In the US, Donald Trump used a freewheeling press conference on Friday, intended to provide updates on the coronavirus, as an opportunity to attack Democrats, praise his own intelligence, lash out at CNN and spread false and misleading information about the status of the outbreak.
Amazon is working to identify and prosecute coronavirus price gougers
Amazon.com Inc said on Friday it is working with state attorneys general to identify and prosecute third-party sellers who are taking advantage of fears of the spreading coronavirus to engage in price-gouging on the Amazon website.
In a letter to U.S. Senator Edward Markey, the company said it has removed more than 530,000 product offers over price-gouging concerns as well as “millions” of products that make unsupported claims about their ability to fight coronavirus.
Markey wrote Amazon earlier this week asking the company to stop third-party sellers from ramping up prices for items like Purell hand sanitizers as people seek to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Markey said he wrote the letter after finding that a pack of 24 2-ounce bottles of Purell, which should cost $10, was selling for $400 on the company’s website.
The number of cases in Japan grew to 1,112 on Friday, with 55 new infections reported from Yamaguchi prefecture in the southwest to Hokkaido in the north, according to the national broadcaster NHK.
Thirteen of the new cases were people who visited a live music venue in Osaka or their family members, NHK said.
The spread of the disease has raised doubts about whether Tokyo will be able to host the Olympics this summer, but the government has insisted the Games will go ahead as scheduled.
The number of new cases of the virus fell to 505 in South Korea on Friday, from 760 the previous day, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said authorities had almost finished tests on more than 200,000 followers of a church in southeastern Daegu at the centre of the outbreak.
The number of South Korean visitors to Japan fell nearly 26% last year to 5.6 million, the first drop since Japan’s tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011, Japanese tourism officials say.
South Korea suspends visas and visa waivers for Japan
South Korea said on Friday it would suspend visas and visa waivers for Japan in response to Tokyo’s own travel restrictions on Koreans, as fears over the spreading coronavirus rekindled a feud between the neighbours dating back to before World War Two.
South Korea’s curbs, which take effect on Monday, also include special entry procedures for non-Japanese foreigners arriving from Japan, Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young told a briefing.
At present, Japanese can visit South Korea for 90 days without a visa.
Seoul had earlier summoned the Japanese envoy to protest against Japan’s decision to quarantine South Korean visitors for two weeks.
Japan is among almost 100 countries to impose curbs on travellers from South Korea, which has suffered 44 deaths and 6,593 infections in the biggest outbreak outside China, where the virus emerged late last year.
In case you missed this story, Victorian health authorities are trying to contact about 70 patients of a Melbourne doctor who has developed coronavirus after returning from the US.
The doctor is the state’s 11th case of the novel coronavirus and the state health minister, Jenny Mikakos, says he attended work and treated patients after her was symptomatic.
“I have to say I am flabbergasted that a doctor that has flulike symptoms has presented to work,” Mikakos said.
The doctor returned from the US on 29 February and saw approximately 70 patients last week between Monday 2 March and Friday 6 March at the Toorak Clinic on Malvern Road. The clinic has been since closed.
Patients have been contacted by text message, phone or email and two patients the doctor treated in a Malvern nursing home have been isolated.
All patients the doctor saw and all clinic staff have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The clinic’s other patients have been asked to monitor their symptoms.
Passengers on the flight with the doctor would be contacted, Mikakos said.
21 people test positive on the cruise ship quarantined off California coast.
Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday, as half a dozen states reported their first cases of the fast-spreading respiratory disease.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is running the White House’s response to the outbreak, said at a news conference that 19 crew members and two passengers out of 46 people tested so far on the Grand Princess ship had the virus.
He said the vessel with about 3,400 passengers and crew would be taken to a non-commercial port where everyone on board would be tested.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would rather have passengers remain on board the vessel, but that he would let others make the decision whether to let the passengers disembark.
“I’d rather have them stay on, personally, but I fully understand if they want to take them off,” Trump told reporters after touring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Welcome to today’s coronavirus liveblog. As infections continue to spread around the world, authorities are racing to trace the contacts of confirmed cases.
Here’s a summary of the latest events:
- The number of cases worldwide has passed 100,000, as the World Health Organization called on countries to make “containment their highest priority”.
- Iran reported a sharp rise in cases and threatened to use force to stop people travelling between cities.
- Donald Trump signed a $8.3bn emergency spending bill to deal with the virus, despite insisting that it “will go away”.
- In Victoria, Australia a doctor has been confirmed as the eleventh case of the virus for the state. He treated 70 patients despite displaying flu-like symptoms shortly after travelling from America.
- New Zealand has confirmed its fifth case, a 40-year-old woman who contracted the virus from her husband, who was the country’s third case
- The UK confirmed its second fatality after tests performed on a man who died on Thursday came back positive. Medical staff and patients at the hospital where he died were placed in isolation amid family fears he was not isolated quickly enough.
- The first case in Central America was confirmed. Costa Rica said a 49-year-old woman from the United States had been infected with the virus.
- South by South West was cancelled. The annual technology and culture festival said its March events would not go ahead amid fears it could help to spread the virus in Austin, in Texas.
- A Scottish international rugby players tested positive. Scotland women’s Six Nations rugby match against France was postponed after it was confirmed a Scottish player was a sufferer.