The Latest: Japan's Olympics minister reaffirms no delay

Posted at 9:19 PM, Mar 12, 2020

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic:


Japan's Olympics minister has brushed off President Donald Trump's suggestion the Tokyo Olympics be postponed.

Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto told a news conference Friday that the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers are “not considering cancellation or a postponement, absolutely not at all.”

Trump’s suggestion was for Tokyo to consider postponing the Games by one year.

Hashimoto said: “We are pursuing our preparations toward holding a safe and secure event on July 24."

She said the entire world is now fighting the virus and there will be positive effect. “We will do our utmost to achieve the event as planned,” Hashimoto said.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Trudeau's office said Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is felling well and will remain in isolation. She had just returned from a trip from London.

“The Prime Minister is in good health with no symptoms” and will plan to be in isolation for 14 days, the statement said.

"Also on the advice of doctors, he will not be tested at this stage since he has no symptoms. For the same reason, doctors say there is no risk to those who have been in contact with him recently."

His office said he will resume his duties on Friday.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau thanked those who've reached out to her and said she would “be back on my feet soon.”

Her statement also said her quarantine at home would be nothing compared to those facing more serious health concerns.

Canada has had more than 110 cases of infection with the new virus, with one death from COVID-19, the illness it causes.


The United Nations says a diplomat from the Philippines has tested positive for the new coronavirus. It's the first case reported among diplomats and staff at the organization’s headquarters in New York.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday night that the Philippine mission had informed the U.N. Medical Services of the test result earlier in the day.

Philippines Foreign Ministry spokesman Ed Menez confirmed that a female diplomat, who was previously just prescribed Tamiflu and sent home, was diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

“We presume she was confined at a hospital once the diagnosis came in,” he said.

“All personnel she had direct contact with are on self-quarantine to observe any symptoms,” Menez said.

Dujarric said the last time the Filipino diplomat was at the U.N. headquarters complex was on March 9 for about 30 minutes at midday to meet two delegates from another mission. He said their meeting room “has gone through three cleaning cycles since then.”

Dujarric said the diplomat did not have contact with U.N. staff and the medical service is reaching out to the two delegates the Filipino met.

He did not announce any additional measures. The U.N. complex is closed to the general public and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked some staff to work from home and canceled all informal meetings in the building from March 16 until the end of April.


China has reported another record low of just eight new cases of coronavirus infection.

It also reported seven deaths in its Friday update, raising its totals to 80,813 cases and 3,176 deaths from COVID-19.

More than 64,000 people have been released from hospital and 13,526 remain in treatment.

Another 33 suspected cases were reported on Friday and another 1,318 had been released from hospital over the past 24 hours, almost all of them in the hardest-hit province of Wuhan.


North Korea says it has released 70 more foreigners from quarantine it imposed to guard against a new coronavirus.

The Korean Central News Agency said Friday the group released had displayed no symptoms.

North Korea has previously said about 380 foreigners were placed under confined medical surveillance. Last week, state media said 221 of them were freed.

Earlier this week, 63 foreigners including some diplomats in North Korea were evacuated out of the country aboard a special North Korean flight. Their plane arrived in Vladivostok, Russia.

It wasn’t immediately known if North Korea would arrange more flights to fly out the remaining foreigners.

North Korea hasn’t reported a single case of the virus, but state media say the country has been taking high-profile quarantine measures.

Expert say an epidemic in North Korea could be devastating due to its chronic lack of medical supplies.


Alaska officials have confirmed the state's first known cases of infection with the new coronavirus.

The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said the man is a foreigner and while they were still gathering details, they believed it was an isolated case of infection.

Officials have been preparing for a case and urging Alaskans to take steps intended to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as avoiding large gatherings or crowded places.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has declared a public health disaster emergency in response to the virus, which he likened to a “slow-moving storm coming our way.”


Oregon officials say they will be getting just a fraction of the personal protective equipment sought from the U.S. government for front-line medical workers treating COVID-19 patients.

Nik Blosser, Gov. Kate Brown’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press the federal response was “staggeringly inadequate.”

Brown wrote to Vice President Mike Pence on March 3, saying Oregon needed 400,000 N-95 respirator masks and the same number of gowns and gloves and disposable protective suits, plus up to 100 ventilators in case the coronavirus spread more widely in the state.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised the governor's office that Oregon will be receiving only 36,600 N-95 respirator masks, 87,000 surgical masks, 16,700 face shields, 13,700 surgical gowns and 48,500 gloves. No ventilators were listed.

Charles Boyle, Brown's spokesman, said the state was told much of the equipment is past its expiration date.

Federal officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Late last month Pence told reporters the U.S. had more than 40 million masks available and would produce 35 million more per month.


State officials are reporting the first COVID-19 death, a man in his 70s who lived in a nursing home in the Kansas City, Kansas, area.

State Secretary of Health and Environment Lee Norman said Thursday that the man died Wednesday at a hospital after he was admitted with heart problems.

He said he did not know how the man was infected.

Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of emergency so that the state can better free up resources.

She said the state will ban large gatherings at the Statehouse and limit visitors to only people who have business before the Legislature.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is suspending all of its worship services globally because of the spread of the new coronavirus.

The decision was made hours after Utah's governor recommended limiting group gatherings in the state to no more than 100 people for at least two weeks.

The Utah-based faith sent a letter Thursday to members informing them of a decision that also calls on a temporary suspension of all church activities until further notice.

The move comes a day after the faith announced it would hold a major conference in early April without attendees.

It is first time since a 1957 flu epidemic that the religion has taken the step of barring church members from attending in person.


Officials in Miami Beach have declared spring break is over as they suspended permits for concerts and an LGBTQ festival.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told reporters that venues are shutting down altogether or canceling events.

The city will not issue permits for spring break concerts and the Miami Beach Gay Pride parade, scheduled for early April. Public beaches are still open.

Gelber says that “to the extent that anyone can declare spring break is over, it is over this year.”

Many people have canceled Florida flights and hotel reservations.

The Miami Herald newspaper reported that Miami Beach's Ocean Drive Association of property and business owners says hotels are struggling and that some are laying off workers.


Belgium has announced new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus, including closures of schools, cafes, restaurants and night clubs.

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes insisted late Thursday that the country is not on lock-down and appealed to people not to hoard food, saying doing so would disrupt the system and prevent others from eating “correctly.”

She says social and cultural activities will be canceled regardless of their size. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and food stores will remain open. The measures start Friday and last until April 3.


President Donald Trump says he's temporarily halting his trademark rallies as his campaign bows to the coronavirus outbreak that is rapidly reshaping the political landscape.

The rallies have long been Trump's most potent political weapon. They energize the candidate and give him a powerful platform from which to attack his adversaries while his team collects a treasure trove of voter data.

But the spread of the virus which has closed schools and shuttered professional sports leagues has also touched the 2020 presidential campaign.

Leading Democratic contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders canceled their scheduled rallies earlier this week.


The coronavirus is bringing the entertainment world almost to a standstill.

Upcoming movies have been canceled, and all Broadway performances suspended. TV networks have eliminated live audiences from shows until it's safe to welcome crowds back.

To curb the spread of the disease, Hollywood has paused the normal hum of TV productions and the bustle of red-carpet movie premieres.

After New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 500 people, Broadway theaters announced that they would close immediately and remain dark through April 12.


Portugal’s government has ordered that all the country’s public and private schools and universities remain closed from next Monday for almost a month to help stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

The measure announced late Thursday affects about 2 million students.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in a televised address to the nation that the government will offer financial assistance to working parents who have to stay at home with their children. Businesses will get tax breaks.

Authorities will also shut night clubs and limit how many people can enter government buildings, shopping malls and restaurants.

Costa said people are “in a fight for survival” against the COVID-19 virus. Portugal has reported 78 cases but no deaths.


Maryland officials say the state closing all public schools for two weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon said schools will be closed from Monday until March 27.

And on North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper has urged that meetings of more than 100 people to be cancelled, postponed or modified starting Friday.

That includes church services and sporting events and other activities. The state's number of identified cases has grown from eight to 15, with no deaths.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice suspended high school basketball tournaments due to concerns over the new coronavirus just hours before he was supposed to coach his girls team in a game. West Virginia is among the few U.S. states without a confirmed virus case.


Iran’s foreign minister is demanding that the United States immediately halt what he called a “campaign of economic terrorism” and lift sanctions. The sanctions have made it virtually impossible for Iran to import medicine and medical equipment, including to identify and treat coronavirus patients.

Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. sanctions have also made it increasingly difficult for the country to export oil and stranded thousands of Iranians abroad.

He says it has also led to what he called “Google’s immoral censoring” of a new government app designed to help Iranians identify potential symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

The virus has swept across Iran, with the death toll rising to 429 and confirmed cases to 10,075.


The National Rifle Association has announced the cancellation of its upcoming annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee because of the coronovirus outbreak.

The NRA says in a statement Thursday that it made the decision "to help ensure the safety and well-being of our NRA members, guests, and surrounding community.

The gun-rights group in 1998 scaled back its convention from three days to one after the Columbine mass shooting.

The annual meeting is used to rally the group's faithful and to elect board members. The organization says it will announce later time how that will take place.


The deepening virus outbreak has prompted the cancellation of Champions League soccer for the first time.

The high-profile match between Manchester City and Real Madrid was postponed along with the Juventus game against Lyon. Both were scheduled for Tuesday.

The soccer calendar was becoming increasingly fragmented as the pandemic took its toll on leagues and cup competitions. The Spanish league was postponed for the next two round.

Dutch soccer authorities canceled all matches until the end of the month. Major League Soccer in the United States was also shutting down for a 30-day period.


Disneyland has announced that it's shutting down its California theme parks on Saturday over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The company said in a statement Thursday that Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park will be closed through the end of the month though there have been no reported cases of the new virus.

It is closing after reviewing guidelines by California Gov. Gavin Newsom that limit gatherings of more than 250 people.

Newsom had said earlier Thursday that the guidance did not yet apply to amusement parks.


A top federal health official says the U.S. effort to test for the coronavirus is “a failing."

Public health experts warn that the nation's hobbled testing rollout has left them with little indication of how the virus is spreading.

The lack of comprehensive figures means U.S. health providers could quickly be overwhelmed by undetected cases. The effort initially endured delays in getting testing kits out to public health labs, but the stumbles have continued.

U.S. health officials, for example, promised nearly a month ago to tap into a national network of labs that monitor for flu. That system is only just getting started.


The Canadian province of Ontario has closed all publicly funded schools from March 14 to April 5 because of the pandemic.

Ontario is Canada's most populous province and a statement from the province says the decision was based on advice from Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

March break for students begins next week for many schools that will closed for two weeks.


The office of Sen. Lindsey Graham says he has decided to self-quarantine himself and work remotely because he was in Florida at an event attended by a top Brazilian government official who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

A statement from Graham's office Thursday says Graham was tested for the virus and is waiting for the result.

The statement from Graham's office says took the steps because of advice from his doctor.

The White House says U.S. President Trump has no plans to be tested for the new coronavirus or go into self-quarantine after attending the same events last weekend.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications director tested positive days after traveling with Bolsonaro to the meeting with Trump and senior aides in Florida. Bolsonaro is also awaiting test results.


French President Emmanuel Macron has said that all of the country's schools, kindergartens and universities will be closed until further notice starting Monday, in a strategy to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Macron in a televised address Thursday called the outbreak the most serious health crisis for France in a century and that is priority is to protect the most vulnerable. He urged people over age 70 to stay home.

Macron says “non-essential” treatment in hospital is also postponed.

French General Director of Health Jérôme Salomon says there have been more than 2,800 confirmed cases of the virus in France and 61 deaths.


Spring training games came to a halt as Major League Baseball put the sport on pause because of the virus outbreak.

A few exhibitions were being played in Florida when MLB made the announcement that there would be no more games by late in the afternoon.

MLB also said opening day had been postponed for at least two weeks.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins were in the late innings when the word came. Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter summed it up this way, saying: ""It felt like the most meaningless baseball game in the history of the sport."


A Chinese medical team and surplus ventilators, protective masks and other equipment are heading to Italy in a remarkable exchange of medical knowhow and material from the source of the coronavirus outbreak to its current epicenter.

The Italian Red Cross says a plane bringing a nine-person Chinese team of experts and nine cargo pallets of medical equipment would land late Thursday in Rome.

The team includes Chinese ICU specialists, pediatricians and nurses who helped manage the crisis in China.

Italian officials say they are eager to learn from the Chinese experience, particularly clinical data and experimental drug regimens.

With 15,113 positive cases Thursday and 1,016 dead, Italy’s fatality rate is running at 6.7%, far higher than other countries. Italy has the second oldest population in the world after Japan.


A Chinese government spokesman has suggested that the U.S. Army could be responsible for bringing the new coronavirus to China.

Lijian Zhao offered no explanation for his allegation in a late Thursday night tweet that read in part “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe(s) us an explanation!”

Wuhan is the Chinese city where the first cases of the disease were detected in December.

China has taken offense at Trump administration officials blaming the outbreak on China.

Worldwide, 126,000 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, 68,000 have recovered and 4,600 have died.


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