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.

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NY governor announces recall of students, faculty studying abroad in 5 countries

Students and faculty from the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) who are studying abroad in five countries will be recalled, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a news conference Wednesday.

The 300 students and faculty studying in China, Italy, Japan, Iran, and South Korea will land at Stewart International Airport and then be quarantined in dorm-like rooms for 14 days, Cuomo said.

Could coronavirus trigger a recession?

Economists now say it is increasingly likely that virus-related financial fallout will spill over into the second quarter, cutting into GDP growth — and potentially even drag the American economy into recession.

“For the short run, consumption is still going to be strong but travel and tourism is going to be a drag on GDP," one analyst told NBC News.

"If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is right and this becomes a meaningful pandemic and shows up here to the point that we’re closing schools, it’s going to be pretty tough to avoid a recession," one economist projected.

Read the full story here.

Four people linked to New York man with coronavirus test positive

Several family members and a neighbor of the Westchester, New York, man who tested positive for the coronavirus Monday are also positive. 

The man's wife, along with a son, a daughter and a neighbor who drove him to the hospital, all tested positive, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The son, 20, attends Yeshiva University in New York City, and the daughter, 14, attends the Jewish SAR Academy in Riverdale.

The husband, 50, is an attorney and works in midtown Manhattan. Officials said he has an underlying respiratory illness and is in serious condition.

Louvre reopens after virus-inspired staff walkouts

Visitors queue outside the Pyramid, the main entrance to the Louvre, as the Paris museum reopened Wednesday after it was forced to close for three days as staff walked out saying they were concerned about catching the coronavirus from visitors. Staff exercised their right to stay at home under French legislation which allows workers to leave work if they fear there is a clear and imminent danger to their health or safety.Philippe Lopez / AFP - Getty Images

Fox's Lachlan Murdoch cancels appearance at major media conference

Lachlan Murdoch, head of media giant Fox and son of mogul Rupert Murdoch, has pulled out of a major investor conference, citing "an abundance of caution" due to the coronavirus.

He was scheduled to deliver a speech at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

Fox News also canceled a presentation to advertisers, but there has been no word yet on the future of the May "upfront" presentations in New York, where advertisers watch "sizzle reels" that tease upcoming shows and commit billions of dollars to TV schedules and related streaming platforms.

Lachlan Murdoch arrives during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 11, 2019.Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Watch live: Infectious diseases chief testifies before House

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, is slated to testify before the House starting at 10 a.m. ET.

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Third coronavirus case confirmed in New York

A third case of the new coronavirus has been reported in New York, with Yeshiva University announcing that one of its students has tested positive for the illness.

The son of a New York lawyer who tested positive for coronavirus is a student of the university, though it was not immediately apparent if the two cases are within the same family.

The university said it was cancelling all classes on Wednesday at its Wilf Campus in Washington Heights on the upper part of Manhattan.

Iranian medical workers dance on the coronavirus frontline

A number of videos appearing to show healthcare workers dancing amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in Iran have been widely shared on social media. 

The videos show medical workers in protective suits, face masks, gloves and goggles, bust out some dance moves, in what appears to be a hospital setting. 

Iran is one of the main coronavirus hot spots outside of mainland China, where the epidemic started. 

So far, 92 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and nearly 3,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Iran. 

Australian grocery chain limits purchase of toilet paper

Empty shelves in a Woolworths supermarket in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday. Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Australian grocery chain Woolworths is limiting customers to four packs of toilet paper amid “panic buying” by shoppers concerned by the coronavirus outbreak.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that the limit, which also applies to online shoppers, was to ensure every customer had access to the products.

“It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand,” the company said.

The vast majority of the products remain available for their customers as normal, it added.

The outbreak has led to shoppers emptying out shelves in their local grocery stores and pharmacies around the world as the fear of product and medicine shortages continues to spread.

Anxiety in Milan region as death toll in Italy approaches 100

A woman wearing a protective mask crosses Piazza Duomo on a bicycle in Milan on March 2, 2020.Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

The death toll passed fifty in Italy Monday, most of the fatalities in the Milan region. By Tuesday it was 79, a fifty per cent increase in one day, with 27 new deaths. There’ve been several big spikes in the number of infections.

But today, the fear is mild, just like 80 percent of the infections that arise from the virus. Most people I see in the city centre are not wearing masks. I have seen two groups of Asian tourists, every one of whom was wearing a mask.

Milan is about to learn whether the measures its regional government has taken so far have been effective. Eleven towns, most of them just south of the city, have been quarantined for almost two weeks, with not one of the 50,000 inhabitants allowed in or out.

Most clubs and bars have been closed. In cafés, customers are supposed to sit at tables and maintain a distance between one another.

Later this week triage tents will be set up outside prisons in Milan and the wider region. More tents will be set up outside every hospital here.

The warm spring and summer temperatures, which experts believe will help to kill off the virus, can’t come soon enough.