March 4 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Steve George, Emma Reynolds, Mike Hayes, Rachel Bowman and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:15 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020
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7:03 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Japan records its biggest one-day increase in coronavirus infections

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Kyoto city workers sanitize trains on March 4.
Kyoto city workers sanitize trains on March 4. The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Japan recorded 33 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, its biggest one-day increase so far, according to data released by its Ministry of Health.

The country's total now stands at 1,023 cases, of which 706 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

6:50 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Coronavirus cases confirmed on another cruise ship

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is working with the California Health Department to investigate another cruise ship with confirmed coronavirus cases, according to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield at a White House press briefing tonight.

“We are working in support of the California Health Department that is in the process of evaluating another cruise ship where they do have confirmed cases,” Redfield said. “We at the very beginning of that, looking at the manifest to make sure we understand who’s gotten off the cruise and where they got off the cruise and we’re really involved in that entire contact follow up."

The ship under investigation, the Grand Princess, is getting ready to dock in San Francisco after a “small cluster” of coronavirus cases were traced back to the ship’s previous voyage, according to a statement from Princess Cruises.

The statement recommends previous passengers experiencing symptoms of acute respiratory illness with fever, chills or cough to contact a doctor.


6:26 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Pence to hold meeting with cruise ship industry this weekend

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA
Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

Vice President Mike Pence will hold a meeting with leaders of the cruise ship industry on Saturday to discuss the coronavirus, according to remarks he made this afternoon during a Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

“There are unique challenges, our experts tell us, in a closed environment” like a cruise ship, Pence said, adding that the group will “talk about best practices.” 

Pence also praised Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who, he said, has “been providing strong leadership for the state,” as well as the state’s public health officials.

Asked whether there will be additional restrictions on travel, Pence said, “At this time they’re not recommending that the President impose additional travel advisories or restrictions… We’re going to follow the data on that very closely."


6:06 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Coronavirus death toll at nursing home in Washington now stands at 6

From CNN's Andy Rose

The health department in King County, Washington, confirms that one of the nine novel coronavirus deaths reported in its county was a resident of Life Care Center in Kirkland. 

This is the sixth resident of that nursing home to die in the coronavirus outbreak.

A health department statement describes the latest victim as a woman in her 90s who died on Tuesday at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland.

By the numbers: As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 11 total US deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus; 10 in Washington state and one in California.

6:07 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Pence: Coronavirus risk “remains low” and “no need for Americans to buy masks"

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

There are more than 100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US as of Wednesday, including domestic cases and Americans who have returned from China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Vice President Mike Pence said this afternoon during a press briefing. 

Pence insisted that the American public’s risk of contracting the novel coronavirus “remains low" while stressing that there is “no need for Americans to buy masks.”  

However, Pence said, “It does appear that the elderly are the most vulnerable, and especially those with serious health issues,” something both Ambassador Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, echoed.

As a result, the administration is releasing new guidelines for the nation’s nursing homes.

For the foreseeable future, Pence said, the administration will “focus all of our inspection resources… on compliance with infection control standards,” meaning that inspectors who monitor for abuse and neglect at nursing homes will focus “exclusively” on making sure the facilities are complying with these new standards.

Seema Verma, an administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said there were three memos released today: one for hospitals on triaging patients with coronavirus symptoms, one with information for nursing homes about limiting visitors and monitoring staff and another to state nursing home surveyors.

Pence also noted that his meeting with lab industry representatives “gave us great hope for great progress” on expanding testing across the country.

Working together: The labs have created a consortium to share information and resources. Pence also said it has been conveyed to state governments that all state laboratories and university labs at the state level can conduct coronavirus tests without additional assets or resources from the federal government.

Pence noted that “many members of the task force” will be traveling with him to Minnesota and Washington state for meetings with representatives from 3M and Gov. Jay Inslee, respectively.


5:54 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Ireland confirms 4 more cases of novel coronavirus

From CNN’s Mia Alberti in London 

Ireland announced on Wednesday that four people from the same family tested positive for coronavirus, raising the total number of infections in the country to six, according to a statement released by the Irish government. 

The patients are two men and two women who are all "associated with travel from the same affected area in Northern Italy.”

Dr. Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer of Ireland’s Department of Health, said in a statement Wednesday, “there is still no evidence of widespread or sustained community transmission in Ireland, as seen in some other EU countries.” 

5:43 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Spain confirms second death from coronavirus

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza in London 

Spain confirmed a second death from coronavirus on Wednesday, according to a statesmen released by the Heath Department for the Basque Country.

“It was a 82-year-old man with pre-existing chronic conditions who also had pneumonia,” the statement said.

By the numbers: The total numbers of cases in Spain is now 219.

The capital, Madrid, is the region with most cases with 76 people infected with the virus.

5:28 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Los Angeles coronavirus patient is a medical screener at LAX airport

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

One of the newly announced coronavirus cases in Los Angeles county is a medical screener at Los Angeles International Airport, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

This contract worker had not been at work for more than a week before developing symptoms, DHS says. It is unclear whether the virus was contracted through their work with travelers or via community spread.

The patient is currently isolated at home with mild symptoms.

5:22 p.m. ET, March 4, 2020

Slovenia confirms its first case of coronavirus

From CNN’s Mia Alberti in London

Slovenia confirmed its first case of coronavirus today, according to a statement from the government of Slovenia on its official website. 

Before this infection, 352 coronavirus tests had been carried out in Slovenia and the results were all negative, the government said.

The statement said the occurrence of the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in the country was only “a matter of time.”

“All competent institutions are constantly monitoring the situation and informing the public about preventive measures. Measures to curb the spread of infections in our country that may be required in the future are also prepared,” the government said.