March 6 coronavirus news

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7:28 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Newly elected Iranian female politician dies from coronavirus, as country confirms 1,234 new cases

From CNN’s Sara Mazloumsaki

Fatemeh Rahbar, a newly elected member of the Iranian Parliament, has died from coronavirus on Friday, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. 

Rahbar was a representative for the residents of Tehran. After her health worsened, she had to be connected to an oxygen machine, according to Tasnim.

She is the first known female politician to die from coronavirus in Iran.

This comes as Iran’s health ministry announced Friday that 124 people have died from coronavirus in the country and that there are currently 4,747 confirmed cases. 

Over the past 24 hours, 1,234 new cases have been identified in the country, according to the ministry. 

“Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours, 17 patients died and the death toll rose to 124,” said Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.  

7:37 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

"School is the backbone of the country" - Italian parents under strain after students sent home

From CNN’s Ben Wedeman and Jo Shelley in Milan

Children play in a park after the Italian government declared the closure of schools in Naples, Italy, on Thursday.
Children play in a park after the Italian government declared the closure of schools in Naples, Italy, on Thursday. Credit: Ciro de Luca/Reuters

Since Italy suspended schools, many parents have had to rethink their routines. Some have been forced to work from home or turn to the help of grandparents, and women are taking on a lot of the child care burden. 

“It is hard for families to balance work and life. School is the backbone of the country,” says Gini Dupasquier, a consultant in Milan whose teenage daughters are now studying from home.

The Italian education ministry launched a remote learning information portal and thousands of teachers have participated in related webinars -- but educators say that preparing video lessons, Google quizzes and video conferences have tripled their working days.

7:17 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Streets deserted, checkpoint closed and Banksy's "Walled-Off Hotel" shuttered in Bethlehem

From CNN's Abeer Salman in Beit Jala

The imposing metal gate at Checkpoint 300, the main crossing point between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, is locked shut.
The imposing metal gate at Checkpoint 300, the main crossing point between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, is locked shut. Abeer Salman/CNN

Rain lashed down in Bethlehem on Friday but there were few people out on the streets anyway. Main roads were deserted, shops and restaurants were closed. The huge metal gate at Checkpoint 300, the main crossing point between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, was locked shut. 

Doors were closed at the Church of the Nativity, regarded as the birthplace of Jesus. And across Manger Square, the Omar Ben Khatab mosque stood empty as well; Friday prayers, the most important congregation of the week, canceled. 

Mohammad Al-Azzeh sat defiant outside his shop selling gifts for tourists, a teal-colored mask protecting his mouth.

“I will try today,” he said, “but if no one comes I will have to close for a month.”

Just around the corner, in the shadow of the huge wall erected by Israel to separate it from the Palestinian territories, the shutters were down at the “Walled Off Hotel” opened by the British graffiti artist Banksy; no guests today for the chimpanzee in the concierge’s costume to welcome.

The streets of Bethlehem are deserted and the shutters are down at "The Walled Off Hotel," which lies in the shadow of the wall erected by Israel to separate it from the Palestinian territories.
The streets of Bethlehem are deserted and the shutters are down at "The Walled Off Hotel," which lies in the shadow of the wall erected by Israel to separate it from the Palestinian territories. Abeer Salman/CNN

A couple of miles away in the neighboring town of Beit Jala, there was security tape up in front of the Angel Hotel, and Palestinian police outside wearing face masks. This is the hotel at the center of the coronavirus scare, where seven workers tested positive yesterday, in an outbreak being linked to a Greek tour group that visited last week.

Pastor Chris Bell from Fairhope, Alabama is among a group of 14 Americans who have found themselves caught up in the scare. He told CNN by phone that he and his group were two days into a tour of the Holy Land and had visited Bethlehem and Jerusalem before being told Wednesday evening that the hotel would likely be closed the following day as authorities looked into the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak.

The group was en route on to a new destination Thursday morning when they were told to turn the bus around and go back to the hotel.

Doors were closed at the Church of the Nativity, regarded as the birthplace of Jesus.
Doors were closed at the Church of the Nativity, regarded as the birthplace of Jesus. Abeer Salman/CNN

Bell paid tribute to the hotel staff. “They have been amazing, they have worked so hard to take care of us,” he said, explaining that staff had cleaned out a whole floor for the group so that they could self-quarantine together. No one in the group was showing symptoms, Bell said, but there were frustrations that no one had come to the hotel yet to test them for coronavirus.

“We understand that it is an overwhelming situation for the local authorities but we are not getting any information from them,” he said.  

One man who was out and about in the city was Jamil Azar, who was filling his car with gas. “People are afraid as they don’t know who has the virus and who does not,” he said. Jamil himself was not overly concerned, though, believing that an age-old elixir, available to him as a Christian, would keep him right.

“I don’t wear a mask because I don’t need it … I drink alcohol,” he said.

CNN’s Andrew Carey contributed to this report.

7:12 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Lockheed Martin employee in California tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Carma Hassan

The entrance to regional headquarters of Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California, pictured in October 2018.
The entrance to regional headquarters of Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California, pictured in October 2018. Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A Lockheed Martin employee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement on the company’s website

According to the company, the employee was previously flagged for potential exposure and they are deep cleaning work and common areas.

Lockheed Martin's statement:

"An employee based in Sunnyvale, California, who was previously flagged for potential exposure to COVID-19 has tested positive. From the moment we were aware of the possibility of exposure, appropriate steps were taken in coordination with local health officials. We have taken actions to ensure a safe workplace for employees and visitors, including deep cleaning of work areas and common spaces. The health and well-being of our employees is our top priority."
7:02 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Thailand confirms new case: a British man who traveled from London via Hong Kong

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

Thailand has reported one new case of the novel coronavirus on Friday, taking the national total to 48, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health Sukhum Kanchanapimai said in a news conference.

The new case is a 43-year-old British corporate adviser who traveled from London on February 28.

The man transited via Hong Kong, where he spent about seven to eight hours, before traveling on to Bangkok, where he was admitted to hospital on February 29, Kanchanapimai added.

Of the 48 confirmed cases in Thailand, one person has died, 31 have been discharged and 16 remain in isolation receiving treatment, with one of them in a critical condition.

6:56 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

What does "self-quarantine" actually involve?

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

A sign listing ways to stop the spread of germs is seen in a subway station in Boston, on March 5.
A sign listing ways to stop the spread of germs is seen in a subway station in Boston, on March 5. Credit: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

With US coronavirus cases topping 220 across 19 states and the death toll climbing to more than a dozen, state governments have asked thousands of residents to seclude themselves from the rest of the community to help contain the virus. 

While the practices of both self-quarantine and self-isolation are used to help curb the spread of the virus, they target different groups. 

People who are in isolation are those who have contracted a contagious disease -- in this case, people who tested positive for the coronavirus. That includes the North Carolina resident who was isolated after testing presumptive positive this week and the Tennessee resident who tested positive after out-of-state travel and is also in home isolation.

Residents in self-quarantine are people who may have come in contact with someone who was infected. Officials ask these individuals to stay at home for two weeks until it can be determined that they are not ill.

For about 14 days, individuals under self-quarantine can't go to "work, school or any other public places where they could have contact with others," according to Seattle & King County's department of public health in Washington state.

Read the full story here

6:57 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Seattle stadium worker tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

A general view of the Seattle Dragons team bench ahead of the game between the Seattle Dragons and the Dallas Renegades at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, on February 22.
A general view of the Seattle Dragons team bench ahead of the game between the Seattle Dragons and the Dallas Renegades at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, on February 22. Credit: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

A part-time employee at CenturyLink Field who worked at the February 22 game between the XFL’s Seattle Dragons and Dallas Renegades has tested positive for coronavirus, according health officials for King County in Washington. 

Officials said in a press release that no extra precautions were required for those attending the game or future events, but warned:

King County residents should know that the risk for infection with COVID-19 is increasing in our community, should be aware of their symptoms, and call their health care provider if they develop a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems.

Seattle’s professional sports organizations -- Dragons, First & Goal/Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders FC -- will continue with scheduled events for now, but the teams are in touch with local health officials and their respective leagues on a regular basis.             

The Seattle Sounders released a statement on Thursday saying that they are working closely with First & Goal Inc. and CenturyLink Field to provide a safe matchday experience.

This “includes expanded sanitation procedures -- encompassing enhanced cleaning treatments to disinfect all areas of the stadium before and after every event -- in addition to increased hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue and continued staff education and training.”

6:35 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Czech health minister urges EU to "be more active" to stop virus spread

From CNN’s James Frater in Brussels

The Czech health minister Adam Vojtěch, right, speaks with Italian health minister Roberto Speranza during an extraordinary meeting of EU health ministers in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, to discuss the coronavirus outbreak.
The Czech health minister Adam Vojtěch, right, speaks with Italian health minister Roberto Speranza during an extraordinary meeting of EU health ministers in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, to discuss the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: Virginia Mayo/AP

The Czech Republic’s Health Minister Adam Vojtěch on Friday urged the European Commission “to be more active” when it comes to containing the spread of novel coronavirus.

“In regard to the joint procurement mechanism I think we should really speed up the whole procedure because the lack of protective masks and all the protective equipment and disinfectant is the same and is really concerning,” Vojtěch said as he arrived at a crisis meeting of EU Health Ministers in Brussels.

Asked if there should be more coordination in Europe, he said: "Maybe, it’s about risk assessment. The situation in each country is different and we have our public health authorities and they are responsible for that, and they assess the risks."

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said it was "a critical moment in terms of all our efforts to face the challenge of COVID-19" and the commission would be "looking at the preparedness of member states, their needs and looking at the need for solidarity at this moment.”

Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris said: “I think there does need to be a more common approach to a number of issues. It is important for citizens across European Union to hear the EU speak with one voice.”

6:14 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Powerful images from the coronavirus outbreak

Airmen from the California National Guard drop coronavirus testing kits down to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California on March 5. The vessel previously carried a passenger who became the first person to die from coronavirus in California, resulting in the more than 3,500 current passengers and crew being quarantined. 
Airmen from the California National Guard drop coronavirus testing kits down to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California on March 5. The vessel previously carried a passenger who became the first person to die from coronavirus in California, resulting in the more than 3,500 current passengers and crew being quarantined.  Credit: California National Guard via AP

From volunteers fumigating a Beijing compound to a helicopter dropping test kits onto a cruise ship off the Californian coast, these are some of the latest dramatic photos emerging from the coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus was first reported in late December in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China's Hubei province.

A volunteer from Blue Sky Rescue uses fumigation equipment to disinfect common areas of a local residential compound in Beijing, China on March 5.
A volunteer from Blue Sky Rescue uses fumigation equipment to disinfect common areas of a local residential compound in Beijing, China on March 5. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

As the virus spreads through Asia and the world, governments are racing to slow the rate of infection and containment efforts have been put in place in global tourist hubs.

Municipal workers are seen at the Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque, on March 5. Saudi Arabia emptied Islam's holiest site for sterilization over coronavirus fears, an unprecedented move after the kingdom suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage.
Municipal workers are seen at the Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque, on March 5. Saudi Arabia emptied Islam's holiest site for sterilization over coronavirus fears, an unprecedented move after the kingdom suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage. Credit: Abdel Ghani Bashir/AFP/Getty Images

See how the world is battling this unprecedented epidemic here