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Millions quarantined in Italy as D.C reports first case

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: Ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.Alissa Eckert/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP - Getty Images

Italy's government has placed more than 16 million people — a quarter of the population — under lockdown in a drastic bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Lombardy region, including the city of Milan, has been quarantined, as have other cities, including Venice, Parma and Modena.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the first case has been confirmed in the capital, Washington, D.C., and hundreds of other cases have been reported around the country.

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Cruz to remain in Texas after brief interaction at CPAC with person who tested positive

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday he will stay home this week because he had a brief interaction with an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for COVID-19, the illness associated with coronavirus.

Cruz said in a statement that he was not experiencing any symptoms and felt "fine and healthy," but he consulted with local and federal health officials in making his decision, as well as with Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the Trump administration's response to the outbreak.

Cruz said the interaction occurred 10 days ago and was less than a minute long. The conference was held in National Harbor, Maryland, late last month.

“Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, and because of how frequently I interact with my constituents as a part of my job and to give everyone peace of mind, I have decided to remain at my home in Texas this week, until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction," he said.

Stocks tumble as oil price war adds to anxiety

Stock futures tumbled in overnight trading Sunday as investors continued to brace for the economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus, while a shocking all-out oil price war added to the anxiety.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged about 1,078 points, pointed to a more than 1,000-point loss at Monday’s open. The S&P 500 futures indicated a 4 percent drop at the open. The sharp declines in the futures market signaled more turbulence ahead after a roller-coaster week that saw the S&P 500 swing up or down more than 2.5 percent for four days straight.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday slashed official crude selling prices for April, in a sudden U-turn from previous attempts to support the oil market as the coronavirus hammers global demand. The move came after OPEC talks collapsed Friday, prompting some strategists to see oil prices crater to $20 this year.

Millions under lockdown in Italy

4 French MPs hospitalized with coronavirus; large public gatherings banned

The French government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 Sunday after three more people died and four members of the National Assembly were confirmed to have tested positive, authorities said.

The new restrictions on large events expand measures that had already been applied to so-called coronavirus hot spots to apply nationwide, Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a news conference, Reuters reported. "The priority is to do all we can to slow the transmission of the virus," he said.

Regional health officials announced Sunday night that four French deputies and two staff members of the National Assembly had tested positive for the coronavirus. All were in confinement, and people suspected of having had contact with them have been made aware, officials said.

Read the full story here.

Expert says outbreak has 'reached likely pandemic proportions'

One of the world’s foremost experts on communicable diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told NBC News the coronavirus outbreak has “reached likely pandemic proportions”.

In an interview with Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said “social distancing” might become necessary in some communities within the United States.

“If we get a major outbreak of this coronavirus in this country, that would mean perhaps closing schools temporarily, getting people to do more tele-working, cancelling events where there is a lot of crowds in confined places, cancelling unnecessary travel so that you're not on an airplane for five hours with a bunch of people who might be infected,” he said.

Watch the full interview with Fauci tonight in a special edition of "On Assignment with Richard Engel" on MSNBC at 10 p.m. ET or check your local listings.


Third coronavirus victim dies in U.K.

A man who had recently traveled to Italy became the third person to die in the U.K. from the disease caused by the new coronavirus, health officials said Sunday.

The man, who wasn't publicly identified, died at North Manchester General Hospital, the National Health Service said. The NHS said the victim was a man in his 60s who had "a number of underlying health problems." He tested positive after having traveled to Italy, many parts of which have been especially hard hit by the virus.

More than 230 people have died in Italy, where the government Sunday placed more than a quarter of the population under lockdown until early April to stop the spread of the virus.

The NHS said the man had been confined to the Infectious Diseases Unit and that there was no risk to staff, other patients, relatives or visitors at North Manchester General Hospital, which remains open.

Another "older patient with underlying health conditions" died last week at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, west of London. A man in his 80s died Thursday at Milton Keynes University Hospital northwest of London, the BBC reported.

U.S. coronavirus cases surpass 500, death toll rises to 21

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Sunday that California now had 114 cases of coronavirus as the number of confirmed positive cases in the U.S. surpassed 500

Another 12 cases were confirmed for COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, who were passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship, according to Newsom. Although Newsome clarified the new cases were passengers on a cruise prior the one currently being held off the coast of California until Monday, when they will disembark in Oakland for mandatory quarantine and testing. 

And the national death toll rose to 21 as officials reported two more COVID-19 deaths in Washington state.