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

Kentucky's first coronavirus patient is a Walmart employee

From CNN's Carma Hassan

The first cases of the novel coronavirus in Harrison County, Kentucky are a Walmart employee and a person linked to the employee, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said at a news conference today.

However, the governor said while they can’t provide details on the linkage, they don’t believe the second patient was exposed to the virus at Walmart.

Harrison County officials investigating the case identified people who worked around the Walmart employee and asked six other employees to self-isolate. None of those employees are showing symptoms of the virus, said WEDCO District Health Director Dr. Crystal Miller. 

There are four cases of coronavirus in the state total, Beshear said.

9:24 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Top infectious disease doctor says "there's still a lot that's unknown" about coronavirus

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, compared the novel coronavirus to the "pre-pandemic bird flu" and other past outbreaks in an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."

"We're gathering information, we're learning a lot, but there's still a lot that's unknown about where this is going, you always almost have a fog of war about it," Fauci said on Monday.

"It's not that different than the very early years of the HIV epidemic, of the anthrax attacks, of the concern about the pre-pandemic bird flu," Fauci said, referring to past outbreaks. "Everything has a little bit of a different twist to it. It's not exactly the same, but there's always that uncertainty that gets people very anxious."

9:20 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Finland's president stops staff from shaking hands

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

The staff of Finland's President Sauli Niinistö no longer shake hands when they meet, in a bid to contain the virus, according to a statement from Niinistö's office.

"As of last week, people no longer shake hands when they meet. Participation in meetings and traveling on government business will be limited to a minimum by using video conference facilities whenever possible. Additionally, no groups of visitors are received at the presidential palace until further notice," the statement wrote.

This comes as officials around the world have been issuing guidance on how to greet people as they scramble to contain the virus.

Read about the bizarre ways in which the outbreak is changing etiquette

9:13 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

India replaces cell phone ringing tone with coronavirus prevention tips

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

If you make a call in India, you might get some health tips.

A voice message featuring tips on how to protect yourself against coronavirus has replaced the usual ringing tone for mobile phone users in India.

Nearly 1.2 billion subscribers of telecoms networks, including BSNL, MTNL Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, have been hearing a recorded message when they dial out, according to a press release issued by India’s Health Ministry.

The voice message begins with a cough. “Always protect your face with a handkerchief or tissue while coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands with soap frequently," the announcement, voiced by a woman, goes on to say.

"Avoid touching your face, eyes, or nose. If someone has cough, fever, or breathlessness maintain one meter distance. If needed, visit your nearest health center immediately,” it adds.

In New Delhi, the public service announcement is said in Hindi and then English. It ends when the receiver picks up the call.

India currently has 43 confirmed cases of the virus.

8:51 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Why you should reconsider your travel plans if you have vulnerable people in your family, according to a top doctor

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Families should reconsider upcoming travel plans if they have "vulnerable people" in their family unit, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."

Those at risk for serious illness from the novel coronavirus include older adults and anyone with underlying health conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease or diabetes.

"You may get infected and then come home and infect your grandmother or grandfather who does have an underlying condition. So each family unit, each individual has to look about not only the risk for themselves, but what risk will they be putting the people around them in," Fauci said on Monday.  

Fauci said there's no need for a ban on all travel right now, but he urged travelers to be cognizant of what "category" they fall in.

"Right now if you have somebody who is 45 years old, doing well, a business person or whatever, I mean there's no problem getting on a plane. If you're a person who has an underlying condition, elderly particularly, doing that kind of travel is putting yourself at an extra risk," he said.

9:00 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Nigeria confirms second case of coronavirus

From CNN's Stephanie Busari in Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria's health minister announced a second case of the novel coronavirus in the country on Monday.

The second patient had come in contact with the first case, an Italian citizen who traveled to Africa's most populous country last month, the health ministry said in a statement.

The Italian man, who is said to be "clinically stable" by health officials, visited two states before he was diagnosed with the virus in late February.

Health officials have been working against the clock to trace all those who came into contact with him.

Those that have been traced will remain in isolation while tests are conducted, the country's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

Meanwhile, the NCDC said it had contacted the United States Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control about a Nigerian citizen who tested positive in the country.

"The patient’s travel history shows that the likelihood of his infection while in Nigeria is very low," the NCDC said urging citizens to remain calm.

8:42 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

China will send 5 million face masks to South Korea

From CNN's Eric Cheung

China will send five million face masks to South Korea in a bid to help the country combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese embassy in South Korea said in statement today.

The face masks will be delivered starting tomorrow, and will include both surgical masks and N95 masks, the statement read.

China has previously donated 1.1 million face masks and 10,000 pieces of protective clothing for medical workers to South Korea. 

8:42 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Olympics torch lighting ceremony will be closed to the public, says Greek committee

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch lighting ceremony at the site of ancient Olympia will be staged without spectators on Thursday in order to prevent the spread of the virus, Greece's Olympic Committee said in a statement Monday.

The statement added that Thursday’s event will be attended by “only 100 accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee,” while media accreditation will be “extremely limited.”

The dress rehearsal on Wednesday will also be closed to the public.

Following Thursday’s ceremony, the Olympic torch will begin a seven-day relay that will culminate with a handover ceremony in Greece on March 19.

The torch will then be flown to Japan.

8:31 a.m. ET, March 9, 2020

Portugal's president is under self-quarantine

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

The Portuguese president has self-quarantined himself after it was found that a class from a school with a student confirmed to have the coronavirus visited the presidential palace last week, according to a statement issued by his office.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa interacted with the class on Tuesday, according to the statement, which added that neither the student with the infection nor the student's class had visited the Belém palace.

The president will be in quarantine at his personal residence for two weeks, has canceled all public activities and will not be traveling abroad, the statement added.