- Confirmed cases near or pass 1,000 in France, Germany and Spain
- PM Johnsons says UK won’t close parliament
- Spain PM says he will have ’emergency plan’ to tackle outbreak
- VP Pence will hold press conference at 5:30ET Monday
- Amtrak shutters ‘Acela Corrider’
- Korean construction worker contracted by US military tests positive
- Total number of cases in Italy hits 7,375
- ‘Grand Princess’ will soon dock in Oakland
- Trump congratulates VP Pence via tweet
- New cases in South Korea drop as Philippines case total doubles
- EUCO President says conference call will be held to coordinate EU response
- Germany and France finmins hold talks to discuss crisis
- Dutch infections climb to 321
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Update (0915ET): As critics slam President Trump for not focusing on the virus, the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces tweeted another congratulatory message to VP Mike Pence.
Great job being done by the @VP and the CoronaVirus Task Force. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
Trump also insisted that the best decision he made was closing off travel from China early on as epidemiologist slam his administration for not stockpiling enough tests.
The BEST decision made was the toughest of them all – which saved many lives. Our VERY early decision to stop travel to and from certain parts of the world!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
Unfortunately, it would have been better if the CDC had administered more than 2,000 tests as of eod Friday, but those unfortunately aren’t the circumstances on the ground. We look forward to hearing more from the administration tonight – perhaps some encouraging information about when the market can expect test kits to be made available to everyone who needs one – when VP Pence leads a press conference beginning at 5:30 pm ET.
Over in China, officials in Wuhan announced Monday that they would be closing 11 of the 18 makeshift hospitals built during the outbreak.
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Update (0845ET): Following UK PM Boris Johnson’s emergency meeting Monday morning with fellow government officials, the UK leadership has reportedly decided against closing Parliament over the outbreak, though access to visitors will be strictly limited.
NEW: House of Commons Commission met this morning and has decided against closing Parliament over coronavirus fears.
But there’s an expectation that access to Parliament will be restricted to visitors “within the next week.” Sources say they’ll be guided by Cobra meetings.
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) March 9, 2020
Overnight, the number of confirmed cases in Spain nearly doubled, going from 589 on March 8 to 999 on March 9. In response, the government has ordered all schools and universities in the country to close. With acute concentrations of cases in the capital, Madrid, as well as the country’s industrial hub in the Basque country, deaths have climbed to 26 across the country. In Madrid alone, confirmed cases increased by about 200 between Sunday and Monday, BBG reports.
After the number of cases in the Philippines doubled to 20 on Monday, from now on well-wishers will not be allowed to touch Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to protect him from the coronavirus, his security detail said. Duterte is 74, and thus technically a high-risk patient.
In Iran officials have temporarily released 70,000 prisoners in a bid to contain coronavirus in the country.
Iran’s Mizan news agency quoted judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as saying “it is necessary for the temporary release of prisoners to continue… so long as it does not create insecurity in society.”
In the Netherlands, cases have climbed to 321, according to local media reports.
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Update (0830ET): As Boris Johnson holds an emergency meeting with senior government leaders in London, across the Channel, European Council President Charles Michel said Monday that Brussels would be hosting a conference call with all EU leaders.
- PRES. OF EUCO MICHEL: FOLLOWING CONSULTATIONS, I WILL HOLD A EUCO MEMBERS CONFERENCE CALL SHORTLY ON COVID-19 TO COORDINATE EU EFFORTS. WE NEED TO COOPERATE IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF OUR CITIZENS.
Meanwhile, over in India, four new cases of the virus have been confirmed, including a 3-year-old child.
In Spain, which is finally confronting the severity of its outbreak as the number of confirmed cases teeters right at the 1,000-case mark, and the president of neighboring Portugal has gone into quarantine, is preparing to unfurl an “emergency plan” of its own, according to socialist PM Pedro Sanchez.
- SPAIN’S PM SÁNCHEZ: THE GOVT. PREPARES TO LAUNCH AN EMERGENCY PLAN TO DEAL WITH CORONAVIRUS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
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Update (0650ET): As case counts explode across Europe, it looks like Spain – conveniently, Europe’s fourth-largest economy – will be next to cross the 1,000-confirmed-case threshold.
- SPANISH CORONAVIRUS CASES JUMP TO 999: HEALTH MINISTRY
The health ministry has also just reported another 8 deaths, raising the total to 25.
* * *
Update (0620ET): As case totals climb above 1,000 in Europe’s two largest economies – France and Germany – while one-fifth to one-quarter of the Italian economy (Europe’s third-largest) goes offline, the finance ministers of France and Germany have reportedly been commiserating about their shared predicament this morning.
FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER LE MAIRE SAYS SPOKE WITH GERMAN COUNTERPART AT LENGTH ON MONDAY TO COORDINATE RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
“Yep, we’re fucked”
— Hawky (@TheRealHawky) March 9, 2020
And that’s pretty much all that needs to be said about that.
In other news, VP Pence will hold a briefing in the situation room at noon, followed by several other briefings throughout the day, culminating with a public press briefing at 5:30.
* * *
Since we checked in last on Sunday evening, hundreds of new cases have been confirmed in Europe and Asia, but the ambient level of global hysteria has seemingly escalated with the limit-down moves in seemingly every global market that isn’t nailed down.
In the US, 537 cases have been identified since the first cases arrived in Washington State and California back in January, including the dozens of travel-related and ‘community spread’-related cases, along with the ~50 evacuees, according to the Washington Post.
An emblematic sign of the hysteria in the US, Amtrak has suspended its non-stop service between New York and Washington – suspending travel along the so-called “Acela corridor” for power commuters who routinely travel back and forth between NY, Washington, Philly, Boston and all the places in between.
In the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that the US would have 400,000 more test kits available on Monday, and 4 million more by the end of the week. So get ready for an explosion in US cases.
More tech firms and banks are telling all employees who can to work from home until further notice.
In the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to lead an emergency meeting of the government on the virus a day after cases doubled in the UK to 273, while deaths have held steady at 3 since Saturday. On Monday, two new cases have been confirmed in Wales (marking 6 all together), while a healthcare professional at University Hospital Southampton has also tested positive, raising the national total to 276, per the BBC.
Over the weekend, we saw the first signs of optimism out of South Korea, as the mayor of Daegu, the epicenter of the South Korean outbreak, reported a sharp drop in newly confirmed cases, evidence that the outbreak is slowing (since the South Koreans have been matched only by the Hong Kongers and Singaporeans in efficiency of testing), he said. The slowdown in new SK cases gave Italy the opportunity to snatch the crown, becoming the undisputed new global epidemic leader outside China (though the outbreak in Iran is certainly much more severe, however, the regime has chosen to hide the extent of deaths and confirmed cases).
CNN adds that a construction worker contracted by the US military in Korea has tested positive for the coronavirus, making this the eighth USFK-related patient. An hour ago, South Korea confirmed 96 more cases, bringing national total to 7,478, marking a sharp slowdown in new cases.
As the quarantine across the Italian north enters its first business week, the total number of cases in Italy has hit 7,375, with 366 deaths. The situation is getting so bad, that riots are breaking out in Italian prisons, with one leaving 6 dead.
Courtesy of the BBC
As an editorial writer for the Washington Post explains, current estimates suggest that it takes about a week for the number of cases to double, though there’s considerable uncertainty around the exact number. According to this principle, for each death, there are 49 other infections in the community when the patient who died became infected.
That means, one week later, as that patient is seeing symptoms first emerge, that number has doubled to 98. After two weeks, when the patient is seeing his symptoms intensify, the number of community cases is 196. During week three, as the patient is lying on his or her deathbed, the number of community infections will have climbed to 396.
In Iran, the head of the country’s Crisis Management Agency, Esmaeel Najjar, has been confirmed infected with the virus. Najjar was discharged from the hospital and has been self-quarantining at home, according to Iran’s ISNA state-controlled news agency.
Offering a stark contrast to the panic that is engulfing Europe, Iran and the US, in China, Shanghai Disney has started “phased reopening” of some shopping and dining destinations have reopened, though the main park – Shanghai Disneyland – remains closed. Meanwhile, the first case of coronavirus has been confirmed among staff at Disneyland Paris, according to Le Parisien. The patient, who had been off sick since symptoms emerged days ago, is quarantining at home.
Germany and France are each seeing the number of confirmed cases break above 1,000. Germany confirmed another 256 cases on Monday, bringing its national total to 1,112, according to the Robert Kock Institute, Germany disease-control agency. After banning gatherings with more than 1,000 people in attendance as we noted last night, French officials confirmed that the national total had climbed to 1,126, with more than 200 new cases. The death toll in France stands at 19, while the German outbreak, which is still mostly confined to Bavaria, specifically the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, hasn’t recorded any deaths.
Cruise ships attempting to enter Puerto Rico must first certify that there are not coronavirus cases on board, Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced claimed in a tweet on Sunday. This followed a local controversy that erupted after the Costa Luminosa, a cruise ship with a rumored sick passenger aboard, allowed its passengers to disembark in San Juan.
Hemos ordenado que todo crucero que pretenda entrar a Puerto Rico tiene que confirmar que no tiene pasajeros abordo con casos sospechosos y cumple con los criterios de sintomatología e historial de viaje del gobierno federal referentes al COVID-19. @DeptSaludPR pic.twitter.com/vXgoAEqTTY
— Wanda Vázquez Garced (@wandavazquezg) March 9, 2020
The State Department has published a warning on Monday telling Americans not to travel on cruises, saying the US government can’t continue to intervene with passenger ships quarantined at sea.
Finally, officials in China, who confirmed just 30 cases in Hubei late last night, have also confirmed that at least 11 have died following the collapse of a hotel being used as a quarantine that we reported on over the weekend. 80 were inside the building when it came down, while nine escaped, 71 were trapped. Of those, 50 have been pulled from the rubble, and 21 remained unaccounted for on Monday afternoon.
In other new overnight developments, an American in Saudi Arabia has tested positive for the virus, according to the Saudi health ministry. The man had been travelling from the Philippines and Italy before arriving in the kingdom. Three others in al Qateef Province, including two Bahraini citizens, have also been infected. This comes after Saudi Arabia presided over the dissolution of OPEC and a ramped-up rivalry with Russia that has prompted the largest drop in oil prices since the early 90s Gulf War.
Over in Oakland, the ‘Grand Princess’ cruise ship is preparing to dock at the Port of Oakland later in the day on Monday. The ship’s captain and Carnival-owned Princess cruises have said the disembarkation process will be “a multiple day process.”
“Disembarkation will commence in order of priority, as defined and directed by both state and local authorities. It is expected to be a multiple day process,” said the release.
“Once disembarkation of the guests is completed, the crew will remain onboard and Grand Princess will depart from San Francisco bay. Plans for a crew quarantine are still being determined.”
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation in California and New York State, which is also seeing a surge in cases following an outbreak in a Westchester Jewish Community based in New Rochelle.