U.S. markets fell sharply Thursday after the first coronavirus case in the United States that could not be linked to foreign travel was confirmed.

California is calling the case, first reported by The Washington Post, its first instance of community transmission. The hospital is monitoring the health of scores of staff members who may have come in contact with the patient.

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus also raised the specter of a global pandemic as governments ramped up their emergency responses and international financial markets slumped again Thursday, despite signs that the outbreak may be easing in China.

Japan told schools to close through the spring break, which for most students typically means early April. Australia’s leader warned that a pandemic was inevitable, and an Iranian lawmaker said he has tested positive for the virus. New infections and deaths from covid-19, as the disease caused by the coronavirus is known, emerged from the Middle East to Europe and South Korea. The State Department, meanwhile, issued a Level 3 travel advisory for South Korea, portending extended economic disruption in Asia.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Nigeria confirmed its first case Thursday, making the first confirmed instance of coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Thursday that the state is monitoring 8,400 people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus after traveling to Asia. They join thousands of people across the United States who have been requested to self-isolate or check themselves for coronavirus symptoms this month.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she spoke with Vice President Pence on Thursday morning and conveyed to him her concern that he is leading the administration’s coronavirus response effort.
  • In the financial markets, the three major U.S. indexes plummeted into correction territory at their afternoon close, having fallen more than 10 percent from their recent highs. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1,191 points, or 4.4 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Nasdaq composite fell 4.4 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.
  • A 13th person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Canada, public health officials said Thursday, after previously warning that Canadians should prepare for a possible pandemic by ensuring that they are stocked up on food and medication, particularly if a family member falls ill with the virus.
2:13 a.m.
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China reports 327 new cases of coronavirus, 44 new deaths

The Chinese government announced 327 new confirmed cases of coronavirus Friday morning in addition to 44 additional deaths.

The new number of confirmed cases released by China’s National Health Commission continued a downtrend for the disease in the country, though experts have warned against making too much of daily statistics. Health officials have also cited lingering questions about the novel coronavirus’s incubation period and its transmissibility.

In total, China has reported 78,824 confirmed cases and 2,788 deaths on the mainland since the outbreak started. There are 39,919 people still in hospital and 7,952 of them in critical condition, according to the health commission. The Chinese government says 36,117 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

2:02 a.m.
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South Korean cases jump as health authorities expand coronavirus testing

SEOUL — South Korea reported 256 additional cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing up the total to 2,022.

The jump was expected as the country’s health authorities expanded coronavirus testing. Over 12,000 people were tested since the previous day, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

More than two-thirds of the latest cases were in the southern city of Daegu, according to the KCDC.

The South Korean government has designated Daegu city and surrounding North Gyeongsang province as “special care zones” where virus support will be concentrated.

All but one of South Korea’s 13 coronavirus deaths were in Daegu and North Gyeongsang.

Oh Myoung-don of Seoul National University, who leads a panel of South Korean experts on the disease, said in a briefing Wednesday that the infection in the country could continue growing for another month.

Nearly 50 countries have banned or restricted entry of visitors from South Korea as of Friday.

Five Chinese provinces, including Shandong, have imposed 14 days of quarantine on those arriving from South Korea, according to data compiled by Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.

1:38 a.m.
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Coronavirus spreads into third Canadian province

TORONTO — Public health officials in Quebec announced the province’s first case of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in Canada to 14.

The affected woman had traveled to Montreal from Iran via Doha, Qatar, and is in self-isolation at home, the province’s health minister, Danielle McCann, told reporters.

She is believed to have had limited contact with others outside her immediate family. Officials do not believe she went to work or took public transit since arriving in Montreal on Monday.

The new case marks the virus’s spread into a third Canadian province. There have been six confirmed cases in Ontario and seven in British Columbia since the outbreak began.

1:35 a.m.
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Key terms of the coronavirus outbreak, explained: from asymptomatic to zoonotic

With health officials now trying to prevent and prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, there’s a lot of panic, confusion and questions out there. Here are some key terms and facts to know:

Coronavirus: This term refers to a family of seven known viruses that can infect people. They range from coronaviruses that simply cause a common cold to the form that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV), which emerged in Asia in 2002, and the even deadlier Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), which appeared in 2012. The name comes from the fact that under a microscope, the virus looks like a blob surrounded by crown-like spikes, a corona.

Covid-19: People are using the term coronavirus, covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2 interchangeably, but those who nitpick will tell you they actually refer to different things. The new coronavirus itself is officially named SARS-CoV-2. The disease the virus causes in people — the fever, coughing, shortness of breath and in severe cases pneumonia and death — is named covid-19. So SARS-CoV-2 causes covid-19, in the same way that HIV causes AIDS.

Zoonotic: The new coronavirus is zoonotic, meaning it was transmitted from animals to people. The SARS coronavirus came from civet cats, and MERS came from camels. It’s not known what animal caused the current coronavirus outbreak. It is a mystery scientists believe they must solve to prevent a future outbreak. The prime suspect so far is the pangolin — an endangered creature that looks like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo.

Community transmission: This refers to cases in which a disease is circulating among people in a certain area who did not travel to an affected area and had no close link to another confirmed case. This is a key indicator for which U.S. health officials are looking out, because it would suggest the virus is spreading in a location in ways that health officials have trouble tracking and containing.

Read more here.

1:32 a.m.
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California health officials still unsure how woman contracted coronavirus

Solano County, Calif., Health Officer Bela T. Matyas said Thursday that officials still did not know how a county woman — the first person in the United States to develop the new coronavirus with no travel or connection to individuals who visited affected countries — had acquired the illness.

The person was not connected to the repatriated evacuees at nearby Travis Air Force Base, he said.

“This individual has no connection whatsoever to that federal mission and to any of the personnel that have been involved in that evacuation process. This does appear to be a person who genuinely did acquire [the] illness in our community.”

Matyas said that because the patient was not a known coronavirus victim, she was not placed in isolation at the hospital upon their arrival, meaning dozens of workers could have potentially been exposed. Dozens of hospital workers, but fewer than 100, were being assessed, officials said.

“Some of them will be under isolation, some of them under quarantine,” Matyas said, adding that others were low-risk. “The hospitals are working aggressively to identify properly the individuals from those environments.”

Meanwhile, Matyas said, the community-acquired case meant the disease had arrived in the county, meaning officials would have to shift from a containment to “mitigation” approach — essentially minimizing the risk of transmission.

Containment, he said, is only possible when health-care personnel know the identity of everyone who is sick. He declined to disclose biographical details about the patient or where she worked.

He said the woman’s family would remain in quarantine for 14 days.

“Mitigation is we know that the cat’s out of the bag in terms of it having spread and what we’re trying to do is slow the spread as much as possible,” Matyas said. “Mitigation is extremely important in slowing the spread of the disease but it’s also a recognition that it’s not staying in Wuhan [in China].”

12:40 a.m.
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Nigeria confirms first case of coronavirus

The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Nigeria on Thursday, the country’s health minister announced — marking the first confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa.

In a statement, Nigerian Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said the case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned Tuesday from Milan to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. He said the patient is being treated at an infectious disease hospital in Yaba, a densely populated neighborhood of the city.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians that we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case,” Ehanire wrote. His statement also listed a number of health-related precautions Nigerians can take to help protect themselves from infection.

12:20 a.m.
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Northern California colleges near coronavirus case identify exposed students and take precautions

Classes aren’t canceled, at least not yet, but colleges are taking extra precautions for students who have been exposed to the coronavirus patient being treated in Sacramento.

On Thursday afternoon, University of California at Davis announced that three students who lived in its Kearney Hall dormitory were in isolation and being monitored for symptoms of coronavirus. One of the three was getting a covid-19 test from the CDC, while the other two had shown no symptoms and would not be tested, as per current CDC guidelines.

The dorm is located on the main UC Davis campus in Davis, Calif., about 19 miles west of the UC Davis Medical Center where the known coronavirus patient is being treated. The university did not say how they were exposed and is not canceling classes at this time.

A pair of colleges in nearby Sacramento have sent home two students — one from each school — who came into contact with the infected woman. The students at American River College and Cosumnes River College were exposed during their work as health-care providers.

Like other health-care workers who have had contact with the patient, the students have been asked by county health officials to isolate themselves for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

Neither school is asking other students to stay home and classes are continuing as scheduled.

11:43 p.m.
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Corona’s new ad campaign seems to lean into associations between the beer and the coronavirus

The wording was unfortunate.

“Introducing Corona hard seltzer. Four delicious flavors. One splashy entrance.”

There’s a picture of a row of four Corona seltzer cans on the beach, the words “Coming ashore soon” in white against the blue surf. In light of fears of the coronavirus on American soil, the ad campaign slogan was wince-worthy.

Parent company Constellation Brands announced in January that it would spend $40 million, its single biggest investment ever, to launch a line of hard seltzers, a growth area for many companies when beer, especially light beer, has seen sluggish sales. It is unclear whether this “taking the beachhead” theme campaign was in the works before the virus reached near-pandemic levels, or whether this is Corona beer leaning into the confusion and ensuing memes surrounding the name similarity.

Asked to clarify the campaign’s timing, Stephanie McGuane in communications and public relations for Constellation, said, “Our advertising with Corona is consistent with the campaign we have been running for the last 30 years and is based off strong consumer sentiment. While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business.”

Nonetheless, Corona Beer, the third most popular brand of beer in the world according to a YouGov ranking, has taken a hit in recent weeks. Google searches for “corona beer virus” spiked a couple weeks ago, jokes have proliferated online and sales have gone down dramatically. Shares of Constellation Brands dove 8 percent this week.

It’s not the first time that a product shared an unfortunate name with a virus. In 1988, the manufacturer of a diet candy called Ayds sought a new name to distance itself from the AIDS virus, its sales having dipped 50 percent because of the association.

10:57 p.m.
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U.S. surgeon general defends Pence’s handling of HIV outbreak

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Thursday defended Vice President Pence’s handling of Indiana’s HIV outbreak five years ago, asserting that Pence’s efforts became a “model” for other jurisdictions.

Pence, appointed by President Trump to lead federal efforts to fight the coronavirus, has been criticized for his record in Indiana, where as governor in 2015 he oversaw the state’s response to its worst HIV outbreak. Researchers at Yale University found that the outbreak could have been prevented if not for Pence’s delayed response and opposition to a needle-exchange program.

In his statement Thursday, Adams recalled that he worked closely with Pence at the time of the crisis and praised the vice president’s strategy.

“Working together, we helped address the outbreak by implementing comprehensive syringe services programs that helped change the scope of the unprecedented crisis,” Adams wrote. “As a result, our efforts became a model for how other states and localities respond to similar crises — states like Kentucky, for example, went from zero to more than 70 comprehensive SSPs, to prevent future outbreaks and help people in need of care.”

Pence appointed Adams as Indiana state health commissioner in 2014.

10:16 p.m.
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Facebook cancels its largest conference of the year amid coronavirus panic

Facebook canceled its largest annual gathering Thursday amid growing global panic over the spreading coronavirus shutting down cities and air traffic.

The F8 conference was scheduled for May 5-6 in San Jose, Tex.

“Every year, we look forward to connecting with our global developer community at F8 and sharing our vision for the future that we’re building together,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships, wrote in a statement. “But given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020.”

The company described the decision as “a tough call” but that they ultimately “need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on."

Earlier in February, Facebook canceled a global marketing summit planned for March 9-12 in San Francisco.

The F8 event is a festive affair for Facebook, where in previous years the company has unveiled new products and features and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken.

9:43 p.m.
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U.S. workers without protective gear assisted coronavirus evacuees, HHS whistleblower says

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, without proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear, according to a whistleblower complaint.

The workers did not show symptoms of infection and were not tested for the virus, according to lawyers for the whistleblower, who is a senior HHS official based in Washington who oversees workers at the Administration for Children and Families, a unit within HHS.

The whistleblower is seeking federal protection because she alleges she was unfairly and improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers to HHS officials, including those within the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. She was told Feb. 19 that if she does not accept the new position in 15 days, which is March 5, she would be terminated

Read more here.

9:31 p.m.
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Pence’s decision to take control of coronavirus messaging draws criticism

Vice President Pence’s decision to have agencies route all media requests regarding the coronavirus through his office drew criticism Thursday from Democrats who warned it could lead to a suppression of critical health information needed by the public.

Late Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told other administration officials that all media requests would be handled by the vice president’s office. Pence asked for the email to be sent out, a senior administration official said.

“I will try to be as precise and non shrill as possible with my language here: It is essential in times like these that experts are allowed to tell us what’s really going on in their own words," Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted Thursday

Administration officials pushed back on the criticism, saying the president was unhappy with the inconsistent messaging from the administration, particularly from some voices he saw as alarmist.

In response, the vice president and his team are going to control who speaks on television and when but are “not going to cut off doctors from speaking,” one administration official said. “Just want to generally know who is out there and what the message is.”

Pence attended his first meeting of the administration’s coronavirus task force Thursday at the Department of Health and Human Services, where he asked Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to discuss the public health threat.

“This virus has adapted extremely well to human species. … This one has the capability of spreading readily from human to human,” Fauci said. He added: “We are dealing with a serious virus.”

9:19 p.m.
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Northern Ireland confirms its first case of coronavirus

LONDON — Northern Ireland announced its first patient with coronavirus Thursday, saying the patient had traveled from northern Italy via Dublin Airport to Belfast.

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer, Michael McBride, said, “We have been planning for the first positive case in Northern Ireland and have made clear that it was a question of when, not if.”

McBride added: “We have robust infection-control measures in place which enable us to respond immediately. Our health service is used to managing infections and would assure the public that we are prepared.”

Details about the patient were not released, but McBride said the case was not linked to a school ski trip to Italy. The Public Health Agency is tracing the patient’s contacts to prevent further spread.

Northern Ireland’s case raises Britain’s total confirmed ones to 16.

9:04 p.m.
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Pence holds first task force meeting since being named coronavirus response leader

Vice President Pence on Thursday said it’s “all hands on deck” after meeting with members of the coronavirus task force at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The meeting was Pence’s first with the task force since President Trump named him as leader of the administration’s response to the crisis.

There has been some confusion over what role HHS Secretary Alex Azar will play after Trump’s announcement Wednesday night. Pence on Thursday sought to clear things up, saying that he will still rely on Azar.

“I’m leading the task force,” Pence said in response to a question from a reporter on the roles he and Azar will play in the response effort. “We’ll continue to rely on the secretary’s role as chairman of the task force.”

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was also present at the meeting. Fauci called the coronavirus a “serious virus” and noted that its mortality rate is higher than that of seasonal influenza.

“This virus has adapted extremely well to the human species. … This one has the capability of spreading readily from human to human,” Fauci said.