Coronavirus live updates: Italy's vast quarantine; reprieve for a cruise ship; US death toll climbs to 19

Streets and shops were empty in Milan and vast swaths of northern Italy were essentially locked down Sunday as the government dug in against an advance of the global coronavirus sweeping across the nation at an alarming rate.

In the U.S., the death toll climbed to 19 this weekend, all but three fatalities in Washington state. More than 400 infections have been reported, but the number is rising almost as fast as tests for the virus can be conducted.

Italy’s death toll rose to 233 on Sunday, and almost 6,000 infections have been confirmed. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed the decree affecting the at least 15 provinces that are home to more than a quarter of Italy’s 60 million people.

“For Lombardy and for the other northern provinces that I have listed there will be a ban for everybody to move in and out of these territories and also within the same territory,” Conte said. “Exceptions will be allowed only for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues.”

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Here’s the latest on the outbreak of COVID-19: 

Cruise ship passengers get good news

The Grand Princess cruise ship will begin to allow guests to disembark Monday, three days after 21 people aboard tested positive for coronavirus. Princess Cruises announced early Sunday it had been informed by state and local officials that the ship, off the coast of California, would be able to dock in the Port of Oakland, cruise line public relations director Negin Kamali told USA TODAY. 

Guests who “require acute medical treatment and hospitalization” will be first to disembark. Kamali said it was “unclear” whether other passengers would also be allowed off the ship Monday, or whether they would have to wait further. 

The company announced Wednesday that those on board may have been exposed to coronavirus after sailing with 62 passengers who officials say had been on the ship’s previous voyage to Mexico. A 71-year-old California man who had been on the Mexico cruise eventually died from the virus.

– Morgan Hines and Curtis Tate, USA TODAY

10 dead in collapse of China isolation building

At least 10 people were dead and 23 missing as first responders in Beijing sifted through the debris of a collapsed building used to isolate arrivals from other parts of the country. State media said about 80 people had been inside the converted hotel when tragedy struck. The Health Ministry said at least 38 people were being treated at hospitals; the hotel’s owner was detained for questioning. Authorities said the building was undergoing renovations when the collapse occurred.

A woman wearing a face mask stands in a subway train in Milan, Italy, Thursday, March 5, 2020.

New York declares emergency

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Saturday to deal with the worsening crisis, as the number of cases jumped to 11 in New York City and 76 statewide.

The number of cases in New York City more than doubled in 24 hours, the governor said, in large part because of heavy emphasis on testing potential patients.

“We are testing aggressively,” Cuomo said. “The more positives you find, the better.”

Florida reports first virus deaths outside of the West Coast

State health officials said two people in their 70s who had traveled overseas died in Santa Rosa County in Florida’s Panhandle and in the Fort Myers area. At least one of those deaths, viewed as a presumptive positive case, has not been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

When confirmed by the CDC, the two Florida cases would bring the total number of U.S. deaths to 19. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, has ordered the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee to “Level 2” to coordinate response to the outbreak. Level 2 activation is a preparatory, intermediate-level response that “may not require activation” of all emergency support functions, though “primary, or lead” responders are notified.

The Florida Department of Health also said six Florida residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus along with one non-Florida resident.

– Caryn Shaffer, Treasure Coast Newspapers, and Jeffrey Schweers, USA TODAY Network, Florida 

Europe struggles to combat virus

• In Spain, where eight people have died, authorities believe that an outbreak in the northern part of the country are linked to a funeral were many people became infected.

• In Britain, where a second person died Friday of the virus, the public was told to prepare itself for “social distancing,” which could include temporarily reducing socializing at entertainment or sporting events or reducing non-essential travel on public transport and recommendations to work from home.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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