CDC issues travel advisory for three states as global COVID-19 death toll tops 30,000

The number of cases worldwide has surpassed 665,000, with the U.S. leading the way.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Yuliya Talmazan, Lidia Sirna and Hernan Muñoz Ratto

People in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were urged to "refrain from non-essential domestic travel" for the next two weeks by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the number of people killed by the coronavirus pandemic around the world surpassed 30,000.

The CDC travel advisory was issued after President Donald Trump decided against calling for a quarantine in the tri-state area, which has been hit hard by the epidemic. State officials had questioned whether he had the authority to implement a lockdown, and they accused the president of creating confusion.

Globally, the number of cases was at nearly 680,000 on Sunday afternoon, with the U.S. leading the way at 124,686 cases, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed. Coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. doubled in just two days, surpassing 2,000 on Saturday, according to an NBC News tally.

Almost half of them have come in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that 728 people had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, adding that more than 52,000 people had tested positive.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Earlier Saturday, Trump sparked confusion when he told reporters as he was leaving the White House for Norfolk, Virginia, that he was considering an "enforceable quarantine" in the tri-state area because he was concerned that New Yorkers were traveling to places like Florida and spreading the virus.

However, he later backed away from the idea.

Around the world, more than 30,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Italy has the highest death toll, with 10,023 reported since the outbreak began, Johns Hopkins data showed.

Italian officials said that 889 more people died Saturday and Sunday and that nearly 6,000 new cases were reported, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 92,472.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said late Saturday that he had approved a package of economic measures to help the worst hit. Shopping vouchers and food packages will be provided to the vulnerable, he said.

Conte said that 4.3 billion euros ($4.79 billion) would immediately be made available to mayors to deal with their residents' needs and that 400 million more would be provided in a special fund for "people who don't have the money to do their shopping."

Spain, the second-hardest-hit country in Europe, has so far registered 5,982 deaths.

In a televised address Saturday evening, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez extended the nationwide lockdown by two weeks, until at least April 9.

"This is the most difficult moment since the creation of the European Union," Sánchez said, asking for solidarity among European nations.

"This isn't an asymmetric crisis. It affects all of our countries," he added. "The answer mustn't be national. It must be European. We all must row in the same boat."

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Sánchez added that Spain had acquired 659 million masks as the number of cases rose to 72,248.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for China's National Health Commission said Sunday that the country is now dealing with 639 imported cases, raising the possibility of a new round of infections after domestic cases tapered off.

Numbers released by the health commission revealed that 44 of the 45 new confirmed cases came from abroad. No new confirmed cases have emerged from Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have originated late last year, as the city reopened its subway and long-distance train service Sunday.

China is aggressively trying to clamp down on imported cases, with restrictions on foreigners' entering the country coming into effect Saturday. Airlines have also been ordered to sharply cut international flights beginning Sunday.

Reuters contributed.