Soldiers spray disinfectant in Seoul. Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

March 7 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020
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5:07 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

70 Life Care Center employees show symptoms of coronavirus, spokesperson says

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Seventy employees at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, are showing symptoms of novel coronavirus, according to Tim Killian, spokesperson for the facility.

There were 180 staff members employed at Life Care Center as of February 19.

Employees showing symptoms have been asked not to return to work, Killian said at a briefing on Saturday. 

There were 120 residents at the facility on February 19, 54 residents have since been transferred to various hospitals, Killian said. 

All current residents are confined to their rooms, Killian added.

On Thursday, the facility received 45 coronavirus tests, the results of which are still pending, according to Killian.

4:57 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Critically ill passenger taken off Grand Princess cruise ship by Coast Guard

From CNN's Hollie Silverman, Cheri Mossburg and Sarah Moon

A critically ill passenger and her husband were "medically disembarked" from the Grand Princess cruise ship by the US Coast Guard Saturday morning, according to a press release from Princess Cruises.

The passenger, a woman in her 70s, was taken to a shoreside hospital for treatment unrelated to coronavirus, according to a US Coast Guard press release. The woman and her husband were taken by helicopter.

Personal protective gear -- including gloves and face masks -- was delivered to the ship by the US Coast Guard on Friday night to supplement the current supply, the release said.

The ship remains 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco as cruise operators await the guidance of health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health.

4:32 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Portugal reports total of 21 confirmed coronavirus cases

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio in London

Portugal's national health directorate is reporting 21 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.

Four patients came from Italy, one from Spain and the others were local transmissions.

4:10 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Greece reports 21 new cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Chris Liakos in Athens

Greece's health ministry announced 21 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total to 66. 

Forty-seven of the 66 cases were all part of a tour group to Israel and Egypt. One patient is in serious condition and all the rest are in stable condition.

8:59 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Pence: It's "essential that we find ways to mitigate that risk to prevent the spread of coronavirus"

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

Vice President Mike Pence spoke of the cruise ship off the coast of San Francisco in a meeting with members of the cruise line industry in Florida today amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Pence said state and federal officials have “developed a plan which is being implemented this weekend to bring the ship into a non-commercial port. All passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined as appropriate. Those that require additional medical attention will also receive it."

Pence also said “while the risk to the average American of contracting the coronavirus remains low, it is essential that we find ways to mitigate that risk to prevent the spread of coronavirus and I’m here today on behalf of President Trump to learn ways that this industry, the cruise line industry, can work with our health officials at the federal level, here at the state level with port authorities to give the passengers, communities and the country safe and healthy.”

Adam Goldstein, global chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association, told Pence it was the “commitment” of the cruise line industry to “work closely with government and to go above and beyond anything we are currently doing to screen even more stringently to prevent those who should not be allowed to board, to monitor and test and care for those who are on board and to transition and help pay for any sick guests or crew to move to locations staffed and equipped COVID-19 cases."

“We will work aggressively with government to further develop and strengthen all necessary protocols for prevention, for detection and for care,” Goldstein said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as officials from Carnival Cruise, MSC and Royal Caribbean were also part of the meeting with Pence.

3:50 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

6 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in British Columbia

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Canadian officials confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia on Saturday, bringing the country-wide total to 57.

Two of the new cases were passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship from Feb 11 – 21, Adrian Dix, minister of health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer said in a press statement Saturday.

Two other cases are residents of a long-term care facility in Vancouver.

“These cases were identified as part of an outbreak assessment at the facility in response to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19,” the statement says, adding that all residents of the facility have now been screened.

One of the cases is a man described to be in his 50s who recently traveled to Iran, and another is a woman in her 50s, described his “close household contact” of the man who recently traveled to Iran.

9:00 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

India's prime minister: Avoid handshakes, greet with "namaste"

From CNN's Vedika Sud in Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is asking people to avoid shaking hands amid the coronavirus outbreak and instead greet each other with "namaste."

"The entire world is taking up the habit of ‘namaste.’ If, for some reason we have discontinued this habit, it is the right time to once again take it up instead of handshakes," Modi said. 

Modi also implored people to stay away from misleading rumors about the coronavirus and follow the advice of medical experts.

"Whatever you do, kindly do it on the advice of your doctor. Let’s not become doctors ourselves," said Modi.

Modi also held a meeting with ministers and senior officials Saturday and directed officials to identify locations for sufficient quarantine facilities and also make provisions for critical care.

He highlighted the need for advance and adequate planning, and a timely response to the evolving situation.

3:16 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

There are 72 state and local public health labs doing coronavirus testing around US

From CNN's Kevin Bohn

In updated figures, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, as of Friday, 72 state and local public health labs in 48 states and Washington, D.C., are verified and are conducting coronavirus testing. 

No labs in either Maine or West Virginia are currently doing testing, according to the CDC.

Also labs in the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are in progress of being ready to test.

3:17 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Coronavirus cases in US reach 400

From CNN's Shawn Nottingham

There are 400 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local governments.  

According to the CDC there are 49 cases from repatriated citizens from Wuhan (3) and the Diamond Princess (46). There are also 21 people from the Grand Princess.

According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems, there are 330 cases in 29 states, bringing the total of coronavirus cases to 400.

This includes presumptive positive cases that tested positive in a public health lab and are pending confirmation from the CDC, and confirmed cases have received positive results from the CDC.