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WHO urges nations to pull "out all the stops" in coronavirus fight: "This is not a drill"

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Demand for coronavirus testing kits rises

Follow Friday's latest coronavirus updates here.

The World Health Organization urged governments around the world to pull out "all the stops" in the fight against the increasingly pervasive and deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus.

"This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday. "Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades," he said. "Now is the time to act on those plans."

More than 95,000 people in 86 countries have been infected with the virus and more than 3,200 people have died. There have been 12 deaths in the U.S. — 11 in Washington state and one in California — and more than 20 states have reported cases of the virus.

California declared a state of emergency after the first death was confirmed there Wednesday. A cruise ship that the victim had traveled on was being held offshore in San Francisco while passengers are tested for the virus. Officials said 35 people on the ship had symptoms of the coronavirus.

China, the country where the outbreak started, appeared to be over the worst of the epidemic, with daily death and infection rates declining.

The disease's impact on everyday life is mounting. Some of America's biggest corporations have told employees in West Coast offices to work from home. The United Nations education agency UNESCO said more than 290 million children were out of school around the world due to closures in more than 20 countries.

The Senate on Thursday approved $8.3 billion dollars in supplemental spending to help respond to the outbreak. Vice President Mike Pence said President Trump would sign the bill on Friday. Meanwhile, the administration is facing criticism over the availability of test kits. Pence has said any American would be able to get a test — but in a Thursday visit to 3M, the top manufacturer of medical masks, he acknowledged that isn't currently the case.

 

South Korea threatens retaliation after Japan imposes travel restrictions

South Korea said Friday that it's weighing countermeasures to what it described as Japan's "unjust, unacceptable" travel restrictions barring visitors from highly affected areas in South Korea and Iran, Reuters reported. The restrictions would also force arrivals from other regions of South Korea and Iran to undergo a two-week quarantine.

"It is unacceptable that the Japanese government took such an unjust action without prior consultations with us, and we will explore necessary countermeasures based on principles of reciprocity," the country's presidential National Security Council said in a statement cited by Reuters.

South Korea has the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. There are more than 6,000 confirmed cases and at least 42 deaths from the virus in the country, according to the latest figures from the government. 

 

China reports 143 new cases, 30 new deaths

Chinese officials reported 143 new cases and 30 new deaths on Friday. That brings the total number of cases in the country to at least 80,552, and the total number of deaths in the country to at least 3,042. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Watch: How hospitals have adapted to coronavirus outbreaks

Hospitals in Illinois are being forced to change vital procedures as they brace for an influx of coronavirus cases. CBS News got a rare inside look at how an emergency room functions during this crisis. 

How hospitals are dealing with coronavirus cases
By Adriana Diaz
 

35 passengers on Grand Princess cruise ship have showed coronavirus symptoms

Out of the more than 3,000 passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship, at least 35 have tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result, California Governor Gavin Newsom has barred the ship from docking in San Francisco until the patients have been tested. 

Currently, the ship is floating approximately 70 miles off the coast. Test results are expected as early as Friday. 

Cruise ship held at sea after former passenger's death
By Jamie Yuccas
 

Trump will sign the coronavirus bill tomorrow, Pence says

Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that President Trump will sign the bill providing $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental funds for the coronavirus on Friday. Pence made the comments while visiting officials in Washington State who are battling the state's coronavirus outbreak. 

"I'm also grateful to be joined by members of the Washington delegation to our nation's capital," Pence said. "And I want to thank them for the swift and bipartisan efforts in moving the spending bill that the president will be signing tomorrow. It passed the Senate this afternoon – I think it represents the very best of Washington D.C., coming together and putting the health and well-being of Americans first." 

By Victoria Albert
 

Watch: California National Guard delivers test kits to Grand Princess cruise ship via helicopter

The California National Guard posted a video to Facebook on Thursday showing airmen delivering test kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is currently floating off the coast of California. 

Officials believe the first patient to die in California was sickened during a February 11-21 voyage on the ship. There's now concern that many others on the ship may be infected, and the ship has been banned from docking in San Francisco.  

CalGuard 129th Rescue Wing delivers Covid-19 test kits

Check out this amazing footage of our Airmen from the Moffett Federal Airfield based, 129th Rescue Wing delivering #Covid19 test-kits to the #GrandPrincess cruise liner currently off the coast of California. United States Air Force National Guard The National Guard #coronavirus #KeepingCaliforniaSafe #CalGuard

Posted by California National Guard on Thursday, March 5, 2020
By Victoria Albert
 

Maryland announces three presumptive positive coronavirus cases

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the state's first three presumptive positive coronavirus cases on Thursday, making Maryland the 20th U.S. state to report a case of the deadly disease. 

"The patients, who contracted the virus while traveling overseas, are in good condition," Hogan said in a statement. "We have been actively preparing for this situation over the last several weeks across all levels of government. I encourage all Marylanders not to panic, but to take this seriously and to stay informed as we continue to provide updates."

By Victoria Albert
 

Washington state reports 11th coronavirus death

Another person died of the coronavirus in Washington State, a state health official confirmed to CBS News. The patient died on March 3, but the results confirming that she had coronavirus were made available Thursday. 

The patient was described as a woman in her 90s who was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. She is the 10th person to die in King County, and the 11th person to die in Washington state. 

The only other coronavirus death in the United States occurred in California. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Senate passes $8.3 billion package to fight coronavirus

The Senate approved an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental package to respond to the coronavirus outbreak Thursday. 

The Senate approved the bipartisan package with a vote of 96 to 1. Republican Senator Rand Paul was the only lawmaker to vote against the bill.

Paul wrote on Twitter ahead of the vote that he supported the government's effort to fight the virus, but proposed an amendment to the package in order to avoid "piling billions more in debt" onto Americans. 

The agreed upon amount is far higher than the $2.5 billion originally requested by President Trump, but falls in line with the $8 billion proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. 

The $8.3 billion includes $7.8 billion in discretionary appropriations, plus $500 million in Medicare telehealth mandatory spending, which would allow Medicare providers to furnish telemedicine services to seniors. Elderly people and those with chronic health conditions are at the greatest risk of suffering a severe reaction to the virus. 

The bill now heads to President Trump's desk for his signature.

By Audrey McNamara
 

UK's chief medical officer says most people develop symptoms within 5 days

The United Kingdom's chief medical officer said Thursday that most people who catch the COVID-19 disease will develop symptoms within five days of getting infected, and have symptoms for up to 7 days before recovering. For the minority of people who suffer more severe illness, their condition tends to deteriorate around day six or seven.

Chris Whitty suggested we would be "lucky" to have a vaccine within a year, but expressed hope that existent drugs such as Remdesivir, the HIV antiretroviral Kaletra, or the old anti-malarial Chloroquine may be somewhat effective against coronavirus.

He stressed the importance of hand hygiene and added there is no need to stock up on food or medical supplies, saying "this is a marathon, not a sprint."

Whitty estimated that coronavirus has a mortality rate no higher than 1%. He said the WHO's latest figure of about 3.4% does not take into account the large number of mild or asymptomatic cases that are likely going unreported.

-By Maddie Richards 

 

Azar: "It is a challenge if you are a doctor wanting to get somebody tested"

U.S. health officials addressed criticism Thursday that the federal government has failed to quickly distribute coronavirus tests to health facilities nationwide. Officials said the U.S. is "on par" with "peer countries" in Europe that have been similarly impacted by the virus. 

"Our testing in the United States has been very consistent, if not even more aggressive than similarly impacted countries," Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told reporters. "We are not Korea. Korea is in a very active hot zone outbreak. As is northern Italy."

"We have been ramping up our testing and where we will stand in the next week to week and a half, in terms of availability of testing, will place us far ahead of similarly impacted major countries around the world."

He said that right now, "it is a challenge if you are a doctor wanting to get somebody tested. You do need to reach out to your public health lab and see if they have a test."

"Do not be surprised if you hear concerns of doctors saying 'I have a patient, I don't know how to get this (test) done,'" he said. "We're going to be putting up on CDC's website information on which public health labs have the test."

Enough kits to test for 75,000 people are expected to be shipped by the CDC by the end of the week, according to Azar.

By Audrey McNamara
 

Virus fears will postpone Ultra music festival in Miami

Fears of the new coronavirus have led to postponement of the three-day Ultra electronic dance music festival in Miami, city officials said Thursday. The festival was set to begin March 20 at Miami's downtown Bayfront Park.

Steven Ferreiro, chief of staff for City Commissioner Manolo Reyes, said the event will be postponed with an official announcement expected Friday.

It's likely Ultra could be postponed until 2021, meaning there would be no festival this year, officials said. Mayor Francis Suarez said at an earlier press conference that Ultra should not go forward because of the coronavirus concerns.

"I can tell you that just in the last 24 hours, I have received countless emails and messages of all kinds urging the city to act," Suarez said at the Wednesday news conference. "That is another major motivator to have this conversation before it gets too late."

It wasn't immediately clear how the postponement will affect people who bought tickets or whether other satellite events would still take place.

-The Associated Press 

 

Tennessee reports first case of coronavirus

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the state.

At a press conference Thursday officials described the patient as a 44-year-old man who had traveled out of the state -- but not out of the country -- less than a week ago. He is currently quarantined at home.

The Tennessee Department of Health said the patient had mild symptoms and sought care when they became worse. 

Tennessee was one of the first five states to begin testing for the coronavirus, according to Lee.

"As confirmed cases surface in other parts of the world, we in Tennessee prepared early," he said.

"We continue to remain confident in our ability and in the measures that we're taking to prevent the spread of this infection now that it is in our state."

By Audrey McNamara
 

UN agency says coronavirus could wipe $50 billion off global exports

A new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says the coronavirus epidemic sweeping across the world could cost the collective global economy at least $50 billion. 

"The slowdown of manufacturing in China due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is disrupting world trade and could result in a $US 50 billion decrease in exports across global value chains," the report says.

"Because China has become the central manufacturing hub of many global business operations, a slowdown in Chinese production has repercussions for any given country depending on how reliant its industries are on Chinese suppliers," the report by UNCTAD said.

"In addition to grave threats to human life, the coronavirus outbreak carries serious risks for the global economy." UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. "Any slowdown in manufacturing in one part of the world will have a ripple effect in economic activity across the globe because of regional and global value chains."

The agency said the most affected economies were projected to be the European Union ($15.6 billion), the United States ($5.8 billion), Japan ($5.2 billion), The Republic of Korea ($3.8 billion), Taiwan Province of China ($2.6 billion) and Vietnam ($2.3 billion).

By Pamela Falk
 

You can't get your personal cup filled at Starbucks thanks to coronavirus

Don't leave your personal coffee cup home if you're planning a Starbucks stop, but don't expect them to fill it for you either. The company said Wednesday that, as part of its coronavirus combat strategy, stores in the U.S. were "pausing the use of personal cups and 'for here' ware," to avoid spreading germs.

Starbucks said it would continue to give customers who bring in their own cup or ask for a ceramic mug the 10-cent discount.  

"The health and well-being of our partners and customers remains top of mind and our highest priority, and we will continue to act thoughtfully and courageously despite the disruption and uncertainty COVID-19 brings to our daily lives," the coffee chain said of the new disease.

Starbucks said it had "increased cleaning and sanitizing" at all stores in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was providing "scenario-based procedural information to our store teams on how to report and support anyone that may express they've been impacted by the virus, including store closure decision making support." 

By Tucker Reals
 

Coronavirus anxiety hitting Italy hard

With the number of coronavirus cases in Italy at over 3,000, including 107 people who have died, the government has taken the dramatic step of closing all schools. But as CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports, it's not just the schools shutting down. Movie theaters are closed, sporting events were to be held behind closed doors and more regions were going into complete lock-down.

Amid the panic, D'Agata found one Rome pharmacy selling not only face masks and hand sanitizer, but safety goggles and hazmat suits.

"The people are going crazy, crazy, because the situation is not explained so much, even for us," pharmacist Camilla Sacchetti told him. "They do not know how to protect themselves."

Coronavirus forces nationwide school shutdown in Italy

Italian kids may be looking forward to a couple weeks off, but when they closed schools in Japan, it caused chaos because so many hospital staff had to stay home to look after their children.

 

China warns residents they could be shot for approaching North Korea border

Chinese authorities have warned people to keep away from the country's long border with North Korea, at the risk of being shot by North Korea soldiers ordered to keep the new coronavirus out of the Hermit Kingdom, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

The North has completely closed its border with China, banning all entries as it insists the new COVID-19 disease has yet to arrive in the country. 

Chinese paramilitary police build a fence along the country's border withy North Korea.
Chinese paramilitary police build a fence near a concrete marker depicting the North Korean and Chinese national flags with the words "China North Korea Border" at a crossing in the Chinese border town of Tumen, in eastern China's Jilin province, in a 2012 file photo. AP

Reuters quoted Chinese people who live and work along the usually-porous 880-mile border as saying they had received a printed notice from authorities this week advising them of the risks. Residents told Reuters the notice warned that anyone who approached the border might be shot by North Korean guards. Reuters said it had reviewed a copy of the notice.

"We're told that we may get killed if we get too close to the border area," a restaurant owner in the border town of Jian told Reuters.

By Tucker Reals
 

Nerves rattled as cruise passengers tested off California coast

Health officials believe California's first coronavirus fatality was exposed to the disease during a February 11-21 voyage on the Grand Princess cruise ship from San Francisco to Mexico, and they now think several others aboard may be infected.  

"We are going to be flying testing kits to the cruise ship and we are going to be sending those quickly back to the state," said California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency yesterday after the death, and all current passengers on the vessel, which had been scheduled to dock Thursday in San Francisco, were being tested for the virus. Most of the tests were to be taken by helicopter from the ship, held off shore, to a lab in Richmond, California for testing, which was expected to take only hours.

Coronavirus cruise ship quarantined off California coast

Two women on the ship, Leah Carlson and her sister Laura, said they couldn't sleep after learning of the previous passenger's death.

"Everything was running through my head. I don't want to go home. I don't want to go home to my family because I don't want to take anything to them. I don't want to take it to my city if I happen to have it on my clothes or whatever. I don't even know," Laura said in a video.

By Tucker Reals
 

South Africa becomes 81st nation with confirmed coronavirus

South Africa's Health Minister confirmed the country's first case of the new coronavirus on Thursday, making it the 81st nation with the disease. 

There have been remarkably few cases of COVID-19 in Africa thus far, with the vast majority being reported in northeast African nations linked to a growing outbreak in the Middle East. There is a huge workforce of nationals from China — the country where the new virus first emerged late last year — in many sub-Saharan African nations, and with weak health systems in some of those countries, the prospect of an outbreak has worried health experts.

Dr. Zweli Mkhize, South Africa's Health Minister, said the the 38-year-old man with the disease returned from Italy on March 1 as part of a group of about 10 people. He then "consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough."

He has been self-isolating since March 3, and officials were tracing all of his direct contacts for testing. 

By Tucker Reals
 

Palestinians close Nativity Church in Bethlehem over virus fears

Palestinian authorities said the storied Nativity Church in the biblical city of Bethlehem, built atop the spot in the West Bank where Christians believe Jesus was born, would close indefinitely on Thursday over coronavirus fears. The church was expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors and worshipers next month for the upcoming Easter holiday.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said it was preventing all tourists from entering the West Bank. The ministry did not specify for how long. Most tourists to the West Bank visit the biblical city of Bethlehem, where the Nativity Church is located, and Jericho.

A visitor wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus takes pictures in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
A visitor wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus takes pictures in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 5, 2020. Reuters

The measures come after suspicions that four Palestinians had caught the new coronavirus. A Palestinian official said the four had tested positive for the virus but that the tests were sent to Israel to verify the results. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the issue with the media. They would be the Palestinian territories' first cases if confirmed.

The Palestinian Health Ministry also said churches and places of worship in Bethlehem would be closed for two weeks.

- AP

By Tucker Reals
 

Amazon staff in Seattle area asked to work from home as outbreak spreads

With the country's most deadly coronavirus outbreak centered in the Seattle area, Amazon decided Wednesday to ask all employees in the area to work from home if they can. 

"We are recommending that employees in Seattle/Bellevue who are able to work from home do so through the end of the month," Amazon confirmed to CBS News in a statement. An employee at Amazon's Seattle headquarters is among the nearly 40 people in the state to have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Microsoft, also headquartered in Seattle, has also urged employees to work from home until at least March 25.      

Washington state has reported at least 39 COVID-19 cases, all in the greater Seattle area. All but one of the 11 U.S. deaths attributed to the disease have been in Washington.   

By Tucker Reals
 

Switzerland confirms first coronavirus death

A 74-year-old woman suffering from the new coronavirus has died in Switzerland, marking the country's first death in the outbreak, police said Thursday.

The woman, who was hospitalised in the western city of Lausanne with the virus on Tuesday, had died overnight to Thursday, regional police in the canton of Vaud said in a statement.

To date, Switzerland has registered 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the disease first surfaced in the country on February 25.

AFP

 

Cruise ship passengers to be tested off California coast

A cruise ship that was expected to dock in San Francisco on Thursday will be kept offshore until its thousands of passengers can be tested for the coronavirus, after a previous passenger died from the illness. Several passengers aboard the Grand Princess had symptoms that could be coronavirus, flu or the common cold, health officials said.

The state planned to fly COVID-19 testing kits out to the ship, which won't be allowed to dock until the test results are completed, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

"The ship will not come on shore until we appropriately assess the passengers," he said.

grand-princess-cruise-coronavirus-kpix.jpg
A file photo shows the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in San Francisco. The vessel, scheduled to dock in the city again on March 5, 2020, was to be kept off shore and all passengers tested for the new coronavirus after a previous passenger died of the disease.   CBS San Francisco

The tests will be conducted at a San Francisco Bay Area laboratory and results could be available in as little as four hours, the governor said.

The announcement came as California became the third U.S. state to declare a state of emergency over the virus, after Washington and Florida. Hawaii joined them Wednesday, with no cases there yet and the governor saying an emergency declaration would help them prepare for a possible outbreak. 

-AP 

 

Two buildings closed after Facebook contractor diagnosed with coronavirus

A Facebook contractor in Seattle has been diagnosed with coronavirus, the company confirmed to CBS News in a statement. 

"We've notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize everyone's health and safety," said a spokesperson for the company. 

The spokesperson added that two buildings have since been closed, and that employees who work there have been asked to work from home until the end of March. 

By Victoria Albert
 

New Jersey announces first presumptive positive coronavirus case

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy announced the state's first presumptive coronavirus case Wednesday. In a press release, Murphy identified the patient as a man in his 30's who has been hospitalized in Bergen County since March 3. 

The state is awaiting confirmation from the CDC.  

"My administration is working aggressively to keep residents safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey," Murphy said in the release. "We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks." 

By Victoria Albert
 

Italy closes all schools amid coronavirus outbreak

As Italy tries to contain the new coronavirus outbreak, the government has ordered all schools, universities and daycare facilities nationwide to close for 10 days, starting Thursday. 

The closures, which will last until at least March 15, are part of an effort to contain the virus, which has hit Italy harder than any other European country. The death toll in Italy has reached 107 — up 28 in just 24 hours — the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday. The number of cases across the country has increased to 3,090, contributing to the global total of over 93,000 cases and 3,200 deaths. 

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said Wednesday that the decision was not a "simple" one for the government. 

Previously, only schools in the northern regions of the country, which have been most affected by the outbreak, have been closed. The closures will now extend nationwide, impacting around 8.4 million students. 

By Sophie Lewis
 

California governor declares State of Emergency

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday. California has 53 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, and the first death was reported Wednesday.

"The emergency proclamation includes provisions that protect consumers against price gouging, allow for health care workers to come from out of state to assist at health care facilities and give health care facilities the flexibility to plan and adapt to accommodate incoming patients," the governor's office said in a statement.

Price gouging needs to be "aggressively monitored," Newsom said at a press conference Wednesday.

California has added 14 labs where testing for the virus is allowed, and that number is expected to increase to 20 in the coming days, according to the governor.

Newsom also said the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is linked to the state's first confirmed death, is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Wednesday night, but will be delayed to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct tests.

By Jordan Freiman
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