US Vice President Mike Pence announced on Friday that 21 people have tested positive of coronavirus on board the cruise ship, Grand Princess, stranded off the coast of California, as the outbreak continues to spread, infecting more than 100,000 people globally.

Pence said the crew members of the ship were likely exposed during two previous trips, adding that he expects that the estimated 1,150 crew members will be quarantined on board the ship.

US President Donald Trump also said in a separate statement that he would rather thousands of passengers of the cruise ship also remain on board the vessel. According the company the ship can hold up to 2,600 passengers.

At least 15 deaths have been reported in across the US due to the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported at least 164 confirmed cases, while news reports say cases have surged close to 300.

Meanwhile, two federal health screeners at the Los Angeles International Airport have also tested positive of coronavirus, according to Reuters citing an internal email.

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Around the world, more than 100,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University – with at least 3,070 deaths in China and at least 267 fatalities in other parts of the globe, most of them in Italy and Iran.

At least 1,234 of the new infections are in Iran in just the past 24 hours, the country’s biggest jump since the outbreak began. Iran’s health ministry on Friday noted that 124 people have died.

In France, 200 new cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, were confirmed overnight, while India and South Korea also reported an increase in the number of infections.

Here are all the latest updates.

Grand Princess

According to the Princess Cruise Line, the Grand Princess vessel, which is stranded off the coast of California, can hold up to 2,600 passengers and 1,150 crew members [California National Guard via AP]

Saturday, March 7

02:25 GMT Saturday – South Korea confirms 483 new coronavirus cases, total to 6,767

South Korea on Saturday reported 483 additional coronavirus cases from late Friday, taking the national tally to 6,767, the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The death toll remained unchanged at 44 from late Friday, the KCDC added.

Most of the cases of infections were traced from a religious sect in Daegu, a city of 2.5 million people.

01:38 GMT Saturday – 2 US health screeners at LAX positive for coronavirus

Two federal health screeners at Los Angeles International Airport have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email sent to their colleagues late on Friday, according to a Reuters report on Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employees were conducting secondary screenings of passengers arriving from overseas, including from China, and have been directed to self-quarantine until March 17, the email said.

“At this time, we cannot confirm where these two screeners were exposed,” said the email, which was sent by a senior CDC official.

“Let us keep our colleagues in our thoughts during this period.”

00:56 GMT Saturday – AIPAC lobby group says 2 attendees of conference tested positive of coronavirus

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbying group, also known as AIPAC, reported late on Friday that two attendees of its recent conference in Washington DC have tested positive of the coronavirus.

The group hosted earlier this week a conference, which was attended by Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

00:22 GMT Saturday – China reports 28 new deaths, 99 new confirmed cases

China’s National Health Commission reported on Saturday at least 28 new coronavirus deaths as of the end of Friday, bringing to 3,070 the death toll nationwide.

The government also reported 99 new confirmed cases on March 6, down from 143 the previous day, with the total of 80,651 cases nationwide. Most of the new cases and deaths were from Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak in China.

Meanwhile on Friday, China’s health agency reported that at least 53,726 have recovered and were discharged from the hospital.

China - coronavirus

Chinese authorities said that more than 53,000 have recovered from coronavirus and were discharged from hospitals nationwide [Stringer/AFP]

23:17 GMT Friday – G20 pledges monetary actions in coronavirus response

G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on Friday pledged to take “appropriate” fiscal and monetary measures in responding to the coronavirus outbreak and to protect economic growth against shocks, according to Reuters news agency.

In a joint statement issued by G20 chair Saudi Arabia, the ministers, who met in Riyadh last month, said they welcomed measures and plans already put forward by countries to support economic activity.

“We are ready to take further actions, including fiscal and monetary measures, as appropriate, to aid in the response to the virus, support the economy during this phase and maintain the resilience of the financial system,” the group said.

22:13 GMT Friday – Second coronavirus death confirmed in England

A second patient in England who tested positive for coronavirus has died, the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty confirmed. The patient was being treated at Milton Keynes University Hospital and had underlying health conditions.

22:05 GMT Friday – South by Southwest cancelled

The city of Austin in the US has cancelled the March dates for SXSW, or South by Southwest, and SXSW EDU.

“We are devastated to share this news with you. ‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation,” organisers said. 

The event, held in Texas, is one of the world’s biggest international music festivals and showcases talent from dozens of countries, styles and traditions.

In 2019, more than 400,000 people attended the festival.

Click here to read all the updates from March 6.





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