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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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.

3:07 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Coronavirus quarantine hotel collapses in China, trapping 70 people

From CNN's Yong Xiong and Theresa Waldrop

Search and rescue efforts are underway after about 70 people were trapped in a hotel collapse Saturday night in southeastern China, officials in the city of Quanzhou said.

The hotel was used as a coronavirus quarantine center, People's Daily and other state media outlets confirmed.

Thirty-three people had been rescued from the debris by 9:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET), the city's government said in a statement. Another 10 were rescued over the next three hours, People's Daily reported, and search efforts were ongoing.

Quanzhou is about 600 miles from Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, where more than 3,000 people have died from the virus.

No fatalities have been reported in the building collapse.

It wasn't immediately clear why the building collapsed.

2:58 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Roughly 5,861 coronavirus tests completed by CDC and public health labs

From CNN’s Kevin Bohn

As of Friday at 6 p.m. ET, roughly 5,861 tests for coronavirus have been completed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health labs, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said at off-camera briefing at the White House on Saturday.

Trump administration health officials had not released specific figures until today.

This does not mean that 5,861 people have been tested. Currently each person tested typically has two swabs taken – one from the nose and one from the throat.

The 5,861 number also does not include tests performed at private or commercial labs.

Right now Hahn said there is an ability to perform 75,000 tests. Officials, however, expect that number to jump dramatically next week with the additional production by private manufacturers of coronavirus testing kits.

2:50 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

France coronavirus death toll rises to 16 

From CNN’s Pierre Bairin in Paris

France’s General Director of Health Jerome Salomon has confirmed 16 dead and 949 confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide, according to a press conference he held on Saturday.

Salomon said 45 people infected with the virus are being treated in intensive care.

2:40 p.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Iraq confirms 8 new cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Sara Mazloumsaki and Hamdi Alkhshali

Iraq’s health ministry announced eight new coronavirus cases; seven in Baghdad and one in Najaf. Today's news brings the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 54.

So far, four people have died from the virus in Iraq, according to the health ministry.