Italy’s decision to fight the virus was the most sweeping outside China, where the outbreak originated, and it was the starkest evidence that the center of the outbreak is rapidly shifting. Many local officials were caught by surprise.
Whether the edict can be enforced remains to be seen. But European leaders will be watching the effects of Italy’s tactics and wonder whether this is a harbinger of things to come. At the Vatican on Sunday, for the first time, Pope Francis did not appear in person for Sunday Prayer but live-streamed his blessing.
In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday. The state’s caseload rose from 89 on Saturday to 105 on Sunday, including a driver in New York City who worked for Uber and two unexplained positive tests of people 200 miles to the north.
The outbreak has reached into the halls of power in other countries like Italy, where the leader of the Democratic Party said he had contracted the virus. In Iran, one of the country’s vice presidents, 23 members of Parliament, the deputy health minister and several other senior officials were among thousands of confirmed cases. The dead include a senior adviser to the country’s supreme leader and Fatemeh Rahbar, a member of Parliament, state news media reported.
On Saturday, President Trump, an admitted germophobe who expressed reluctance to allow the Grand Princess passengers to disembark because they would inflate the U.S. case count, said he was not worried about the outbreak getting closer to the White House. He was responding to news that a person who had attended a conservative conference outside Washington where he and Vice President Mike Pence spoke last week had tested positive.
“I’m not concerned at all,” the president told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where he was spending the weekend. He said he had no plans to curtail his campaign rallies even though other large gatherings of people are being canceled across the country.
“We’re going to have tremendous rallies,” he said.
The U.S. Army has suspended travel to and from Italy and South Korea for all soldiers and family members because of the coronavirus outbreak until May 6. The order, which affects 4,500 soldiers and family members, came a day after it was announced that an American sailor deployed to Naples, Italy, had tested positive for the virus.
In Iran, which has been hit the hardest in the Middle East, with more than 6,000 confirmed cases, the health ministry announced 49 more deaths on Sunday, bringing the total to 149. Tehran also said it was suspending all flights to Europe indefinitely, state media reported.
The Grand Princess, turned away from San Francisco, will dock in Oakland.
The Grand Princess cruise ship that has been held off the coast of California after 21 people onboard tested positive for the coronavirus was on its way to dock on Monday at the Port of Oakland, the vessel’s operator said.
Passengers on the ship who require “acute medical treatment and hospitalization” will disembark first and be taken to facilities in California, according to the boat’s operator, Princess Cruises. California has emerged as an early center for the virus in the United States, with about 100 cases in all.
Other guests onboard who are California residents will be quarantined in a federal center in the state, the statement late Saturday said. Non-Californians will be taken to federal facilities in other states, the company said.
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia said in a statement “34 Georgians and additional American citizens from the eastern United States who are currently on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the California coast will be securely transferred to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta” for testing and be quarantined if necessary.
The ship is holding more than 3,500 passengers and crew members; 19 crew members have tested positive for the virus, Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday. They will be quarantined aboard the vessel. Several other passengers who were on the ship on earlier legs of the voyage have also tested positive.
Princess Cruises initially said on Saturday that the ship would dock in Oakland on Sunday. It later amended that statement after what it called a change in planning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Concern over the Grand Princess, which traveled to Hawaii before returning to California, began last week after the death of a 71-year-old man who had been on a previous leg of the cruise, a round trip from San Francisco to Mexico last month.
Princess Cruises also runs the Diamond Princess, the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan last month. The virus circulated among the more than 3,700 crew members and passengers who were waiting out a two-week isolation period in the port city of Yokohama, with more than 700 cases identified from that ship.
On Saturday, Japan said that a man from Hong Kong who was a passenger on the Diamond Princess had died of the coronavirus on Friday in Japan, the eighth death associated with the ship.
U.S. lockdowns are possible, a health official says.
A prominent health official in the Trump administration said on Sunday that it was possible that a regional lockdown of parts of the United States could become necessary to contain the coronavirus outbreak and recommended that those at greatest risk — the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — abstain from travel.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the Trump administration was prepared to “take whatever action is appropriate” to contain the outbreak, including travel restrictions in areas with a high number of cases, as Italy announced Sunday.
“I don’t think it would be as draconian as ‘nobody in and nobody out,’” Dr. Fauci said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But there’ll be, if we continue to get cases like this, particularly at the community level, there will be what we call mitigation.”
Dr. Fauci added on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that more “draconian” measures such as the strict quarantine and travel restrictions for vast swathes of the population in China would be something the United States “never would be able to do.”
He also stressed that most of the measures that were being considered were “common-sense stuff.” And he recommended that those most at risk of being made severely ill by the coronavirus distance themselves from large groups of people and avoid travel, including flights and especially cruise ships.
Dr. Fauci did not say what conditions could create a need for a lockdown. President Trump has been reluctant to say or do anything that might spook financial markets or incite panic, leaving his administration open to criticism that its response has been too slow and too meager. Frustration has been building over the lack of tests in the country.
Public health officials again declined on Sunday to provide a count of people who had been tested for the virus. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the United States surgeon general, instead referred to a Food and Drug Administration count of 5,860 samples tested — a metric that would be higher than the total number of people who have been tested.
Both Dr. Adams and Dr. Fauci insisted that millions of tests would be available by the end of the week.
Italy orders a lockdown affecting 16 million people.
Italy’s government had said it would take the extraordinary step of locking down entire sections of the country’s north, restricting movement for a quarter of the population in a sweeping effort to fight the coronavirus.
“We are facing an emergency, a national emergency,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in announcing the government decree in a news conference after 2 a.m.
The move is tantamount to sacrificing the Italian economy in the short term to save it from the ravages of the virus in the long term. The measures will turn stretches of Italy’s wealthy north — including the economic and cultural capital of Milan and landmark tourist destinations such as Venice — into quarantined red zones until at least April 3.
They will prevent the free movement of roughly 16 million people.
Funerals and cultural events are banned under the measures. The decree requires that people keep a distance of at least one meter from one another at sporting events, bars, churches and supermarkets.
The Italian outbreak — the worst outside Asia — has inflicted serious damage on one of Europe’s most fragile economies and prompted the closing of Italy’s schools. The country’s cases more than doubled last week from about 2,500 infections on Wednesday to more than 5,800 on Saturday. Deaths rose to 233.
Amid the backdrop of the growing restrictions to contain the virus, Pope Francis on Sunday for the first time live-streamed his Sunday Prayer, an event that usually draws thousands to St. Peter’s Square.
Henrietta Kampp and Olivia Studd, students from Denmark, said they had come to St. Peter’s Square — where the prayer was shown, in addition to being available online — because few many people were there.
“Had it been crowded, we wouldn’t have come close,” Ms. Kampp said.
The Vatican also said on Sunday that it, like Italy, would close its museums and pontifical villas.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he doubted the United States would have to impose measures as “draconian” as Italy has done to halt the spread of coronavirus, but he added, “Anything is possible.”
“If we continue to get cases like this, particularly at the community level, there will be what we call ‘mitigation,’ where we have to essentially do social distancing, keep people out of crowded places, take a look at seriousness, do you really need to travel, those kinds of things,” he said.
In other parts of Europe: Germany said on Sunday that the number of coronavirus cases had risen to 939; Switzerland had 281 confirmed infections; and Britain’s health department said that two people with the virus had died and that the number of cases in the country had jumped to 273 by Sunday. The Finnish armed forces announced that troop exercises planned for Mar 9-19 with Norway would be scrapped because of the outbreak.
An attendee at a conference where Trump and Pence spoke tests positive.
A person who attended a conservative conference where President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke last week has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the conference’s host.
The American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, said the attendee was exposed to the virus before the four-day event and tested positive for it on Saturday.
“This attendee had no interaction with the president or the vice president and never attended the events in the main hall,” the group said in a statement. “The Trump administration is aware of the situation, and we will continue regular communication with all appropriate government officials.”
The attendee has been quarantined in New Jersey, the statement said.
Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that there was “no indication that either President Trump or Vice President Pence met with or were in close proximity to the attendee.”
Others who spoke at the conference included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia. Also in attendance were Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son.
What everyone wants to know: What’s the fatality rate?
Understanding how deadly the coronavirus can be is a central factor for governments to gauge how drastic their countermeasures should be and for individuals to adjust their own anxiety.
But the real rate is elusive.
The World Health Organization’s estimate last week of 3.4 percent seemed to shock experts, some of whom said that 1 percent was more realistic.
There are several reasons the right number remains unclear.
Not enough people have been tested. Incomplete testing means the reported death rates probably skew high; if many more cases were detected, the rates would fall. Until last week, people in the United States were tested only if they had traveled to China or had contact with other ill people. Many infected people in the country were not being counted.
The number of coronavirus deaths could be incomplete. Cases where infected people died without being tested might be missed. And people can be infected for a while before becoming sick enough to be at risk of death — which can throw off a short-term calculation.
The rate won’t be the same everywhere. Experts say differences in populations and health systems can raise or lower the death rate by country. For example, there is strong evidence that older people are at a higher risk of dying, so countries with more older people may end up with a higher rate.
The death toll rises after a quarantine center collapses in China.
Ten people died in the collapse of a hotel that was being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in Quanzhou, a city in China’s southeastern Fujian Province, the government said on Sunday.
Government officials said that about 70 people had been trapped inside the building when it collapsed on Saturday. Thirty-eight people had been rescued as of Sunday afternoon and taken to the hospital. Officials said 23 people were still trapped inside
The People’s Daily, a Chinese state-run newspaper, said that the hotel had collapsed during renovations and that the owner of the building was under police custody.
The five-story hotel, which opened in summer 2018, was designated a quarantine center for people who have been in close contact with suspected coronavirus patients. Of those trapped inside the hotel when it collapsed, 58 had been placed under quarantine, officials said.
Saudi Arabia cordons off Shiite towns to contain the outbreak.
Saudi Arabia cut off access on Sunday to Shiite Muslim towns and villages in the east of the kingdom, cordoning off an area in Qatif Governorate in an attempt to contain the outbreak. All 11 of the country’s confirmed coronavirus cases have occurred in Qatif, the center of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite population.
The government’s announcement did not appear to affect any Sunni towns or villages. Shiites were left wondering whether they would be able to go to work or to travel outside the area.
The move was cast as a public health measure, but it also touched on delicate political matters for the kingdom, where the Shiite minority has long faced discrimination. In recent days, the group has come under greater scrutiny because the first coronavirus cases occurred in people who had returned from Iran, the site of the biggest outbreak of the virus in the Middle East.
Flights and trade links have been cut since 2016 between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the kingdom’s regional enemy and rival. But Saudis have continued to visit Iran in secret by transiting through other countries, abetted by the Iranian authorities, who refrain from stamping their passports.
The kingdom assailed Iran over the practice last week, accusing it of contributing to the coronavirus threat in Saudi Arabia. The government asked Saudi citizens who had been to Iran in secret in the previous 14 days to turn themselves in.
Residents said that towns and villages in the municipality of Qatif, on the kingdom’s eastern coast north of the headquarters of Saudi Aramco, were surrounded by security vehicles on Sunday. The government announced that entry and exit into the area was “temporarily” suspended, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, though it said that residents would be allowed to return to their homes.
All government departments and private institutions would also suspend operations, other than essential businesses including gas stations and pharmacies, the announcement said. Schools in the area were closed.
A Starbucks shuts down in Seattle after an employee tests positive.
After a Starbucks employee was confirmed to have the virus on Friday, the company immediately closed the downtown Seattle store and issued a statement saying that it was following health authority guidelines to protect customers and employees.
The company, founded in Seattle in the early 1970s, also said it was taking additional steps to reduce the risk of exposure at its stores, including barring customers from using their own coffee containers.
The coronavirus has hit the Seattle area harder than anywhere else in the United States, with 16 deaths in Washington State, most from a nursing home northeast of the city. The virus and its public health implications have rippled through the community, affecting how and where people work and gather.
Many employees and students at the University of Washington, for example, are working and taking classes remotely.
“Seattle is freaking out,” said Lenny Galaviz as he stopped to take a photograph through a window of the closed store, a Starbucks Reserve.
Reporting and research were contributed by Jason Horowitz, Vivian Yee, Motoko Rich, Amie Tsang, Yonette Joseph, Pat Lyons, Kirk Johnson, Andy Parsons, Thomas Fuller, Amy Qin, Tiffany May, Elisabetta Povoledo, Choe Sang-Hun, Eric Schmitt, Tess Felder, Claire Fu, Noah Weiland, Michael Levenson and Chris Cameron.