March 3 coronavirus news

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9:54 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

8% of Iran's parliament has tested positive for coronavirus, official says

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

 

Twenty-three members of Iran’s 290-member “Majlis” or parliament have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Iran’s Deputy Parliament Speaker Abdul Reza Misri.

That's about about 8% of all members of parliament.

Misri made the announcement while speaking to reporters in Tehran today, citing an open letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei from Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. 

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, on February 16.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, on February 16. Credit: Youssef Badawi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In the letter, MPs were also called on to halt contact with the public to avoid further spread of the disease.

Larijani also advocated for a continuance of the suspension of open sessions in parliament in his open letter to Khamenei, which was enacted last week amid Iran’s growing outbreak.

8:33 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

How South Florida Catholic churches are changing services because of coronavirus fears

From CNN's Rosa Flores in Miami 

The Archdiocese of Miami issued a press release yesterday outlining some “suggested practices” following two confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Here are some of the changes:

  • Holy water receptacles at the church doors will be emptied
  • There will be a temporary suspension of "minor chalices" used to distribute sacramental wine
  • Ministers will be encouraged to use anti-bacterial soap before and after the Holy Communion

The Archdiocese of Miami is home to over half a million Catholics in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.

8:29 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Tokyo 2020 Olympics "could be postponed," official says

From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo

A masked man works at a construction site with the Olympic rings in the background Tuesday, March 3, in Tokyo.
A masked man works at a construction site with the Olympic rings in the background Tuesday, March 3, in Tokyo. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Japan’s minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Seiko Hashimoto, said the Tokyo 2020 “games could be postponed until later this year”.

“In the contract signed by the IOC, the host city and others, it stated the IOC has the right to cancel the games only if they could not be held in 2020,” Hashimoto said at an Upper House committee meeting, referring to the International Olympic Committee. “This could be taken to mean the games could be postponed until later this year.”

She added that the city's government is working under the assumption the games will go on as planned.

“The organizing committee, the IOC, and the Tokyo government are working hard on the assumption of opening the games on July 24 as scheduled. The government will put all its effort into supporting this," she added.

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

Iran claims jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in "good health" following coronavirus scare

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran, Milena Veselinovic in London and Hira Humayun in Atlanta

Supporters hold a photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during a vigil for her outside the Iranian Embassy in London in January 2017.
Supporters hold a photo of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during a vigil for her outside the Iranian Embassy in London in January 2017. Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Jailed British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is “in good health," Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said at a press conference on state TV on Tuesday.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family released a statement at the weekend saying she believes she contracted coronavirus in Evin prison. Zaghari-Ratcliffe, now 42, was arrested in Iran in 2016 then jailed on espionage charges.

Although authorities have not tested Zaghari-Ratcliffe for the virus, she said in the statement that she has been sick “all week” and described her symptoms as those reported of the coronavirus. 

Esmaili said Zaghari-Ratcliffe called her family yesterday and said she was alright, but that the media “are not reporting her healthy condition and do not take corrective action in their previous news.”

When contacted by CNN on Tuesday, Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe said Iranian authorities have still not tested her for coronavirus. He said they did have Nazanin call her parents last night and tell them she was okay. He did not receive a call.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said Saturday the British government is “urgently seeking information” from the Iranian authorities. CNN has reached out to the FCO for an update Tuesday.

7:51 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

UK will likely see jump in cases, but disease will be mild for the majority, Boris Johnson says

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at Downing Street in London on Tuesday, about the government's coronavirus action plan.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at Downing Street in London on Tuesday, about the government's coronavirus action plan. Credit: Frank Augstein/Pool/AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it is "highly likely" that the UK will see a growing number of coronavirus cases, but added that it will be a "mild disease" for the "overwhelming majority" of patients.

"For the overwhelming majority of people who contract the virus, this will be a mild disease from which they will speedily and fully recover as we’ve already seen. 
"But I fully understand public concern, your concern, about the global spread of this virus. And it is highly likely that we will see a growing number of UK cases."

His statement on Tuesday comes as the UK unveiled its action plan for a coronavirus outbreak, after confirmed cases in the country rose to 40 on Tuesday.

Johnson stressed that the country was prepared for an outbreak, imploring the public to "wash your hands with soap and hot water for the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice."

So far there are 91,940 confirmed cases worldwide and 3,129 deaths -- many of which are in mainland China. In recent weeks, however, regions such as the Middle East and Europe have seen a dramatic jump in confirmed cases and deaths.

7:45 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Google tells Irish staff to work from home over coronavirus fears, reports public broadcaster

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac in London

A cyclist passes the European headquarters building of Google Inc. in Dublin, Ireland, on January 6.
A cyclist passes the European headquarters building of Google Inc. in Dublin, Ireland, on January 6. Credit: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The bulk of Google's staff at its European headquarters in Dublin have been told to work from home after a worker reported flu-like symptoms, Irish public broadcaster RTE reports. 

That person has not tested positive for coronavirus. 

"We continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, and as part of that effort we have asked our Dublin teams to work from home tomorrow," a Google spokesperson told RTE. 

There are over 8,000 employees at the Dublin office according to Google.

7:42 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Soccer chief says "let's not talk about dark scenarios" on coronavirus threat to Euro 2020

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin speaks during the 44th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Tuesday.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin speaks during the 44th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Tuesday. Credit: Robin van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP/Getty Images

The head of European football's governing body has insisted that the Euro 2020 soccer tournament will go ahead as planned

Speaking at a press conference in Amsterdam, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “Let’s be optimistic and not talk about dark scenarios.”

“You don't know how many concerns we have when we organize a big competition […] We have security concerns, we have political instability concerns and one of those concerns is the virus. We are dealing with it and we are confident that we can deal with it," he said.

Čeferin added that UEFA is in constant close contact with the World Health Organization and European governments on public health advice.

Theodore Theodoridis, UEFA General Secretary, added that the governing body “didn’t want to overreact” when it came to speculation about moving games during this summer’s tournament.

He stated that the immediate priority for the organization was the UEFA Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals and finals which are due to be played on Thursday 27 and Tuesday 31 March.

UEFA also confirmed that it has set up a working group with the European Leagues association to handle any fixture congestion which may be caused by coronavirus postponements.

7:10 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

South Korea reports three new deaths as authorities investigate two Shincheonji members

From journalist Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul and Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

South Korea has reported three new deaths from people who had the novel coronavirus --taking the national toll to 31.

This comes as health authorities announced that they are looking into two Shincheonji religious group members who traveled to South Korea in January from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China.

Kwon Joon-wook, vice-director of South Korea’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a press briefing that one member tested negative while the other tested positive for the virus.

Lee Man-hee, leader of the Shincheonji group, speaks during a press conference in Gapyeong, South Korea, on Monday.
Lee Man-hee, leader of the Shincheonji group, speaks during a press conference in Gapyeong, South Korea, on Monday. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

However, the positive case was confirmed late February and it will be difficult to establish whether that second case influenced the massive transmission among Shincheonji members, Kwon added.

6:59 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Rise in cases and deaths in Iran: 2,336 confirmed cases and 77 deaths

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

A patient infected by the coronavirus receives treatment at a hospital in Tehran, Iran, on Monday.
A patient infected by the coronavirus receives treatment at a hospital in Tehran, Iran, on Monday. Credit: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Some 77 people with the coronavirus have died in Iran and there are now at least 2,336 confirmed cases in the country, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said on state TV on Tuesday.

Concern has been mounting about the situation in Iran, which is battling an outbreak amid an ongoing economic crisis.

The country reported its first cases on February 19. State radio reported Monday that an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died after contracting coronavirus. 

Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, was a member of the Expediency Council that advises Khamenei.