March 4 coronavirus news

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10:30 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

A scene from an iconic 1988 anime that predicted Tokyo 2020 has begun trending online in Japan

By CNN’s Emi Jozuka and Will Ripley 

As speculation mounts over the fate of the Summer Olympics, a scene from iconic 1988 anime film “Akira,” which notoriously predicted Tokyo2020, has started trending online. 

In the scene, a signboard counting down to the Tokyo Olympics shows there are only 147 days to go. Underneath it, there's some graffiti in white -- the Japanese words “chuushida," meaning “just cancel it.”

“Just cancel it” has now gone viral on Japanese Twitter. Coincidentally, last Friday marked exactly 147 days until the official start of the Olympics, which is due to kick off on July 24.

"Akira" is a popular science-fiction manga -- a Japanese word for a comic or graphic novel -- that was created in 1982 by Japanese artist Katsuhiro Otomo.

The story follows biker gang leader Shotaro Kaneda as he battles to save his friend from a secret government program that conducts tests on psychic children.

In 1988, Otomo released "Akira" as an anime film so detailed and intricate that it took animators years to hand-paint each of the single shots to bring the story to life. The film is now widely considered a cult classic which helped expand anime's reach in the US and Europe.

10:19 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

As coronavirus spreads, more people are working and studying from home

Gao Yingyan L, a student of No.4 Primary School in Wanli District, attends an online class at home in Nanchang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, February 10.
Gao Yingyan L, a student of No.4 Primary School in Wanli District, attends an online class at home in Nanchang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, February 10. Xinhua/Peng Zhaozhi via Getty Images

For weeks, students and workers in greater China have been studying and working remotely.

Now, as coronavirus spreads into more countries around the world, companies in other countries are looking into doing the same.

America's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, is bracing for the coronavirus outbreak by asking thousands of its employees to work from home for a day to test contingency plans, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

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

Pros and cons: As some teachers in Asia have found, working from home can be a bit of a nightmare. But in other sectors, this unexpected experiment has been so well received that employers are considering adopting it as a more permanent measure. For those who advocate more flexible working options, the past few weeks mark a possible step toward widespread -- and long-awaited -- reform.

Read more here.

9:58 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

New Zealand reports second case of novel coronavirus

New Zealand has reported a second case of the novel coronavirus, the country's Ministry of Health said in a statement on Wednesday.

The patient is a New Zealand citizen in her 30s who recently returned to Auckland from northern Italy, the statement read. She does not require hospital level care and is currently under self-isolation at home.

"Although we have our second case of COVID-19, with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low," the statement said.

The country's first case -- which was confirmed last month -- is a New Zealand citizen who traveled to Iran and returned to New Zealand via Bali. He had tested negative twice before the positive test.

9:51 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

South Korea confirms 1 new death as cases pass 5,300

From Journalist Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul

Soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant in alleyways as a precaution against the new coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 3.
Soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant in alleyways as a precaution against the new coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 3. AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

South Korea has confirmed one new death from the coronavirus -- that's the 32nd patient to die in the country.

There are also another 516 cases, which brings the total number of infections to 5,328, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Among the 516 new cases, 405 are from the city of Daegu, where the outbreak has been concentrated. In total, 4,006 cases have been from Daegu, with many of them linked to the Shincheonji religious group.

Another 89 new cases are from North Gyeongsang province, which surrounds Daegu. Around 90% of the nation's cases are from Daegu and North Gyeongsang.

9:42 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's what's been happening over the past few hours

A paramedic works with a centrifuge to test blood samples taken from patients suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, at a hospital in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, March 1.
A paramedic works with a centrifuge to test blood samples taken from patients suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, at a hospital in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, March 1. Ali Shirband/Mizan News Agency via AP

The global number of infections from coronavirus stands at over 92,800, including 3,200 deaths, as the outbreak continues to spread across the globe.

Here's the latest:

  • Prisoners released: Iran announced Tuesday that it will temporarily release more than 54,000 inmates in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Middle Eastern country has over 2,300 cases of the virus, and 77 deaths.
  • US spread: There are now more than 120 coronavirus cases in the US and nine deaths, with infections reported in 13 states.
  • South Korea spike: The worst outbreak outside mainland China is in South Korea, where there are now more than 5,300 cases and 32 deaths.
  • More cancellations: Google is canceling its biggest event of the year because of concerns about the coronavirus. The annual developer conference had been scheduled for May.
  • Pope's health: The Vatican responded to queries about Pope Francis’s health after reports suggested he had been tested for coronavirus, saying he just has a cold.
  • Death in Spain: Spanish authorities have confirmed the country's first coronavirus death. The victim died on February 13, and their remains have tested positive for the virus. In total, the country has 162 confirmed cases.
  • Declining cases in China: Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said Tuesday that the WHO had scrutinized China's data, and believed that the steady decline in novel coronavirus cases in the country since the end of January was real.

9:40 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

A Seattle-based Amazon employee has been diagnosed with coronavirus

Amazon is informing employees that one of its Seattle-based workers has been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

According to a mass email for all staff members in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, the employee infected with the novel coronavirus became ill on February 25 and has not been back to work since that time. 

The company said it has directly notified all coworkers who had been in close contact with the patient. The worker was based at the downtown office building the company refers to as Amazon Brazil, according to the email.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the email to CNN, adding, “We’re supporting the affected employee.” 

It was not immediately clear whether the case was included in Washington state’s count of coronavirus patients in King County, which stood at 21 on Monday.

9:41 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Iran's coronavirus cases rose past 2,300 on Tuesday. Here's what's happening there

Members of a medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize around Imam Reza's holy shrine, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Mashhad, Iran February 27.
Members of a medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize around Imam Reza's holy shrine, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Mashhad, Iran February 27. West Asia News Agency

One week ago, Iran had fewer than 100 confirmed coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, Iranian authorities said there were 2,336 confirmed cases, making the Middle Eastern country one of the worst affected in the world.

There are now 77 confirmed deaths from coronavirus, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said on state TV Tuesday.

Here's what's going on:

  • Freeing prisoners: Iran will temporarily release more than 54,000 prisoners in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to Iran's semi-official news agency ISNA, citing Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili. The release of prisoners is under the supervision of Iran's health ministry.
  • Lawmakers infected: 23 lawmakers from Iran's parliament have tested positive for coronavirus. That means around 8% are infected. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani announced last Friday that parliament sessions would be suspended until further notice.
  • Medical supplies: Iran received its first planeload of assistance from the World Health Organization on Monday. That included eight tons of test kits that will allow it to test 100,000 people, IRNA said in a report. The WHO also sent six teams of epidemiologists, physicians and specialists in laboratories tests.
  • Foreigners evacuated: The United Arab Emirates said on Monday that it is evacuating all its citizens from Iran amid fears of coronavirus spread, state news agency WAM reported.
8:58 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Australia confirms 2 new coronavirus cases, bringing total cases to 40

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Australia has confirmed two new cases of novel coronavirus in New South Wales, bringing the country's total to 40, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Speaking during an interview with CNN affiliate Sky News Australia on Wednesday, Hunt said the two patients are a man in his 30s and a woman in her 50s.

According to a news release from the New South Wales government, the man began feeling unwell after he arrived in Australia from Iran on Sunday.

The woman had not traveled outside of Australia and is believed to have acquired the illness locally, the news release added.

9:41 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Malaysia now has 36 confirmed coronavirus cases

From Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

A health worker wearing a full protective suit waits for the arrival of evacuated Malaysians from China's Wuhan at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February. 26.
A health worker wearing a full protective suit waits for the arrival of evacuated Malaysians from China's Wuhan at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February. 26. Muzzafar Kasim/Malaysia's Ministry of Health via AP

There are seven new cases of novel coronavirus confirmed in Malaysia, bringing the country's total to 36, Noor Hisham Abdullah, the director general of Health Malaysia, announced on Twitter Tuesday.

The director general said all the new cases are close contacts of a patient who previously contracted the virus and they are currently in a stable condition.