Cruise Ship Has 21 Cases; Texas Festival Canceled: Virus Update

At least 21 people on a cruise ship off the coast of California tested positive for the new coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence said. Meanwhile, organizers canceled the South by Southwest culture and technology festival in Texas for the first time in three decades.

Washington state health officials sent 15 nursing home patients to the hospital as U.S. officials prepare to visit the facility, which has the most new coronavirus cases and deaths in the state. President Donald Trump signed a $7.8 billion emergency virus spending bill.

U.S. stocks staged a furious rally at the end of Friday that pushed the S&P 500 higher after a tumultuous week dominated by fear the spreading virus will upend global growth. Oil tanked.

Key Developments:

  • Cases surpass 101,000 worldwide; deaths top 3,400
  • Virus strains U.S. health system with supply, test shortage
  • South Korea retaliates over Japan’s quarantine call
  • Air travel poised for worst year on record
  • White House is working on more economic measures
  • N.Y. state cases climb to 44
  • Credit market endures worst day in decade

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.

Princess Cruise Ship Near California Has 21 Cases (7:04 a.m. HK)

Carnival Corp.’s Grand Princess, being held off the coast of California, has at least 19 crew members and two passengers who tested positive for the virus, Vice President Mike Pence said.

Pence said at a news conference in Washington that 46 people had been tested on the ship. 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,” Pence said, adding that elderly Americans should carefully consider whether to take cruises.

Texas’s South by Southwest Festival Canceled (6:30 a.m. HK)

Organizers of South by Southwest canceled the annual celebration of technology, arts and music in Austin, Texas, citing concerns from city officials about the continuing spread of the new coronavirus.

The highly anticipated weeklong gathering, set for March attracts more than 75,000 people to the Texas capital each year and helped transform the once-sleepy town into a mini Silicon Valley.

“It’s really unfortunate to be canceling South by Southwest; it’s a really important event to our city in a lot of ways,” Mayor Steve Adler told reporters Friday. “I’m proud that we’re making decisions that are data-driven and based on the evidence.”

New York Infections Jump to 44 (5:06 p.m. NY)

New York state reported 11 new cases, bringing the total to 44, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter. Eight of the new cases are in Westchester County, while three are in Nassau.

“We want to keep testing and finding more people who are testing positive because that’s how you contain the outbreak — find the person who got infected, quarantine them and reduce the infection rate,” Cuomo said Friday at a news briefing.

Latin America Nations Report First Cases (4:30 p.m. NY)

In Latin America, Colombia, Peru and Costa Rica all reported their first cases of the new coronavirus.

The case in Peru is a 25-year-old man who contracted it on vacation in Europe, RPP reports. In Colombia, a test on a 19-year-old female student from Milan was confirmed Friday, Bogota’s mayor said on Twitter. A 49-year-old American tourist to Costa Rica tested positive, the nation’s health minister said.

Brazil is reporting 13 cases and Chile 5. No deaths have been reported in the region.

Drop in Travel May Cost $50 Billion, UN Says (2:20 p.m. NY)

A drop in global travel this year may cost a loss in business of as much as $50 billion, the United Nations World Tourism Organization said Friday.

Asia and the Pacific will be the hardest hit, with a drop in arrivals of 9% to 12%. The agency said estimating effects in other regions is premature, given the spread of the illness. The agency had predicted 3% to 4% growth this year.

Italy Clarifies Possible Quarantine Plan (2:15 p.m. NY)

Silvio Brusaferro later clarified that Italy is not studying quarantine for the entire Milan region but that health authorities are evaluating some measures for the region and other areas at risk.

Italy Studying Quarantine for Milan Region (1:50 p.m. NY)

Italy is evaluating new measures to contain the coronavirus contagion in Lombardy, the area around Milan, including extending a quarantine to the entire region.

Silvio Brusaferro, head of Italy’s National Institute of Health, said at a press briefing said a larger quarantine is under discussion. Italy, the center of the outbreak in Europe, has 4,636 cases and almost 200 deaths.

Fifteen Nursing Home Patients Sent to Hospital (1:23 p.m. NY)

Health officials in Washington state’s King County have sent 15 patients from a nursing home to the hospital. Conditions at the facility have “significantly improved” and everybody will have been tested shortly, according to a King County health official.

A team of 30 federal officials will arrive on Saturday to help with the situation at the nursing home.

U.S. Tests Fewer Than 2,000 for Virus, Atlantic Reports (12:03 p.m. NY)

Despite a surge in production of kits to test for the new coronavirus, only 1,895 people have been tested in the U.S, The Atlantic reported. About 10% of those tested positive.

States are handling reporting how many tests are being administered and the CDC has stopped publishing the data, complicating efforts to collect complete figures, the magazine says. The information was collected from government websites and interviews. Public health officials can currently administer only thousands of tests a day nationwide, instead of the tens or hundreds of thousands promised by the White House, The Atlantic said.

“The net effect of these choices is that the country’s true capacity for testing has not been made clear to its residents. This level of obfuscation is unexpected in the United States, which has long been a global leader in public-health transparency,” the magazine wrote.

WHO Says Virus Won’t Just Disappear in Warm Months (11:30 a.m. NY)

“It’s a false hope to say it will just disappear in the summer like influenza,” said Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergency programs.

The coronavirus is spreading into more low-income countries, which is concerning because they might not be prepared, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the group’s daily briefing.

Lufthansa Slices Schedule in Half on Hit to Sales (10:35 a.m. NY)

Lufthansa has slashed capacity by up to 50% in the most aggressive move yet by a major European airline to cope with the severe fall-off in travel triggered by the coronavirus.

Gap Closes New York Office After Worker Infected (10:47 a.m. NY)

Preppy apparel retailer Gap Inc. has closed its New York City headquarters after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

The building is located at 55 Thomas St. in Lower Manhattan. The person isn’t in the office and is recovering at home, according to a memo sent to Gap workers at the location.

Trump Adviser Kudlow Says to Avoid Seattle Area (10:45 a.m. NY)

Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Americans should avoid traveling to Seattle, Washington, which has been the hardest hit region in the U.S. with at least 11 people dying of the virus.

Kudlow said the U.S. should consider a targeted approach to providing financial assistance related to the virus.

Pompeo Criticizes China’s Initial Response (8:25 a.m. NY)

“The information that we got at the front end of this thing wasn’t perfect and has led us now to a place where much of the challenge we face today has put us behind the curve,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, according to CNBC.

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Justin Sink, and Lizette Chapman

Source: Read Full Article