Emergency declared in California as cruise ship delayed off shore

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco
The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco on Feb. 11, 2020.Scott Strazzante / AP file

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California has declared an emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, as tests continue Thursday on board a Princess cruise ship that has been linked to two cases of the illness in the state.

The first death in California related to coronavirus was confirmed Wednesday, while another fatality in Washington brought that state's death toll to 10.

Congressional leaders have agreed on an $8 billion emergency funding package to help fight the coronavirus that is headed to the House.

The virus is now spreading more rapidly outside China, where the epidemic started, with mainland China recording just 119 new confirmed cases while hundreds of cases were reported globally.

South Korea alone recorded an additional 516 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total to 5,328 confirmed cases, the largest outbreak outside of mainland China.

Governments around the world are introducing a range of measures to stop the spread of the disease. In Italy, where there have been more than 2,000 cases, all schools and colleges are shut for 10 days.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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Holy Land Catholic churches to give communion by hand only

Roman Catholic authorities in Jerusalem have instructed their priests to give communion by hand only, rather than placing the wafers on worshippers' tongues, and to empty holy water fonts — both as precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem announced the measures on Thursday, shortly after the start of Lent, the 40-day season leading up to Easter. Millions of pilgrims frequent Jerusalem and other holy cities such as Nazareth and Bethlehem each year.

Sign of the times

A pharmacy displays a sign that there is no returns on N95 face masks in the Manhattan borough of New York on Feb. 27, 2020.Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Buttigieg: Virus isn't going to be 'stopped by a big wall'

Pete Buttigieg, campaigning in South Carolina, highlighted the coronavirus as an example of the type of high-level national security issue that will await the next president.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, then appeared to criticize President Trump, saying: "This virus does not care what country it is in. It's not going to be stopped by a big wall."

U.S. intel agencies warned of rising risk of outbreak like coronavirus

The U.S. intelligence community has failed to anticipate some big developments, from the disintegration of the Soviet Union to the rapid rise of ISIS.

But the spies did forecast something like coronavirus.

For years, American intelligence agencies have been warning about the increasing risks of a global pandemic that could strain resources and damage the global economy.

Read more here.

Sanders to Trump: 'Why don't you worry about the coronavirus?'

Sen. Bernie Sanders, campaigning in South Carolina ahead of the Democratic primary there, slammed President Trump for coming down to the state for a Friday evening rally amid the outbreak. Gary Grumbach, one of our campaign embeds, is with the Sanders campaign today:

Obama's Ebola czar: U.S. is 'far behind' on response

White House not ruling out suspending trade tariffs on China in the face of the viral outbreak, says Kudlow

The White House is not ruling out suspending trade tariffs on China in the face of the viral outbreak, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday, noting that he and President Donald Trump have had "discussions" on the matter.

"We do not have any precipitous actions planned right now," Kudlow told reporters at a press briefing.

He also reinforced the administration's position that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand any hit from the epidemic, noting that “our threat assessment is low and the economy is fundamentally sound.”

Kudlow also categorized the historic week on Wall Street as overreaction, and said the U.S. had withstood worse. "I don't think this stock market plunge is going to have any long-term effect," he said, though he did caution, "It depends how long this lasts and how deep it goes."

Biden slams Trump's response, but says 'this isn't a time to panic'

Former Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Sumter, South Carolina, ahead of that state's Democratic primary Saturday, criticized President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence over reports they have "silenced" medical experts from informing the public unless they check with the White House first.

Biden cautioned that "this isn't a time to panic," but added that the spread of the virus needs to be taken seriously.

Morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo

Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020.Charly Triballeau / AFP - Getty Images

Iraq's health ministry: 2 new cases, 6 total

Two new cases of the virus were recorded in Iraq on Thursday, the country's health ministry said in a statement — one in Baghdad, the other in Kirkuk. 

The total of Iraqis infected with the virus is now six, according to the health ministry.

WHO raises coronavirus risk assessment