Coronavirus live updates: China’s president visits outbreak epicenter for first time

(NEW YORK) — As a virus epidemic appeared to be subsiding in China, where it first emerged nearly three months ago, the outbreak has found a strong foothold in Italy and other countries.

With more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Italy now has the highest national total behind China, which has reported over 80,000 confirmed infections. The Italian government has issued a decree, taking effect Tuesday, that directs all 60 million residents to stay at home and not travel unless required by their work in an effort to contain the newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19.

Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times eastern:

5:46 a.m. Georgia prepares state park for coronavirus isolation

Georgia authorities are preparing a state park for isolating and monitoring people who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday night that state officials have identified Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County as a location for the isolation and monitoring of patients. Once established, authorities will provide security for the location.

“Officials have already delivered and installed seven emergency trailers at the park, and related materials are en route for future use,” Kemp said in a statement. “Officials are utilizing an isolated section of Hard Labor Creek State Park were emergency trailers and operations will be separated from the rest of the property.”

No patients are currently scheduled to be transferred to the site.

At least 755 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and 26 of them have died. Georgia has 17 confirmed infections so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

5:15 a.m. Italian cruise ship docks in Singapore after being turned away in Malaysia, Thailand

A luxury Italian cruise liner that was turned away from ports in Malaysia and Thailand due to coronavirus fears has docked in Singapore.

The Costa Fortuna berthed at the Marina Bay Cruise Center Singapore on Tuesday morning as part of a scheduled call, a spokesperson for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore told ABC News.

Italian cruise line Costa Crociere, which operates the ship, has said there were no suspected cases of COVID-19 on board.

3:20 a.m. China’s president makes first visit to outbreak epicenter

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday visited Wuhan, the city at the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese state media reported that Xi arrived Tuesday morning to inspect the epidemic prevention and control efforts in Hubei province and its capital city, Wuhan, while also expressing regards to frontline workers, patients and residents.

It’s the first time the president has traveled to the outbreak’s epicenter since Wuhan was placed under lockdown on Jan. 23. The bulk of the 80,754 confirmed cases and 3,136 deaths reported on mainland China have been in Wuhan.

China hosts the majority of the world’s cases. But the epidemic there appears to be subsiding as China’s National Health Commission recorded just 19 new cases of confirmed infections on Monday, 17 of them in Wuhan.

Fourteen makeshift hospitals that were built in Wuhan to treat patients with mild symptoms of the virus have now wrapped up operations and closed down, after discharging their last patients, according to Chinese state media.

Meanwhile, the outbreak is expanding abroad, particularly in Italy and other European countries. Globally, more than 114,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 4,000 of them have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. The newly identified virus has spread to every continent except Antartica.

“Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing Monday. “The great advantage we have is the decisions we all make as governments, businesses, communities, families and individuals can influence the trajectory of this epidemic.”

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