Italian Deaths, Infections Surge; N.Y. Cases Climb: Virus Update

2020-03-07 12:16:57

(Bloomberg) — Italian deaths from the new coronavirus climbed to 233, the most after China, and total infections surged in New York City and its suburbs as the outbreak widened its global reach.

One person was diagnosed in the Vatican, the tiny walled city-state in Rome that is home to Pope Francis. Germany, Spain, Belgium, Iran, Korea and Thailand also confirmed new infections.

A 55-year-old Iranian lawmaker died from the illness, the first fatality among 23 infected members of parliament. In the U.S., Florida reported its first two deaths.

Key Developments:

Cases surpass 104,000 worldwide; deaths exceed 3,500Chinese exports fell 17.2% in the first two months of 2020Hungary scraps main national holiday eventItaly reports 233 virus deaths, 5,883 infectionsMalta reports first caseEgypt confirmed another 33 cases from Nile cruiseKuwait suspends parliament for two weeks

Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.

Italian Cases Top Iran, Deaths Climb (1 p.m. NY)

Italy’s total fatalities from the new coronavirus climbed to 233, with total cases increasing to 5,883, the third-highest in the world after China and South Korea.

Civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli on Saturday said the biggest one-day jump in infections included more than 300 cases from a Lombardy region laboratory in the town of Brescia that had not been counted previously.

Deaths in Italy rank second in the world, behind more than 80,000 in China, where the virus emerged more than two months ago.

N.Y. Cases Rise to 76: Cuomo (12:20 p.m. NY)

New York state reported a 38% jump in new coronavirus infections on Saturday, to 76, with most cases concentrated in the Westchester County suburbs north of New York City.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said 57 infections are reported in Westchester. New York City has 11 total cases, he said. All the cases are in or near New York City, except for two infections in Saratoga County, near the capital in Albany. Cuomo reported 21 new cases.

Cuomo also criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling the federal agency a “bottleneck” slowing down state efforts to find infected individuals.

In answer to a question, the governor advised elderly residents to avoid attending gatherings with large numbers of people.

Hungary’s National Day Rally Canceled (11:10 a.m. NY)

Hungary’s government canceled a rally planned for the March 15 national holiday in central Budapest. Prime Minister Viktor Orban usually speaks to the crowd at the event in front of thousands.

The number of confirmed coronavirus patients in Hungary has increased to five since the first infections were announced on Wednesday.

French Lawmakers Get Tested (10:30 a.m. NY)

A third member of France’s lower house was diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized, the National Assembly said in an emailed statement. The female MP has been hospitalized. Another five legislators and one employee are being tested. French MPs are scheduled to break from March 9 through March 22, a recess unrelated to the outbreak.

Sweden, Portugal Brace for More (8:50 a.m. NY)

Officials from Sweden and Portugal warned that the outbreak will get worse. The epidemic “will have a major impact at the global level,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters in Lisbon following a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart. “In Sweden, we do have plans for a worse scenario than we have today.”

In Portugal, “it’s highly probable that the number of infected people will continue to increase in the next few days,” said Prime Minister Antonio Costa. The government has so far confirmed 13 cases in the country.

Italy Mulls New Measures (7:17 a.m. NY)

Italy is poised to announce sweeping measures including extending quarantine areas to deal with the virus after the death toll surged by about a third. The number of fatalities over the past two weeks has risen to 197, with infections growing by 78 to 4,636, the fourth-highest after China, South Korea and Iran. One case was diagnosed in the Vatican. Nicola Zingaretti, the head of the country’s democratic party, said on Facebook that he had tested positive for the virus.

Barcelona Delays Marathon (6:56 a.m. NY)

Barcelona’s local government has decided to postpone the city’s annual marathon, newspaper El Pais reported. The decision comes about a week after Paris canceled its half marathon one day before the event. The Barcelona race was due to take place on March 15 and has been delayed until Oct. 25.

The marathon is not the first local event affected by the outbreak. Last month, the Mobile World Congress, the wireless industry’s annual showcase, was scrapped in a major blow to the city’s economy. In Catalonia, Barcelona’s region, about a hundred health staff have been isolated due to the risk of infection, the regional health authority said.

Malta Reports First Case (6:00 a.m. NY)

Malta confirmed its first infection in a 12-year-old girl who had visited northern Italy, the Associated Press reported, citing Health Minister Chris Fearne.

The girl was tested on Friday and results came back positive early Saturday. She is being held in an isolated section of Malta’s main public hospital, together with her immediate family.

Philippines Declares State of Emergency (5:37am NY)

President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to declare a state of national public health emergency in the Philippines after a local transmission of coronavirus, CNN Philippines reports, citing Senator Bong Go.

The Philippines health department reported the country’s sixth infection Saturday, a 59-year-old woman who is married to the country’s fifth patient, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said at a press briefing in Manila. The woman is stable; her husband, 62, is in critical condition.

Officials are bracing for an increase in cases as the government repatriates hundreds of citizens from affected areas abroad, including tourists, overseas workers and undocumented migrants.

Vietnam Air Crew Quarantined (4:45am NY)

All air crew and ground staff working on a Vietnam Airlines’ flight from London to Hanoi on March 1 are being quarantined after a passenger tested positive for coronavirus, according to a release from the country’s health minister.

The 26-year-old woman is the country’s 17th confirmed case, the first in Hanoi. City officials are trying to contact about 30 people who traveled in business class with the patient.

Nile Cruise Quarantined (4:00 a.m. NY)

About 150 tourists and local crew were quarantined on a cruise ship on Egypt’s Nile river in the southern city of Luxor after 12 people tested positive for the virus, the Associated Press reported.

A tourist who had been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan, according to the report. The World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who tested everyone currently on the ship.

Iranian Lawmaker Dies (3:52 a.m. NY)

Fatemeh Rahbar, an Iranian lawmaker, died Saturday two days after entering a coma, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. The death toll from the virus increased to 145 as the number of diagnosed cases grew to 5,823, a health ministry spokesman said on state television.

Rahbar was a conservative politician poised to represent the constituency that includes Tehran in the upcoming parliament. She was among the top local candidates in the party, which won February’s general election by a sweeping majority amid the lowest turnout in the republic’s history.

Cases Swell in Germany, Spain (2:00 a.m. NY)

Germany’s confirmed infections rose to 684 from 534 a day earlier, according to the Robert Koch Institute. Spain identified 93 new cases, bringing its total to 441.

Germany wants to ease the rules for implementing short-time work to help companies cope with the economic impact of the virus, Handelsblatt reported, citing unidentified coalition officials. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government plans to reinstate rules that were in effect during the financial crisis until the end of the year. Spain is also considering some measures to help cushion the economic blow, according to El Pais.

Milken Conference Postponed (00:20 a.m. NY)

The Milken Institute Global Conference, originally scheduled for early May in Beverly Hills, California, is being postponed until July. Nicknamed “Davos of the West,” the annual event run by billionaire financier Michael Milken’s think tank brings together some of the world’s most influential people for discussions of global trends in finance, health care, immigration and politics.

The Milken conference joins Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Oaktree Capital Management on the growing list of finance industry gatherings that are rescheduling, moving events online or canceling outright as the spreading coronavirus brings new concerns about travel and big public gatherings.

U.S. Reports New Deaths (9:15 p.m. NY)

Florida health officials confirmed the state’s first two deaths from coronavirus as well the first pair of cases in the Miami metropolitan area. The health agency for Seattle and King County said a man in his 60s died on Thursday, the ninth fatality associated with the outbreak at an area nursing home.

Nebraska and Kentucky reported their first cases. A person in Alameda County, California, who had been on a cruise ship last month tested positive for the virus, as did a Chicago school aide and a Starbucks barista at one of the coffee chain’s downtown Seattle stores.

G-20 Ready to Act (6:40 p.m. NY)

G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors in a statement said they are closely monitoring the evolution of new coronavirus, including its impact on markets and economic conditions.

The officials said they are ready to take further action, including fiscal and monetary steps — as appropriate — to aid in the response, support the economy and maintain the resilience of the financial system.

“We reiterate our commitment to use all available policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, and safeguard against downside risks,” according to the statement.

Princess Cruise Ship Has 21 Cases (6:04 p.m. NY)

At least 19 passengers and two crew members on Carnival Corp.’s Grand Princess, currently off the coast of California, tested positive for the virus, Vice President Mike Pence said.

Forty-six people on the ship have been tested, Pence said at a news conference in Washington. The Grand Princess will be brought to shore and everyone will be tested and quarantined as needed. He said cruise ships “represent a unique challenge for health officials” and advised elderly Americans to carefully consider whether to to take cruises.

–With assistance from Justin Sink, Lizette Chapman, John Follain, Angelina Rascouet, Thomas Gualtieri, Karl Maier, Joao Lima and Marton Eder.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Steve Geimann in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at, Marthe Fourcade, Steve Geimann

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