The Latest: US state of Missouri reports first virus case
BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak (all times local):
A St. Louis-area woman who recently traveled to Italy is the U.S. state of Missouri’s first confirmed coronavirus case.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Saturday that the woman is in her 20s and is at home with her parents. She was returning home from Italy when she showed symptoms.
Page said the parents are not showing symptoms.
The Missouri announcement came the same day that neighboring Kansas also announced its first case of the virus.
The number of U.S. coronavirus cases swelled to 400, with cases in about half of the states. Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Pennsylvania also recently reported their first cases. The total U.S. death toll has reached 19.
The number of deaths linked to coronavirus in Washington state could be even higher than the 16 already announced based on figures released by the nursing home at the center of the region’s outbreak.
The Life Care Center of Kirkland said Saturday that since Feb. 19, 26 of its residents have died. Typically, about three to seven residents die at the facility each month.
Of the 26 who died, 15 did so at hospitals where they were tested for COVID-19. But 11 died at the nursing home, and Life Care said it has no information about post-mortem tests to see if those 11 had the coronavirus.
The facility also said that 70 of its 180 employees have symptoms and are no longer working.
China says it has recorded 44 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the lowest level since it began publishing nationwide figures on Jan 20.
Another 27 deaths were reported in the Sunday morning count, bringing the total to 3,097 since the virus was first detected in December in the city of Wuhan, which still accounts for the bulk of cases and deaths.
The Health Ministry says a total of 80,695 infections have been recorded in the outbreak, with 20,533 patients still in treatment.
The Pentagon has announced that a U.S. Marine assigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia tested positive Saturday for COVID-19 and is currently being treated at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman tweeted that “the Marine recently returned from overseas where he was on official business. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the White House have been briefed.”
A Defense Department official said on background prior to the public announcement that this is the first reported U.S. military case inside this country. Fort Belvoir is in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia.
A cruise ship executive expressed frustration over the lack of directions as U.S. and California officials decide where to dock the Grand Princess after 21 people tested positive for coronavirus.
Authorities said the ship will go to a noncommercial dock over the weekend, but no further details have been released.
Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said she preferred to get everybody off the ship as soon as possible.
The ship was halted on its return from Hawaii three days ago because a former passenger from the ship’s February cruise to Mexico tested positive for the disease and died. Princess Cruise says the virus spread to a waiter who served that passenger.
—This entry has been corrected to show that the president of Princess Cruises is Jan Swartz.
Maryland officials say a person in New Jersey who has tested positive for coronavirus attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in the Washington suburb of Oxon Hill, Maryland.
That’s leading Maryland officials to warn that anyone who attended or worked at the conference may be at some risk for acquiring COVID-19.
Among the political figures who attended the CPAC conference were President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The White House says there is no indication that either Trump or Pence was in close proximity to the attendee who tested positive.
In a statement Saturday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged CPAC attendees who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to immediately reach out to their health care provider.
Kansas on Saturday confirmed its first case of coronavirus in a Kansas City-area woman under 50 who traveled to the northeast.
Gov. Laura Kelly and health officials said the woman is isolating herself at home after seeing her doctor over the common symptoms of the new coronavirus of a cough, slight fever and shortness of breath. She lives in Johnson County, the state’s most populous county.
“The patient’s doing very well,” said Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The Kansas announcement came as Florida reported two coronavirus deaths, the first outside the West Coast. The total U.S. death toll reached 19.
The number of U.S. coronavirus cases swelled to about 400, with cases in about half of the states. Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Pennsylvania also reported their first cases.
The confirmation of the first Kansas case came four days after the state’s health department launched an online resource center on coronavirus and three days after Kelly and the department’s top administrator said the state was prepared for an outbreak.
Norman had said the state was monitoring up to a dozen people a day as possible coronavirus cases.
Nebraska officials are asking dozens of people who attended a Special Olympics basketball tournament last week in Fremont to self-quarantine after learning a woman infected with COVID-19 also attended the event.
The woman spent most of the day Feb. 29 at the Fremont Family YMCA, where the tournament was held, according to a news release Saturday from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Health officials have urged the tournament’s players, coaches and team staff members to self-quarantine and monitor themselves until March 14 for symptoms of the virus, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. They’re also asked to self-report to the Nebraska public health online system or call their local health departments for next steps.
About 500 people attended the event from Fremont, Omaha, Lincoln and other areas in eastern Nebraska, officials said. Spectators and other people who were in the YMCA building that same day are at much lower risk than the direct participants of the tournament.
Several institutions in Fremont, including Fremont Public Schools, Archbishop Bergan Catholic Schools, Trinity Lutheran School, Midland University and the YMCA, canceled or postponed all activities effective immediately.
The District of Columbia says it has recorded its first case of coronavirus.
In a tweet, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says testing at the public health lab of the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences on Saturday yielded its first presumptive positive coronavirus case. The mayor scheduled a Saturday evening news conference.
The D.C. case comes as New Jersey reports a person with coronavirus had attended last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, a suburb of Washington.
On Friday, the group AIPAC said two people who attended its Washington conference this past week had tested positive for coronavirus
U.S. officials say they’ve distributed enough kits to public health labs to test 75,000 people around the country for the coronavirus. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn released the information on Saturday. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Saturday that most people don’t need to drastically change their daily lives, but should “stay informed and practice good hygiene.” And he reiterated that older people and those with underlying health conditions should avoid large groups, especially in tight spaces.
Officials in the U.S. state of Washington have raised the death toll from the coronavirus to 16. The Washington state Department of Health announced the two additional deaths on Saturday. They say the number of people diagnosed with the virus has risen to 102. At least 10 of those who died had been linked to a nursing home in the Seattle area. The death toll in the U.S. now stands at 19. Two people have died in Florida and one has died in California.
Greece’s National Public Health Organization says the total cases of coronavirus in Greece have risen to 66. The organization announced the new numbers Saturday. Of those, 47 were in a group that traveled to Israel and Egypt in late February. One of the travelers is a 66-year-old man who is in intensive care. No fatalities have been reported in Greece. A total of 21 new cases were confirmed Saturday. The government is expected to unveil measures concerning schools and other public spaces on Sunday or Monday.
The number of people in France diagnosed with the new coronavirus jumped by 336 to 949 on Saturday. That’s the biggest daily increase France has recorded.
French health authorities said another seven people have died, taking the total to 16. Most have been over 70 years of age.
The virus has reached every region of France and three overseas territories in the Caribbean and South America.
The head of the national health agency said that French hospitals are preparing emergency measures, including eventually bringing in retired doctors and students to help with growing demand if needed.
Health authorities on the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta have raised the number of people with coronavirus to three, after the parents of the girl first infected tested positive too.
Officials said ″there is no need for alarm,″ and urged people to take preventative measures, like frequent hand-washing.
Earlier, Malta confirmed its first coronavirus case, a 12-year-old girl of Italian origin who lives in Malta with her family. Health Minister Chris Fearne said the girl and her family had visited northern Italy in late February and early March, returning to Malta via Rome.
Italy has seen its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the outbreak broke out in the north of the country on Feb. 21.
In its daily update, Italy’s civil protection agency said the number of people with the coronavirus rose by 1,247 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 5,883. Another 36 people also died as a result of the virus, taking the total to 233.
Officials said people in intensive care with ailments other than coronavirus in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy would be transferred to neighboring regions, all of which have greater availability.
The president of the national health service, Silvio Brusaferro, urged people to abide by guidelines to limit contact as the only way to contain the virus.
Spain has deployed police in a northern town to help enforce a home quarantine placed on a neighborhood with a high number of residents infected by the coronavirus.
The regional government of La Rioja said Saturday that the extra measures have been taken to contain the outbreak in Haro, a town of 11,000 residents, where the majority of the 39 cases in the region are located.
Regional authorities warn that breaking the quarantine is punishable by fines of 3,000-600,000 euros ($3,380-$677,000).
Fernando Simón, the director of Spain’s center of health emergencies and alerts, confirmed reports that medical experts suspect that a recent funeral led to the outbreak in Spain’s north. Besides the around 30 people infected in Haro, authorities suspect that some of the 70 infected in the neighboring Basque Country region are also linked to the funeral held in the Basque city of Vitoria.
The virus has caused eight deaths in Spain and infected over 400. Thirty people have recovered from the virus.
An elderly man has become the second person in the U.K. to die from the coronavirus.
The man, in his early 80s, tested positive for the virus and had underlying health conditions. He died Thursday while being treated at Milton Keynes University Hospital.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said officials were working to find out who the man had come into contact with.
The U.K. has confirmed 164 cases of the new virus — 147 in England, 11 in Scotland, four in Northern Ireland and two in Wales.
Pope Francis will deliver his next two public blessings via video to prevent crowds from gathering as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Vatican said in a statement Saturday that the pope will not hold his traditional Sunday noon blessing from a window over St. Peter’s Square, as is tradition, but that it will be streamed from the library in the Apostolic Palace. 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, indicating his contact has been extremely limited in an apparent effort to prevent his infection.
At 83, recovering from a cold and with part of one lung removed from a respiratory infection when he was a young man, Francis would be at risk of serious complications if he were to catch the virus. Italy has recommended that elderly people remain at home.
The measures come after the Vatican confirmed its first case of the virus on Friday.
The pope appeared from a window high above St. Peter’s Square for last Sunday’s blessing, pausing twice for short bouts of coughing. He similarly was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass just days earlier.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging older adults and people with severe medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid crowds to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
The CDC updated the guidance on its COVID-19 website on Friday. The agency said older people are more likely to have serious illness and that underlying health conditions make it harder for people to fight off the illness.
The agency also suggested older adults and people with severe conditions should stay away from those who are sick and wash their hands often when they do go out. It also suggested such people have several weeks of medications and supplies at home.
For most people, the flu-like viral illness causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
The U.S. military’s European Command says an American sailor has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first U.S. service member in Europe to be infected.
EUCOM said in an email Saturday that the sailor was stationed in Naples, Italy, but gave no other details about the person or where he or she may have been infected.
The military says the sailor is “currently restricted to their residence, receiving supportive and medical care in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention host nation guidelines.”
An investigation is underway to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed, and those already identified as having been in close contact have been notified and isolated at their residences.
EUCOM says “we remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, U.S. embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population.”
The governor of Italy’s Lazio region is the latest official to test positive for the coronavirus in the country.
Nicola Zingaretti, who is also head of the Democratic Party, announced his diagnosis on Facebook on Saturday, saying, ’’I am well, so it was decided I will be isolated at home.” He said his family was also under isolation and that he was continuing to work from home.
At least three government prefects — in Bergamo, Brescia and Matera — have tested positive for the virus, along with three Milan prosecutors, according to media reports.
The government in its latest measures put the courts on a two-week holiday footing from Monday to allow them to better reorganize cases as the virus continues to spread throughout Italy.
The number of cases in the country jumped by 778 on Friday, to 4,636. So far, 148 people infected with the virus have died in Italy.
Iran says 21 more people have died from the coronavirus, raising the country’s death toll to 145. More than 1,000 infections were also confirmed overnight, bringing the country’s total to 5,823 cases.
Iran has the vast majority of cases in the Mideast. The capital, Tehran, has the most infections, with more than 1,500 cases, followed by the Shiite holy city of Qom with 668 and the northern province of Mazandaran with 606.
South Korea — the hardest-hit country after China — reported 448 new cases on Saturday for a total of 7,041. South Korea also reported four more deaths, raising the death toll to 48.
Malta has confirmed its first coronavirus case, a 12-year-old girl of Italian origin who lives in the Mediterranean island nation with her family.
Health Minister Chris Fearne says the girl and her family had visited northern Italy in late February and early March, returning to Malta via Rome.
The family self-quarantined as instructed but the girl started to experience symptoms. She was tested Friday and results came back positive on Saturday morning.
The girl is being held in an isolated section of Malta’s main public hospital, together with her sister and parents.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that a newly elected lawmaker from Tehran has died after contracting the coronavirus.
The lawmaker, 55-year-old Fatemeh Rahabar, was recently elected to serve in the incoming parliament that begins work in May.
Earlier this week, Iranian lawmaker Abdolreza Mesri told state television that 23 members of the current parliament had the coronavirus and he urged all lawmakers to avoid the public.
A Nile cruise boat carrying over 150 tourists and Egyptian crew is under quarantine in the southern city of Luxor after 12 people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Egyptian health authorities say a Taiwanese-American tourist on board the boat had tested positive for the virus upon returning to Taiwan late in February.
Local officials said there are Americans, French and Indians among the passengers. A health official said that the 12 are isolated inside the boat while the rest are awaiting test results.
The new infections bring the total number of cases in Egypt to 15.
Malaysia has turned away a cruise ship carrying around 2,000 passengers and crew from a port in northern Penang state, becoming the second country to bar the ship from docking after Thailand.
The Costa Fortuna was turned away from the popular resort island of Phuket in southern Thailand on Friday due to the presence of 64 Italians on board. Thai health authorities have officially designated Italy a dangerous communicable disease area because it has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Phee Boon Poh, a Penang executive councilor, said he was informed by the Penang port that it had turned away the cruise liner Saturday morning following a directive from the transport ministry. He said the ship was now making its way to Singapore.
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