Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

President Trump has tested negative for the virus, according to his physician, after days of his apparent reluctance to get tested.

Spain announced a nationwide lockdown as France moved to close all nonessential businesses — including cafes, restaurants and movie theaters — in the latest testament to the coronavirus pandemic’s profound impact on daily life around the globe.

Upheaval continued in the United States, as well, on Saturday as Georgia followed Louisiana’s lead in delaying its presidential primary and three states reported their first coronavirus-related deaths. The United States will be banning travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning Monday at midnight, officials said.

Here are some other significant developments:

  • A surge in coronavirus patients is threatening to swamp U.S. hospitals, as Oregon, Virginia, Louisiana and New York all reported their first coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday.
  • Ten U.S. service members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, along with one Defense Department civilian and two contractors, military officials said.
  • Coronavirus cases in Italy rose by roughly 20 percent Saturday, as the already hard-hit country saw its biggest daily increase yet.
  • Maria Begoña Gómez, the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, has tested positive for covid-19.
  • President Trump said his administration was considering domestic travel restrictions for some hot spots.
  • The United States’ new travel rules for Britain and the U.K. bring the total number of U.S. travel-restricted countries in Europe to 28.
3:37 a.m.
Link copied
link

Hoboken announces night curfew, restrictions on bars and restaurants

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla on Saturday announced a citywide curfew to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, one of the first such curfews ordered in the United States since the outbreak began.

The curfew will be in effect nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Monday. During that time, all residents will be required to stay in their homes except for emergencies and required work.

Additionally, bars and restaurants will no longer be allowed to serve food within their establishments, and bars that only serve alcohol will have to shut down entirely. Food service will be limited to takeout and delivery only.

Bhalla said in a statement on Twitter that keeping residents off the streets and out of bars overnight would free up emergency workers already stretched thin by the public health crisis.

“I completely recognize that these measures will result in substantial changes and inconveniences to our daily lives,” Bhalla said. “However, these measures are being taken to save lives and protect our residents.”

The extraordinary moves came just days after officials reported the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the city of 55,000. Statewide, New Jersey has reported 69 confirmed cases of coronavirus and one death.

2:45 a.m.
Link copied
link

Four states report their first coronavirus-related deaths Saturday

Oregon, Virginia, Louisiana and New York all reported their first coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, as the toll nationwide approached 60.

Washington state also announced three more deaths the same day, raising its total to 40.

The three additional deaths included a woman in her 70s and two men in their 80s, both of whom were residents at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term-care facility that has become the epicenter of the outbreak in Washington.

In Oregon, a 70-year-old man from Multnomah County died in the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center after testing positive on March 10, according to the Oregon Health Authority. He had underlying conditions and is believed to have been infected through person-to-person contact.

“While we knew we would arrive at this day at some point, it doesn’t lessen the impact,” health director Patrick Allen said. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with the family of this individual who honorably served his country.”

The Louisiana patient was a 58-year-old Orleans Parish resident with underlying health conditions, the governor’s office said. The state now reports 77 positive tests for the virus, 10 of them just announced.

“Now more than ever, we must remain vigilant against the spread of this illness by taking care of ourselves and each other, avoiding going into public areas if you are sick, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently with soap and water,” Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said in a statement.

In Virginia, a man in his 70s who lived in the central part of the state died Saturday of respiratory failure, state health officials said.

“On behalf of the entire Commonwealth, we express our deepest sympathy for the family and loved ones of the patient who died, as well as the families of everyone who has been affected by this outbreak,” state Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver said in a statement. “The health of our residents and the community is our top priority, and we will continue working together to care for the patients, protect the safety of health care workers, and protect the people in our Commonwealth.”

New York officials first announced that an 82-year-old woman in Manhattan with advanced emphysema who had the coronavirus had died. Later, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) confirmed that a 65-year-old coronavirus patient with “multiple health problems” was the state’s second fatality.

2:42 a.m.
Link copied
link

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club to undergo ‘thorough deep cleaning’ after guests test positive for virus

President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club will close its clubhouse, guest rooms and dining areas all day Monday for a “thorough deep cleaning,” the club told members Saturday evening, following reports that three people who visited the club last weekend have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

In an email to members obtained by The Washington Post, club management said “no one will be permitted to enter the main house all day” on Monday, though the smaller “beach club” would remain open. “Deep cleaning of all other areas will follow in the days to come,” the Mar-a-Lago email said.

Last weekend, Trump hosted a visiting delegation from Brazil, a birthday party for his son’s girlfriend and two large gatherings of Republican donors. Among the guests were three people — two Brazilian officials and a guest of a Republican donor — who have since tested positive.

Mar-a-Lago’s email to members did not explicitly mention the virus or the positive tests. Club members and party attendees have complained that they’ve been given little guidance about whether they may have been exposed to the virus and, if so, what to do next. The Trump Organization has said it is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2:13 a.m.
Link copied
link

Google says it’s building a nationwide coronavirus site, but it’s still not what Trump promised

Google on Saturday said it is building a nationwide informational website that will host coronavirus information, including common symptoms, risk factors and “testing information.”

The announcement comes a day after Trump said Google was building a more complicated nationwide triage tool that could schedule people at nearby coronavirus testing sites. But later that day, Google contradicted the White House, saying its sister company Verily was creating the tool and that it was actually just a limited pilot program for the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We are fully aligned and continue to work with the US Government to contain the spread of COVID-19, inform citizens, and protect the health of our communities,” said one of Google’s tweets on Saturday announcing the site.

The new Google site will be separate from the Verily tool. The company did not provide any additional details, such as when it would launch or how its information would differ from the special coronavirus results currently shown on related searches.

1:43 a.m.
Link copied
link

Health officials are pushing for social distancing, but Americans just won’t stop going to bars

As some Americans huddle in their homes and hoard toilet paper, others are taking a quite different approach — stepping out to drink the pandemic away.

Social media lit up this weekend with accounts from all over the country of people — especially young people — packing into bars. A Twitter user in Baltimore posted around 6 p.m. on Friday that every bar and restaurant on his downtown street was crammed with customers. Another user in Washington, D.C., tweeted later that evening that, while heading out to buy something from the hardware store, he passed several bars — every one of them filled with people.

“The bars in my neighborhood are all packed with young people,” one New York City resident tweeted around 8 p.m. on Friday. “Do you remember what it’s like to feel invincible?”

All this directly contradicts the advice of health officials around the globe, who are recommending that people everywhere practice “social distancing” to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. This requires canceling large gatherings, avoiding crowded public transportation and staying inside whenever possible.

But apparently a chunk of the country isn’t listening. Things got so bad in New York City that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) decided to weigh in midday Saturday. She directed a warning tweet to all residents of the city, but “ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40” because “from what I’m observing that’s who needs to hear this again.”

“PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants and public spaces right now,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted to her 6.5 million followers. “Eat your meals at home.”

The message swiftly garnered 90,000 likes and more than 18,000 retweets — but it clearly escaped the attention of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). About an hour after Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, Cornyn attempted to cheer his constituents by tweeting that Americans should be smart and refrain from panicking. “We will get us through this,” he wrote.

Accompanying his words was a picture of a glass of Corona Extra — which Cornyn was apparently consuming in a bar.

1:34 a.m.
Link copied
link

Vatican cancels pope’s Holy Week public appearances

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis will hold Holy Week, a series of celebrations in the week leading up to Easter in April, without joining public gatherings as a precaution against the spreading coronavirus.

“The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household announces that, because of the current global public health emergency, all the Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful,” the Holy See’s Pontifical Household, which oversees the Pope’s schedule, posted online in a statement.

Christians celebrate Holy Week this year from April 5 to 11. For Catholics, the pope traditionally joins worshipers in a series of Masses and rites culminating in Easter. Eighty-three-year-old Pope Francis had already called off his regular public appearances last week, choosing to stream prayers online for worshipers to reduce crowds.

The Crux, a Catholic media site, called Saturday’s announcement “an unprecedented move in modern times,” though it noted that it did not yet rule out a public Easter Sunday Mass.

Authorities ordered Rome’s Catholic Churches to close Thursday until April 3 as part of the country’s lockdown.

Italy has struggled to contain the coronavirus centered in the country’s north but spreading at startling speed.

Religious authorities worldwide have grappled with the call to provide solace to community members while also reducing crowds that are fertile ground for the virus.

1:14 a.m.
Link copied
link

Wife of Spain’s prime minister diagnosed with coronavirus

Maria Begoña Gómez, the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, has tested positive for covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Spanish government announced the result in a statement late Saturday, adding that both Sánchez and his wife are doing well. The couple are staying inside the prime minister’s residence, La Moncloa Palace in Madrid, and following “at every moment” transmission prevention measures recommended by health authorities, government officials said.

Two ministers of Sánchez’s Cabinet — the minister of regional affairs and the minister of equality — were diagnosed with covid-19 earlier in the week. Both are doing well, government officials said Saturday.

12:53 a.m.
Link copied
link

Urban Outfitters closes all stores; Taco Bell will switch to drive-through, delivery amid coronavirus outbreak

Urban Outfitters said it was closing all stores indefinitely on Saturday, and Taco Bell promised to switch its restaurants to drive-through and delivery only as the coronavirus pandemic continued to roil the globe.

Also on Saturday, Walmart said its stores would stay open only from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., effective immediately — joining scores of firms throughout the United States in altering its business hours to adjust to the influx of shoppers suddenly stocking up on goods.

“This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing,” Walmart CEO Dacona Smith said in a statement. Previously, many Walmart locations stayed open 24 hours a day.

Other stores gave similar rationales for shifting routines — including Harris Teeter, which announced Saturday that it will close its doors to customers at 9 p.m. each night for the foreseeable future. The closures will allow store locations to clean and restock, the company tweeted. The North Carolina-based chain, which has stores in the Washington area, had some that were open until midnight, while others were open 24 hours.

Publix, a Florida-based chain, announced that stores and pharmacies will start closing at 8 p.m. until further notice in an effort to “better serve our customers, give our store teams time to conduct additional preventive sanitation and restock product on our shelves.”

Publix and Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain by revenue, have also placed limits on certain products, including sanitary items, cleaning supplies, and flu and cold medications.

Whole Foods announced it was suspending food sampling in its stores and working to expand its ability to deliver groceries free to Amazon Prime members, Yahoo News reported. Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.

In announcing closures or schedule changes, heads of major companies acknowledged the gravity of their actions but sought to infuse a note of positivity. Smith thanked Walmart’s employees “for your incredible work during this time,” adding, “I know it hasn’t always been easy.”

Taco Bell CEO Mark King said the popular chain’s mission, “to feed people’s lives with unexpected good,” is now more important than ever. And Urban Outfitters signed off on Twitter with a message for customers: “Take care of yourselves,” the store’s main account posted. It ended the sentence with a heart emoji.

11:41 p.m.
Link copied
link

President Trump’s coronavirus test came back negative, his physician says

President Trump’s test for covid-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — came back negative, his physician, Sean Conley, said late Saturday.

“Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed,” Conley wrote in a statement. “This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative.”

Conley said the president remains “symptom-free” a week after he came into contact with several people who later tested positive for the virus at a Mar-a-Lago dinner party.

11:21 p.m.
Link copied
link

Georgia delays presidential primary over coronavirus

Georgia on Saturday became the second state to postpone its presidential primary because of the escalating coronavirus pandemic. The primary, originally scheduled for March 24, will instead take place on May 19.

Officials said the pandemic has made in-person voting risky for voters and poll workers. Georgia’s governor has declared a public health emergency in response to the virus.

“Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, their families, and the community at large,” Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said in a statement.

State Sen. Nikema Williams, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, echoed in a statement that the “priority is to protect the health and safety of all Georgians and to ensure that as many Georgians as possible have an opportunity to vote.”

“Continued in-person voting could compromise both goals,” she said.

The move follows a decision on Friday by election officials in Louisiana to delay its primary from April 4 to June 20. And the Wyoming Democratic Party announced this week that it would do away with the in-person portion of its caucuses, scheduled for April 4, and instead encourage voters to participate by mail, dropping off ballots on March 28 and April 4.

Early voting for Georgia’s primary began March 2, and nearly 280,000 voters had already participated. Four states have primaries scheduled for Tuesday: Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio. These states announced jointly that their contests would proceed as planned, pointing to guidance from public health officials who have declared voting safe if best practices are followed.

10:32 p.m.
Link copied
link

Surge in coronavirus patients threatens to swamp U.S. hospitals

Hospitals across the United States are erecting triage tents outside emergency rooms, squeezing extra beds into break rooms and physical therapy gyms, and recommending delays in elective surgery to free up capacity as they brace for an anticipated surge in coronavirus patients.

With stories from Italy about hospitals turning away patients with severe respiratory symptoms, health-care executives say they are doing whatever they can to plug holes in a U.S. system that they acknowledge is not prepared to handle the worst effects of the pandemic.

Read more here.

9:45 p.m.
Link copied
link

10 U.S. service members test positive for coronavirus, military says

Ten U.S. service members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, along with one Defense Department civilian and two contractors, military officials said Saturday.

Eight Defense Department dependents have also tested positive, the officials said, adding that 13 military labs are now able to conduct tests for the virus, including a site at the Pentagon.

The officials also described far-reaching new domestic travel restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus. The rules, which are due to go into effect Monday, will halt virtually all trips for service members and their families through at least May 11. The move could affect hundreds of thousands of service members, civilian employees and their dependents in the United States and its territories.

Read more here.

9:11 p.m.
Link copied
link

New cases in Italy up by roughly 20 percent, its biggest daily rise in infections

Coronavirus cases in Italy rose by roughly 20 percent Saturday, as the already hard-hit country saw its biggest daily rise in infections yet.

Italian health officials reported 3,497 new cases, a little more than half of which came from the northern region of Lombardy, Europe’s most affected area, the Associated Press reported.

An additional 157 people also died between Friday and Saturday.

Italy has now reported a total of 21,157 cases, with authorities predicting that the numbers will continue to rise despite a national lockdown in place since March 9.

8:27 p.m.
Link copied
link

Spain announces nationwide lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

The Spanish government announced a nationwide lockdown on Saturday, ordering the country’s 47 million people to stay in their homes as coronavirus cases surge.

Residents will be able to leave only to buy essential goods, go to work, medical appointments or to banks, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told the nation in a televised address on Saturday. The restrictions will remain in place for an initial 15 day-period but could be extended.

Closures of bars, restaurants and hotels, already in place in certain regions, were extended to the entire country.

“We have only one objective, which is to defeat the coronavirus,” he said. “We are all on the same team.”