BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak (all times local):
Pope Francis will deliver his next two public blessings via video to prevent crowds from gathering as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Vatican said in a statement Saturday that the pope will not hold his traditional Sunday noon blessing from a window over St. Peter’s Square, as is tradition, but that it will be streamed from the library in the Apostolic Palace. The Wednesday audience will be handled in the same way.
Francis has also stopped celebrating morning Mass before invited guests at the chapel in the Vatican hotel where he lives, indicating his contact has been extremely limited in an apparent effort to prevent his infection.
At 83, recovering from a cold and with part of one lung removed from a respiratory infection when he was a young man, Francis would be at risk of serious complications if he were to catch the virus. Italy has recommended that elderly people remain at home.
The measures come after the Vatican confirmed its first case of the virus on Friday.
The pope appeared from a window high above St. Peter’s Square for last Sunday’s blessing, pausing twice for short bouts of coughing. He similarly was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass just days earlier.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging older adults and people with severe medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid crowds to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
The CDC updated the guidance on its COVID-19 website on Friday. The agency said older people are more likely to have serious illness and that underlying health conditions make it harder for people to fight off the illness.
The agency also suggested older adults and people with severe conditions should stay away from those who are sick and wash their hands often when they do go out. It also suggested such people have several weeks of medications and supplies at home.
For most people, the flu-like viral illness causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
The U.S. military’s European Command says an American sailor has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first U.S. service member in Europe to be infected.
EUCOM said in an email Saturday that the sailor was stationed in Naples, Italy, but gave no other details about the person or where he or she may have been infected.
The military says the sailor is “currently restricted to their residence, receiving supportive and medical care in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention host nation guidelines.”
An investigation is underway to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed, and those already identified as having been in close contact have been notified and isolated at their residences.
EUCOM says “we remain in close coordination with Italian authorities, U.S. embassy, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population.”
The governor of Italy’s Lazio region is the latest official to test positive for the coronavirus in the country.
Nicola Zingaretti, who is also head of the Democratic Party, announced his diagnosis on Facebook on Saturday, saying, ‘’I am well, so it was decided I will be isolated at home.’’ He said his family was also under isolation and that he was continuing to work from home.
At least three government prefects — in Bergamo, Brescia and Matera — have tested positive for the virus, along with three Milan prosecutors, according to media reports.
The government in its latest measures put the courts on a two-week holiday footing from Monday to allow them to better reorganize cases as the virus continues to spread throughout Italy.
The number of cases in the country jumped by 778 on Friday, to 4,636. So far, 148 people infected with the virus have died in Italy.
Iran says 21 more people have died from the coronavirus, raising the country’s death toll to 145. More than 1,000 infections were also confirmed overnight, bringing the country’s total to 5,823 cases.
Iran has the vast majority of cases in the Mideast. The capital, Tehran, has the most infections, with more than 1,500 cases, followed by the Shiite holy city of Qom with 668 and the northern province of Mazandaran with 606.
South Korea — the hardest-hit country after China — reported 448 new cases on Saturday for a total of 7,041. South Korea also reported four more deaths, raising the death toll to 48.
Malta has confirmed its first coronavirus case, a 12-year-old girl of Italian origin who lives in the Mediterranean island nation with her family.
Health Minister Chris Fearne says the girl and her family had visited northern Italy in late February and early March, returning to Malta via Rome.
The family self-quarantined as instructed but the girl started to experience symptoms. She was tested Friday and results came back positive on Saturday morning.
The girl is being held in an isolated section of Malta’s main public hospital, together with her sister and parents.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that a newly elected lawmaker from Tehran has died after contracting the coronavirus.
The lawmaker, 55-year-old Fatemeh Rahabar, was recently elected to serve in the incoming parliament that begins work in May.
Earlier this week, Iranian lawmaker Abdolreza Mesri told state television that 23 members of the current parliament had the coronavirus and he urged all lawmakers to avoid the public.
A Nile cruise boat carrying over 150 tourists and Egyptian crew is under quarantine in the southern city of Luxor after 12 people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Egyptian health authorities say a Taiwanese-American tourist on board the boat had tested positive for the virus upon returning to Taiwan late in February.
Local officials said there are Americans, French and Indians among the passengers. A health official said that the 12 are isolated inside the boat while the rest are awaiting test results.
The new infections bring the total number of cases in Egypt to 15.
Malaysia has turned away a cruise ship carrying around 2,000 passengers and crew from a port in northern Penang state, becoming the second country to bar the ship from docking after Thailand.
The Costa Fortuna was turned away from the popular resort island of Phuket in southern Thailand on Friday due to the presence of 64 Italians on board. Thai health authorities have officially designated Italy a dangerous communicable disease area because it has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Phee Boon Poh, a Penang executive councilor, said he was informed by the Penang port that it had turned away the cruise liner Saturday morning following a directive from the transport ministry. He said the ship was now making its way to Singapore.
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