Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Cases Cross 500, and Deaths in Italy Surge

Here’s what you need to know:

The global fight against the coronavirus entered a new stage this weekend.

In Italy, cases and deaths shot up over the last week, making its tolls second only to China, and the entire Lombardy area has been locked down.

The country accounts for more than 7,350 of the world’s 109,400 cases,and more than 360 of some 3,800 deaths.

More and more countries are considering draconian measures, whether forcing all international arrivals into quarantine or locking down regions.

The U.S. has counted at least 521 cases across 33 states — Connecticut reported its first case on Sunday — and the District of Columbia, and logged 21 deaths. Washington State, New York and California have about 100 or more cases, and have declared emergencies, as has Oregon.

The leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, said on Sunday that it was possible that regional lockdowns could become necessary and recommended that those at greatest risk — the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — abstain from travel.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the Trump administration was prepared to “take whatever action is appropriate” to contain the outbreak, including travel restrictions in areas with a high number of cases.

“I don’t think it would be as draconian as ‘nobody in and nobody out,’” Dr. Fauci said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But there’ll be, if we continue to get cases like this, particularly at the community level, there will be what we call mitigation.”

Israel, with 39 cases, is considering requiring all Israelis and foreign nationals arriving from abroad to go into self-quarantine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

The country has been quick to close its gates to foreigners from a growing list of European and Asian countries and to mandate a 14-day home quarantine period for Israelis arriving from those countries. But making it a blanket quarantine that would include the U.S. would have considerable potential diplomatic and economic fallout.

“This is not an easy decision to make,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a televised news conference. “Health comes first.”

Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The Grand Princess cruise ship that has been held off the coast of California after 21 people onboard tested positive for the coronavirus was on its way to dock on Monday at the Port of Oakland, the vessel’s operator said.

More than 3,500 passengers and crew members are aboard, and 19 crew members and two passengers have tested positive.

After the ship docks, those aboard will be taken to military facilities around the country to be tested and quarantined for 14 days, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to a statement from the department, about 1,000 passengers who are California residents are to go to the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., or the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. Residents of other states will be taken to the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Ga.

The Department of State is working with other countries to repatriate “several hundred passengers,” according to the statement.

Princess Cruises initially said on Saturday that the ship would dock in Oakland on Sunday. It later amended that statement after what it called a change in planning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Italy reported more than 130 new deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday, a surge of more than 50 percent from the day before, as it moved to lock down entire sections of the country’s north in a sweeping effort to fight the epidemic.

The extraordinary measure restricted movement for a quarter of the country’s population.

“We are facing an emergency, a national emergency,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in announcing the government decree in a news conference after 2 a.m.

The move is tantamount to sacrificing the Italian economy in the short term to save it from the ravages of the virus in the long term. The measures will turn stretches of Italy’s wealthy north — including the economic and cultural capital of Milan and landmark tourist destinations such as Venice — into quarantined red zones until at least April 3.

They will prevent the free movement of roughly 16 million people.

Funerals and cultural events are banned. The decree requires that people keep a distance of at least one meter from one another at sporting events, bars, churches and supermarkets.

The Italian outbreak — the worst outside Asia — has inflicted serious damage on one of Europe’s most fragile economies and prompted the closing of Italy’s schools. The country’s cases nearly tripled from about 2,500 infections on Wednesday to more than 7,375 on Sunday. Deaths rose to 366.

Amid the backdrop of the growing restrictions to contain the virus, Pope Francis on Sunday for the first time live-streamed his Sunday Prayer, an event that usually draws thousands to St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican also said on Sunday that it, like Italy, would close its museums and pontifical villas.

In other parts of Europe: Germany said on Sunday that the number of coronavirus cases had risen to 939; Switzerland had 281 confirmed infections; and Britain’s health department said that two people with the virus had died and that the number of cases in the country had jumped to 273 by Sunday. The Finnish armed forces announced that troop exercises planned for Mar 9-19 with Norway would be scrapped because of the outbreak.

The Spanish authorities announced on Sunday that three more people diagnosed with coronavirus had died in Madrid, raising the number of coronavirus fatalities in the country to 13. There are now over 500 cases, the authorities said.

Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, said at a news conference in Madrid that several cases in Spain were linked to people who recently traveled to Italy.

“Italy has taken very drastic measures and the most immediate impact is to halt the influx of people from northern Italy,” Mr. Illa added.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in Oregon on Sunday, after the state’s count of confirmed coronavirus cases doubled to 14.

The governor’s office said the emergency declaration would allow Oregon to tap a reserve of emergency volunteer health professionals, among other things.

“We will do everything it takes, within our power and in coordination with federal and local officials, to keep Oregonians safe,” Ms. Brown said in a statement.

Neighboring Washington and California, which have seen about 100 cases each, have already declared states of emergency, as has New York.

Officials in Washington State reported two more deaths Sunday, bringing the state’s overall toll to 18. That includes 16 people linked to a nursing home in Kirkland.

The news came as a growing number of schools are shutting down across the United States to protect students from the coronavirus, raising concerns about the closings will affect learning, burden families and upend communities.

The Egyptian health ministry said that a 60-year-old German tourist died on Sunday in Hurghada, on the Red Sea, after contracting the coronavirus. It is believed to be the country’s first fatality from the outbreak.

The man was traveling from Luxor, where a tourist boat with 45 confirmed cases is docked, and was admitted to a hospital on Friday. He tested positive for the virus on Saturday and died on Sunday.

The authorities said they were sterilizing the hospital and tracing the people the man had contact with.

Twelve crew members aboard the cruise on the Nile were placed in isolation on Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus, Egypt’s health ministry said. Egypt is scrambling to protect its tourism industry, a vital sector of the economy, and reassure travelers it is safe to visit after the outbreak on the boat.

A person who attended a conservative conference where President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke last week has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the conference’s host.

The American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, said the attendee was exposed to the virus before the four-day event and tested positive for it on Saturday.

“This attendee had no interaction with the president or the vice president and never attended the events in the main hall,” the group said in a statement. “The Trump administration is aware of the situation, and we will continue regular communication with all appropriate government officials.”

The attendee has been quarantined in New Jersey, the statement said.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that there was “no indication that either President Trump or Vice President Pence met with or were in close proximity to the attendee.”

Others who spoke at the conference included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia. Also in attendance were Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son.

Understanding how deadly the coronavirus can be is a central factor for governments to gauge how drastic their countermeasures should be and for individuals to adjust their own anxiety.

But the real rate is elusive.

The World Health Organization’s estimate last week of 3.4 percent seemed to shock experts, some of whom said that 1 percent was more realistic.

There are several reasons the right number remains unclear.

Not enough people have been tested. Incomplete testing means the reported death rates probably skew high; if many more cases were detected, the rates would fall. Until last week, people in the United States were tested only if they had traveled to China or had contact with other ill people. Many infected people in the country were not being counted.

The number of coronavirus deaths could be incomplete. Cases where infected people died without being tested might be missed. And people can be infected for a while before becoming sick enough to be at risk of death — which can throw off a short-term calculation.

The rate won’t be the same everywhere. Experts say differences in populations and health systems can raise or lower the death rate by country. For example, there is strong evidence that older people are at a higher risk of dying, so countries with more older people may end up with a higher rate.

Ten people died in the collapse of a hotel that was being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in Quanzhou, a city in China’s southeastern Fujian Province, the government said on Sunday.

Government officials said that about 70 people had been trapped inside the building when it collapsed on Saturday. Thirty-eight people had been rescued as of Sunday afternoon and taken to the hospital. Officials said 23 people were still trapped inside

The People’s Daily, a Chinese state-run newspaper, said that the hotel had collapsed during renovations and that the owner of the building was under police custody.

The five-story hotel, which opened in summer 2018, was designated a quarantine center for people who have been in close contact with suspected coronavirus patients. Of those trapped inside the hotel when it collapsed, 58 had been placed under quarantine, officials said.

Saudi Arabia cut off access on Sunday to Shiite Muslim towns and villages in the east of the kingdom, cordoning off an area in Qatif Governorate in an attempt to contain the outbreak. All 11 of the country’s confirmed coronavirus cases have occurred in Qatif, the center of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite population.

The government’s announcement did not appear to affect any Sunni towns or villages. Shiites were left wondering whether they would be able to go to work or to travel outside the area.

The move was cast as a public health measure, but it also touched on delicate political matters for the kingdom, where the Shiite minority has long faced discrimination. In recent days, the group has come under greater scrutiny because the first coronavirus cases occurred in people who had returned from Iran, the site of the biggest outbreak of the virus in the Middle East.

Flights and trade links have been cut since 2016 between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the kingdom’s regional enemy and rival. But Saudis have continued to visit Iran in secret by transiting through other countries, abetted by the Iranian authorities, who refrain from stamping their passports.

The kingdom assailed Iran over the practice last week, accusing it of contributing to the coronavirus threat in Saudi Arabia. The government asked Saudi citizens who had been to Iran in secret in the previous 14 days to turn themselves in.

Residents said that towns and villages in the municipality of Qatif, on the kingdom’s eastern coast north of the headquarters of Saudi Aramco, were surrounded by security vehicles on Sunday. The government announced that entry and exit into the area was “temporarily” suspended, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, though it said that residents would be allowed to return to their homes.

All government departments and private institutions would also suspend operations, other than essential businesses including gas stations and pharmacies, the announcement said. Schools in the area were closed.

After a Starbucks employee was confirmed to have the virus on Friday, the company immediately closed the downtown Seattle store and issued a statement saying that it was following health authority guidelines to protect customers and employees.

The company, founded in Seattle in the early 1970s, also said it was taking additional steps to reduce the risk of exposure at its stores, including barring customers from using their own coffee containers.

The coronavirus has hit the Seattle area harder than anywhere else in the United States, with 16 deaths in Washington State, most from a nursing home northeast of the city. The virus and its public health implications have rippled through the community, affecting how and where people work and gather.

Many employees and students at the University of Washington, for example, are working and taking classes remotely.

“Seattle is freaking out,” said Lenny Galaviz as he stopped to take a photograph through a window of the closed store, a Starbucks Reserve.

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