March 6 coronavirus news

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9:37 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Workplace chat app Slack asks employees to work from home

From CNN's Sara O'Brien

A view of Slack headquarters in San Francisco, California, in April 2019.
A view of Slack headquarters in San Francisco, California, in April 2019. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Slack, the workplace chat app, is encouraging employees to work remotely today after learning that one of its San Francisco-based employees could potentially have been exposed to coronavirus.

According to a statement from Slack’s SVP of People, Robby Kwok, the employee was notified by the CDC they had been in an area with potential exposure while traveling overseas.

“This employee has not been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and has not reported any symptoms,” said Kwok, who noted that because the employee was the office after returning from the trip, the company is closing both of its San Francisco offices this afternoon and deep cleaning this weekend.

“The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. Again, we are taking these actions out of an abundance of caution,” added Kwok.

9:34 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

EU Ambassadors' meeting canceled after second staff member tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s James Frater

A screen at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium shows an alert message about the coronavirus outbreak, on March 4.
A screen at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium shows an alert message about the coronavirus outbreak, on March 4. Credit: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

A scheduled meeting of EU Ambassadors did not take place Friday morning because a second member of Council staff became infected by COVID-19, an EU official confirmed to CNN. The staff member had been in close contact with "at least" one of the EU Ambassadors.

The regular Friday meeting was “postponed” to give officials time to identify who the infected person had been in contact with, according to the official.

As a precaution, parts of the European Council where the staff member had been are now being sealed off. At the moment all other meetings are going ahead.

9:30 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Two British Airways staff test positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London

British Airways planes are seen at London's Heathrow Airport in January.
British Airways planes are seen at London's Heathrow Airport in January. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty Images

Two British Airways staff have tested positive for coronavirus, the airline's press office told CNN.

"Public Health England has confirmed that two members of our staff, have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus," the airline said in a statement,

The staff members "have been isolated and are recovering at home," the airline said.

8:53 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpass 100,000, Johns Hopkins reports

A view of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in Wuhan, China, on March 5.
A view of a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in Wuhan, China, on March 5. Credit: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

There are now more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University in the US.

The university's dashboard reported a total of 100,329 cases across the world this morning.

Remember: This number is slightly different than the latest count from World Health Organization, which is reporting 98,202 cases around the world. Johns Hopkins and WHO report tallies at different times of the day, so the counts often differ.

8:28 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Egypt confirms 12 new coronavirus cases on Nile cruise ship

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Roba Alhenawi in Atlanta

Egypt has detected 12 new coronavirus cases on “a Nile cruise ship coming from Aswan to Luxor,” according to a joint statement by the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO), Egypt state-run Ahram Online reported.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the detection came after information from the WHO that a Taiwanese-American tourist, who was on board the cruise, had tested positive after returning home, Ahram Online added.

The 12 cases -- all Egyptian workers on the ship -- tested positive after a “test was carried out following the conclusion of the 14-day incubation period.”

All new cases have been referred to an isolation hospital, and others believed to be in contact with them placed in quarantine for 14 days, to follow up on their health conditions.

The total number of cases recorded in Egypt now is 15.

8:15 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's what you've missed

A National Guard helicopter delivering coronavirus testing kits hovers above the Grand Princess cruise ship off the California coast on Thursday.
A National Guard helicopter delivering coronavirus testing kits hovers above the Grand Princess cruise ship off the California coast on Thursday. Credit: Michele Smith via AP

  • Thousands stuck in limbo off California: Passengers and crew aboard a cruise ship off the California coast will discover their fate later today, when officials get results from dozens of coronavirus tests. The California Air National Guard dropped off test kits by helicopter yesterday after learning that the first person to die of the virus in the state previously traveled on the Grand Princess liner.
  • "This is not a drill," says WHO: The director-general of the World Health Organization has warned governments that the coronavirus spread is "not a drill." It said significant action would be required to contain the outbreak as the number of people infected nears 100,000 and deaths top 3,300, with clusters continuing to expand in South Korea, Japan, parts of Europe, Iran and the United States. 
  • Panic-buying forces stores to limit purchases: Retailers are taking drastic action to limit the number of products each person can buy as customers stockpile goods over coronavirus fears. Costco Australia is capping sales of toilet tissue, disinfectant, milk, eggs and rice; Kroger is restricting purchases of cold and flu-related products and Home Depot of face masks in the US; and UK pharmacy Boots is limiting hand sanitizer purchases.
  • Testing expands in the US as cases top 200: As the number of coronavirus cases rises in the United States, federal health officials are expanding testing for the fast-moving outbreak. Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration's response to the outbreak, acknowledged Thursday there was a shortfall in the number of testing kits required to meet demand.
  • Coronavirus crash wipes $9 trillion off stocks: Global markets slumped again on Friday, tracking heavy losses on Wall Street and staging a repeat of last week's plunge after growing signs that the outbreak will lead to a sharp economic downturn. About $9 trillion has been wiped off global stocks in nine days, Bank of America said in a research note after US markets closed deep in the red again on Thursday.

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

8:00 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

South Korea responds to Japan's travel restrictions by suspending visas for Japanese travelers

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

Japan's ambassador to South Korea Koji Tomita, left, meets with South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday.
Japan's ambassador to South Korea Koji Tomita, left, meets with South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday. Credit: Ahn Young-joon/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea’s government has suspended all visas as well as the visa waiver program for Japanese visitors, in a direct response to quarantine measures imposed by Japan on travelers from South Korea.

Cho Sei-young, a vice minister in Seoul's foreign ministry, said in an announcement on Friday that new visas will require a health survey and could require documentation depending on how the situation develops.

South Korea said these measures were being made to “control infectious diseases from Japan with an efficient quarantine system based on our advanced and excellent quarantine systems.”

The notice added that a special immigration process would be implemented from Monday for other foreign nationals arriving from Japan, though it did not specify what that would mean.

7:47 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Belgium's coronavirus cases more than double as German infections pass 530

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London and Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

A member of the Coronavirus Response Team works at the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), in Brussels, Belgium on March 2.
A member of the Coronavirus Response Team works at the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), in Brussels, Belgium on March 2. Credit: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The number of coronavirus cases in Belgium has more than doubled in the last 24 hours, according to a government statement released on Friday.

The confirmed cases in the country have risen from 50 to 109.

Belgian authorities said that they expect the numbers to continue to rise, adding that most of the patients have recently travelled in Italy but there have also been contaminations within the country.

In neighboring Germany, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 534, according to the German Center for Disease Control Robert-Koch-Institute

7:42 a.m. ET, March 6, 2020

Panic buying forces stores to limit purchases of toilet paper and masks

From CNN's Michelle Toh

A shopper passes empty shelves usually stocked with toilet paper in a supermarket in Melbourne on March 5.
A shopper passes empty shelves usually stocked with toilet paper in a supermarket in Melbourne on March 5. Credit: William West/AFP/Getty Images

Rationing supplies. Overwhelmed delivery workers. Toilet paper protected by security guards.

This is the new reality for some retailers, who are having to take drastic action to limit the number of toilet paper rolls, face masks and hand sanitizer bottles each person can buy as customers stockpile goods over fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The epidemic has infected more than 97,000 people and killed 3,300 globally, leading to growing alarm that has resulted in mass bulk buying around the world.

Australian supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles both began limiting toilet paper purchases to four packs per person this week. Costco Australia is also restricting how much toilet tissue, disinfectant, milk, eggs and rice each customer can buy.

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