The number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus has risen to more than 650 on Monday, including 26 deaths.
Two Florida deaths, the first known U.S. fatalities outside the West Coast, were reported Friday. In total, 23 people — 19 in Washington state, two in Florida and two in California — have died in the U.S.
At least 15 patients have recovered: Six in California, four in Nebraska, two in Illinois, one in Washington, one in Arizona and one in Wisconsin.
On the West Coast, the Grand Princess, which has been floating off California since Thursday, when 21 of those aboard tested positive for the new coronavirus, docks in Oakland just before noon local time.
All American passengers on the Grand Princess will be routed to military bases in California, Texas or Georgia for a 14-day quarantine, authorities said. Non-American travelers aboard the Grand Princess will be routed back to their home countries in charters, authorities said.
While a flurry of activity continued in most of the port, with a large procession of trucks picking up or unloading their cargo, most of the attention was focused on a cruise ship that will take 2 to 3 days to disembark its approximately 2,400 passengers. News crews followed the sizable liner as it made its way under the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge before pulling into the Port of Oakland, right behind the Cape Mohican war ship.
The U.S. Department of State on Sunday advised U.S. citizens against traveling by cruise ship as cases of coronavirus continue to be diagnosed throughout the world.
“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” the State Department wrote, also warning against long airplane trips and crowded places.
One of California’s largest school districts canceled classes for a week after a family was quarantined for a positive COVID-19 test. The Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento County halted classes starting Monday for its 64,000 students at more than 60 schools.
“After careful consideration and in light of the new information, effective immediately, the district will close its schools, cancel classes and any student-related activities,” the district said in a statement.
In an attempt to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, University of California at Berkeley officials announced Monday that most in-person classes will be suspended through spring break.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in a message to students and staff said the changes will start Tuesday and last through the end of spring break on March 29. Plans after that will be dependent on the latest coronavirus information at that time, Christ wrote.
World stocks tumbled with investors bracing for the economic fallout of the epidemic, with a shocking all-out oil price war adding to anxiety.
Wall Street suffered its worst day since the financial crisis of 2008 as the Dow plummeted more than 2,000 points by Monday’s closing bell, and London’s FTSE 100 plunged to a three-year low after oil prices cratered by 30 percent overnight.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte announced Monday that the containment measures introduced Sunday for the Lombardy region in the country’s north would be applied to the whole nation. More than 9,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Italy so far while Germany and Spain also saw spikes in the number of cases Monday.
The threat of a pandemic is “very real,” but positive signs are emerging in the battle against the coronavirus, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a WHO news conference. Tedros noted that 93% of cases are in only four countries. Of them, China is bringing the outbreak under control and South Korea is seeing fewer cases, Tedros said. Scores of countries have only a handful of cases or none at all, he said.
“Now that the coronavirus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” Tedros said. “But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled. The bottom line is we are not at the mercy of this virus.”