March 11 coronavirus news
An Italian woman has been unable to leave her apartment where her husband’s dead body is being kept due to quarantine restrictions, Giancarlo Canepa, mayor of Borghetto Santo Spirito, told CNN Tuesday.
The husband, who had tested positive for coronavirus previously, died Monday at 2 a.m. local time.
“Yes, it is true she is still there with the body and we won’t be able to remove it until Wednesday morning,“ the mayor said. Canepa said quarantine protocol states that no one is allowed to approach the body.
“Unfortunately, we have a security protocol we must follow,” he said. The mayor also said that the man refused to be taken to the local hospital for recovery, which led to this situation. “Otherwise, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
The story made headlines in Italy as stories emerged of the wife’s despair at remaining locked up with her husband’s dead body for hours on end.
Local television station IVG.IT posted video interviews with the woman’s neighbors who had just found out that their neighbor had died.
“Right now the most important thing is to think about this lady, alone with the body of her husband … No one can come close to help her nor comfort her. We hope this is quickly resolved. Our thoughts are with her and on what she is living through,” the neighbor said on video and whose name was not made public.
IVG.IT reported that the man’s family members are desperate and that his widow has been crying for help from her balcony.
South Korea identified 242 coronavirus cases and reported six virus-related deaths Tuesday, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Among these new cases, 131 are from the city of Daegu, the epicenter of the outbreak that alone accounts for a total of 5,794 cases. North Gyeongsang province, which surrounds Daegu, reported a jump of 18 new cases on Tuesday.
Sixty people have now died in the country. A total of 7,755 cases have been identified. Daegu and North Gyeongsang account for about 89% of the nation's confirmed cases, the KCDC said.
A cluster in Seoul: The mayor of the South Korean capital, Park Won-soon, said 93 patients are linked to a call center, up from 50 yesterday. Park said that it's the biggest infection in the Seoul capital area so far.
Hong Kong raised its travel warning to all of Italy, as well as some regions of France, Germany, Japan, and Spain amid the spread of novel coronavirus, the city's Security Bureau said in a statement Tuesday.
The new warning, the Red Outbound Travel Alert, advises Hong Kong residents to avoid non-essential travel and adjust travel plans amid the heightened threat.
The new restrictions will cover the French regions of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Grand Est, the German region of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido, and the Spanish regions of La Rioja, Madrid, and the Basque Country.
The Department of Health also announced anyone who visited these regions in the past 14 days will be required to stay in a quarantine center when they arrive in the city. The new arrangements will take effect on March 14.
Currently, Hong Kong has implemented quarantine measures for travelers coming from mainland China, South Korea, and Iran.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has reached 1,000, according to a CNN tally. The number of patients identified has doubled since Sunday.
Thirty-one people have died.
Washington state remains the hardest-hit, with 273 patients and 24 fatalities. California and New York are the only other states with more than 100 cases, while Massachusetts is getting closer with 92. See here for a state-by-state breakdown.
You should know: While the numbers are noteworthy, they do not come as a complete surprise. Viral outbreaks often increase exponentially -- not linearly or logarithmically -- if there is no immunization or cure because one patient can infect several others. That is why public health officials are stressing the importance of contact tracing in stopping the coronavirus' spread.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread worldwide -- though it appears to be stabilizing in some areas of Asia. If you're just tuning in, here are the latest developments:
China's drop in numbers: Mainland China had 24 new cases today, 10 of which were imported from overseas -- meaning only 14 of the new cases were due to local transmission. It's a huge drop in case numbers, considering China was reporting around 2,000 new cases per day just a month or two ago -- and a sign that the outbreak may be contained in most of the country.
But not all of Asia-Pacific has recovered: Japan has seen an increase in cases in recent days, and is set to enact an emergency measures bill this weekend. It's unclear whether the increase in cases is due to a spike in infection, or to other factors like increased testing capacity or more accurate detection of cases than before.
In Australia, the government has unveiled a $1.56 billion health funding package, as the number of cases creep up; the national total is now at 112.
The virus is spreading in the US: The number of cases nationwide is nearing 1,000, and many states have declared states of emergency. Schools are closing, public events are being canceled, and employees are being told to work from home -- in an echo of the same panic and emergency measures that took place in Asia just a month ago.
Italy is still under lockdown: All 60 million residents are under lockdown -- meaning restricted movement, schools closed, public services suspended, and public events canceled. Cities and public spaces today are empty and deserted, and the streets are quiet; one 26-year-old in Rome told CNN the restrictions felt "similar to times of war."
China's Communist Party wants more gratitude for its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking Friday, Wang Zhonglin, party chief of Wuhan, the virus-hit capital of Hubei province, said that people in the city -- much of which remains on lockdown -- were not appreciative enough.
It is necessary, Wang reportedly said, "to carry out gratitude education among the citizens of the whole city, so that they thank (President Xi Jinping), thank the Chinese Communist Party, heed the party, walk with the party, and create strong positive energy."
His comments attracted widespread criticism online, and have since been mostly scrubbed by the censors, though some state media reports including the quote remain accessible. Yet while Wang appears to have gone too far in the eyes of many -- creating a public relations headache the propaganda apparatus had to clean up -- the sentiment he was expressing is nevertheless widely shared.
As the coronavirus spreads around the world, China has been increasingly vocal about what it appears to feel is a lack of appreciation from the global community for its efforts to contain the outbreak, and preventing the crisis from being even worse than it may turn out to be.
Michigan officials have announced the state has confirmed it’s first two presumptive positive coronavirus cases. Authorities there have now declared a state of emergency.
“We are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep Michiganders safe,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“I have declared a state of emergency to harness all of our resources across state government to slow the spread of the virus and protect families. It’s crucial that all Michiganders continue to take preventative measures to lower their risk, and to share this information with their friends, family, and co-workers," Whitmer said.
New cases in Florida and Georgia: Health authorities in Florida and Georgia also announced new coronavirus cases Tuesday night.
The Florida Department of Health said there are eight new patients in the state, all of whom "are being appropriately cared for and isolated.”
Florida has now identified 23 patients and recorded two deaths in the state.
Georgia, meanwhile, identified five new presumptive positive cases. One is in south Georgia's Charlton County and four are in the greater Atlanta area -- three in Cobb County and one in Fulton County.
The Georgia Department of Health said that “all but one individual (the one in Fulton) are hospitalized. One of the Cobb presumptive positives has a travel history outside of the country, the sources of the other infections are unknown.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency "to support the commonwealth’s response" to the coronavirus outbreak there.
The state has identified 92 presumptive positive cases, authorities said. Seventy of them are related to a conference hosted by Biogen, a multinational biotechnology company in Cambridge, in late February.
Baker said in a statement that the executive branch of the Massachusetts government will:
- Discontinue all out-of-state work-related travel.
- Cancel or virtually hold conferences, seminars, and other discretionary gatherings.
- Inform employees not to attend external work-related conferences, seminars, or events.
- Remind employees feeling sick with fever or flu symptoms to not come into work.
- Encourage high-risk employees to talk with their supervisors to review possible alternative work assignments.
"We will continue planning and preparing to mitigate the spread of this disease, and have issued new guidance for executive branch employees in the commonwealth," Baker said. "I urge employers and other large organizations to follow our example and limit or eliminate non-essential travel, limit or eliminate large events where possible, and explore telework where appropriate for your organization. We are also urging older adults and those with health issues to avoid large crowds and large events.”
Famous tourist sites were deserted, a smattering of bar-goers kept at arm's length from each other at formerly lively establishments and worried citizens stood in line outside once bustling stores in Italy after drastic restrictions were imposed to contain the deadliest coronavirus outbreak outside China.
There was confusion across the country on the first day of a national lockdown that includes a ban on all public events, the closure of schools and public spaces -- including museums and movie theaters -- and the suspension of religious services including funerals or weddings.
Hundreds of seats lay eerily empty in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, which was closed to tourists on Tuesday. Like many people here, the Pope was shut away behind closed doors, but he asked priests to have the courage to visit those affected by coronavirus in his daily livestream from his private residence.
Lydia Carelli, a 26-year-old intern at the Italian Supreme Court in Rome, told CNN: "This is the strangest situation that I've ever lived, these restrictions are similar to times of war."
She said her family wanted her to return home to Naples, but she would "rather not take any risks" in case she had been exposed to the virus.
"Everyone has to do their part," added Carelli, whose judiciary course has been suspended, with her classes taking place online. "I do think all of this was necessary, people must follow the suspensions to respect all of the people that have died and continue to die.