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World markets tumble and all of Italy goes on lockdown

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex which is under cohort isolation after mass infection of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Daegu
South Korean soldiers spray disinfectants inside an apartment complex that is under isolation in Daegu on Monday. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

World stocks tumbled with investors bracing for the economic fallout of the epidemic, with a shocking all-out oil price war adding to anxiety.

Wall Street suffered its worst day since the financial crisis of 2008 as the Dow plummeted more than 2,000 points by Monday's closing bell, and London's FTSE 100 plunged to a three-year low after oil prices cratered by 30 percent overnight.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte announced Monday that the containment measures introduced Sunday for the Lombardy region in the country's north would be applied to the whole nation. More than 9,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Italy so far while Germany and Spain also saw spikes in the number of cases Monday.

The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus has risen to more than 650 on Monday, including 26 deaths.

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Grand Princess cruise ship carrying coronavirus patients docks in California

Iowa governor declares disaster as total confirmed coronavirus cases reach 8

A declaration of disaster has been issued in Iowa Monday as the state reports five additional people have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the order in an effort to expand resources in an effort to contain COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, as the total number of presumptive positive cases in the state climbed to eight.

Four of the new confirmed cases were passengers over the age of 60 who were on the same Egyptian cruise as the state's previous three patients, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

The fifth case involved a "middle-aged" adult who had recently traveled to California, where at least 114 people have tested positive for coronavirus and two have died.

Trump proposes payroll tax cut, other measures to offset coronavirus economic damage

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is looking at a possible payroll tax cut, along with other measures, to help American workers and boost the economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

He said he'd announce the "dramatic" details of the proposed relief on Tuesday. "They will be major," he said.

Trump announced the measures after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day with a loss of around 2,000 points on Monday.

Read the full story here.

Stopping coronavirus spread in Syrian refugee camps is 'mission impossible'

Migrants wait with their children in the buffer zone at the Turkey-Greece border near the Pazarkule crossing gate in Edirne on March 5, 2020.Bulent Kilic / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kilic, says the European Union must do more to help his country absorb an influx of refugees from the war in neighboring Syria, after Ankara said it would not stop refugees from leaving Turkey to enter E.U. territory.

Kilic also said his country had taken steps to bolster security on its border with Iran to counter the threat of the coronavirus but that trying to prevent the spread of the virus in refugee camps in Syria would be a "mission impossible."

"We have reached the limits of our capabilities" to accept refugees, Kilic told reporters.

Read the full story here.

Boston cancels annual St. Patrick’s Day parade

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Monday afternoon the city would not hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was set to take place in the city’s South Boston neighborhood March 15.

In a statement, Walsh said the event was being cancelled “out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy.”

There were 41 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Monday evening. 

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston was held in 1737.

As cases increase, hospitals have shared goal: Prevent the spread within their walls

At the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, patients who are worried that they may have the coronavirus no longer enter the hospital itself. Instead, they are treated just outside in big tents, where physicians donning protective gear test them and a special air filter whisks germs away.

The two 20-foot-wide tents were put up on Saturday as a way to limit the exposure between individuals suspected of having the coronavirus and patients in other areas of the hospital.

Read more about what hospitals are doing to prepare.

All of Italy on lockdown as prime minister expands restrictions to entire country

Italy's prime minister announced Monday that the lockdown placed on millions in the Lombardy region has been extended to the entire country in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

The country's residents should avoid traveling outside areas where they live unless they can prove it’s because of a medical or work emergency, according to the sweeping new restrictions imposed by Italian Prime Minster Guiseppe Conte.

The extended lockdown, which also requires businesses to close by dusk, will take effect Tuesday and be in effect until April 3, Conte said.

“There won’t be just a red zone,″ Conte told reporters, referring to the designated lockdown areas in Lombardy. "There will be Italy." 

The nationwide decree also extends school closures in Italy. Schools in the center and south of Italy that were closed because of the virus had been slated to reopen on March 16.

As of Monday, at least 463 Italians have died from coronavirus-related deaths of the more than 9,000 confirmed positive cases.

3 more coronavirus deaths at Washington long-term care facility

Three more coronavirus-related deaths have been reported from a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Washington, where several residents and those affiliated with the establishment have fallen ill.

At least two of the three Life Care Center residents who died were part of 33 newly confirmed positives reported by Seattle and King County Public Health Monday. The third, a woman in her 70s, was part of a group of people who tested positive Wednesday. 

Of the 20 coronavirus-related deaths in King County, 19 have come from the Life Care Center. The nursing home has been considered a miniature epicenter for spread of COVID-19, the illness associated with coronavirus.

King County has 116 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday afternoon. 

CVS to waive fees for prescription delivery

CVS Health has temporarily stopped charging patients to have prescriptions delivered directly to their homes.

The move comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly discouraged those at high risk for complications of the coronavirus — such as people over age 80 and those with underlying health conditions — from going out into the public unnecessarily.

The CDC has suggested those at highest risk of becoming ill secure a two-week supply of needed medications, as well as basic groceries and household items. 

Ireland cancels St. Patrick's Day festivities over coronavirus concerns

Crowds watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2019.Paul Faith / AFP via Getty Images file

St. Patrick's Day festivities in the Republic of Ireland have been canceled amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

The cancellations, including the National St. Patrick's Festival parade in Dublin, have come at the advice of health officials to help slow the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Monday. There have been a total of 19 cases of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, in the Republic of Ireland.

"But I think it's really important to get across a very important fact; the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 in the next couple of weeks or couple of months will not do so because they attend a mass gathering, they will most likely pick it up in their own home from their family, or from interactions with friends and others," Varadkar said.

Read the full story here.

How does the coronavirus compare to flu?

The new coronavirus spreads in a similar way to the flu — through respiratory droplets — and can cause similar symptoms and complications. 

But while the flu is well understood and predictable, there are many unknowns about the virus that causes COVID-19. This coronavirus has only been known to scientists since the end of December. It's unclear, for example, whether it will follow a seasonal pattern like the flu.

Because the coronavirus is new, there is no immunity against it. Unlike the flu, there is no proven treatment or vaccine. 

The mortality rate for the flu is around 0.1 percent. Young children and the elderly, as well as people with compromised immune systems, are most at risk for serious complications. The mortality rate for the new coronavirus likely won't be known for years. The World Health Organization said that around 3 percent of people who have gotten sick from the virus have died, but this number is likely to change. Risk for severe complications from the coronavirus increases with age.