The streets and shops were empty in Milan and large swathes of northern Italy were mostly locked on Sunday as the government dug in against a global coronavirus advance that swept the country at an alarming rate.
In the United States, the death toll rose to 19 this weekend, all but three deaths in Washington State. More than 400 infections have been reported, but their numbers are increasing almost as quickly as tests for the virus can be performed.
The death toll in Italy rose to 233 on Sunday, and nearly 6,000 infections were confirmed. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed the decree affecting at least 15 provinces which are home to more than a quarter of the 60 million inhabitants of Italy.
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Here is the latest news on the COVID-19 epidemic:
Cruise ship passengers receive good news
The cruise ship Grand Princess will begin allowing passengers to disembark on Monday, three days after 21 people on board tested positive for the coronavirus. Princess Cruises announced Sunday morning that it had been informed by state and local officials that the ship, off the coast of California, may dock in the port of Oakland, said the public relations director of the cruise company Negin Kamali at USA TODAY.
Customers who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization will be the first to disembark. Authorities announced on Wednesday that the people on board may have been exposed to the coronavirus after sailing with 62 passengers who, officials said, had participated in the ship’s previous trip to Mexico. A 71-year-old Californian man while cruising in Mexico finally died of the virus.
– Morgan Hines and Curtis Tate
An infected New Jersey man, Trump attended the same conference
New Jersey man who tested positive for coronavirus attended conference Also attended by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but organizers say the 55-year-old did not interact with them. The American Conservative Union issued a statement saying that the man, now in quarantine, had not attended any event in the main hall of the Conservative Political Action Conference held February 26-29 at Maryland’s National Harbor.
“The Trump administration is aware of the situation and we will continue to communicate regularly with all appropriate government officials,” the organization said.
– Katie Sobko, NorthJersey.com
10 dead in China isolation building collapse
At least 10 people are dead and 23 missing as first responders in Beijing sift through the debris of a collapsed building used to isolate arrivals from other parts of the country. State media reported that around 80 people were inside the converted hotel during the tragedy. The health ministry said at least 38 people were being treated in hospitals; the hotel owner was arrested for questioning. Authorities said the building was under renovation when the collapse occurred.
The virus is in full swing for some companies
Some companies know a commercial boom in coronavirus, although there is no guarantee that their products will limit the epidemic. According to experts, there is growing interest in disinfectant sprayers for premises, commercial cleaning companies, e-learning programs and even rehydration drinks. Lawrence Muscarella, President of LFM Healthcare Solutions, said customers should ask manufacturers if their products have been proven to kill COVID-19, the current strain of the virus under surveillance.
“You would like a manufacturer label claim that says ‘Kills COVID-19’,” said Muscarella. “If he just says ‘kill the coronavirus’, ask if it includes COVID-19.”
– Erin Richards
New York declares emergency
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday to deal with the worsening crisis, as the number of cases rose to 11 in New York and 76 across the state.
The number of cases in New York more than doubled in 24 hours, said the governor, largely due to the importance given to testing of potential patients.
“We are testing aggressively,” said Cuomo. “The more positives you find, the better.”
Florida reports first virus deaths off west coast
Public health officials said that two people in the 1970s who had traveled abroad died in Santa Rosa County in Panhandle, Florida and in the Fort Myers area. At least one of these deaths, considered a suspected positive, has not been confirmed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When confirmed by the CDC, the two cases in Florida would bring the total number of deaths in the United States to 19.
Governor Ron DeSantis, on the other hand, has ordered the Tallahassee State Emergency Operations Center “level 2” to coordinate the response to the epidemic. Level 2 activation is an intermediate level preparatory response that “may not require activation” of all emergency support functions, although “primary or primary” responders are informed.
The Florida Department of Health also said that six Florida residents had been diagnosed with a coronavirus as well as one non-Florida resident.
– Caryn Shaffer, Treasure Coast Newspapers, and Jeffrey Schweers, USA TODAY Network, Florida
Europe struggles to fight the virus
• In Spain, where eight people died, the authorities estimate that an epidemic in the north of the country is linked to a funeral where many people were infected.
• In Britain, where a second person died Friday of the virus, the public has been asked to prepare for “social distancing,” which could include temporarily reducing socialization at entertainment or sporting events or reduction of non-essential travel on public transport and recommendations for working from home.
Contributor: The Associated Press