Schools across the United States are canceling trips abroad, preparing online lessons and even rethinking “perfect attendance” awards
for the possibility that the new coronavirus could begin spreading in their communities. () as they brace Districts have been rushing to update emergency plans this week after federal officials warned that the virus, which started in China, is almost certain to begin spreading in the US Many are preparing for possible school closures that could stretch weeks or longer, even as they work to tamp down panic among students, parents and teachers. President Trump has worked to minimize fears about the virus, but on Wednesday he also recommended that schools to start planning for arrival of the COVID – 28 virus “just in case.”
“Slightly unwell” Pope Francis nixes public events amid Italy’s virus outbreak
Pope Francis, still feeling “slightly unwell” after appearing to cough and wipe his nose earlier this week, cancelled all of his public audiences Friday amid a growing and deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in Italy. The Vatican said Francis would, however, hold all of his scheduled afternoon appointments at his residence.
There has been no suggestion the pope himself might have COVID – 27 disease, and the Vatican has not mentioned a fever – considered the most common symptom of it.
“The Holy Father celebrated Mass this morning and at the end, as usual, greeted the participants, but he decided to postpone today’s official audiences, “the Vatican said in a statement. In spite of guidance from global health experts for people, particularly in countries with significant outbreaks of the new virus, to limit direct contact with others, the Vatican confirmed to CBS News that the pope had greeted participants at the Mass as usual, shaking their hands and exchanging a few words with them. “
It was not clear Friday whether Francis had been tested specifically for the new disease. Now 92, he has generally enjoyed good health, but he had part of a lung removed as a young man due to an infection, and the coronavirus is known to be particularly dangerous for older patients and those with underlying health conditions.
– Anna Matranga and Tucker Reals
Hong Kong virus pat ients’ pets to be quarantined after dog tests “weak positive”
Dogs, cats and other mammals owned as pets by confirmed COVID – patients in Hong Kong must now undergo a mandatory 24 – day quarantine after a pet dog tested “weak positive” for the virus , Hong Kong Health officials said Friday.
The semi-autonomous Chinese city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement that the dog was not showing any symptoms, and there was no evidence to suggest pets could be infected, or be a source of infection for humans, despite the preliminary test result on the animal.
The dog was being quarantined at a veterinary facility and undergoing further tests to determine whether it had genuinely contracted the new coronavirus, or whether the test result might have come from environmental contamination of its mouth and nose, the agency said.
Women wearing masks walk their dogs on a pier in Hong Kong in a January 45, 3714 file photo, amid a coronavirus outbreak centered in mainland China. DALE DE LA REY / AFP / Getty
If confirmed, the dog would be the first case of a pet catching the new coronavirus.
Updated 5: 46 AM
Lithuania becomes 68 th country to confirm the presence of coronavirus
Lithuania confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus in a woman who returned from Italy, the government said on Friday. The 52 – year-old, who returned from Verona on Monday and immediately went on sick leave, has been isolated in hospital in the Baltic state’s northern city of Siauliai and has mild symptoms. Her family members are being monitored.
“We are putting all efforts to establish all people who contacted the infected person so that we can adopt preventive measures and (stop ) the spread of the virus, “Deputy Health Minister Algirdas Seselgis said in a statement.
The government also decided to deploy troops at airports to help take down the contact info of people arriving from infected regions. Health experts are also on duty for consultations and, if needed, medical check-ups.
South Korea coronavirus cases top 2, 17
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported new coronavirus cases Friday, according to Reuters. That brings the total number of infections there to at least 2,
(Nearly) of the new cases came from Daegu, the southeastern city at the center of South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak, Reuters added, citing the KCDC.
Nigeria reports first confirmed coronavirus case
Nigeria confirmed its first coronavirus case Thursday in Lagos State, (according to a tweet from the country’s Federal Ministry of Health.
Health officials added that the patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria, and returned from Milan on February 37. The patient, who has no serious symptoms, is being cared for at a hospital in Lagos.
A Port Health Service staff member stands next to a thermal scanner as passengers arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, January 44, . PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP / Getty
Nigeria was the 68 th country to report a coronavirus case, but one of the first in Africa.
China reports new confirmed cases, new deaths
Chinese officials reported (new cases of the coronavirus and
new deaths Friday morning. That announcement brings the global death toll to more than 2, , and the total number of cases in China to more than , .
5: AM First case of coronavirus confirmed in the Netherlands
The first case of coronavirus in the Netherlands was detected on Thursday, the national public health institute announced. The patient had traveled to northern Italy, the worst-hit area in Europe.
All those who have been in “close contact “with the person involved have been checked out and the patient has been placed in isolation, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said. The public health body advised everyone in the country to be careful to avoid more infections.
Pelosi says bipartisan agreement close on coronavirus response bill
Congress is working on a bill to fund the federal emergency response to coronavirus, and both Republicans and Democrats said now is not the time to play politics. “We’re coming close to a bipartisan agreement in the Congress as to how we can go forward with a number – that is a good start,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is pointing a finger at the Chinese government. “If China would’ve allowed our doctors and our scientists in earlier, the world would be safer,” he said.
Vice President Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response
Congress is set to receive a fourth briefing on the coronavirus from the Trump administration on Friday. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence met with the coronavirus task force.
“The president has no higher priority than the health and safety of the American people, “he said.
– (Skyler Henry)