(NEW YORK) — There are at least 3,244 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States and at least 61 coronavirus-related deaths in the country as of Sunday.
COVID-19 has reached 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. More restaurants and schools are closing across the nation to try to stop the spread.
Globally, there are more than 162,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,800 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and ABC News reporting.
Here’s how the news is unfolding Monday. All times Eastern:
5:30 a.m. Jack Ma says first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai
Jack Ma tweeted that a huge shipment of masks and coronavirus testing kits is now en route to the United States from Shanghai.
The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/LTn26gvlOl
— Jack Ma (@JackMa) March 16, 2020
The shipment is said to contain 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million masks. Ma has urged international cooperation to fight the health crisis.
5:13 a.m. Russia closes borders with Belarus
Russia has announced it is closing its border with Belarus, one of its major entry points to Europe, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Goods will still be allowed to cross the border, but the passage of people will no longer be permitted.
Substantial restrictions of flights to Europe from Russia also begin today. All flights to European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland are to be halted, except for those leaving from a single terminal at one of Moscow’s airports and flying to the countries’ capitals. Currently only two of Russia’s borders have no restrictions linked to the virus — Finland and Azerbaijan.
It comes as Russia steps up its measures in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
4:36 a.m. Roche Diagnostics has received emergency approval for a new coronavirus test it developed
The company received emergency approval late Thursday night from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to send half a million tests to labs across the country from its North America headquarters in Indianapolis.
“For us, it’s been all about how do we make sure the patients who need to test, get the test at the time they need it,” Randy Pritchard, senior vice president of marketing for Roche, said.
In six weeks, the company was able to develop the test when it normally takes about 18 months to identify a virus and submit something to the FDA, Pritchard said.
With the new test, you can have results as fast as three days as opposed to days with some current tests.
3:53 a.m. Australian TV journalist who met with Rita Wilson has virus
An Australian television journalist said Monday he has the new coronavirus and assumes he contracted it while meeting with actress-singer Rita Wilson in Sydney.
Nine Network entertainment editor Richard Wilkins, 65, said he was tested because he met Wilson at the Sydney Opera House on March 7 and again at Nine’s Sydney studio on March 9. The result came back positive on Sunday.
“I’m surprisingly very well,” Wilkins told Nine by Facetime from his Sydney home, where he has self-isolated since Wilson’s diagnosis.
“You could’ve knocked me over with a feather last night when I got that call. It took me a couple of minutes to reel from the news that they gave me. But I feel fine. I feel 100%,” Wilkins added. “We’re assuming this is from Rita. It may not be. They’ve all said it could be anyone, anywhere, any time, such is the prevalence of this thing.”
Wilson and her husband Tom Hanks have been isolated in an Australian hospital since they were both diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 12.
3:20 a.m. Santa Monica closes pier due to public safety concerns
Santa Monica has issued an executive order to temporarily close the Santa Monica Pier to the public as part of its local emergency proclamation beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, according to a statement from Santa Monica officials.
“We welcome thousands of guests to our Pier each and every day, so we take this step out of the deepest desire to keep people at home and healthy,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “We love our Pier and the joy it brings to everyone that visits, but in this moment, we must take aggressive actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The City team is closely monitoring CDC, State, and County Health Department guidance to determine when and/or how the Pier can be reopened to the public.
“We are in full support of this temporary closure to the public amid this health crisis. Though this will heavily impact the Pier businesses, in this historic moment it is the right thing to do,” said Negin Singh, executive director of the Santa Monica Pier Corporation. “We know that once we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, our Pier will play an important role in serving the public with our great food, attractions, performers and free, world-class events. We all look forward to welcoming you back.”
12:21 a.m. Washington to shut down bars, eliminate in-person dining
Washington state is following the national trend shuttering entertainment venues and recreational facilities, and limiting restaurants to delivery and take-out.
Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement Sunday night local time announcing that he will sign the statewide proclamation on Monday.
The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies, although other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy, the statement said.
“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease,” Inslee said.
Washington’s King Country, which includes the county seat of Seattle, has been one of the centers of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
12:11 a.m. Los Angeles closing bars, clubs and gyms
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city will be closing bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues and gyms until at least March 31.
Restaurants will remain open only for takeout and delivery.
The order extends to libraries, recreation centers and zoos.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and food banks will remain open, the mayor said. In addition, the announcement included a moratorium on evictions for renters.
The executive order, which came an hour after New York City made a similar announcement, puts the United States’ two largest cities under unprecedented restrictions during a national health crisis.
The Los Angeles closures go into effect Sunday at midnight local time.
“This will be a tough time, but it is not forever. Angelenos have always risen to meet difficult moments, and we will get through this together,” Garcetti said in a statement.
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