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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

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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Israel tightens coronavirus travel restrictions

Israel has tightened travel restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The country's Health Ministry said that Israeli's returning from France, Germany, Spain and Austria will be charged with isolating themselves at home for 14 days.

Similar measures are already in place for those traveling from Italy, China and Singapore. 

People of other nationalities traveling from those countries will not be able to enter unless they can prove that they can isolate themselves. International conferences will also been prohibited, as will gatherings of more than 5,000 people, the ministry said. It also placed a blanket ban on health care workers from traveling abroad.

At a news conference where the new measures were announced, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advised Israelis to stop shaking hands to help halt the spread of the virus.

     

Obama: 'Listen to the experts, and follow the science'

Former President Barack Obama urged Americans to follow "common sense" health practices in a tweet on Wednesday. 

"Let's stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science," he added.

L.A. officials announce six new cases, declare local health emergency

Six new cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in Los Angeles County in the last two days, officials said Wednesday, while announcing they had declared a local health emergency. 

The county now has seven cases total, according to Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. One is hospitalized and five are isolated at home, being closely monitored by the health department, Ferrer said. The other patient, who was diagnosed in January, has since recovered.

All six new cases have known connections to other patients identified with the virus, Ferrer added. Three traveled together to Italy, which has become the European epicenter of the outbreak; two had close contact with a family member outside of Los Angeles County who had tested positive; and the other case was a person whose job "exposed them to travelers from other countries who may have been infected," Ferrer said.

Proclamations of a local health emergency were declared by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The declarations will "support our preparedness efforts," including seeking aid to slow the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, Ferrer said.

Pro tip: Cover your coughs, sneezes with a tissue

Mariah Carey nixes Hawaii concert

Mariah Carey performs in Los Angeles in 2018.Mario Anzuoni / Reuters file

Mariah Carey announced that she is postponing her March concert in Honolulu to November because of "evolving international travel restrictions" amid the spread of coronavirus.

"Aloha Hawaii!! I'm so so sad to have to announce that I'm postponing my show to November," Carey wrote. "I was so excited to come back to Hawaii on my 'anniversary month' but evolving international travel restrictions force us to consider everyone's safety and well being."

Read the full story here.

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Delta reduces weekly flights to Japan

Delta Air Lines, the world's second-largest carrier, said Wednesday it is cutting down on the number of weekly flights between the U.S. and Japan through April 30, while suspending its summer service between Seattle and Osaka, Japan, for 2020.

The reduction was done in response to the spread of the virus across the globe, and Delta said it "will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve."

For a current list of flight schedule changes, visit Delta's website.

The scene in Hong Kong

Customers wearing masks eat at a street stall during the evening rush hour in Hong Kong on Wednesday.Vivek Prakash / AFP - Getty Images

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.