March 3 coronavirus news

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5:27 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Up to 1 million people could be tested for coronavirus in the US by the end of the week

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Up to a million people could be tested for coronavirus by the end of week, the FDA said Monday, as cases across the US rose to more than 100 and health officials warned that the number will keep climbing.

Cases of the virus have now been reported in 12 states -- the majority of them in California and Washington state, where six people have died.

About a quarter of the current cases were likely transmitted through US communities, officials have said, meaning they were not travel-related.

"My concern is as the next week or two or three go by, we're going to see a lot more community-related cases," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a news conference Monday. "That's of great concern."

The number of cases has been climbing as new guidelines from health officials gave more labs the go-ahead to conduct tests. Faulty kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially led to delayed and inconclusive results.

Over the weekend, the US Food and Drug Administration further expanded who could test for the virus by allowing additional labs to develop their own tests for the virus. The move, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said, would enable academic centers and private companies to develop and use tests.

He said up to a million tests will likely be conducted by the end of this week.

Read more:

5:17 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

China will evacuate its citizens from Iran due to coronavirus fears

From journalist Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Health officers are seen at a hospital in Tehran, Iran on March 2.
Health officers are seen at a hospital in Tehran, Iran on March 2. Credit: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Chinese Embassy in Iran is planning to evacuate Chinese citizens from the country as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, the state-run Global Times reported.

The first charter flight will arrive in Iran on Tuesday night, the outlet said. Chinese students stranded in the holy city of Qom, ground zero of Iran's outbreak, are among those who have registered for the evacuation flight.

Authorities in Tehran said at least 1,500 people have been infected in the country, killing 66, including a top government adviser.

5:14 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Ukraine just reported its first coronavirus case

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow

Workers in protective suits disinfect a bus in Lviv, Ukraine on March 2.
Workers in protective suits disinfect a bus in Lviv, Ukraine on March 2. Credit: Markiian Lyseiko/Ukrinform/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Ukraine has confirmed its first novel coronavirus case, the country's Ministry of Health said Tuesday.

Deputy Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said the infection was identified in the southwestern city of Chernivtsi. The patient had traveled with family members to Italy, which is experiencing a serious outbreak.

“We had four suspected cases and today one case got confirmed,” Lyashko said in a televised briefing.

Lyashko said the suspected cases had "few contacts" with other people but "local epidemiologists know about all of them and now they are now working through them."

Ukraine is the 74th country or territory to report a case of the virus outside mainland China, where the outbreak began.

Read the full list here

5:05 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

No need to panic over coronavirus, Indian PM Modi says

From CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentary committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentary committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. Credit: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter today in an attempt to allay fears over the spread of coronavirus.

"There is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection," Modi wrote.

Modi added that he has reviewed preparedness efforts on the coronavirus and that different ministries and states are working together, including screening people arriving in India to providing prompt medical attention.

India, which has reported six infections, has suspended issuing visas to citizens of several of the countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus.

According to a news release from the Indian government, all regular visas issued on or before March 3 and granted to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan who have not yet entered the country have been suspended with immediate effect.

An earlier suspension of visas for Chinese citizens remains in force.

The statement says those requiring essential travel to India may seek fresh visas from the nearest Indian embassy or consulate. 

India has also asked its citizens not to travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy, and advised against any non-essential travel to other coronavirus-affected countries.

Italian infected: The news of visa suspensions comes after a 69-year-old Italian man in Jaipur was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus -- India's sixth confirmed case. Authorities are trying to track down 18 other Italian citizens who were traveling with the man.  

4:36 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Myanmar postpones annual military parade due to coronavirus fears

From Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

Myanmar soldiers march in formation during a military parade to mark Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, in March 2018.
Myanmar soldiers march in formation during a military parade to mark Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, in March 2018. Credit: Thet Aung/AFP/Getty Images

Myanmar's armed forces has announced it will postpone its annual military parade in order to try and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement released today, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team said that despite there being no confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the Myanmar, the "public has been notified to avoid public places as much as possible." 

The statement cited "more and more cases" found in South Korea, Italy and Iran saying "Myanmar might face similar circumstances at any time and place."

The Armed Forces Day Parade was originally scheduled for March 27, and would have marked the event's 75th anniversary.

4:02 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus epidemic

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus at the Guryong village encampment in Seoul today.
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus at the Guryong village encampment in Seoul today. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus is continuing to spread rapidly around the world, with more than 90,000 global cases and over 3,100 deaths.

More than 70 countries and territories now have confirmed cases of the virus.

What you need to know:

South Korea's "war" on the coronavirus: Nearly 1,000 new cases announced today pushed the East Asian country's total past 5,100, including 29 deaths -- the biggest outbreak outside mainland China. The majority of infections are in the southern city of Daegu.

In a cabinet meeting today, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said that the whole of South Korea "has entered a war against the infectious disease."

Global spread widens: New cases were reported today in countries as far apart as India and Ecuador, and Australia and the UK. Meanwhile, Latvia, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Portugal and Senegal were among countries to report their first confirmed cases of the coronavirus since Monday.

US cases top 100: A surge in new cases in Washington state has pushed the total number of infections in the United States past 100 as of Monday evening. At least six people in Washington state have died from the virus.

Speaking on Monday, President Donald Trump said he was still considering additional travel restrictions from countries with rampant coronavirus outbreaks.

WHO on alert: The director general of the World Health Organization has warned that the virus has brought the world into "unchartered territory." "We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted.

Iran receives medical supplies: The World Health Organization has sent aid to Iran, which is currently working to contain a quickly spreading coronavirus epidemic. At least 1,500 people have been infected in the country, killing 66, including a top government adviser.

Australia stimulus plan: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government will announce a stimulus package, amid a financial slowdown in China and the global spread of the coronavirus. There are now 35 cases of the virus in Australia.

4:09 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

South Korea coronavirus cases surge past 5,000

From journalist Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul

A coronavirus patient is moved at a medical center in Daegu, South Korea, on Monday.
A coronavirus patient is moved at a medical center in Daegu, South Korea, on Monday. Credit: Seung-il Ryu/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The South Korean government has announced another 374 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 5,186.

That follows an earlier announcement of 600 cases -- making nearly 1,000 new infections reported in the past 24 hours.

South Korea has the largest outbreak of coronavirus outside of mainland China.

In a cabinet meeting today, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that the country "has entered a war against the infectious disease."

The vast majority of coronavirus cases in the country are in Daegu, where the outbreak has been linked to the Shincheonji religious group.

The group has handed over a full list of 310,000 members to authorities for follow-up health checks, according to South Korean authorities.

4:00 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Colleague of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang dies of coronavirus

From CNN's Yong Xiong in Beijing

A Wuhan doctor, from the same department as whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, died from coronavirus on Tuesday, according to Wuhan Central Hospital.

Mei Zhongming was the 57-year-old chief doctor and deputy director of the ophthalmology department at Wuhan Central Hospital, and was Dr. Li’s superior.

The hospital expressed “deep condolence” at the news of Dr. Mei’s death.

Li Wenliang was regarded as a hero in China for trying to raise awareness of the coronavirus outbreak before it was publicly acknowledged by the government.

A woman leaves a flower tribute for Dr. Li Wenliang outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California, on February 15, following news of his death from coronavirus.
A woman leaves a flower tribute for Dr. Li Wenliang outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California, on February 15, following news of his death from coronavirus. Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Li was detained in December after he warned about a potential "SARS-like" virus spreading in Wuhan.

He died in early February from the coronavirus, sparking a wave of grief and anger across China.

3:55 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

5 people confirmed infected by the novel coronavirus in the Czech Republic

From CNN’s Tim Lister

An ambulance passes the entrance at Na Bulovce hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, on March 1.
An ambulance passes the entrance at Na Bulovce hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, on March 1. Credit: Martin Divisek//EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Five people in the Czech Republic, all with connections to Italy, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the country's health minister said today.

According to Czech state broadcaster Radio Prague International, the first three patients are two Czech citizens who had been in northern Italy, and an American studying in Milan.

A young Ecuadorian woman who was travelling with the American student has now tested positive after being retested. The fifth patient is a woman from Usti nad Labem, northern Bohemia, who had returned from Italy on Friday.

According to Radio Prague International, the Czech government is now looking to ban flights from northern Italy, pending consultation with the European Commission.

The interior minister is pushing to declare a state of emergency. Italy is currently battling the largest coronavirus outbreak in Europe, with more than 2,000 people confirmed to be infected.