Soldiers spray disinfectant in Seoul. Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

March 7 coronavirus news

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3:28 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

There are now more than 7,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in South Korea

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Seoul

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced 274 additional cases of the coronavirus, bringing the national total to 7,041.

The vast majority of cases are in the southern city of Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang province.

Two more deaths from the virus were reported earlier today, bringing the country's total to 46 fatalities during the epidemic.

3:13 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

SXSW conference has been canceled over coronavirus concerns

From CNN Business's Kerry Flynn and Rishi Iyengar

South by Southwest, the annual tech, film and music conference in Austin, has officially been canceled because of the coronavirus.

The decision, announced by city authorities on Friday, came just two days after Austin public health officials said the event could proceed as planned despite a string of high-profile dropouts and widespread calls to cancel.

"I've gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and, associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest this year," Austin Mayor Steve Adler told reporters Friday afternoon.

The event had been scheduled to take place from March 13-22. This is the first time in 34 years that it has been canceled, according to the organizers.

"We are devastated to share this news with you," SXSW said in a statement. "We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation."

Read the full article here.

3:50 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Why isn't Europe better prepared for the coronavirus outbreak?

From CNN's Tara John and James Frater

European Union health ministers held emergency talks Friday on the response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has swept through nearly all its 27 member states, as questions mount over the apparent lack of preparedness in Europe.

More than two months since first known cases were reported in China, the number of confirmed infections reached more than 5,500 in EU member states on Friday.

Yet observers say the aggressive measures needed to curtail an epidemic has yet to materialize.

Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said ahead of the meeting in Brussels on Friday that "the lack of protective masks and all the protective equipment and disinfectant" is "really concerning," and called for the European Commission to speed its procurement process up -- something the EU's executive branch said it would do nearly two weeks ago.

Many countries across Europe were already facing drug shortages before the onset of the virus, with a particular shortage in respiratory medications, according to a report published by the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU).

Read the full article here.

3:33 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Thailand reports two new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 50

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Two Thai men who recently traveled to Italy have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, authorities announced today.

The national tally is now 50, Sukhum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary to Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, said at a news conference today.

The two men, both aged 40, began to show symptoms on Thursday.

Among the 50 patients nationwide, 31 have been discharged from the hospital and one died.

This post has been updated to accurately reflect the number of patients discharged from hospital.

2:41 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

China has made eating wild animals illegal after the coronavirus outbreak. But there's a loophole

From CNN's Ben Westcott and Shawn Deng

The first outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has been linked to a wet market where a wide range of wild animals were on sale.

It isn't the first time a deadly viral outbreak has been linked to one of China's wildlife markets. The 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak was believed to originate in a similar location in the southern province of Guangzhou.

In a bid to end the risk of further epidemics, a strict ban on the consumption and farming of wild animals is being rolled out across China by the government.

Even though it is unclear which animal transferred the virus to humans -- bat, snake and pangolin have all been suggested -- China has acknowledged it needs to bring its lucrative wildlife industry under control if it is to prevent another outbreak.

But ending the trade will be hard. The cultural roots of China's use of wild animals run deep, not just for food but also for clothing, ornaments and even pets.

And the government is leaving space in its ban for the continued use of wild animals in traditional medicine.

Read the full article here.

2:26 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak

  • Over 100,000 infections: The novel coronavirus has now killed nearly 3,500 people, and infected over 101,400, according to CNN's tally -- the vast majority in mainland China.
  • US cases top 330: There are now at least 332 cases of the virus in the United States, with 28 states announcing confirmed or presumptive positive cases. The US has recorded 17 deaths linked to the virus.
  • NYC complains to CDC: New York City has urgently requested more resources from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the NYT. In a letter to the CDC, New York authorities complained that “the slow federal action on this matter has impeded our ability to beat back this epidemic."
  • 21 infected on Grand Princess: Passengers and crew were devastated to learn that 21 people had been diagnosed with the coronavirus aboard their cruise ship, which is in quarantine off the California coast. The ship is moving closer to shore due to a passenger in need of medical care.
  • South Korean cases rise above 6,700: Seoul announced over 480 new infections today, bringing the country's total to 6,767, including 46 deaths -- the worst outbreak outside of China.
  • Death toll grows in Iran: At least 124 people have died from the coronavirus in Iran, the government announced Friday, with 17 new fatalities confirmed in one day. Among those killed was a newly-elected female Iranian politician.
  • Facebook bans ads for masks: In a move to try and stop people taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook has announced it will temporarily ban advertisements for surgical facial masks. Many countries around the world have seen shortages as the coronavirus has spread.

And if you're told to self-quarantine, here's what you need to know.

2:04 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Usually busy tourist attractions and airports are empty worldwide amid the coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Lilit Marcus

The biggest buzzword in travel over the past few years has been overtourism -- are popular cities and attractions becoming too overburdened with tourists?

But now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction as a result of the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, and has since trickled around the world, from Japan and Italy to the United States.

According to some industry experts, coronavirus may prove to be the worst hit to the global travel industry since 9/11.

Many countries have restricted travelers from China, which is the world's largest travel market, thus guaranteeing a decline in visitors.

And that's not all.

Airlines have asked staffers to take unpaid leave as many routes are canceled indefinitely, and hotels and attractions have reported plummeting bookings.

Read the full article here.

2:05 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus?

From CNN's Faith Karimi

There are now more than 100,000 people who have been infected by the coronavirus, as the disease officially known as Covid-19 spreads rapidly around the world.

If you're wondering whether you may have contracted the virus, here are some of the symptoms you should look out for.

Coronavirus usually gives people a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold.

Some symptoms include:

  • a runny nose
  • a cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • a fever that can last for a couple of days

For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, there's a chance the virus could cause a lower, and much more serious, respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis.

Read more about the coronavirus and how you can catch it here.

1:39 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020

Oil just had its worst day in 11 years as OPEC and Russia fall out over the coronavirus crisis

From CNN Business's Mark Thompson and John Defterios

It's a bad time to be in the oil business.

Oil prices crashed more than 9% to their lowest level in nearly three years on Friday as major producing nations failed to agree on supply cuts aimed at addressing the collapse in global demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The OPEC cartel led by Saudi Arabia on Thursday had proposed a two-pronged approach to its key ally Russia: extend existing production cuts of 2.1 million barrels through to the end of 2020; and make further cuts of 1.5 million barrels per day.

But Russia refused to back the plan at a meeting with OPEC in Vienna on Friday, leaving the future of its three-year alliance with the cartel in doubt and raising the prospect of a huge supply glut.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, speaking to reporters after the meeting broke up, said there was no consensus to extend the policy of supply restraint beyond the end of March and OPEC would not act unilaterally. Discussions would continue, he added, but gave no further detail.

Read the full article here.