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Coronavirus live updates: Italy quarantine includes Venice and Milan

Italy's prime minister announced that all of Lombardy as well as other regions are included in the lockdown, affecting a quarter of the country's population.

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus outbreak has immobilized cruise ships or left them searching for ports on four continents Saturday. Passengers are being tested or confined on boats in San Francisco, Malaysia, Egypt and Malta. The bug, named COVID-19, has infected more than 100,000 people and is increasingly shifting its travel patterns.

Thousands remain confined to the Grand Princess circling in international waters off Northern California after 21 passengers and crew members tested positive for the coronavirus. State and federal officials say they are working to bring the ship, forbidden to dock in the San Francisco Bay Area, to a non-commercial port this weekend and test the 3,500 people aboard. 

Princess Cruises group president Jan Swartz said the cruise line wants passengers and crew off so they can receive proper care and evaluation. 

Nineteen people have died in the U.S. from the virus. The number of infections in the U.S. has swelled above 400.

Iran has declared a “sacred jihad” against the virus. The Vatican decided to livestream the pope's Sunday blessing. And in China, a hotel holding people who had contact with the virus collapsed, trapping 70 inside. 

But more people have now recovered from the virus than are sickened by it.

Italy quarantines north including Milan, Venice  

10:30 p.m. EST

Italy is locking down most of the northern parts of the country to help battle the coronavirus outbreak. 

The lockdown Sunday restricts movement for a quarter of the population. China, the first epicenter of the global virus outbreak, is the only other place where similar efforts to deal with the new virus have been used. 

The New York Times, The Washington Post, AP and other news outlets report that Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the lockdown in the middle of the night. “We are facing an emergency, a national emergency,” he said.

Conte said it is not an absolute ban on movement, but people would only be allowed to exit and enter the territory for emergencies like urgent work and health matters.  

The quarantine restrictions include the significant cities of Milan and Venice, and last until at least April 3. 

Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region, is Italy’s second most-populous city after Rome and is known as a fashion and finance hub. Venice’s famous canals and architecture draw tourists worldwide. 

The northern lockdown restricts travel for around 16 million people, about a quarter of Italy’s population. 

It bans funerals and cultural events, requiring distance of one meter, including in sporting events, bars and supermarkets.

Argentina announces first death in Latin America

10:25 p.m. EST

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Health authorities in Argentina say a 64-year-old man has died as a result of the new coronavirus, the first such death reported in Latin America. 

The Ministry of Health said Saturday that the patient lived in Buenos Aires and had been confirmed with COVID-19 after coming down with a cough, fever and sore throat following a recent trip to Europe. A statement says the patient suffered kidney failure and had a history of diabetes, hypertension and bronchitis before being infected with the virus. 

Officials say the man was not one of the nine confirmed COVID-19 cases previously reported for Argentina.

Official: White House didn't want to tell seniors not to fly

9:05 p.m. EST

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal official says the White House overruled health officials who wanted to recommend that elderly and physically fragile Americans be advised not to fly on commercial airlines because of the new coronavirus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention submitted the plan this week as a way of trying to control the virus, but White House officials ordered the air travel recommendation be removed. 

That’s according to a federal official with direct knowledge of the plan who did not have authorization to talk about the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.  

Trump 'not concerned' as coronavirus cases rise in DC area

8:10 p.m. EST

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump says he isn't concerned that the coronavirus is getting closer to the nation's capital and the White House. 

Maryland officials warned Saturday that a person who attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in the suburb of Oxon Hill had tested positive for the virus. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the conference, but the White House says there is no indication that either had been in close proximity to the infected attendee. 

The Pentagon says a Marine at Virginia’s Fort Belvoir became the first military case of coronavirus reported inside the U.S.

RELATED: Marine at Fort Belvoir test positive for coronavirus, says military officials

RELATED: Maryland officials warn residents after person confirmed with coronavirus attended CPAC conference

Credit: AP
President Donald Trump kisses the American flag after speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at the National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

2 Florida deaths are first on East Coast from virus outbreak 

7:45 p.m. EST

Health officials say two people who tested positive for the new coronavirus in Florida have died. The deaths are the first on the East Coast attributed to the outbreak in the U.S. 

The Florida Department of Health said Saturday that nine people have now tested positive for the virus. It says the two who died were people in their 70s who had traveled overseas, one a man with underlying health issues in Florida's Panhandle and the other an elderly Fort Myers area individual. 

RELATED: 2 'presumptive positive' Florida cases linked to Egyptian river cruise

Washington DC to announce 'first presumptive positive coronavirus' case

7:15 p.m. EST

The first COVID-19 case in the nation's capital has been announced.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted Saturday evening that testing by its officials has found the "first presumptive positive" case.

And nearby, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is warning those who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC in the state recently that a person who attended has contracted the coronavirus. 

Hogan's office says health officials in New Jersey had reached out to Maryland officials about the person who went to CPAC, held last week near Washington.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both attended CPAC, but the American Conservative Union, which hosts the event, tweeted that the person had no interaction with Trump or Pence.

RELATED: Watch Live: Bowser speaks on the confirmed case of coronavirus in DC

Virus may see leagues cutting locker-room access

3:35 p.m. EST

MIAMI (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the situation say four major U.S. sports leagues are having discussions about whether to restrict access to locker rooms as a precaution to protect players from exposure to the coronavirus. 

The NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball, the leagues currently in season, are involved in the talks. No collective decisions have been made, according to the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing. 

The changes would not eliminate media interviews with players before and after games but would simply move them to a different location, possibly a news conference setting.  

Florida reports 14 total virus cases

3:25 p.m. EST

The Florida Department of Health has reported a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Charlotte County. Health experts said the person is isolated and being appropriately cared for. 

Charlotte County is south of Tampa near Fort Myers. That brings the total number of positive Florida cases of COVID-19 to 14. 

RELATED: Coronavirus in Florida: Latest updates

First U.S. service member in Europe infected

The U.S. military’s European Command says an American sailor has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first U.S. service member in Europe to be infected.

EUCOM said in an email Saturday that the sailor was stationed in Naples, Italy, but gave no other details about the person or where they may have been infected.

The military says the sailor is “currently restricted to their residence, receiving support and medical care in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention host nation guidelines.”

An investigation is underway to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed, and those already identified as having been in close contact have been notified and isolated at their residences.

EUCOM says “we remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, U.S. embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population.”

A hotel in China's Fujian province used to observe virus contacts collapses

According to the Associated Press, news reports say a hotel in southeastern China being used for medical observation of people who had contact with coronavirus patients has collapsed, trapping some 70 people. 

There were no immediate reports of deaths. News reports said at least 33 people were rescued from the wreckage of the Xinjia Express Hotel in Quanzhou, a city in Fujian province. People's Daily said the 80-room hotel was being used by by the city government for observation of people who had contact with virus patients. 

Spain police enforce quarantine in northern town

Spain has deployed police in a northern town to help enforce a home quarantine placed on a neighborhood with a high number of residents infected by the coronavirus.

The regional government of La Rioja said Saturday that the extra measures have been taken to contain the outbreak in Haro, a town of 11,000 residents, where the majority of the 39 cases in the region are located.

Iran has over 1,000 new cases, 21 more deaths

Iran says 21 more people have died from the coronavirus, raising the country's death toll to 145. More than 1,000 infections were also confirmed overnight, bringing the country's total to 5,823 cases.

Iran has the vast majority of cases in the Mideast. The capital, Tehran, has the most infections, with more than 1,500 cases, followed by the Shiite holy city of Qom with 668 and the northern province of Mazandaran with 606.

South Korea — the hardest-hit country after China — reported 448 new cases on Saturday for a total of 7,041. South Korea also reported four more deaths, raising the death toll to 48.

US cruise ship in limbo as anti-virus controls spread

U.S. officials are deciding where to dock a cruise ship in California with 21 virus cases aboard and four American universities canceled in-person classes as Western countries follow China's lead by tightening travel and other controls to contain the outbreak.

The cruise ship Grand Princess, with 3,500 people aboard, was circling off San Francisco.

Authorities want it to dock in a non-commercial port for everyone aboard to be tested.

Authorities in Florida reported the first two U.S. deaths away from the West Coast. The Netherlands reported its first virus death, while Serbia, Slovakia, Peru, Togo, Colombia and Cameroon announced their first infections. The number of cases worldwide has climbed past 100,000. More than 3,400 people have died.  

RELATED: 21 positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off California

Girl, 12, is Malta's first coronavirus patient

Malta has confirmed its first coronavirus case, a 12-year-old girl of Italian origin who lives in the Mediterranean island nation with her family.

Health Minister Chris Fearne says the girl and her family had visited northern Italy in late February and early March, returning to Malta via Rome.

The family self-quarantined as instructed but the girl started to experience symptoms. She was tested Friday and results came back positive on Saturday morning.

The girl is being held in an isolated section of Malta’s main public hospital, together with her sister and parents.

Two dead in Florida who tested positive for new virus

Florida health officials say two people who tested positive for the new coronavirus have died in the state.

Those are the first deaths from the outbreak reported in Florida and on the East Coast.

The Florida Department of Health said late Friday seven people in Florida have now tested positive for the virus. It says the two who died were people in their 70s who had traveled overseas, one a man with underlying health issues in Florida's Panhandle and the other an elderly Fort Myers area individual. 

The announcement raises the U.S. death toll from the virus to 16, including 13 in Washington state and one in California.

Most cases worldwide have been mild, and more than half of those infected have recovered.

RELATED: Costco stops giving out free samples in some stores over COVID-19 concerns

UAE raises virus cases to 45, new cases from 9 nationalities

The United Arab Emirates has reported 15 additional cases of a new and fast-spreading virus, bringing the total in the country to 45.

The Health Ministry says 13 of the new cases recently arrived from abroad. They include three Emirati citizens, two Saudis, Ethiopians and Iranians, and a person each from Thailand, China, Morocco and India. The Health Ministry on Saturday said the other two cases, an Emirati and an Egyptian, were diagnosed after being monitored in connection with a cycling tour in the UAE.

The tour was halted after two Italians were first found to be carrying the virus. The UAE is a major international transit hub for travelers.

Utah confirms the first known case of new coronavirus in state

The first known case of the new coronavirus has arrived in Utah, state and local health officials said Friday night.

The person who has the virus is a man from Davis County who is older than 60 and believed to have been exposed to the virus while aboard a cruise ship, the Utah Department of Health, Davis County Health Department and the COVID-19 Community Task Force said in a statement.

The man was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise ship, where 21 people aboard the ship tested positive for the virus and 19 of them are crew members. The ship is off the coast of California as officials try to find a non-commercial port for it.

Because the Utah man appears to have contracted the virus on the ship, “this case does not represent community spread of COVID-19 in Utah," the agencies said in their statement.

The man was tested for the virus after he returned to Utah, the agencies said.

“The patient is recovering at home and is under a county-issued isolation order. The Davis County Health Department will monitor the patient, as well as any of the patient’s close contacts," the agencies said.

Earlier Friday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency over the new coronavirus.

The declaration helps the state access more money and resources to be prepared for the expected arrival of the virus, he said. The additional funding “will be instrumental in helping us prepare to slow the spread of coronavirus,” said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is leading a task force dealing with the virus.

The panel is making plans to reach out to vulnerable populations, increase testing capacity and ensure access to remote health care.

Authorities recommend people take preventative steps like washing hands, disinfecting shared surfaces and covering coughs. Anyone with symptoms matching coronavirus, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, is asked to stay away from public spaces.

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