Medical workers outside Mechnikov North-Western State Medical University, where students have been place under quarantine, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

March 9 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Joshua Berlinger, Steve George, Tara John and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 10:14 p.m. ET, March 9, 2020
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4:19 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Grand Princess disembarkation will be a "multiple day process," says cruise line

The disembarkation of the Grand Princess cruise ship, quarantined off California's coast, will be a "multiple day process," said cruise operator Princess Cruises.

The ship is expected to dock in Oakland at some point later today, though the official timing has yet to be determined, said a news release from Princess Cruises.

"Disembarkation will commence in order of priority, as defined and directed by both state and local authorities. It is expected to be a multiple day process," said the release.

"Once disembarkation of the guests is completed, the crew will remain onboard and Grand Princess will depart from San Francisco bay. Plans for a crew quarantine are still being determined."

The release also detailed some of the measures taken, including delivering hundreds of prescription refills to guests on board and providing complimentary internet and telephone. 

4:10 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

German university closes over coronavirus

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A university in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate state has closed due to coronavirus fears, marking the first such instance in the country.

The WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, one of Europe's top business schools, issued a statement announcing its Vallendar campus would be closed this week.

"By order of the Mayen Koblenz Health authority, our campus must close until March 13, 2020. The closure of the campus is a precautionary measure that will help the Mayen Koblenz Health Department to identify possible infection chains,’’ the statement said.

The statement added that no lectures, conferences or other events on the Vallendar campus will take place during the next week.

Schools on high alert: In parts of Asia, schools have been suspended for weeks now, with students taking classes online using digital learning tools.

Even in other places, schools and universities are wary of the virus -- Columbia University in New York announced today that it would suspend classes today and tomorrow, to allow the university "to prepare to shift to remote classes for the remainder of the week."

3:59 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Bangladesh announces first three cases of the coronavirus

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Bangladesh has confirmed its first three cases of the coronavirus, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced Monday.

The patients are one woman and two men, who have been quarantined and are being treated at a hospital in the capital Dhaka, said Mayedul Islam, a spokesperson for the ministry.

The two men had recently returned from Italy, and the women contracted the virus after coming in contact with one of them after their return.  

3:56 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

The father and sister of a coronavirus patient violated self-quarantine to go to a school function

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The father and sister of a coronavirus patient in the US state of Missouri disregarded a quarantine and went to a school function on Saturday.

The patient, who is in her 20s, reported feeling sick after returning from Italy on March 2. Health officials who advised her to get tested, and she was confirmed as Missouri's first presumptive positive case on Saturday.

The patient's family had been advised to self-quarantine at their home in Ladue as they awaited test results, said St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

That night the patient's father defied these instructions and went to a school function with another daughter, Page said.

"The way the family has reacted to this situation is really a tale of two reactions," Page said. "And a study of how people should and should not react to the coronavirus."

Page lauded the patient, saying she has "conducted herself responsibly and maturely " and she has been "complying with the health departments instructions."

Health and county officials learned about the father's actions Sunday and told him that he needs to stay in isolation. If he does not comply with orders, health officials will seek a court order and "issue a formal quarantine that will require him and the rest of his family to stay in their home by the force of law," Page warned.

3:55 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Princess Cruise Lines is offering passengers a 100% refund

From CNN's Lucy Kavanov and Dan Simon 

Princess Cruises is offering thousands of stranded passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship a full refund, according to a letter sent to guests by the cruise line on Sunday. 

The Grand Princess, docked off the California coast, has been in limbo since Wednesday, when officials learned a California man who traveled on the same ship last month later died of coronavirus. 

In the letter obtained by CNN, the cruise line told travelers that all monies paid to Princess Cruises as well as air fare accommodations will be reimbursed. Each guest will also receive a future cruise credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid for the current voyage, according to the letter.

Ship under quarantine: There are currently 21 people confirmed with coronavirus aboard the ship, which is expected to dock sometime today in Oakland, California.

Among the infected on the ship are 19 crew members and two passengers, though the number of onboard infections could rise, as not all of the approximately 3,500 people on board -- including passengers and crew -- have been tested.

About 1,000 California residents from the ship will go into mandatory quarantine at Travis Air Force Base and Miramar Naval Air Station, the US Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday.

3:47 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Saudi Arabia bans shisha nationwide over coronavirus fears

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia has suspended the serving of shisha in cafes and restaurants across the kingdom to prevent the spread of coronavirus, said the Ministry of Municipal Affairs today.

Shisha is tobacco smoked on a water pipe popular in cafes around the Middle East.

A total of 11 cases have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia as of yesterday, according to state media.

The kingdom has also taken other measures to battle coronavirus including suspending the Mecca pilgrimage, temporarily prohibiting travel to and from Al Qateef province, and halting flights from several countries. 

3:44 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Australia just confirmed six more coronavirus patients

From journalist Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Australia has confirmed six new novel coronavirus cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 80 as of Monday morning local time, according to a statement from the country's of Department of Health.

Four of those cases were recorded Sunday in the state of New South Wales. They include:

  1. A female health care worker in her thirties. She was in contact with another case, from a retirement home.
  2. A woman in her fifties who was also in contact with another person diagnosed with the virus case.
  3. A man in his seventies who has no recent overseas travel.
  4. A man in his forties who had traveled recently, but the government statement did not specify where.

One patient was confirmed in Victoria, health authorities there said. She is a woman in her fifties who flew from Jakarta to Perth on February 27 and developed symptoms on February 29. 

Another new case was confirmed in Queensland, involving a 38-year-old woman who recently traveled from London through Dubai, according to a statement from Queensland Health.

The total count: Of the now 80 patients in Australia who have contracted the virus, 22 have recovered. Three people have died.

3:30 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

US death toll is now at 22, with one new death in Washington

From CNN's Jason Kravarik

A coronavirus patient in Grant County, Washington, has died, according the Grant County Health District.

No other details were provided regarding this patient's case. In a press release, Health District Administrator Theresa Adkinson extended her condolences to the patient's family and friends.

That brings Washington state's death toll to 19, and the national death toll to 22.

The other 3 deaths outside Washington happened in California and Florida.

3:29 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Just tuning in? Here's what you need to know

Markets are plunging

Global stocks are falling and bond yields are sinking worldwide. Markets had been in dire straits due to fears surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus, but Saudi Arabia's decision Sunday to slash oil prices and start a price war with Russia appears to have caused a massive global stock selloff.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 7.3% on Monday, its biggest plunge since October 2008. Markets in Asia are faring only a bit better -- Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 3.5% by noon, setting the index up for its biggest decline in more than a year. South Korea's Kospi also fell 4%.

In US markets, the S&P 500 futures plunged by as much as 5% Sunday evening, triggering a limit that prevents futures from trading below that mark. Dow futures fell more than 1,200 points, or about 4.9%, and Nasdaq Composite  futures were down 4.8%.

The infection rate in the US continues to rise

There are 565 people in the United States who have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to the state and local health agencies and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Forty-nine of those cases have been repatriated from abroad, according to the CDC -- three from Wuhan, the epicenter of the global outbreak, and 46 who were aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship in Japan where hundreds were infected.

Twenty-one cases were identified aboard another cruise ship currently off the California coast, the Grand Princess.

Two legislators, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, announced Sunday that they are both self-quarantining after coming into contact with an individual at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) who later tested positive for the virus.

Washington state in the Pacific Northwest remains the hardest-hit region. Leaders there are grappling with an outbreak at Life Care Center nursing home in suburban Seattle, where at least 16 people have died, the county health department said.

In total, 22 people have died nationwide.

The outbreak in Europe is worsening

Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe with more than 7,300 coronavirus patients and 366 fatalities, has locked down much of the country's north to stop the virus from spreading further. Nearly 15 million people have been affected by the travel restrictions.

While the lockdown only applies to northern Italy, other measures will be applied to the entire country. These include the suspension of schools, university classes, theaters and cinemas, as well as bars, nightclubs, and sports events. Religious ceremonies, including funerals, will also be suspended.

In neighboring France, the number of cases has grown to over 1,100, with at least 19 deaths, as fears of a Europe-wide epidemic continue to grow. Germany has reported 847 cases, Spain has reported 647 cases and 17 fatalities and the United Kingdom has reported 273 cases and 3 fatalities.