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World markets tumble and all of Italy goes on lockdown

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex which is under cohort isolation after mass infection of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Daegu
South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex that is under isolation in Daegu on Monday. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

World stocks tumbled with investors bracing for the economic fallout of the epidemic, with a shocking all-out oil price war adding to anxiety.

Wall Street suffered its worst day since the financial crisis of 2008 as the Dow plummeted more than 2,000 points by Monday's closing bell, and London's FTSE 100 plunged to a three-year low after oil prices cratered by 30 percent overnight.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte announced Monday that the containment measures introduced Sunday for the Lombardy region in the country's north would be applied to the whole nation. More than 9,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Italy so far while Germany and Spain also saw spikes in the number of cases Monday.

The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus has risen to more than 650 on Monday, including 26 deaths.

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Growing number of universities cancel face-to-face instruction

A growing number of colleges, including The Ohio State University and San Francisco State University, have suspended face-to-face classes amid fears of growing coronavirus cases in the United States.

OSU in a statement noted that while there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, "we know that there are at least three confirmed cases in the state of Ohio, and we expect that there will be more." It is suspending face-to-face instruction and moving to virtual interactions through at least March 30.

San Francisco State said that all face-to-face courses will be suspended, but the campus is not being closed. The city and county of San Francisco on Thursday announced two presumptive positive cases. UC San Diego said Monday that starting in Spring Quarter all lecture and discussion courses will be delivered remotely. UC Berkeley said starting Tuesday it is suspending most in-person classes and will be offering classes remotely.

Rice University in Houston this week announced in-person instruction is canceled this week and it is preparing for the possibility of delivering most of its classes remotely. Princeton said Monday that it will move to virtual instruction after spring break and will decrease the number of gatherings on campus. Stanford also said it will move in-person classes to an online format for the last two weeks of winter quarter.

'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' won't tape in front of audiences over coronavirus fears

Game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" will not tape in front of studio audiences amid the spread of coronavirus, a source close to the shows told NBC News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that "social distancing" is one way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, in communities.

Santa Clara County, California, banned mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an effort to prevent transmission, officials said Monday.

California's Santa Clara County bans gatherings with more than 1,000 people

Santa Clara County, California, public health officials, citing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases that could be community spread, announced an order banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people for three weeks.

The order does not apply to airports, offices, grocery stores or shopping malls. But it could affect the San Jose Sharks hockey team, which said in a statement Monday night that it was aware of the new guidelines and would adhere to them.

Xi makes first visit since outbreak to China's epicenter Wuhan

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping visited China's virus epicenter Tuesday for the first time since cases of a then-unidentified respiratory illness emerged in the city of Wuhan in December.

The visit came as people gradually began to return to work in other parts of China while the virus spreads to most of the world, seriously impacting travel, markets and the global economy. He is expected to inspect epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines.

The disease's spread in China cast scrutiny on Xi’s leadership, as he was conspicuously absent from the public eye during the early days of the crisis. Initial failures to react quickly were pegged on municipal and provincial-level officials who have since been replaced.

State media reported Xi arrived in the morning in Wuhan, which has been under lockdown along with several nearby cities since late January in a disease-containment measure. The city has the bulk of the country’s more than 80,000 confirmed cases, and authorities sent thousands of medical workers and built several prefabricated isolation wards to deal with its mass of COVID-19 patients.

SXSW lets go third of staff after cancellation because of coronavirus

Organizers for the South by Southwest annual conference, which was canceled by Austin officials over coronavirus fears, said Monday that they had let go of about one-third of its full-time staff.

"Due to the City of Austin’s unprecedented and unexpected cancellation of the SXSW 2020 events in March, SXSW has been rigorously reviewing our operations, and we are in the unimaginable position of reducing our workforce. Today we said goodbye to approximately one-third of our full-time staff," a spokesperson for South by Southwest, commonly known as SXSW, said.

"Those of us in the business of live events know the level of trust required to execute an event of SXSW’s scale, and we are deeply sad to let people go this soon. We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking step," the spokesperson said.

Austin's mayor on Friday declared a state of emergency, which resulted in the cancellation.

China reports 17 more deaths, total on mainland now 3,136

China reported an additional 17 deaths, all of which were in Hubei Province, from the coronavirus illness COVID-19 Tuesday morning. That brings the number of people who have died in mainland China to 3,136.

The number of confirmed cases rose by 19, bringing the total cases that have been confirmed overall to 80,754, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Pearl Jam postponing tour because of coronavirus

With "deep frustration and regret," Seattle band Pearl Jam on Monday announced it was postponing part of its upcoming tour because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Having no examples of our national health department's ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead," that band said in making the announcement. 

Trump's incoming chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is under self-quarantine

President Donald Trump's incoming chief of staff, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, said Monday that he is under self-quarantine after possibly "coming into contact" with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, speaks as Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images file

Meadows, R-North Carolina, has tested negative for the disease but will remain at home until Wednesday "out of an abundance of caution," Meadows' chief of staff, Ben Williamson, said in a statement Monday.

Trump named Meadows as his next chief of staff last week. 

The possible encounter occurred at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month. The statement provided no additional details about the potential exposure.

Williamson said Meadows is not experiencing symptoms but is following precautionary recommendations.

Several other Republican members of Congress are also under self-quarantine, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Rep. Julia Brownley, a Democrat from California, is also self-quarantining.  

Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, has said he is not self-quarantining despite possibly being exposed as well.

31 out of 35 patients at Life Care nursing home in Washington state test positive for coronavirus

The long-term care facility in Washington state linked to multiple deaths in the coronavirus outbreak announced on Monday that 31 out of 35 residents have tested positive for the virus, a Life Care official said Monday.

Of the 35 current residents of Life Care in Kirkland who were tested, 31 were positive, three were inconclusive and one was negative. More testing will be done on the inconclusive cases, Life Care public information liaison Tim Killian said Monday evening. 

Those who tested positive will not immediately be moved to hospitals, he said. They will remain there unless symptoms become acute enough that outside hospitalization is required. Those testing negative will be moved to another wing, Killian said. Employees have not yet been tested and it’s possible they will be tested off site, but that has not been finalized, he said.

The facility is waiting on results for around 20 residents, he said, adding that every resident within the facility has been tested.

There have been 22 deaths in Washington state, with 20 of those in King County, according to the state health department. Of the 20 deaths in King County, 19 have been associated with Life Care, according to the county health department, but that statement does not say all those deaths were patients there. There have been 162 confirmed cases across the state as of late Monday afternoon.

Father of coronavirus patient broke quarantine and took other daughter to dance

Ritz-Carlton, St Louis.Google Maps

The voluntary quarantine system that states are using to combat the spread of the new coronavirus in communities can work only if people follow it. So how can health officials be sure that people who agree to self-quarantine are at home?

The weaknesses in the system became apparent over the weekend in Missouri when a man broke quarantine and took one of his daughters to a dance.

The unidentified dad was already cutting the rug at a hotel Saturday when he got confirmation that his other daughter, the one who had stayed home, had tested positive for the virus, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said during a news conference Sunday.

Read the full article here.

Trump walks away while asked if he has been tested for coronavirus