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.
Mixed White House messaging on coronavirus sparks internal frustration
PALM BEACH, Fla. — White House officials are growing increasingly frustrated in what they see as President Donald Trump's consistent bids to downplay the severity of the quickly-spreading coronavirus outbreak, a tendency that has led to a clash in messaging with public health officials.
Those mixed signals were on display Sunday as the top infectious disease doctor at the National Institutes of Health, Tony Fauci, warned the elderly and medically vulnerable to avoid large crowds and not to take long trips or cruises, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams told the public to be prepared for more cases and fatalities.
But the message Sunday morning from Trump on Twitter was praise for his administration’s response, which he called a "perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan," and blame for the media, which he said was “doing everything possible to make us look bad.”
Read full story here.
Oregon declares state of emergency as coronavirus cases increase
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown officially declared a state of emergency on Sunday to address the spread of coronavirus as officials confirmed seven more cases in the state.
The state of emergency allows the officials more resources to dedicate in the effort to stem the spread of the virus, Brown said in a statement. A total of 14 people have tested positive in Oregon.
"This news is concerning for all Oregonians, but my resolve and that of my administration to address this public health crisis is unchanged,” said Governor Brown
Smokers and vapers more at risk to coronavirus, New York City mayor warns
Smoking and using electronic cigarettes makes people more vulnerable to coronavirus, New York City officials warned Sunday.
Although a history of smoking is not considered one of the preexisting conditions that define those who are most vulnerable to the virus, it is a serious factor, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Sunday press conference.
"If you are a smoker or a vaper, this is a very good time to stop that habit and we will help you," de Blasio said. "Our health department and our colleagues in the state have a lot they can offer people who want to quit smoking, who want to quit vaping."
Officials are still most concerned about those over the age of 50 who have conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes and disorders that compromise someone's immune system.
De Blasio said that the city has a total of 13 confirmed coronavirus cases, seven of which were identified in the last three days. At least 146 tests have come back negative and another 76 tests still are outstanding.
The city could see at least 100 or more confirmed cases over the next two or three weeks, de Blasio said.
"We have to be prepared for that reality," de Blasio said.
Saudi Arabia is closing all schools and educational institutions
Saudi Arabia announced Sunday it will be closing all educational institutions because of coronavirus.
On the official Twitter account of the Saudi press agency, authorities ordered the immediate closure of schools, colleges and universities throughout the kingdom until further notice. The move applies to both public and private schools and affects over four million students. The kingdom will be setting up virtual schools in the meantime.
Saudi Arabia currently has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Sunday, according to Reuters.
To curb the virus' spread, Saudi officials suspended the umrah pilgrimage and tourist visas to Mecca and Medina last week, and photos circulated in recent days show a typically crowded Grand Mosque in Mecca nearly empty.
Connecticut confirms first presumptive coronavirus case
Gov. Ned Lamont on Sunday announced the first case of presumptive positive coronavirus in the state of Connecticut.
Italy reports another 133 deaths, death toll jumps to 366
Italy's coronavirus death toll rose to 366 on Sunday after authorities announced another 133 deaths, the largest daily rise in reported fatalities in the country since the outbreak began.
The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus in Europe, jumped 25% to 7,375 from 5,883 on Saturday, another record jump.
At least 622 people have have recovered from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, according to Angelo Borrelli, head of the country's Civil Protection Agency. Victims in Italy who died after contracting the virus are mostly over the age of 50.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis called for Italy to ban all its citizens from traveling in Europe in an effort to curb the outbreak.
"Italy should ban all its citizens from travelling to Europe, because we are not able to order such a thing within (the European Union's borderless area) Schengen," Babis said on Czech Television Sunday.
Italy's government has placed more than 16 million people — a quarter of the population — under lockdown.
Passengers from Grand Princess cruise ship to be quarantined in California, Texas and Georgia
Grand Princess cruise passengers from the U.S. who have been held off the coast of California will be divided between three states for quarantine, the Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday.
The Grand Princess, where at least 21 of the 3,500 people on board have tested positive for coronavirus, has been stranded in the water since Wednesday and is set to dock in Oakland on Monday. At least 1,000 passengers who are California residents will complete the mandatory quarantine at Travis Air Force Base, about 50 miles northeast of Oakland, and Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, HHS said.
Other passengers will be taken to either Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement Sunday that thirty-four state residents and American citizens from the East coast will be taken to the Marietta base for quarantine and additional testing.
"I am confident that Dobbins is equipped to provide high-quality care for Americans in need while keeping Georgia families safe, and our state stands ready to assist our federal partners if requested," Kemp said.
HHS said it is still working with the State Department to repatriate several hundred non-American passengers to their home countries.
Uber and Lyft promise to compensate drivers diagnosed with coronavirus
Uber announced that it will support drivers with confirmed cases of coronavirus, the company said Sunday.
The ride hail giant said it would support its contracted drivers who were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, or those forced into quarantine by public health officials, according to Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of rides and platform.
Macdonald said that drivers and delivery workers will receive compensation for up to 14 days.
"This has already begun in some markets and we are working to implement mechanisms to do this worldwide," McDonald said. 'We believe this is the right thing to do."
Lyft also confirmed Sunday that it has decided to provide compensation to drivers infected or quarantined.
The announcements from Uber and Lyft come just a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that one of the city's confirmed coronavirus cases involved an Uber driver from Queens. The patient was in isolation at a local hospital, NBC New York reported.
Another 16 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York
There are 16 new confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday, bringing the total in the state to 105.
Top U.S. coronavirus official: 'Above all, don't get on a cruise ship'
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommended Sunday that elderly and vulnerable Americans limit their exposure to travel and large crowds as the world fights the coronavirus outbreak.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Fauci said that the elderly and those with “underlying conditions” are “overwhelmingly” more likely to have complications if they catch coronavirus.
“If you are an elderly person with an underlying condition, if you get infected, the risk of getting into trouble is considerable. So it's our responsibility to protect the vulnerable,” he said.
“When I say protect, I mean right now. Not wait until things get worse. Say no large crowds, no long trips. And above all, don't get on a cruise ship.”
Read full story here.
A makeshift hospital in Wuhan, empty
WHO chief: 100 countries report COVID19 cases for the first time
Coronavirus-stricken cruise ship to dock in California on Monday
Ten dead after quarantine site collapses in China
Ten people have died and 23 are missing after a hotel housing people quarantined by the coronavirus collapsed in the Chinese city of Quanzhou, authorities in the city said Sunday.
A total of 71 people were trapped under the rubble after the hotel collapsed Saturday night local time and 38 people have now been retrieved, China's ministry of emergency management confirmed.
Pictures from the site showed rescue workers clad in hard hats, goggles and face masks carrying injured people away. Authorities said more than 1,000 first responders were working on the scene. It was unclear what caused the collapse.
The steel-structured building, built in 2013, was being used as the monitoring space for quarantined citizens who have traveled to or stayed at heavily infected regions, officials said.
Pope streams Sunday blessing via video link to avoid Vatican crowds
Pope Francis did not appear at his palazzo window in the Vatican to deliver his Sunday blessing and remarks amid the growing coronavirus epidemic in Italy.
Instead, a live stream of him reading his comments and reciting prayers was broadcast on screens set up in St. Peter’s Square to the faithful. After he read his speech from the Vatican’s apostolic library, he made a brief appearance at the window of the Apostolic Palace to greet the worshipers.
In a bid to deter people from attending, The Vatican announced that he would not appear live at the service on Saturday and it appeared to have worked.While as many as 40,000 have turned out to see the pontiff in the past, only several thousand could be seen on Sunday.
Moscow threatens prison for those who fail to self-isolate
Moscow city authorities threatened prison terms of up to five years on Sunday for people failing to self-isolate in their homes for two weeks after visiting countries hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
The city government had announced a "high alert regime" and imposed extra measures on Thursday to prevent a spread of the illness in the Russian capital.
Those who return from China, South Korea, Iran, France, Germany, Italy and Spain and other states showing possible "unfavorable" signs of coronavirus should self-isolate themselves at home for 14 days, Moscow city hall has said.
The Moscow healthcare department said on Sunday that those disregarding the regulation risked severe punishment including imprisonment of up to five years.
Almost 50 die in 24 hours, Iranian Ministry of Health confirms
Almost 50 people have died from coronavirus in less than 24 hours, a spokesman for Iran's Ministry of Health said Sunday.
Kianoush Janahpour said that 743 new cases had been confirmed over the same time period, compared with Saturday, bringing the total number to 6,566. A total of 194 people had died from the respiratory illness, including the 49, he said.
Fatemeh Rahbar, a newly elected member of the Iranian Parliament, died from the illness Friday and several senior officials in the country have also contracted COVID-19.
Maldives confirms first two cases of coronavirus
The Maldives has curbed movement on several resort islands, authorities said Sunday, after the country reported its first two cases of coronavirus.
The pair, both foreign nationals, were working at the Kuredu Island Resort. Both were confirmed to have the virus Saturday, according to the country’s Health Protection Agency (HPA). They were in direct contact with an Italian tourist who has returned to Italy and tested positive there, the agency said.
In a statement released on its website, the resort confirmed two positive test results, saying all guests and employees will remain on the island and follow guidance from health authorities.
“The temporary restrictive measures will continue until such time that the authorities release the island from its quarantine period. At this time there will be no flight in or out of the island,” the statement said, adding that the island is well stocked with essentials.
The economy of the Maldives is heavily dependent on foreign tourists who stay in its luxury resorts.
Coronavirus divides one family while driving another closer together
HONG KONG — Sitting 10 feet apart on a bench in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun Park, Dr. Alfred Wong and his pregnant wife briefly remove their protective masks before tucking into their take-out dinners and talking about their days.
It is a brief respite and return to normality for Wong, 38, a member of the “dirty team” at the Tuen Mun Hospital nearby. There, he is tasked with treating patients infected with the coronavirus.
Wong told NBC News that he was so concerned about his wife and unborn child that he would not go any closer to her than 10 feet.
“Of course, it makes sense to the brain,” Wong said. “But doesn’t make sense to the heart.”
Less than 600 miles away in Wuhan — the Chinese city where the disease is believed to have originated — Benjamin Wilson has the opposite problem. A English teacher and restaurateur from Alexandria, Louisiana, he can only spend time with his wife, Lulu, 36, and 7-year-old daughter, Jasmine.
“Trapped,” Wilson, 38, told NBC News. “Couldn’t leave if we wanted to.”
He said that he felt like "astronauts being in space,” as they were “completely cut off and isolated" in their apartment.
Czech PM calls for Italy travel ban
Italy should ban all its citizens from travelling to Europe in order to curb the new coronavirus outbreak, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Sunday.
Italy imposed a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north earlier on Sunday, including the financial capital Milan, in a drastic new attempt to try to contain a rapidly growing outbreak of coronavirus.
"Italy should ban all its citizens from travelling to Europe, because we are not able to order such a thing within (the European Union's borderless area) Schengen," Babis said on Czech Television.
The Czech Republic has reported 26 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection as of Saturday evening, most involving persons either travelling from Italy or in contact with someone who has been there.
WHO explains differences between novel coronavirus and influenza
Australian police charge two Sydney women over toilet paper feud
Two women involved in violent brawl over toilet roll have been charged by police in Australia.
The pair, aged 23 and 60, were issued court attendance notices for affray “following an altercation at a supermarket” in Sydney, New South Wales police said Sunday. They are due to appear at a local court on April 28.
Major supermarket chains in Australia have restricted supplies to one pack per person amid panic buying by residents as people worried about the coronavirus epidemic have stocked up and fears of supply shortages grow.
The number of coronavirus cases in Australia has topped 70 while a man in his 80s became the third person to die from COVID-19 in the country.
Grand Princess cruise ship to dock in Oakland, California
The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying 21 people who have tested positive for coronavirus was cleared by state and federal officials to dock in Oakland, California, Princess Cruises said late Saturday.
The cruise ship with more than 3,500 passengers, was initially supposed to dock Sunday but then amended its statement to say the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made changes to the plan, and it will dock sometime Monday.
At that time officials will "begin disembarking guests who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization," Princess said. "These guests will be transported to medical facilities in California."
The cruise line, citing the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said Californians would be screened, tested and isolated; non-Californians will be taken to facilities in other states; and staff will remain aboard for quarantine and treatment.
The ship traveled to Mexico in February. A Sacramento-area man who had been aboard died of COVID-19, the disease from coronavirus. Two other passengers were hospitalized with the virus in Northern California, officials said. And two Canadians who had been on-board subsequently tested positive.
4 dead in collapse of Chinese hotel used for virus control
At least four people were killed in the collapse of hotel in southeastern China that was being used for medical observation of people who had arrived from areas hit by the coronavirus outbreak, authorities said Sunday.
The sudden collapse of the building on Saturday evening trapped 71 people, the Ministry of Emergency Management said. Thirty-eight had been rescued as of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, including one person in critical condition and four others in serious condition, the ministry said.
More than 1,000 firefighters and seven rescue dogs were dispatched to the site, according to the ministry. News photos showed rescue workers with flashlights climbing over the debris and bringing people out. Rubble was left piled on cars in front of the building.
The Xinjia Express Hotel is in Quanzhou, a coastal city in Fujian province. The city government said it was housing people who had come from coronavirus-hit areas. Most parts of China are quarantining people from such areas for 14 days.
Millions locked down as Italy announces sweeping quarantine
Over a quarter of Italy's population were locked down by the country's government Sunday as it closed off the entire Lombardy region, including the city of Milan and more than a dozen other provinces. Around 16 million people were affected.
The government took the drastic action after the country saw its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since an outbreak erupted there last month. The number of cases confirmed in the country now stands at 5,883, with close to half that number — 2,651 — hospitalized. More than 230 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
"We want to protect the health of all citizens," Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. "We are aware that this will create unease and that these measures will be a sacrifice, big and small. But this is the time to be responsible."
Sunday's decree restricts anyone from leaving or entering designated red zones except for ''undeferrable work needs or emergency situations'' starting Sunday through at least April 3, Conte added.
People are changing their normal routines
People are altering their normal routines in ways large and small to keep the virus at bay.
We give you 10 tips for changes you can make. They include: Don't take your reusable cup to Starbucks, listen to music at home instead of going to shows and try not to shake hands.
Washington, D.C., reports its first coronavirus case
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Washington's first coronavirus case Saturday.
The patient was described as a resident in his 50s who appears to have contracted the virus in late February, when he started feeling ill, she said.
She said it was not known how the man contracted the virus. He "appears to have no history of international travel and no close contacts with a confirmed case," Bowser said.
Bowser said local health officials were monitoring 11 residents who had symptoms consistent with the coronavirus illness, COVID-19. Tests for nine of them were negative, she said, and results for another were pending.