U.S. Targets Cruise Lines; France Bars Big Events: Virus Update
U.S. travelers with health problems are being told to avoid cruise ships as the nation prepares for more disruptions. Italy’s coronavirus deaths rose by 57%, eclipsing South Korea.
Seattle said two more nursing home residents died, pushing the local toll to 17. The Grand Princess cruise ship with ill passengers and crew will dock on Monday in Oakland, California.
As of Sunday, about half of the world’s countries have cases of Covid-19. Futures on U.S. stock indexes tumbled as plummeting oil prices added to the dread surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
- Cases surpass 108,000 worldwide; deaths exceed 3,700
- China fatalities rise to 3,097
- Apple employees can work from home
- France bans large gatherings
- Saudi Arabia closes schools indefinitely
- France tops 1,000 confirmed cases
- Virus gets dangerous when it reaches the lungs
- Outbreak tied to London-Hanoi flight rattles Vietnam
Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.
Some Elderly Warned Against Cruises (6 a.m. HK)
The U.S. State Department warned Americans with underlying health conditions against travel on cruise ships, citing the higher risk of contracting the coronavirus and complications when infections occur.
The warning, on the department’s travel advice website, said some ships with ill passengers have been denied by local officials the right to dock at ports, which prevents passengers from disembarking.
“Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease,” the agency said. “This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.”
The Grand Princess liner, off the California coast with more than 20 ill passengers and crew, is scheduled to dock on Monday after being denied entry in San Francisco. In Asia, Malaysia banned cruise ships. Carnival Corp. had hundreds of infected passengers aboard its Diamond Princess ship, which docked off Yokohama last month.
U.S. Advised on Daily Disruptions (5 p.m. NY)
U.S. officials went on Sunday talk shows to brace Americans for more changes to their daily routines as a result of Covid-19, from reduced travel to cancellations of large events.
Elderly people with health issues should immediately reconsider travel and large gatherings, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“You should start to distance yourself from the risk, crowds, getting on a plane, on a long plane trip, and, above all, don’t get on a cruise ship,” Fauci advised people with underlying health risks on “Fox News Sunday.”
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the effort to contain the virus bought time but suggested the epidemic was entering a new phase more disruptive to daily life.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS: “The next two weeks are really going to change the complexion in this country. We’ll get through this, but it’s going to be a hard period.”
France Bans Some Large Gatherings (4 p.m. NY)
France has banned gatherings with more than 1,000 people, down from 5,000 previously, Health Minister Olivier Veran said in Paris. There will be some exceptions in cases that are in the interest of the nation, he said.
Total coronavirus cases rose to 1,126, with 19 fatalities.
Seattle Nursing Home Deaths Mount (3:55 p.m. NY)
The number of reported virus cases in King County, home to Seattle and its suburbs, jumped to 83, public health officials said in a statement. Among 12 new cases reported, two additional people have died — one a woman in her 80s and the other a man in his 90s.
King County has been an epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., with 17 deaths. All but one of those has been linked to an elder care facility in Kirkland, Washington. The total state death toll is 18.
Washington state officials reported 21 new cases, raising the total to 123 from 102.
Cruise Ship to Dock in Oakland Monday (3:15 p.m. NY)
The Grand Princess cruise ship, with more than 20 passengers and crew confirmed with Covid-19, will dock in Oakland, California, on Monday, as authorities mobilize to get the acutely ill medical care at nearby hospitals.
Others are to be sent to quarantine or flown out of the state. The Port of Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, was selected because it is the easiest to seal off, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said in a press release.
Apple Workers Can Work at Home (3 p.m. NY)
Apple employees at most offices have been offered the ability to work from home by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who called the virus outbreak an “unprecedented event” and a “challenging moment.”
Cook told workers that if their jobs allow it, they can work remotely March 9-13, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. That extends the company’s move on Friday to encourage employees in California and Seattle to work remotely.
This policy covers areas with the greatest density of infections, Cook said: the Santa Clara Valley and Elk Grove areas in California, Seattle, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and the U.K.
Saudi Arabia Closes Schools: SPA (2:45 p.m. NY)
The Saudi Higher Education Ministry temporarily shut all schools and colleges until further notice to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, the state-run SPA reported.
The education ministry said it would begin remote visual schooling during the suspension, according to the report.
Earlier Sunday, the kingdom suspended entry and exit from Al Qatif governorate in the oil-rich Eastern Province after 11 cases were reported. The province is home to a large number of Shiites, the sect of Islam followed by majority of Iranians.
Most cases of the coronavirus in the Middle East are linked to Iran.
Coronavirus Deaths Jump in Italy (1:25 p.m. NY)
Italy reported 7,375 coronavirus cases and 366 deaths, a significant jump from the 233 fatalities recorded on Saturday. The country now outpaces South Korea in cases and fatalities.
Portuguese President to Work From Home (1:30 p.m. NY)
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will work from his private residence for the next two weeks, according to a statement Sunday on the presidency’s website. The decision was taken after a student, from a school that had a class visit the presidential palace, was admitted to a hospital.
The class from Felgueiras, in northern Portugal, had attended an event Tuesday with 71-year-old Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon. Neither the hospitalized student nor his class was on the visit.
While the president has no symptoms, he decided to cancel all his public activities and considers he set an example of “prevention.” Although he’s not involved in daily government business and has a mostly ceremonial role, Portugal’s president has the power to dissolve parliament and is directly elected.being.
— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Angelina Rascouet, Noah Buhayar, Hailey Waller, Zaid Sabah, and Joao Lima
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