Medical staff checking on a Covid-19 coronavirus patient at the Red Cross hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province.

March 8 coronavirus news

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3:59 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

A third of residents in South Korean apartment block contract coronavirus

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul 

A South Korean apartment complex is under lockdown after one third of its residents became infected with the novel coronavirus in the city of Daegu, according to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Of the 140 residents in the two apartment buildings, 94 are members of the Shincheonji religious group, Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin said on Saturday. The apartment complex is to be under quarantine, he added.

So far, 46 residents have been confirmed to have the virus, 80 have tested negative and the remaining 14 are being tested, KCDC said.

The Shincheonji group said in a statement on Sunday that 80 of its members are living at this apartment currently, not 94 as announced by the Daegu city mayor, and the group is looking into the discrepancy between their own information and Daegu city’s.

There are a total of 7,134 cases of the virus nation-wide and Daegu city is the most heavily hit area of the country. About 90% of South Korea’s infected cases are from Daegu city and North Gyeongsang Province, which surrounds Daegu, combined.

 

5:31 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

India reports five more coronavirus cases

From CNN's Vedika Sud

Five more people have tested positive for coronavirus in the southern Indian state of Kerala, taking the number of infected people across the country to 39. 

Three of the five have a travel history from Italy, the other two cases are relatives who came into contact with them, according to Dr. Amar Fettle, the nodal officer for coronavirus in Kerala.

The three patients had traveled from Venice, in Italy, to Doha, in Qatar, and landed in Kochi, Kerala, on February 29. They did not reveal their travel history at the Kochi airport.

A few days after their return, they met relatives. Later, two family members visited a hospital in Kerala with symptoms of fever and tested positive for the virus.  

The five patients have been kept in isolation, in a hospital in Kerala.

Fettle said extensive contact tracing has begun by the Kerala government to limit the spread of the virus. Passengers who had traveled on Qatar Airways flight numbers QR126 and QR514, to Doha and Kochi respectively on February 29, have been requested to contact health officials immediately.

 

3:42 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Stop touching your face all the time to avoid spread of the coronavirus. It's easier said than done

From CNN's Faith Karimi

It took a coronavirus outbreak to remind us that we touch our faces way too many times. And cutting down on that will help reduce the spread of the virus, health officials say.

All it takes is one microbe on your finger from the many surfaces we touch all day -- doorknobs, elevators, keyboards -- to slip into your body through your nostril, eyes or mouth, according to health experts.

"Viruses that affect the respiratory system enter the body through mucosal membranes which are found in the nose, oral cavity and lips. With poor hand hygiene, it's easy to acquire a viral infection this way," says Dr. Dawn Mueni Becker, an infectious disease specialist in Gainesville, Florida.

But we've been touching our faces all our lives, and it's hard to stop, even for the officials spearheading the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. 

On Friday, a video widely shared on social media showed a California health official touching her face during a news conference advising people not to do that as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.

But we're all humans, it's not easy to break a habit we've had all our lives. If you can't stop yourself, it's not the end of the world, Becker says. Just ensure you observe hand hygiene.

Read the full article here.

3:28 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Washington state nursing home at center of US outbreak gets more testing kits

A nursing home at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the US state of Washington said it has received additional testing kits from the Washington State Department of Health.

The Life Care Center of Kirkland said it is now able to test all residents in the facility.

Fourteen of 16 deaths in the state are associated with the Life Care Center, and families of residents there are seeking more answers on the conditions of their loved ones, including residents who they claim have died without being tested for the coronavirus.

70 employees at the center have shown symptoms of the disease.

3:19 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Self-isolate or get paid? That's the choice for gig workers in a virus outbreak

Analysis by Luke McGee

Efforts to contain the novel coronavirus are stretching the capability and patience of the international community, as trade, travel and business as usual continue to suffer. 

Governments are announcing policies to stop the spread and soften the financial impact on companies and workers.

But there is one group of people who have so far been ignored: gig workers.

Isolate or get paid: People who work in the gig economy seldom enjoy the workplace benefits of those who work in more traditional salaried jobs. Many of these gig workers may soon have to make a choice: self-isolate to stop the spread and not be paid, or ignore public health warnings and carry on working even if they have symptoms of the virus.

Financial compensation: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that anyone with symptoms should "self-isolate." He said "nobody should be penalized for doing the right thing," and that workers would be financially compensated in full for the time they take off work. 

The problem: However, trade union groups have pointed out that this plan doesn't support people working in the gig economy, which is responsible for a significant chunk of the UK's jobs growth over the past decade. 

1 in 10: As many as one in 10 working-age adults had participated in "platform work" -- a term used to describe gig work found via apps, or platforms in the UK, a study last year revealed.

Read the full article here.

3:09 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Grand Princess cruise ship to dock in Oakland on Monday

The Grand Princess cruise ship, with at least 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard, will dock in the Port of Oakland on Monday, according to a tweet from the Princess Cruises. 

The ship has been waiting to learn its fate while remaining 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco due to concerns over the coronavirus.

In the message, the company says it will begin disembarking guests who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization at this time.

Those guests will be transported to medical facilities in California, but the exact timing for when this will happen is still being determined. 

1:57 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

More details on northern Italy lockdown

From Livia Borghese in Rome

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree early Sunday, which will put most of northern Italy under lockdown due to novel coronavirus.

It's the toughest measure taken to control the coronavirus outside of mainland China.

The entire Lombardy region is included as well as 14 other provinces.

"There will be an obligation to avoid any movement of people who are either entering or leaving these areas," Conte said. "And even within the areas moving around will occur only for essential work or health reasons."

Here's what we know:

The decree applies to: 

  • Lombardy (the whole region)

And the 14 provinces of: 

  • Modena
  • Parma 
  • Piacenza 
  • Reggio Emilia 
  • Rimini 
  • Pesaro e Urbino
  • Venezia 
  • Padova 
  • Treviso 
  • Asti  
  • Alessandria
  • Novara
  • Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
  • Vercelli

While most of northern Italy will be under the new lockdown decree, there are measures that will also apply to the entire country of Italy. 

These include:

• Suspension of theaters and cinema

• Suspension of congress and meetings that involve health care personnel and servants of essential public services

• Suspension of dance schools, pubs, disco and bingo

• Suspension of religious ceremonies, including funerals

• Suspension of sports events

• Suspension of schools and university classes

Conte said that cafes and restaurants can stay open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. "on condition that business owners can ensure a safety distance between people of at least one meter. Businesses will be suspended if these conditions are violated."
1:50 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Death toll from China coronavirus quarantine hotel collapse rises to seven

From CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing

The death toll from a hotel collapse in southeastern China on Saturday has risen to seven, with 28 people missing, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management. 

The hotel was being used as a coronavirus quarantine center. At the time of the collapse, 58 people were under quarantine in the hotel and all had tested negative for the coronavirus. There were also 16 hotel staff and six car dealership employees on site.

Rescuers worked through the night to search for survivors and of the 71 trapped in the building, 43 people have so far been pulled from the rubble.

Seven people have died, including one who died in hospital. Twenty-eight people are still unaccounted for.

1:23 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Australia now has 3 coronavirus deaths

From CNN’s Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Australia reported one additional death related to coronavirus and 11 new confirmed cases on Sunday, according to a statement from the country's Department of Health.

That brings the nationwide death toll to three and the total case tally to 74.

The most latest fatality did not have a reported history of overseas travel, though further details are pending.

 Of the 74 total cases, 22 have been discharged.