More than 120,000 people worldwide are infected with coronavirus and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the outbreak in the US as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.
Live updates for Thursday, March 12 continue below:
Gov. Whitmer closes all Michigan schools amid COVID-19 scare
Update 11:30 p.m. EDT March 12: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday that, effective Monday, all of Michigan’s public and private schools will be closed until April 6 as efforts continue to combat the spread of the coronavirus that’s now a worldwide pandemic.
The announcement made during a late-night news conference came as officials said 10 more COVID-19 cases had been reported in Michigan, raising the state’s tally to 12. Prior to Whitmer’s announcement, some K-12 schools had begun announcing weekslong closures and others began training staff to potentially move to online learning only.
Officials said all the new COVID-19 cases are are adults — three in Kent County; two in Oakland County; two from Washtenaw County; and one each from Ingham, St. Clair and Montcalm counties.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife tests positive for coronavirus
Update 10 p.m. EDT March 12: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Trudeau has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Alaska announces first case of coronavirus
Update 9:50 p.m. EDT March 12: A man has tested positive for the new coronavirus in Alaska, the first such known case in the state, officials said.
The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, described the man as a foreign national. She said officials were still gathering details on the case but she said they believed it was an isolated case.
Officials have been preparing for a case and urging Alaskans to take steps intended to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as avoiding large gatherings or crowded places. Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday declared a public health disaster emergency in response to the virus, which he likened to a “slow-moving storm coming our way.” He said the declaration would allow the administration to act more quickly with procurement and in other areas.
Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris and Disney Cruise Line closing this weekend
Update 8:30 p.m. EDT March 12: Walt Disney World in Florida will be closing Sunday through the end of the month, a spokesperson said.
Disney released the following statement:
"In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month.
"Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month.
"The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.
"The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open.
"Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences and Products.
“We will continue to stay in close contact with appropriate officials and health experts.”
Billie Eilish postpones North American tour
Update 7:01 p.m. EDT March 12: Singer Billie Eilish postponed the North American dates for her “Where Do We Go” tour on Thursday.
The tour started Friday with a performance in Philadelphia.
“Details on postponed dates to be announced soon,” the singer said on social media. “All tickets will be honored for the new dates.”
Universal Studios in California closing for two weeks
Update 6:45 p.m. EDT March 12: Universal Studios is closing its parks and resorts in California for two weeks, officials said Thursday.
Universal Studios Hollywood will close March 14 and reopen March 28. Universal CityWalk Hollywood will remain open.
Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Singapore are still open. Employees at those parks are “applying stringent guidelines for cleaning all areas” and are “reinforcing best-practice health and hygiene procedures,” officials said in a release.
Universal Studios Japan has been closed. It will remain closed until March 22.
Smithsonian closing museums, National Zoo
Update 6:30 p.m. EDT March 12: The Smithsonian museums as well as the National Zoo are closing starting Saturday amid the spread of the coronavirus.
“Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a re-opening date at this time and will provide updates on a week-to-week basis on our websites,” museum officials said in a statement.
Disneyland closing California parks
Update 4:30 p.m. EDT March 12: Disneyland is closing its California parks through the end of March, park officials said Thursday.
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will close Friday morning through the end of the month. Disneyland Resort hotels will stay open until Monday for guests to make travel arrangements.
Downtown Disney will remain open.
There have not been any reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, officials said.
March Madness canceled by NCAA over coronavirus
Update 4:25 p.m. EDT March 12: The NCAA is cancelling the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments amid concerns of the coronavirus.
Remaining winter and spring championships are also canceled.
This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement.
Ohio governor close schools for 3 weeks
Update 3:45 p.m. EDT March 12: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday announced an extended 3-week spring break for students in the state as officials work to stymie the spread of COVID-19.
The break will begin Monday, according to WHIO-TV.
“This is a crisis and we have to get the job done,” DeWine said of confronting the coronavirus threat, according to WHIO-TV.
White House: Trump doesn’t plan to take COVID-19 test despite possible exposure
Update 3:20 p.m. EDT March 12: The White House says U.S. President Trump has no plans to be tested for the new coronavirus or go into self-quarantine after attending events last weekend with a senior Brazilian official who tested positive.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications director tested positive just days after traveling with Bolsonaro to a meeting with Trump and senior aides in Florida.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday that “exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps.”
Grisham says Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time.”
MLB delays opening game, cancels spring training games
Update 3:15 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials with Major League Baseball announced the suspension Thursday of spring training games and an at least two-week delay to the opening of the 2020 regular season due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The decision was made after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association and after a call with 30 clubs, according to officials.
“As of 4 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona, have been postponed indefinitely," officials said in a statement released Thursday.
League officials said they were working on several contingency plans for the 2020 regular season schedule depending on the outcome of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Performances on Broadway suspended due to COVID-19
Update 3 p.m. EDT March 12: Performances on Broadway have been suspended until the week of April 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to The Broadway League, a trade association for the Broadway community.
The announcement came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on gatherings of 500 people or more statewide, effective Friday at 5 p.m. EDT.
“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatregoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day," Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said Thursday in a statement.
The Broadway League recommended that anyone who has tickets for any of the canceled shows contact the places where they purchased them for a refund.
Supreme Court to be closed to the public
Update 2:55 p.m. EDT March 12: In a note sent by the Supreme Court’s public information officer and obtained by CNN, officials said the Supreme Court building would be closed to the public beginning at 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday.
The building will remain open for official business, CNN reported.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell confirms coronavirus
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT March 12: The Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell thanked people for their concern Thursday and confirmed he had tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help,” Mitchelle said in a post on Instagram.
"We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.
On Wednesday, officials with the NBA suspended the league’s season until further notice after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
MLB likely to cancel spring training, AP reports
Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 12: Major League Baseball is likely to cancel the rest of its spring training game schedule due to the coronavirus, according to The Associated Press. The MLB probably will also announce that the start of the season will be delayed, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no decision had been announced. They said Commissioner Rob Manfred planned a conference call with his executive council Thursday to discuss the situation and then a call with team owners.
MLB had continued to play into Thursday, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he strongly recommended to local authorities and organizers that they limit all mass gatherings.
The major league season had been scheduled to start March 26, its earliest opening other than for international games.
Coronavirus death toll tops 1,000 in Italy
Update 2:25 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials in Italy said the death toll associated with COVID-19 rose to 1,016 on Thursday.
Italy has the second most coronavirus cases in the world behind China. As of Thursday, 15,113 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In China, officials reported 80, 981 cases, according to the World Health Organization.
More than half of those who are in intensive care in Italy are located in hard-hit Lombardy province, which on Thursday reported 605 ICU patients in a region with only 610 ICU beds.
Hospitals in Lombardy are are overflowing with the dead. Lombardy’s top health care official, Giulio Gallera, said at the request of the hospitals, the region had simplified the bureaucracy needed to process death certificates and bury the dead.
US health system ‘failing’ with lack of COVID-19 tests
Update 2:15 p.m. EDT March 12: A top U.S. health official told Congress on Thursday that the United States has been unable to provide coronavirus tests to all Americans who want them.
“That is a failing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on coronavirus preparedness. “It’s a failing, let’s admit it.”
His comments contradicted statements made by President Donald Trump, who said Friday during a visit to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that, “Anybody that needs a test gets a test.”
NASCAR to race without fans in Atlanta, Miami
Update 1:45 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials with NASCAR announced Thursday that races scheduled over the weekend in Georgia and Florida will go on without fans due to the coronavirus threat, according to WSB-TV and NBC Sports.
“At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance," NASCAR officials said in a statement released to NBC Sports. "These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events.”
NHL pauses 2019-2020 season due to coronavirus
Update 1:40 p.m. EDT March 12: Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, announced a pause Thursday of the league’s 2019-2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.
“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures,” Bettman said Thursday in a statement.
“However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus -- and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some members of the NHL community would test positive at some point -- it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”
Earlier Thursday, NHL officials had urged leagues to skip morning skates, practices and team meetings amid the ongoing threat of coronavirus.
Sen. Rick Scott self-quarantining after possible coronavirus exposure
Update 1:20 p.m. EDT March 12: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is self-quarantining after he made contact with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, who has since been diagnosed with COVID-19.
In a statement obtained by Politico, Scott said he did not remember having direct contact with the man, but he noted they were in the same room Monday.
“After consulting with the Senate’s attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don’t need to take a test or quarantine,” Scott said. “However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution.”
Scott noted he had no symptoms of coronavirus as of Thursday.
More than 1,200 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., according to the latest numbers available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Europe the new epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak, officials say
Update 1:05 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials on both sides of the Atlantic say Europe is the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
CDC Director Robert Redfield told U.S. lawmakers in House hearing that “within the world now, over 70% of new cases are linked to Europe. ... Europe is the new China.”
The head of the Danish Health Authority, Soeren Brostroem, said Thursday that “ the epidemic has gotten a new epicenter, and that is Europe.”
He told reporters that “if one looks at day-by-day developments, Europe has the greatest growth now. And it is not just Italy, but also a number of other countries in Europe that have had a worrying development.”
The European Center for Disease says the continent has more than 22,000 cases of the new coronavirus and 943 deaths.
Maine officials report 1st presumptive COVID-19 case
Update 1 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials in Maine announced the state’s first presumptive positive test for the 2019 novel coronavirus at a news conference Thursday, according to Maine Public Radio.
Gov. Janet Mills identified the patient as an Androscoggin County woman in her 50s, Maine Public Radio reported. Authorities were working Thursday to determine her movements prior to her diagnosis.
1st coronavirus death reported in Georgia
Update 12:45 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials in Georgia on Thursday reported the state’s first death due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, WSB-TV reported.
The patient who died was identified as a 67-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 7. The governor’s office said the patient also had underlying medical conditions, according to WSB-TV.
“Marty, the girls, and I are praying for the family and loved ones of this individual during this incredibly difficult time,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement.
As of Thursday, 12 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state. Another 19 presumed cases have been identified, Georgia health officials said.
DNC moves planned debate to Washington DC due to COVID-19 fears
Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 12: The Democratic National Committee has moved Sunday’s scheduled Democratic presidential debate to CNN’s studio in Washington D.C. amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the DNC, said Thursday in a statement.
Hinojosa said Univision anchor and debate moderator Jorge Ramos was found to have been in direct contact with a person who was later diagnosed with the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“Both Mr. Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom free,” Hinojosa said. “Despite being cleared by medical professionals and out of an abundance of caution, Jorge has decided to step aside from participating in the upcoming March 15 Democratic debate.”
Hinojosa said Univision News anchor Ilia Calderon will take his place at the debate.
PGA Tour to continue without fans
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 12: Officials with the PGA Tour announced Thursday that all Tour events will be closed to fans beginning Friday until at least March 30, according to WJAX-TV.
College conferences cancel basketball tournaments due to coronavirus
Update 12:25 p.m. EDT March 12: Multiple, ongoing college conferences have announced the cancellation of their remaining games due to the health threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.
According to ESPN, the cancelled tournaments are: the SEC Conference, The American Athletic Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference the Pac-12 Conference.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolating after wife shows ‘flu-like symptoms’
Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 12: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has begun self-isolating himself after his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, began to experience “mild flu-like symptoms” following her return from a trip to the United Kingdom, according to the prime minister’s office.
In a statement, officials said Sophie Gregoire Trudeau was awaiting the results of a coronavirus test and self-isolating as well.
The prime minister has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.
Brazilian official tests positive for coronavirus after visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago
Update 11:55 a.m. EDT March 12: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications secretary tested positive for coronavirus just days after he accompanied Bolsonaro on a trip to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, according to multiple reports.
The wife of Brazilian Communications Secretary Fabio Wajngarten confirmed her husband’s diagnosis in a post on WhatsApp, The Guardian reported, citing Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
“My husband returned from the trip to Miami yesterday and did the Covid exam which was positive,” Sophie Wajngarten wrote, according to The Guardian.
Wajngarten had posted a photo of himself Saturday standing with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Utah Jazz confirms second player’s COVID-19 diagnosis
Update 11:25 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials with the Utah Jazz confirmed in a statement obtained Thursday morning by CNN that a second player has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
The player was not named. Earlier, unidentified sources told ESPN Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19.
“As a follow-up to yesterday’s positive COVID-19 test, Oklahoma health officials tested all members of the Utah Jazz traveling party, confirming one additional positive outcome for a Jazz player,” team officials said in a statement. “We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials, and the NBA to monitor their health and determine the best path moving forward.”
On Wednesday, officials with the NBA suspended the league’s season until further notice after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
MLS to suspend season amid coronavirus concerns
Update 11:05 a.m. EDT March 12: An unidentified source with knowledge of the situation told Sports Illustrated that Major League Soccer plans to cancel its season until further notice.
Another Utah Jazz player tests positive for COVID-19
Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 12: Unidentified sources with the NBA told ESPN a second Utah Jazz player has tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
The sports news network reported Donovan Mitchell tested positive for coronavirus Thursday.
ATP announces 6-week suspension of men’s tennis tour
Update 10:45 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials with the Association of Tennis Professionals announced the suspension Thursday of the group’s men’s professional tennis tour due to concerns over coronavirus.
In a statement released Thursday, officials said the suspension meant all ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events through the week of April 20 would not take place. Among the events affected were the Miami Open, the Fayez Sarofim & Co U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, among others.
“The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today’s circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities,” ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said Thursday.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.”
Florida’s Miami-Dade County suspends mass gatherings
Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials in Miami-Dade County announced the suspension of several events Thursday due to the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“Although we do not have community spread at this time, we want to take the preemptive steps to keep it that way,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement.
“Therefore, I have decided to suspend the operation of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, the Miami Open tennis tournament, the MIA 5K run, and all major events at the American Airlines Arena. The March 22 NASCAR race at the Homestead Miami Speedway is postponed at this time. NASCAR officials will decide whether or not to hold the race without fans.”
Gimenez added that he will make a decision on whether to bar gatherings of more than 250 people “based on federal and state health officials’ guidance.” He recommended that “smaller gatherings, if they’re not essential, also be reconsidered.”
NHL tells teams to skip practices, morning skates, team meetings
Update 10:20 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials with the National Hockey League advised teams to skip morning skates, practices and team meetings amid the ongoing threat of coronavirus.
In a statement posted on social media, league officials said the decision was made “given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus.”
US Capitol Complex temporarily closed to visitors
Update 10 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials announced Thursday that the U.S. Capitol Complex will be closed to visitors between Thursday and April 1 as a precaution amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement obtained by CSPAN, officials said the decision was made based on guidance from the medical community.
“We are taking this temporary action out of concern for the health and safety of congressional employees as well as the public,” House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger said in the statement.
US stock trading resumes
Update 9:50 a.m. EDT March 12: Trading has resumed on the New York Stock Exchange after flailing numbers triggered a temporary trading halt known as a circuit breaker Thursday morning.
Plunging US stocks trigger trading halt
Update 9:40 a.m. EDT March 12: Falling U.S. stocks triggered a pause of trading Thursday morning as investors worried over the economic impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Bloomberg reported U.S. equities plunged by 7%, triggering the New York Stock Exchange’s circuit breaker which halts trading for 15 minutes to try to prevent a larger fall. Futures fell by 7% and were also halted, the news site reported.
Princess Cruises announces temporary pause of global ship operations
Update 8:55 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials with Princess Cruises announced a voluntary temporary pause Thursday of the company’s global ship operations amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The change will affect the company’s 18 cruise ships and voyages scheduled to leave between March 12 and May 10.
“It is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents,” Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said in a statement Thursday.
“By taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world.”
The announcement came about a month after one of the cruise liner’s ships, the Diamond Princess, was quarantined off the coast of Japan due to coronavirus threats. Of the 3,700 people on board the ship, more than 700 became infected with COVID-19 and several people died, CNBC reported.
Iran: More than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in 24 hours
Update 8:40 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials in Iran on Thursday reported 1,075 new cases coronavirus in a 24-hour period, bringing the total number confirmed in the country to 10,075, according to The Washington Post.
Speaking on state television, Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said 75 people died of COVID-19 in the same 24-hour period, the Post reported. The numbers bring the coronavirus death toll to 429 in Iran, the third-highest in the world behind China and Italy.
Worldwide coronavirus death toll tops 4,600
Update 5:48 a.m. EDT March 12: As the novel coronavirus continues its global spread, the World Health Organization confirmed early Thursday that more than 124,500 infections have been diagnosed worldwide.
China remains the most directly impacted nation with 80,793 confirmed cases, but the reporting of new cases slowed considerably on Thursday with only 15 new cases announced, the Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, Italy has recorded more than 12,000 cases, and Iran has confirmed around 9,000 cases.
According to the latest WHO figures, 4,607 deaths have been attributed to the novel coronavirus globally, with 3,169 of the fatalities occurring in China.
Wyoming becomes 44th state to confirm coronavirus infection
Update 5:40 a.m. EDT March 12: The Wyoming Department of Health has confirmed the state’s first novel coronavirus case.
According to a departmental news release, “Lab testing at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory has identified the first known case of a state resident with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
The patient has been identified only as a woman from Sheridan County who has recently traveled domestically.
Greece, Austria reports 1st coronavirus deaths; Australia, India see uptick in cases
Update 5:38 a.m. EDT March 12: The Greek Health Ministry confirmed Thursday that a 66-year-old man has become the nation’s first novel coronavirus related fatality out of 99 confirmed infections.
Hours later, Austria announced its first coronavirus death, a 69-year-old man who had traveled recently to Italy. There are currently 302 confirmed infections in the country.
Meanwhile, Australia has confirmed a total of 140 cases and unveiled an $11.4 billion economic stimulus, slated to include wage subsidies and cash payments for small businesses to help offset economic hardships created by the global pandemic.
Elsewhere, eight additional cases have been diagnosed in India, bringing the nationwide total to 68 infections.
California, Maryland confirm more coronavirus cases
Update 5:25 a.m. EDT March 12: Officials in California have confirmed two additional novel coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 138, resulting in four deaths.
Meanwhile, Maryland has confirmed three additional cases, bringing its total to 12.
Viking Cruises suspending cruising operations until May
Update 5:22 a.m. EDT March 12: In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Viking Cruises announced Thursday it is suspending cruise operations until May, CNN reported.
"We have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from March 12 to April 30, 2020 – at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve," the company said in a statement, adding, "This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known."
Viking customers who already booked cruises during that period will also be offered a voucher for a future cruise worth 125 percent of the original cruise price or a total refund for the amount paid.
California, Oregon ban gatherings of more than 250
Update 5:17 a.m. EDT March 12: California and Oregon are the latest states to adopt social distancing measures as a means of containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.
Officials with both states confirmed early Thursday that gatherings of more than 250 people have been temporarily banned. Washington state took similar steps Wednesday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the measure was approved to help protect California’s most fragile populations.
“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know," Newsom said in a statement, adding, “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease.”
Newsom also noted the new mandate – expected to last at least through the end of March – does not apply to high-density living situations such as university dormitories or homeless encampments, the Post reported.
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is slated to announce the rule during a news conference today, and the measure is expected to last at least four weeks.
“It’s time for us all to do what we can to slow its spread and take care of one another,” Brown said in a statement.
Japanese store employee ‘curses’ public restroom toilet paper to prevent thefts
Update 3:51 a.m. EDT March 12: In an attempt to curtail patrons stealing toilet paper from at least one public restroom, a convenience store employee in Japan has adopted an unusual – yet effective – approach.
Mink Itachibe, who works at a convenience store in Niigata prefecture, noticed people stealing between three and five rolls of toilet paper per day in the weeks since panic buying has wiped out store shelves across the globe of staple items such as disinfectants to battle the novel coronavirus spread and paper products desired to withstand lengthy isolations.
In response, she sketched an image that shows three eyes and several kanji characters and stuck it up in front of the toilet rolls, CNN reported.
Itachibe confirmed no thefts of toilet paper from her store since she put up the sketches.
Itachibe told CNN the kanji imply that a hungry monster will “hunt them down and gobble them up” for stealing what has become a precious commodity
“I did it as a joke, but it seems to have worked,” Itachibe told CNN, adding, “As people were stealing toilet paper, I wanted this to shock them and think they might get hexed. People can be quite superstitious in Japan.”
Rescue operation concludes at collapsed quarantine center in China, 29 dead
Update 3:40 a.m. EDT March 12: Chinese authorities ceased rescue and recovery operations on Thursday at a hotel site used as a coronavirus quarantine center that collapsed over the weekend, The Washington Post reported.
The collapse killed 29 people, with the last victim extracted from the rubble shortly before the efforts were halted. A total of 71 people were trapped in the collapse, the Post reported.
California prisons are suspending visits because of the coronavirus
Update 3:37 a.m. EDT March 12: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on its website early Thursday that all non-family visitations to state prisons are being suspended due to the novel coronavirus.
“Normal visiting will be canceled statewide until further notice,” the department said, adding, “Family visits will be held as scheduled.”
The department considers “normal” visits to be any non-contact visits with a glass partition separating prisoner from visitor. Family visits, however, take place in private, apartment-style structures on prison grounds.
"CDCR values visitation as an essential part of rehabilitation, but at this time the Department must make difficult decisions in order to pro
New York cancels St. Patrick’s Day parade
Update 3:34 a.m. EDT March 12: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office confirmed early Thursday that New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, slated for March 17, has officially been canceled.
“Following those conversations [with parade organizers], I recommended and the parade’s leadership agreed to postpone this year’s parade due to the high density and the large volume of marchers and spectators who attend,” Cuomo said in the statement, adding, “While I know the parade organizers did not make this decision lightly, public health experts agree that one of the most effective ways to contain the spread of the virus is to limit large gatherings and close contacts, and I applaud the parade’s leadership for working cooperatively with us."
US citizens urged to ‘reconsider’ travel abroad amid coronavirus spread
Update 3:32 a.m. EDT March 12: The U.S. State Department raised the global travel advisory to Level 3 late Wednesday.
“The Department of State advises US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing c-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions,” the department said in a statement, adding, “Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”
South Korea confirms 114 new cases, 6 additional deaths
Update 3:25 a.m. EDT March 12: The South Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 114 additional novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday, raising the number of infections nationwide to 7,869.
The latest figures also include six more deaths, bringing South Korea’s total death toll attributed to the virus to 66.
Coronavirus spreads to 43rd state as North Dakota confirms 1st case
Update 12:42 a.m. EDT March 12: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States hit 1,272 early Thursday, affecting patients in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
Thirty-eight deaths have been confirmed nationwide.
The latest figures – compiled by CNN, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local health agencies – include 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which arrived in port in Oakland, California, on Monday. The figures also include 49 repatriated citizens, including 46 sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three others retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China.
North Dakota became the 43rd state to confirm its first case early Thursday.
According to The New York Times, South Dakota had reported zero cases as recently as Tuesday morning but confirmed eight cases – including one death – by Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Illinois recorded eight new cases Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 25, while New Mexico confirmed its first three cases.
According to CNN, Washington state remains the hardest hit with 373 confirmed cases and 30 deaths. New York now reports the second-highest number of infections nationwide with 216 but zero deaths, followed by California with 133 cases and four deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.