rights office, said on a call with reporters.
The agency’s guidance left unclear exactly how health workers should decide who gets lifesaving treatment. HHS said that choices should be based on an individualized assessment of a patient based on “the best available objective medical evidence,” and that it has already received civil-rights complaints that it plans to investigate.
U.S. Mulls Metro NYC Quarantine (12:23 p.m. NY)
President Trump said he’s considering an enforced quarantine in areas of New York and New Jersey to curb the outbreak.
Trump told reporters he had spoken with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo before departing the White House to send off a Navy hospital ship bound for New York City from Norfolk, Virginia.
The president said he’d rather not impose such a quarantine but that the country may need it. Asked about his ambition to urge many Americans to return to work by the Easter holiday on April 12, Trump said “we’ll see what happens.”
New York and New Jersey have more than half the U.S. Covid-19 cases.
Michigan Cases Top U.S. Rate (12:05 p.m. NY)
Michigan is becoming the next U.S. coronavirus hotspot, registering new cases at more than triple the national rate. The state had 3,657 cases as of Friday -- versus zero just over two weeks ago -- and now ranks fifth in the nation. At least 92 people have died.
Impoverished Detroit and surrounding Wayne County made up half the state total. Suburban Oakland County, home for thousands of white-collar auto jobs, had 23% of cases.
Other Midwestern cities posted sharp increases. Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, saw cases rise from 413 at the end of last week to more than 1,900 Friday, according to the University of Chicago. The county accounts for three-quarters of the state total. Outbreaks in Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee also accelerated. Cases in Nashville’s Davidson County quadrupled in a week, as did those in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.
Read the full story here
Serbia Expands Mandatory Isolation (11:55 a.m. NY)
Serbia doubled the mandatory isolation period for people returning from abroad to 28 days and extended the weekend curfew by two hours as total infections jumped the most in a day on Saturday. The biggest former Yugoslav republic reported 131 new cases, bringing the total to 659. Ten people have died and about as many are in critical condition, Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar said.
Russia to Shut Borders (11:40 a.m. NY)
Russia will temporarily shut its borders starting March 30 after a sharp increase in infections in the past week. on Saturday, health officials reported 228 new cases overnight, bringing the total to 1,264, with four deaths.
Moscow’s mayor shut all non-essential business on Saturday and recommended everyone stay home. The government halted international flights on Friday and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin called on regions to close most businesses.
Read the story here
U.K. Has Most Deaths in a Day (10:30 a.m. NY)
Fatalities jumped by 260, to 1,019, as of late Friday, the Department of Health and Social Care reported. There were 17,089 confirmed cases Saturday, up from 14,543 a day earlier. The government is expanding testing for hospital staff and building new facilities near London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Portugal Deaths Rise (10:20 a.m. NY)
Portugal’s cases rose 20% in one day and deaths climbed to 100 from 76, a fraction of the fatalities in neighboring European nations.
Deaths so far indicate a fatality rate of 1.9%, but 7.9% for those more than 70 years old, Health Minister Marta Temido said in Lisbon. The peak of infections may occur at the end of May, based on current data, she said. “This indicates that the containment measures that we’ve adopted, namely that people stay at home except to go to work, are being effective,” Temido said.
Trump Clears State Funding (9:15 a.m. NY)
President Trump approved disaster declarations for Michigan and Massachusetts on Friday. He has approved declarations for more than a dozen states, making them eligible for certain federal funding.
Earlier, Trump complained that Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic governor, as well as her counterpart in Washington, don’t appreciate his administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, and said Vice President Mike Pence shouldn’t take their calls.
(Added link to Juventus story in bullet and item)
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