The Latest: Trump: US builders should hand over their masks

The Latest on the world’s coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 189,000 people and killed more than 7,500. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 80,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.

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The Trump administration is urging U.S. construction companies to donate their inventories of safety masks to hospitals and forgo new orders as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence said the single-use N95 masks, which are designed to filter 95 percent of airborne particles and commonly used in the construction industry, are “perfectly acceptable” for hospital use.

Pence, who is heading up the White House Coronavirus Task Force, visited the Minnesota headquarters of 3M, the maker of the N95 mask, earlier this month to discuss the production increase.

Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have said the average American does not need to go out and buy a mask. They have urged Americans to leave the masks for medical professionals.

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South Africa says a cruise ship has been quarantined outside the port of Cape Town as a precaution after a crew member of a cargo ship who shared a flight with some passengers showed coronavirus symptoms.

State-owned port custodian Transnet says the crew member shared a March 9 flight from Istanbul to Cape Town with a colleague and six people who boarded the cruise ship in Cape Town, a major international tourist destination.

The eight people have been evacuated and quarantined, and Transnet says the remaining cruise ship passengers are being quarantined and tested.

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The Trump admiration is allowing Americans to delay paying their taxes and is hoping to send stimulus checks directly to people as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is encouraging Americans who can to file their taxes on or before April 15 to do so so that they don’t lose out on their tax refunds.

But he says that, if Americans owe the IRS money, they can defer up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations without interest and penalties for 90 days.

President Donald Trump and Mnuchin also say during a White House briefing that they wants to send checks to Americans in next two weeks in an effort to curb the economic impact of the pandemic.

Across the United States, over 4,660 people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus and 95 people have died.

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President Donald Trump is insisting that the U.S. can be “rolling again” quickly after the coronavirus outbreak if “we do this right.”

Trump spoke as he opened Tuesday’s daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. A day earlier, Trump urged the American public to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. He also urged the elderly to stay at home and practice social distancing for the next couple of weeks.

Trump says that Americans’ public health and the U.S. economy can be protected through what he says are “shared sacrifices” and “temporary changes.”

The president adds that, “if we do this right, our country and the world frankly, but our country can be rolling again pretty quickly.”

Across the United States, over 4,660 people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus and 95 people have died.

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The U.S. Transportation Security Administration says at least eight airport screening officers have now tested positive for the new coronavirus. The most recent case was confirmed Tuesday at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

On Monday, a screening officer tested positive for the virus at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The previous cases were at airports in San Jose, California; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida.

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Air Force personnel who operate and secure the nation’s strategic nuclear missile force are altering their work schedules to minimize risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak, officials said Tuesday.

Navy Adm. Charles Richard, who commands all nuclear forces as head of U.S. Strategic Command, declined to provide specifics but told reporters at the Pentagon he is “taking prudent steps to make sure that our personnel will be available,” during the COVID-19 crisis.

The 400 nuclear-armed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles that are deployed in missile fields in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and North Dakota are considered the backbone of the nation’s defense, along with nuclear-capable long-range bombers and nuclear-armed submarines.

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U.S. movie theaters have closed nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, turning dark nearly all of the country’s 40,000-plus screens in an unprecedented shutdown.

The largest chains had tried to remain open even as Hollywood postponed its upcoming release plans and guidelines for social distancing steadily diminished the recommended size of crowds. But after President Donald Trump on Monday urged against gatherings of more than 10 people, AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest chain, said Tuesday its theaters would close altogether.

AMC said it would close all locations in the U.S. for at least six to 12 weeks. Regal, the second largest chain, said Monday that its theaters would close until further notice.

Universal Pictures said Monday it will make its current and upcoming films available for on-demand rental, breaking the traditional theatrical window of 90 days due to the virus.

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is leaving London and heading to Windsor Castle as a precaution because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Buckingham Palace says the 93-year-old monarch will move to the castle, 20 miles (32 kms) west of London, on Thursday, a week earlier than she usually does for Easter.

The palace said it had decided to cancel or postpone public royal events with large numbers of people in the coming months but the queen will still hold her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The British government has urged people — especially those over 70 — to avoid “non-essential” contact with others for 12 weeks to slow the spread of the virus, which appears to be a greater risk for the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

The queen’s spring garden parties, attended by thousands each year, have also been postponed. The fate of future big royal events — including May commemorations for the end of World War II in Europe and a state visit by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masakois — is up in the air.

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The eastern Caribbean island of Barbados has confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 and says both are linked to the U.S.

Health Minister Jeffrey Bostic said Tuesday that one patient is a 48-year-old male U.S. tourist and the other a 39-year-old female Barbadian who recently returned from the U.S. Bostic said both patients will be isolated until they recover.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered all of Florida’s bars and nightclubs closed for 30 days starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, upending St. Patrick’s Day revelries.

He’s also asking Florida’s university board of governors to require students to return home for remote learning for the rest of the spring semester. DeSantis said it’s time to act more aggressively to contain this coronavirus that has infected more than 170 and killed six people in Florida.

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This year’s European Championship soccer tournament has been postponed for one year, upending a tradition dominates European life for a full month every four years.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says the spreading coronavirus “makes football and all life in Europe quite impossible.” UEFA plans to play the tournament next year from June 11 to July 11.

The 24-team competition was to be hosted in 12 different countries this year.

The postponement clears space to give national leagues and the Champions League and Europa League a chance to finish their seasons by June 30.

European soccer is in a shutdown and it is unclear when games can resume.

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The Church of England has put on hold Sunday services to the faithful as a result of the coronavirus outbreak after the British government imposed severe restrictions on public gatherings.

In a joint letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Archbishop of York John Sentamu called for the Church of England to become a “different sort of church” in the coming months to face the challenge of coronavirus. As a result, they said it was necessary to put public services on hold “until further notice.”

However, they insisted the church was not shutting up shop, and that it will become a church “rooted in prayer and serving others.” They said it was important that local food-banks still be supported and church-run homeless shelters wherever possible are kept open.

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Brazil has recorded its first death related to the new coronavirus outbreak, according to Sao Paulo state’s government. Authorities do not know where the patient was infected. Brazil has 234 confirmed cases of the virus, more than half in Sao Paulo.

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Greece has announced new restrictions at migrant camps on Greek islands and mainland, aimed at fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures include suspending school classes and all group activities for two weeks, as well as excluding non-essential staff from the sites, many of which are severely overcrowded. Other measures include health tests for newly arrived migrants and creating isolation areas at the camps.

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A dozen residents of a New Orleans retirement home are now infected by the coronavirus, which Louisiana’s governor noted has proven more lethal for older people than other age groups.

The latest death from COVID-19 was a resident of the Lambeth House retirement home in New Orleans, Gov. John Bel Edwards said. The 84-year-old New Orleans man has become the third person in Louisiana to die from the new coronavirus.

Dr. Jennifer Avegno, leader of the city health department, stressed that the virus was spreading much faster in New Orleans than in other U.S. cities.

The governor has ordered bars, gyms and movie theaters to close and limited restaurants to delivery and takeout. Louisiana has 136 infections.

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The aid group Doctors Without Borders says it’s essential for European Union nations to put their separate interests aside and share essential medical equipment in their response to the coronavirus crisis if they want to protect healthcare workers.

With Europe now the epicenter of the pandemic, the group said shortages of medical equipment such as protective gloves or masks are “increasingly commonplace” in Italy.

“Nearly 1,700 healthcare workers, or 8% of the total COVID-19 cases in Italy, have been infected whilst tirelessly caring for the rising number of severely ill patients who require long-term hospitalization and specialized intensive care,” MSF said.

According to Dr. Claudia Lodesani, the situation in Italy is so critical that some doctors are forced to wear the same face mask for 12 hours.

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The British government is advising its citizens against non-essential international travel anywhere in the world for the next 30 days.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says that with more and more countries losing their borders, there is a risk many Britons will become stranded.

He said the government had brought home hundreds of Britons stranded in China and other places hit by the outbreak, but warned that from now on people would only be repatriated “in exceptional circumstances.”

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China’s financial hub of Shanghai is expanding the number of countries whose citizens must undergo a 14-day quarantine rules to cover passengers entering the city from more countries and regions.

Passengers who have traveled or lived in 16 countries, 14 days prior to entering Shanghai, are required to be quarantined at home or in designated facilities, the local government said at a press conference.

The 16 countries are the Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria.

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Regional authorities in Spain’s Balearic Islands are effectively locking down the Mediterranean archipelago by restricting all but a handful of daily flights and incoming boats for returning island residents.

The move comes after the local Diario de Mallorca newspaper reported that 48 private flights had landed in the islands over the weekend despite Spain’s state of emergency restrictions to stem the coronavirus outbreak. The archipelago has 92 of the country’s more than 11,000 infections.

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As clocks around France struck noon, the police patrols commenced, stopping anyone outside to try to contain the spreading virus.

The empty Eiffel Tower guarded over a Paris gradually going into lockdown.

Some Parisians looked out on their changing city from their wrought-iron balconies as the deadline hit.

Dozens of police deployed along the tree-lined Champs-Elysees, whose luxury boutiques stood shuttered, its wide sidewalks devoid of shoppers or selfie-takers. Tourists were told to go inside.

France’s government ordered the confinement as the number of virus cases topped 6,600, including 148 deaths.

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Canada’s largest province is declaring a state of emergency amid the pandemic.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says all organized events of over 50 people are prohibited.

Ford says all restaurants and bars will be closed except for takeout or delivery. Grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores and public transit will remain open.

Schools, child care centers and theaters are also closed in Canada’s most populous province.

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African nations are seeing two major investments in their coronavirus response.

Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese tech company Alibaba, says his foundation will donate more than 1 million testing kits. That’s 20,000 testing kits to each of Africa’s 54 countries as the coronavirus starts to spread on the continent.

Ma says “we cannot … assume this continent of 1.3 billion people will blissfully escape the crisis.”

And Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $40 million initiative to help vulnerable countries, notably in Africa.

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The number of deaths in Spain due to the new coronavirus has jumped from 309 to 491 in 24 hours and new infections have risen to 11,178, nearly 2,000 more than a day earlier.

The numbers were reported Tuesday by the nation’s health emergency center director, Fernando Simón. With a population of 46 million, Spain became on Monday the fourth country in the world with most coronavirus cases, surpassing South Korea and edging closer to Iran.

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Britain’s dramatic escalation of social restrictions to fight COVID-19 was sparked by new scientific evidence suggesting that 250,000 people in the U.K. and more than 1 million in the U.S. might die if the country did not suppress the spread of the new coronavirus.

Imperial College London epidemiologists advising the U.K. government have published an analysis drawing on data from Italy, the hardest-hit European country with nearly 28,000 cases and 2,158 deaths.

They found that a strategy of “mitigation” — slowing but not stopping the spread of the virus while protecting vulnerable groups like the elderly — would still lead to a huge number of cases that would overwhelm the health care system.

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Wuhan, the city at the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, recorded just one new case on Tuesday as officials said they believed the country was over the worst of the crisis.

Another 20 cases were recorded around the country, including nine in Beijing. All were reported among people who arrived from overseas.

Beijing has required all arrivals to undergo 14 days of quarantine but has not closed its borders. Other Chinese cities have adopted similar measures, even as authorities work to restart industries that are key to global supply chains.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Categories: National News