(NEW YORK) — An outbreak of a new virus that emerged in China about two months ago has now infected more than 93,000 people globally and has claimed over 3,000 lives.
Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times are Eastern:
7:08 a.m. New Jersey announces 1st presumptive positive caseNew Jersey has announced its first presumptive positive case of the novel coronavirus. The individual is a man in his 30s who is currently at a hospital in Bergen County. He has been hospitalized since Tuesday, according to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who announced the case Wednesday night. The presumptive positive result came from a sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health and is now being submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. “My Administration is working aggressively to keep residents safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement Wednesday night. “We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks. I urge residents to remain calm and use resources from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to prepare and prevent the spread of infection. Safeguarding the public’s health is one of my highest priorities and my Administration is prepared to respond swiftly to any additional positive cases of COVID-19 here in New Jersey.”
6:34 a.m. Texas confirms 1st coronavirus caseA Texas man who recently traveled abroad has become the state’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. The man, a resident of Fort Bend County, Texas, who is in his 70s, fell ill after returning from his trip. State and local health officials confirmed his diagnosis Wednesday night. The man is currently isolated in a hospital and is in stable condition, according to Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, director of Fort Bend County Health and Human Services.The patient is a travel-related case, which officials said doesn’t indicate spread within the state. Officials didn’t express surprise over the confirmed case, saying it was only a matter of time before the virus came to Texas. “Having a COVID-19 case in Texas is a significant development in this outbreak, but it doesn’t change the fact that the immediate risk to most Texans is low,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement Wednesday night. “This travel-related case reinforces the fact that we should all be taking basic hygiene steps that are extremely effective in limiting limit the spread of COVID-19 and all respiratory illnesses.”
6:20 a.m. Switzerland confirms 1st coronavirus deathA 74-year-old woman has become the first person to die from the novel coronavirus in Switzerland.Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health recorded the death on Thursday. The patient was from Vaud, a mountainous district in the country’s western region.So far, 58 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Switzerland.
5:57 a.m. UAE urges residents not to travel due to coronavirusThe United Arab Emirates advised its nearly 10 million citizens and residents to avoid travel amid a global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.Those who do choose to travel and leave the country will face health screenings at the airport upon their return and then must quarantine themselves at home for at least 14 days “to ensure that they are free of the disease,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Prevention.Anyone found to be infected will be quarantined in isolation wards at health facilities, the ministry said.The United Arab Emirates has a massive foreign workforce, with almost 90 percent of the population not citizens.
5:24 a.m. Facebook closes Seattle office after contractor tests positiveFacebook announced it is closing its Seattle office until Monday after a contractor tested positive for the novel coronavirus.“A contractor based in our Stadium East office has been diagnosed with the COVID-19,” Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison told ABC News on Wednesday night. “We’ve notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize everyone’s health and safety.”The company is also encouraging all employees in Washington state’s largest city to work from home for the rest of the month.
4:04 a.m. Cluster of cases in California linked to cruise shipPublic health officials are investigating a “small cluster” of coronavirus cases in Northern California connected to a cruise ship that sailed round-trip from San Francisco to Mexico last month.Princess Cruises, a cruise line headquartered in Santa Clarita, announced late Wednesday that it had been notified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the cases include guests who were on the previous Grand Princess voyage from Feb. 11 to 21.The Grand Princess is currently at sea, and the cruise line has cancelled the ship’s call to the Mexican port city of Ensenada so that it can sail back to San Francisco early.”While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently on board, the CDC has identified groups of guests and crew who will be tested before arrival into San Francisco,” Princess Cruises said in a statement Wednesday night. “Public health officials have advised that no guests will be permitted to disembark until all results have been received. Out of an abundance of caution, all guests who have been identified for testing have been asked to remain in their staterooms. We will continue to proceed under the guidance of the U.S. CDC and local authorities.”The cruise line has also canceled the upcoming Grand Princess Hawaii cruise set to depart Saturday. All guests will receive a full refund as well as a “future cruise credit” equal to the cost of the fare paid for the canceled voyage, the cruise line said.California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday evening after announcing the state had 53 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including one death. The deceased patient is a resident of Placer County who was on board the Grand Princess last month.Newsom said he delayed the cruise ship’s arrival to give federal officials more time to prepare. The CDC will be flying testing kits to the cruise ship before being turned around in a matter of hours on shore.So far, 11 people in the United States have died from the newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, which emerged in China back in December and has since spread to dozens of other countries.
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