Coronavirus live updates: Port authority head tests positive; number of infected globally rises over 110K

(NEW YORK) — A global outbreak of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 110,000 people, mostly in China.

The newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has since spread to every continent except Antarctica. At least 3,825 people have died so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

South Korea, Italy and Iran have the highest national totals of confirmed cases behind China, respectively. France and Germany have also seen a rising number of infections, with confirmed cases north of 1,000 in both countries.

Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.


12:10 p.m. New York creates its own hand sanitizer to deal with shortage

At a press conference on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state has begun producing its own hand sanitizer after hearing from local governments that they are having a hard time acquiring the product.

Cuomo noted the World Health Organization and CDC suggest 60% alcohol content in hand sanitizer and the “New York State Clean” product will have 75% alcohol.

The governor said Corcraft, which is the brand name of the New York State Division of Correctional Industries, will make the hand sanitizer.

Corcraft “uses the manufacturing of products to assist in the department’s overall mission to prepare offenders for release through skill development, work ethic, respect and responsibility,” according to their website. The product will be produced by state prisoners at the Grand Meadow correctional facility in Washington County.

The state’s current capacity is 100,000 gallons per week. The state will be providing it to governmental agencies, schools, the MTA and prisons.

11:49 a.m. Port Authority head tests positive for COVID-19

Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cotton has been placed in quarantine and his aides are also being tested, Cuomo told reporters Monday.

New York state now has 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest of any state in the country, according to Cuomo.

11:20 a.m. FDA and FTC warn 7 companies selling fraudulent COVID-19 products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission jointly issued warning letters on Monday to seven companies for selling fraudulent products that claim to cure, treat or prevent coronavirus infection.

The products cited in the warning letters are teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver.

“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement. “We understand consumers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and urge them to talk to their health care providers, as well as follow advice from other federal agencies about how to prevent the spread of this illness. We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable.”

The FDA and FTC requested the companies each respond in 48 hours describing the specific steps they have taken to correct the violations.

“There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”

The warning letters are the first to be issued by the FDA for unapproved drugs intended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved for COVID-19.

10:12 a.m. Trading halted as US markets plunge

U.S. financial markets plummeted as trading began on Monday morning — enough to trigger a temporary halt to trading — amid fears over the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak as well as uncertainty over falling oil prices.

Stock trading was halted for 15 minutes just after the S&P 500 dropped more than 7% within the first minutes of trading. The halt was caused by an automatic circuit breaker safety mechanism that kicked in to prevent a free fall.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 1,800 points, or more than 7%, at the opening. The Nasdaq similarly tumbled by more than 6%.

Even after trading resumed following the halt, the Dow was down more than 1,400 points.

Moreover, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to an unprecedented low of 0.408%, a possible signal that investors are expecting a recession.

9:37 a.m. No known cases in US federal prisons, officials say

There are currently no known cases of the novel coronavirus among inmates in U.S. federal prisons, officials say.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson Nancy Ayers said the department is following guidelines for COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization.

“There are no known cases of COVID-19 among Bureau of Prisons inmates at this time,” Ayers said in a statement Monday. “Out of an abundance of caution, the BOP provided guidance to health care professionals throughout the system and has a screening tool in place for use in the event an inmate or staff member is exposed or symptomatic. The BOP has an internal web-based system for reporting infectious diseases and outbreaks, allowing access to health care and correctional professionals system-wide.”

8:12 a.m. Passengers disembark Regal Princess cruise ship in Florida

Passengers began disembarking the Regal Princess early Monday morning after the cruise ship received clearance to dock in Florida’s Port Everglades.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a “no-sail order” for the Regal Princess over the weekend while two crew members were tested for the novel coronavirus. Although neither showed any symptoms, there were concerns that the crew members could be carriers of COVID-19 because they had transferred over from the Grand Princess cruise ship in California, which has 21 confirmed cases.

The test results for the two crew members came back negative Sunday night, according to a statement from Princess Cruises, which operates both the Regal Princess and the Grand Princess.

7:01 a.m. South Korea sees drop in new cases

South Korea recorded just 248 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, a significant drop in the past 24 hours.

So far, 7,382 people in the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest data from South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Korea has the highest national total of confirmed cases of anywhere outside China.

6:25 a.m. China slowly returns to normality as makeshift hospitals close and some schools reopen

China reported only 40 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 22 fatalities as of Sunday, a marked decrease from when the country was recording thousands of new infections just last month.

That brings the cumulative total to 80,735 confirmed cases and 3,119 deaths on the Chinese mainland. An additional 169 confirmed infections and four deaths have been reported in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, according to China’s National Health Commission.

All makeshift hospitals built to treat infected patients with mild symptoms in Wuhan, the epicenter, are expected to wrap up operations and close down Tuesday, according to state-owned China Central Television.

As of Sunday afternoon, 11 of the 14 hospitals have suspended operation with their patients either discharged or transferred to other hospitals.

Meanwhile, some schools have reopened as the country slowly returns to normality after months of battling the epidemic.

5:44 a.m. Costa Fortuna cruise ship granted approval to dock in Singapore

Singapore port authorities told ABC News that they will allow the Costa Fortuna cruise ship to dock on Tuesday.

The vessel has still been turned away from ports in Malaysia and Thailand amid fears over the novel coronavirus outbreak. Italian cruise line Costa Crociere, which operates the ship, has said there were no suspected cases of COVID-19 on board.

5:12 a.m. Elementary school student tests positive in Indiana

An elementary school student in Indiana has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials said.

Test results came back late Sunday night confirming that a student at Hickory Elementary School in Avon, Indiana, had contracted COVID-19. Hickory Elementary School will be closed for two weeks, according to a press release from the school district, Avon Community School Corporation.

“It is our intent to provide our Hickory students with ongoing learning opportunities, which may include e-learning and other experiences,” the school district said.

The school district has also decided to have an e-learning day for all schools in the district on Monday.

3:28 a.m. Grand Princess cruise ship to dock in California

Passengers are expected to begin disembarking the Grand Princess in California’s port of Oakland on Monday.

The cruise ship has been kept offshore for four days days, waiting in limbo as health officials tested dozens on board for the novel coronavirus after it was discovered that the vessel had previously carried two people who contracted COVID-19. At least 21 people on board have tested positive, officials said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the disembarkation process will take place over multiple days and in order of priority. Those who are infected will disembark first and will be transported to local hospitals. Next, California residents will be taken to either the Travis Air Force Base or Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for a 14-day quarantine. Then all other passengers will disembark and go to either Lackland Air Force Base in Texas or Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia for a 14-day quarantine, while foreigners will be repatriated on chartered flights, according to Newsom.

Crew members who aren’t sick will complete their 14-day quarantine on board the ship, which will leave the port as soon as the disembarkation process is complete, Newsom said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it transported seven people from the California Department of Health and Human Services, along with supplies, to the Grand Princess on Sunday evening. The team will determine the medical status of all passengers and crew aboard ahead of the ship’s arrival.

To avoid delays, testing will be conducted when guests arrive at their onward destination, according to Princess Cruises, which operates the ship.

“All of us at Princess Cruises offer our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the federal, state and local authorities who are coordinating, collaborating and activating resources and personnel in support of this response to provide care and attend to the health and well-being of our guests and crew,” the cruise line’s president, Jan Swartz, said in a statement late Sunday night.

The Coast Guard said it also medically evacuated a critically ill passenger and his wife on Sunday morning. The passenger, a man in his early 60s, had a non-coronavirus-related medical emergency and required further treatment.

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