Medical staff checking on a Covid-19 coronavirus patient at the Red Cross hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province.

March 8 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 11:07 p.m. ET, March 8, 2020
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11:06 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

US surgeon general says 75,000 coronavirus tests are available right now for the public

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Currently, there are about 75,000 coronavirus tests available for the American public, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union” today.

"By early next week – tomorrow – we should have over 2 million tests available. By the end of the week, through partnerships with private industry, over 4 million tests available," Adams said. "But the most important number to the American people is one. They want to know if I go in, can I get a test? And the one thing that I’ve heard – I’ve been to Georgia, I’ve been to Georgia, I’ve been to Connecticut in the past week – is that no public health doctor who was asked for a test has not been able to get a test. So people should talk to their healthcare providers."

Yet when Tapper asked how many people have been tested, Adams said, "The numbers are tough because they're changing minute by minute." 

Tapper responded, "Just the rough numbers?" 

Adams later said, "I would refer you to the CDC for that because, again, the numbers change so rapidly."

11:04 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Uncertainty in northern Italy as locals avoid travel

From CNN's Jo Shelley in Milan

The lockdown in northern Italy has led to confusion among locals.

Michele De Marsico, 55, described his concern about being able to return to his home in southern Italy.

"I was worried so I came here to the train station to check out the situation," he said, adding that "the system is reacting pretty well" to the outbreak.

"I would like to go to my mother's but it’s not possible. I live here but my mother lives in another region," Alice Baldisserri, 38, told CNN.

"There's chatter that they won’t let people return, so getting out at the moment seems risky to me," she added. "If they won’t let me come back it would be complicated.

"I work in a hotel but it's closed, so also the job is at risk," Baldisserri added. "It’s unknown when we will be able to reopen."

10:59 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Saudi Arabia quarantines region after coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia has announced the lockdown of the Qatif region in the Eastern Province on Sunday due to an increase in coronavirus cases, state news agency SPA said.

The quarantine comes after all of Saudi Arabia’s 11 coronavirus cases were found to be residents of Qatif, SPA said. 

All labor work inside the province will also be stopped in governmental institutions; however, commercial supplies will continue to be delivered to the region, the statement added. 

Qatif has a population of more than 500,000, according to government statistics.  

10:55 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Chaos and confusion as Italian sports minister calls for Serie A suspension amid coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Ben Church

A soccer match in Italy was delayed after the country's sport minister called for the suspension of all Serie A games due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Vincenzo Spadafora posted a statement on Facebook saying it didn't make sense for matches in Italy's top-flight league to continue while the country struggles to contain the virus.

The news sparked confusion with the game between Parma and Spal just minutes from kick off.

Players were already in the tunnel and about to walk onto the pitch but were requested to return to the dressing room by the referee.

The match at the Ennio Tardini Stadium eventually kicked off 75 minutes later.

10:22 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Americans test positive on Nile cruise

From Magdy Sama’an in Cairo

A group of American citizens has been quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus on an Egyptian Nile boat, the cruise company said.

The number of Americans infected on the cruise is unknown but a total of 19 foreigners were aboard the boat traveling from Aswan to Luxor, Extension Group said. 

The foreigners also include French and Indian citizens, according to its marketing manager Wafa’a Abdelrahman. 

A total of 45 people tested positive for coronavirus on the Nile cruise, Egyptian state media said on Saturday.

10:01 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Staff member at a Washington care home tests positive

A member of staff at Aegis Living Marymoor in Redmond, Washington has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The staff member was ill when they left to go home on February 28 and did not return to the facility, the facility told CNN in a statement. It also noted that the staff member has not worked in any other Aegis Living communities.

Redmond is a short distance from Kirkland, the center of the US coronavirus outbreak.

After learning about the diagnosis, Aegis Living said: “We immediately initiated our company protocol for managing the coronavirus and began a community-wide isolation at Aegis Living Marymoor.”

The statement goes on to say: “All residents and staff were evaluated today (Saturday) and continue to be closely watched. At this time, we have no other confirmed cases at Aegis Living Marymoor or any other communities.”

9:44 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Four more coronavirus deaths confirmed in Spain

From Laura Perez Maestro in Madrid

Health authorities in Spain have confirmed four more deaths from coronavirus, taking the country’s total to 17.

The deaths of three women, aged 92, 88 and 87, were confirmed by the Health Department for the Basque Country, while the Health Department for the Aragon region confirmed the death of an 85-year-old man.

The Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa, said at a press conference Sunday that “Spain is still in the containment phase.”

He also expressed his support to Italy and said “one region’s problem is all regions’ problems. One country’s problem is all countries’ problem.”

8:53 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Princess Cruises cancels LA journey after no-sail order

Princess Cruises has cancelled its Royal Princess cruise out of Los Angeles, after the CDC issued a “no-sail order” until one of the ship’s crew members has been tested for Novel Coronavirus, according to a Tweet from Princess Cruises.

According to the cruise line, one of the crew members, who previously served on Grand Princess, was transferred to Royal Princess 15 days ago.

More than 3,500 people aboard the Grand Princess have been stuck on that cruise ship for days, after their two-week journey was interrupted on its return leg Wednesday, when officials learned that a California man who'd traveled on that ship last month contracted coronavirus and died this week.

After Princess Cruises shared the information about the transferred crew member with the CDC, the CDC initially approved clearance for the Royal Princess to sail on Saturday, with no restrictions placed on the vessel.

However, late Saturday afternoon, the CDC informed the cruise line of their decision to issue a “no-sail order” until the crew member was tested for Novel Coronavirus, Princess Cruises said.

According to the cruise line, they were unable to obtain a test for the crew member, and “due to the unknown timing of obtaining the test and results or anticipated response,” the cruise was cancelled.

Princess Cruises says the crew member, who had no known contact or exposure to other guests or crew who were sick on the Grand Princess, is past the maximum incubation of Novel Coronavirus, has been evaluated, and has never developed any respiratory symptoms or fever.

8:52 a.m. ET, March 8, 2020

Hong Kong death rolls rises to three

From CNN’s Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong 

A third patient has died from coronavirus in Hong Kong, its Hospital Authority said on Sunday.

The patient was a 76-year-old woman who passed away at Caritas Medical Center.