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Coronavirus latest: Global cases reach 100,000

March 6, 2020

Up to 21 people aboard a California cruise ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including 19 crew members. Public health authorities are struggling to contain the outbreak. Follow the latest updates here.

An official wearing a mask and a traditional guard uniform stands at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul
Image: Imago Images/AFLO/Lee Jae-Won
  • Germany reports 125 new cases on Friday, bringing total up to 670
  • Japan announces two-week quarantine for South Korean visitors
  • US President Donald Trump officially signs off on $8 billion bill to tackle outbreak
  • There are now more than 100,000 cases and 3,400 deaths worldwide

All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

Read more: Coronavirus: The latest developments in Europe

02:02 Iceland declared a state of emergency after two Icelandic nationals contracted the novel coronavirus in the country. The new cases brought the total number of cases to 43, reported Iceland Monitor news site.

01:53 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said at least two attendees of its annual conference in Washington have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

01:32 Two federal health screeners at Los Angeles International Airport have tested positive for coronavirus, reported Reuters news agency, citing an internal document.

01:18 South Korea reported 174 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. 

00:37 Saudi Arabia limited landed crossings withe Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, citing concerns about the coronavirus, reported the official SPA news agency.

00:24 Chinese authorities report 99 new cases, marking a drop from 143 a day before. The death toll in China reached 3,070 of which the overwhelming majority is located in the Hubei province, dubbed the epicenter of the outbreak.

23:48 Kuwait suspended all flights to and from India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Syria, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

23:05 G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to enact fiscal and monetary measures to curb economic distress and contribute to tackling the coronavirus epidemic.

Read more: Opinion: Will the new coronavirus spell the end of globalization?

Infographic on ways to protect yourself and others around you

22:52 At least 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, including 19 crew members, US Vice President Mike Pence said.

"All passengers and crew will be tested for the virus," Pence said. "Those that will need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those who will require medical help will receive it."

22:06 City authorities in Austin cancelled the renowned music and technology festival South by Southwest — best known by its acronym SXSW — over fears of the coronavirus.

21:00 Trading ended for the week with coronavirus having a noticeably negative impact on European stock markets:

  • London's FTSE 100 closed down -3.62%
  • Germany's DAX  closed down -3.37%
  • France's CAC 40 closed down -4.14%

US stock markets also fell but avoided the scale fo drops seen in Europe with the Dow closing on -0.98% and the Nasdaq down -1.87%. Asian markets closed slightly better than Europe with Hong Kong's Hang Seng closing on -2.32%. 

Oil prices took a dive on Friday after Russia failed to agree with OPEC members to cut to oil production. The cut was intended to contain the plunge in crude oil prices — coronavirus has caused business and trade to slow worldwide.

20:44 The alpine skiing World Cup Finals in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, scheduled from March 18-22, have been called off after an emergency International Ski Federation board meeting.

20:25 Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country will begin spot health checks at the Italian border for two weeks. The country is also stopping all direct flights to Iran, South Korea and the Italian airports of Milan and Bologna.

20:18 Washington state reported a further death, bringing the toll to 12. In the United States a total of 15 people have died from COVID-19.

20:12 Officials in Colombia confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus. 

20:00 Iran announced that its shopping centers will only open three hours a day, and schools and universities will remain closed until March 21.

19:43 Iraq's state news agency reported the country's third death from the virus.

19:35 Russia will begin restricting travel over its border with Iran from midnight local time (2100 UTC). The measures will hit anyone traveling to Russia from Iran for the purposes of work, study or travel. 

The new rules exclude people with permanent residency in Russia, and nationals from countries in the Eurasian economic union, including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, said Russia's Federal Security Service. Exceptions will be made for members of official delegations and plane crews.

Russia's Foreign Ministry will also stop accepting documents of foreign nationals applying for a Russian visa from Iran.

A hand in a blue glove producing facemasks
Russia has severely restricted travel over its border for those traveling from IranImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Tass/K. Kukhmar

19:27 France announced it is shutting schools and nurseries in the administrative districts of Haut-Rhin and Oise. The measures will take effect from Monday for two weeks.

19:15 The number of COVID-19 cases in Germany has risen to 639, announced Germany's Robert Koch Institute on Friday evening.

19:02 The University of Washington in Seattle announced it is moving all classes online. University President Ana Mari Cauce said the precautionary social distancing measure was taken to "ensure the successful conclusion of the quarter for UW students."

18:52 France now has 613 confirmed cases of COVID-19, French authorities have announced.

18:36 The UN body for climate change has canceled all its meetings between March 6 and April, including in Bonn, Germany.  

"This exceptional measure aims to contain the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard the health and safety of participants attending UNFCCC meetings," said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Fire fighter teams with protective suits disinfect the Tajrish Bazaar
Fire fighter teams with protective suits disinfect the Tajrish Bazaar in IranImage: picture-alliance/AA/F. Bahrami

18:29 Iraq's Foreign Ministry has banned entry to anyone traveling to the country from France and Spain.

18:16 Banks are taking a number of measures to try and ensure staff don't catch the virus: the London branch of French investment bank Societe Generale asked more than 50 of its staff to work from home on Friday, while London-based Morgan Stanley shifted some of its staff to Heathrow, starting on Monday. Bank of America split its trading force this week, sending 100 traders from New York to Connecticut.

18:04 German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned citizens to avoid all but essential travel to the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as to worst-hit areas of northern Italy. With 329 confirmed cases, North Rhine-Westphalia is the state with the highest number of coronavirus patients in Germany.

17:33 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said the number of confirmed cases in the US state has risen to 33.

17:27 COVID-19 cases and deaths in Italy both spiked on Friday, according to Italy's Civil Protection Agency. The number of fatalities increased from 148 to 197 and the number of infected from 3,800 to 4,636.

17:07 The German Transport Ministry will lift the usual ban on lorries and large trucks traveling on Sundays, German media has reported. The measures come as panic buying (or "hamster buying" in German) becomes more widespread in Germany.

Read more: Coronavirus scare: When will 'hamsterkauf' become an English word?

16:47 Coffee giant Starbucks has stopped accepting reusable cups from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, two days after the same policy was announced in the United States.

16:43 A Berlin hospital's children's ward has experienced the theft of masks, disinfectants and other equipment, German broadcaster N-TV has reported.

16:39 Vietnam has reported its first case of coronavirus in over three weeks.

16:37 The number of international tourist arrivals will fall by between 1% and 3% globally this year due to COVID-19, despite previous predictions of significant growth this year.

16:29 A UN climate conference in Uganda, scheduled for April, has been postponed over concerns surrounding coronavirus.

The organizers said they want to "ensure the health and safety of all participants."

16:13 US President Donald Trump has officially signed off the bill to pledge over $8 billion (€7.05 billion) to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. Twelve people have died in the US.

Read more: Opinion: Will the new coronavirus spell the end of globalization?

16:01 The WHO's Dr. Michael Ryan described the situation in Japan and South Korea's argument over quarantine policies as a "political spat" in the same press conference. He encouraged the countries to put this to one side.

He added that it is a "false hope" that COVID-19 will disappear in the summer like influenza.

15:53 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the WHO is giving his daily media briefing on the COVID-19 state of play. He said the spread of coronavirus was "deeply concerning."

"It's vital to coordinate research so that different groups around the world complement each other, so WHO can give better advice," he said.

15:43 Iran authorities have warned they could use "force" to limit travel between cities. Cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded in all of Iran's 31 provinces.

15:26 German airline Lufthansa plans to reduce its flight capacity by 50% because of the coronavirus outbreak, it has announced. Airlines have been badly affected by growing travel concerns over COVID-19, with British airline Flybe going into administration on Thursday.

The new plan comes after Monday's announcement to cut its flight plan by 25 percent, or 7,100 flights in March.

Read moreWhat you need to know about the coronavirus

14:59 Switzerland announced 210 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, up from 87 on the previous day. The Swiss government will open schools after winter vacation on Monday, with the logic that keeping children away from their grandparents may reduce the risk of infection.

14:47 French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to protect the elderly on a visit to a retirement home in Paris.

"Protecting the French also means being alongside the most vulnerable and those who accompany them on a daily basis. The nation is with its elders," he wrote on Twitter.

14:44 The West African country of Togo has confirmed its first case of COVID-19, Reuters news agency reports.

14:37 EU ambassadors from 27 countries have canceled their Friday meeting in Croatia as Irena Andrassy, of Croatia, has isolated herself after making contact with a European Council who has since tested positive for the virus.

"If she is not there next week, Germany would head the next meeting, because they are next in the round of presidencies," one diplomat said. Croatia currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

14:27 A school in Dusseldorf has had to close despite assurances that it would not. One teacher was diagnosed with COVID-19, and though the school was determined to remain open, 35 of 145 teachers — almost one quarter — called in sick, forcing school leaders to tell students to stay home.

14:23 US President Donald Trump has called off a scheduled visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as a staff member there may have COVID-19.

''Because of the one person they didn't want me going," he told reporters on Friday.

14:16 The UK now has 163 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Public Health England announced.

13:55  British Airways says two members of staff have tested positive for the virus, and that the two were recovering at home.

"Public Health England has confirmed that two members of our staff have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus," the airline said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Austrian daily tabloid Kronen Zeitung reports that Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines is shortening the working hours of 7,000 staff because of the impact on business caused by coronavirus.

13:30 Bulgaria had declared closing schools and banning planned hospital surgeries. However, the measures were said to be being taken in response to a national epidemic of influenza rather than the new coronavirus.

12:42 Peru's government confirmed the South American country's first COVID-19 case on Friday, Reuters news agency reported.  

12:33 Singapore reported 13 new coronavirus infections on Friday, including a Singapore Airlines cabin crew member. The new figures raise the city-state's infection total to 130. 

12:29 Greek health authorities reported 14 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the country's total to 45. 

12:25 Germany's Foreign Ministry issued an advisory against all but essential travel to Italy's alpine South Tyrol region, a popular winter sports destination. 

12:15 Iran announced 17 more coronavirus deaths on Friday, bringing the country's COVID-19 death toll to 124. Iran currently has a total of 4,747 infections — the third highest total worldwide after South Korea and China. 

11:45 Egypt's health ministry said Friday it had detected 12 COVID-19 cases in Egyptian workers on a cruise boat heading to the southern city of Luxor. All of the cases are asymptomatic, the ministry said. 

11:15 Coronavirus containment measures have reignited a diplomatic row between Japan and South Korea. 

South Korea said Friday it will halt visa waivers and suspend existing visas for Japanese citizens starting March 9 in response to travel restrictions imposed by Tokyo.  

On Thursday, Japan said it would bar entry for South Korean visitors from highly affected areas and quarantine others for two weeks. Seoul called the move "irrational."

Read moreJapan and South Korea determined to improve ties

10:50 Stock markets in several European countries dropped in early trading Friday, with Frankfurt and London shedding 3.7 and 3.3%, respectively. 

10:12 The Netherlands reported its first coronavirus death on Friday. An 86-year-old man died at a clinic in Rotterdam, health officials said. The first COVID-19 infection was reported in the country on February 24, and there are currently 82 confirmed cases. 

Seoul's train disinfectors

10:05 Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that the country's citizens should avoid travel to anywhere in Italy and recommended anyone returning from Italy should self quarantine for 14 days. 

09:50 The Vatican reported its first COVID-19 case in a patient at the small city-state's outpatient care center. Serbia also reported its first case on Friday. 

09:45 Cameroon reported its first case of COVID-19 on Friday from a French citizen who arrived in the capital, Yaounde, on February 24. 

09:30 German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Friday that although the COVID-19 has been challenging to slow down in Europe, Germany did not yet see a need to limit free movement across borders. 

08:23 More than half of Germany's 534 COVID-19 cases are in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, according to the Robert Koch Institute. 

07:45 Stock markets in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Australia all dropped Friday, as uncertainty continues over the epidemic's long-term effect on international business.  

07:40 The tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan said Friday that it will ban the entry of tourists for two weeks following the country's first reported COVID-19 case, which reportedly came from a US tourist entering from India. 

06:45 North Korean state media reported Friday that 221 foreigners in the country were released from quarantine. North Korean authorities placed about 380 foreigners under "medical observation" in late February, according to state media.

North Korea has not publicly reported any cases of COVID-19. However, international observers are skeptical it has escaped the virus. 

06:30 China's National Health Commission said Friday that Hubei province has reported no new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, apart from 126 new cases reported in the provincial capital, Wuhan.

05:30 The development of vaccines against the COVID-19 disease is in full swing. Nevertheless, it will still take at least a year before one is available on the market. The question is: Will the virus still be prevalent? Read more here

05:15 The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Thursday that a "long list" of countries were not showing "the level of political commitment" needed.

"This is not a drill," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. "This epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor."

05:07 South Korea on Friday criticized Japan's "unjust, unacceptable" travel restrictions that bar arrivals from areas of South Korea and Iran hit hard by the coronavirus while imposing a two-week quarantine on travelers from those regions. 

"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 council said in a statement.

03:37 The northwestern Canadian province of British Colombia has identified eight more presumptive cases of coronavirus, according to CBC News.

The Canadian broadcaster said one case involves a woman in her 50s who has not had any contact with other coronavirus patients or people returning from disease hot spots.

British Colombia now has 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including four patients who have recovered.

03:13 Saudi Arabia reopened mosques in Mecca and Medina, two holy sites in the country on Friday, according to state TV Al-Ekhbariya. Both were temporarily closed for sterilization. Saudi Arabia has reported five cases of COVID-19.

02:21 South Korea Center for Disease Control (KCDC) reported 196 new coronavirus cases, increasing the country's total to 6,284. The major cases were concentrated in the city of Daegu in the country's southeast. 

02:01 US President Donald Trump defended his administration's response to the outbreak, but admitted the virus "may have an impact on the economy."

"Nobody is blaming us for the virus ... Everybody has to be calm. It's all going to work out," Trump said. "We hope it doesn't last too long."

01:59 Qantas Airways, a long-haul Australian airline, said Friday it would cut more international capacity in March as it grapples with the falling demand resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. The destinations cut include Tokyo, Sapparo and Osaka in Japan, Auckland in New Zealand and Hong Kong.

01:25 Three new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the eastern US state of Maryland — which borders Washington DC. The patients contracted the disease while traveling overseas and are in good condition, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said.

01:08 China's northwestern province of Gansu reported 11 new confirmed cases of coronavirus late Thursday, according to broadcaster CCTV.

All of the patients entered China on commercial flights from Iran. A total of 311 passengers arriving in the provincial capital of Lanzhou from Iran have now been quarantined.

Read moreCoronavirus, cold, or flu symptoms? When you should be worried

00:15 The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States has risen to 12 after King County in the northwestern state of Washington reported the latest fatality. Eleven of the 12 deaths in the US have come in Washington — 10 in King County. 

US Congress on Thursday passed a $8.3 billion (€7.4 billion) emergency spending bill to combat coronavirus. 

00:09 A member of France's National Assembly has been hospitalized in intensive care after being infected with coronavirus, according to a statement from the country's lower house of parliament on Thursday. The legislator has not been named, but the statement added that all lawmakers and personnel have been informed of the situation.

France's national health service has confirmed a total of 423 cases of the virus as of late Thursday, an increase of 138 from the day before. No deaths have been reported in France thus far.

00:05 Welcome to our rolling updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Friday, there are 96,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with infections in more than 80 countries. More than 3,300 people have been killed by the coronavirus. 

Click here to find out how things developed on Thursday.

Coronavirus spreads in Italy and elsewhere

ed, wmr, dv/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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