Coronavirus updates: US death toll hits 19; Italy weighs sweeping travel ban

The Italian government, reeling from a one-day jump in coronavirus cases by 1,200, is reportedly planning on Saturday to quarantine the entire Lombardy region, which includes Milan, banning travel into or out of the area of 10 million people, as well as all public activity, including weddings, funerals and the cinema, according to media reports.

Both The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that they had seen a quarantine decree drawn up by the Italian prime minister’s office that would also cover 11 provinces in the north, including the region where Venice is located.

Italy, one of the four countries hardest hit by the corona virus that originated in China, has reported more than 5,800 cases and 233 deaths. The number of infections has jumped by 1,200 since Friday.

Daily coronavirus updates: Get USA TODAY’s Daily Briefing in your inbox 

The decree would forbid citizens from leaving or entering the region and would extend similar restrictions in established “red-zones,” including Venice, Parma and Modena, according to The Independent.

The legislation was expected to be approved later Saturday, Reuters said, quoting the head of the civil protection agency. 

Meanwhile, Nicola Zingaretti, the leader of Italy’s co-ruling Democratic Party, said Saturday he had tested positive for coronavirus.

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

Hard-hit Washington state reports 2 more virus deaths

Washington, the U.S. state hardest hit during the coronavirus crisis, reported three more deaths this weekend, bringing its total to 16. Two deaths in Florida, combined with one in California, boosted the national death toll to 19.

The Washington State Department of Health said the latest deaths occurred in King County, which has recorded all but one of the fatalities in the state. At least 12 of those deaths have happened at EvergreenHealth Medical Center, according to the hospital’s website.

The department did not immediately provide any other information on the new patients who died.

Meanwhile, the deaths of two Florida residents mark the first fatalities outside of the West Coast, according to Florida health officials, as concern over the virus forces abrupt changes for college students, conference attendees and train travelers across the country. 

Nationally, the number of infections has jumped to at least 340, according to a compilation by Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. The cases are scattered over about half the states, with Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Nebraska recently reporting their first cases. At least 14 people have died from the virus.

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 was 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 16. 

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 

Grand Princess will dock but still unclear where; 21 on board test positive 

The more than 3,500 people on Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess remained in limbo Saturday morning as they awaited information on when and where the cruise ship will dock after 21 people aboard tested positive for coronavirus. 

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that the ship will dock this weekend in a “noncommercial port,” and that all passengers and crew will be tested. Of the 21 who tested positive, 19 were crew members who were likely exposed to the virus on a previous voyage. The vice president said they would likely be quarantined on the ship. 

While health officials said about 1,100 crew members will remain aboard, passengers could be disembarked to face quarantine, possibly at U.S. military bases or other sites. That’s what happened to hundreds of passengers who were exposed to the virus on another cruise ship in January.

President Donald Trump, speaking Friday at the CDC in Atlanta, said he would prefer not to allow the passengers on American soil but will defer to the recommendations of medical experts.

– Morgan Hines, John Fritze, Maureen Groppe and Associated Press

Amtrak cancels 3 nonstop, daily trains from DC to NYC  

Amtrak is canceling nonstop, high-speed Acela service between Washington, D.C., and New York City until late May because of falling demand over coronavirus outbreaks. The move is effective March 10 through May 26.

Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor has dozens of trains daily between Washington and New York, and the cancellation of the nonstop Acelas represents a reduction of only three daily trains. 

Amtrak said in a statement that it is also considering taking additional measures, including reducing cars, changing schedules or canceling more train service.

To address health concerns linked to the virus, Amtrak has already announced it will undertake more frequent cleaning on trains and stations, make sanitizers and disinfectants more readily available, and review good hygiene practices with workers.

Chicago Public Schools employee tests positive 

Late Friday, the Chicago Department of Public Health said an employee of the Chicago Public Schools had tested positive for coronavirus — the city’s first case and the sixth in Illinois.

The woman, in her 50s, had disembarked from the Grand Princess in San Francisco on Feb. 21 and returned to Chicago on Feb. 24. She is currently hospitalized and in stable condition, city officials said.

The woman had returned to work, but stayed home once she started developing symptoms, officials said. The test came back positive on Friday. The school where she works, Jacqueline B. Vaughn Occupational High School, will be closed next week.

The city’s school system and health department “have already begun an extensive outreach effort for every student, employee and family in this school community to inform them of the confirmed case,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news conference late Friday.

– Curtis Tate

Tourists, crew in quarantine on a cruise ship on the Nile

A cruise ship on Egypt’s Nile River with over 150 passengers and crew was in quarantine Saturday in the southern city of Luxor, as 45 people on board tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said.

A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan, the World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who then tested everyone on the ship.

Health authorities first found that a dozen of the ship’s Egyptian crew members had contracted the fast-spreading virus, and said they did not show symptoms, according to a joint statement from Egypt’s Health Ministry and the WHO on Friday.

Stanford is latest university to move all classes online

Stanford University, which has 17,000 students, is the latest school to cancel all in-person classes and move them online because of the concern over the coronavirus.

Persis Drell, the schools’ provost, said classes for the final two weeks of its winter quarter will move online and large-group events would be canceled or adjusted. The university, which is located in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, also canceled its in-person Admit Weekend event scheduled for April 23  for prospective undergraduates.

The University of Washington, located in Seattle, announced Friday that it was moving all classes online for the next three weeks for its 57,000 students. 

China quarantine hotel collapses

A hotel in southeastern China that was used for medical observation of people who had contact with coronavirus patients collapsed on Saturday, trapping some 70 people, state media reported. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

At least 34 people were rescued from the wreckage of the Xinjia Express Hotel in Quanzhou, a city in Fujian province, the Ministry of Emergency Management told the South China Morning Post. 

The 80-room hotel had been converted by the city government to observe people who had contact with virus patients, according to People’s Daily

Italy’s biggest ever daily count soars by more than 1,200

Italy on Saturday recorded its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the initial outbreak in northern Italy more than two weeks ago. Another 1,247 cases increased the total to 5,883. Another 36 people also died as a result of the virus, raising the death toll to 233. Most of the deaths have been among the elderly, with one or more underlying condition. 

The head of Italy’s national health institute, Silvio Brusaferro, urged Italians to take precautions, including avoiding public places and maintaining a distance, to protect the elderly. He said there was “evidence of superficial attitudes” toward the measures

• 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.

Pope Francis to deliver public blessings via video

Pope Francis will deliver his next two public blessings via video to prevent crowds from gathering in St. Peter’s Square as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus. 

The Vatican said in a statement Saturday that the pope will deliver his traditional Sunday noon blessing from the library in the Apostolic Palace instead of appearing at a window over St. Peter’s Square. The Wednesday audience will be handled in the same way.

Francis has also stopped celebrating morning Mass before invited guests at the chapel in the Vatican hotel where he lives.

By staying indoors, the pope is not only limiting any spread of virus among the crowds, he would also be protecting himself. The 83-year-old pontiff, who had part of one lung removed from a respiratory infection when he was younger, is recovering from a cold. He would be at risk of serious complications if he were to catch the coronavirus.

WHO warns against ‘false hopes’ that virus will fade with summer

One day after four more states announced their first cases of the new coronavirus, more than 338 people in the U.S. had been infected Saturday.

More than 102,000 people worldwide have been infected with the virus, and more than 3,400 have died. More than 57,000 people have recovered.

The World Health Organization has warned against “false hopes” that the disease will fade when warmer summer weather arrives in northern countries.

The figure of infections dwarfs other major outbreaks such as SARS, MERS and Ebola. The virus is still much less widespread than annual flu epidemics, which cause up to 5 million severe cases around the world and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Which states have coronavirus cases?

Here’s a look at which states have reported cases of COVID-19: 

Starbucks employee diagnosed with coronavirus in Seattle 

An employee of a popular Starbucks store in downtown Seattle has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the company said late Friday. The store, which is a Starbucks Reserve bar, was shut down for cleaning and the employee is quarantined at home, Starbucks said. This is the first U.S. coronavirus case reported by Starbucks.

“We quickly activated our protocols, immediately closing the store and initiating a deep clean overnight, following all recommended guidelines from the City of Seattle and King County public health authorities,” according to a company statement. 

The store is expected to reopen in the next few days staffed by employees “who have no known impact from COVID-19,” the company told USA TODAY.

Starbucks has instructed employees to increase cleaning at all of its stores and on Wednesday announced it was temporarily pausing the use of reusable cups over coronavirus fears.

– Jessica Guynn and Kelly Tyko

SXSW canceled over outbreak fears

The South by Southwest music, film and technology conference was canceled Friday – the most high-profile event yet to fall victim to the new coronavirus, with officials calling it a medical and data driven decision. SXSW, as it’s known, had vowed to go on, despite recent developer conferences that were canceled by Facebook and Amazon. 

Organizers said it was the first time in 34 years that event will not take place. 

The conference this year had several high profile speakers in place, including former presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang and Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs and rockers Ozzy Osbourne, director Judd Apatow and to Kim Kardashian West. Nearly 300,000 people attended in 2019.

The 10-day festival was set to begin March 13.  

– Jefferson Graham

Prohibida la reproducción parcial o total.  Todos los derechos reservados de Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., del Autor y/o Propietario original de la publicación.  El contenido del presente artículo y/o cualquier otro artículo, texto, boletín, noticia y/o contenido digital, entre otros, ya sea propio o de tercero alguno, publicado en nuestra página de internet u otros medios digitales, no constituye una consulta particular y por lo tanto Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., sus colaboradores, socios, directivos y su autor, no asumen responsabilidad alguna de la interpretación o aplicación que el lector o destinatario le pueda dar.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Deja un comentario