Washington state announced four more coronavirus deaths on Monday, bringing the total death toll in the United States to six, officials said, as the virus continues to spread despite travel restrictions aimed at curtailing it.

In the United States, tests have taken place at a far slower pace than in South Korea and China, where reported cases of the virus continue to rise. A genetic analysis suggested that the coronavirus, which causes a highly infectious respiratory disease called covid-19, had been spreading undetected for about six weeks in Washington state. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday took steps to sharply expand testing.

Italy has more than 1,600 confirmed cases, while Iran surpassed 1,500, with 66 deaths. Travelers from both countries appear to have spread the virus to other nations in the Middle East and Europe. A French citizen was diagnosed with the virus in Senegal on Monday, marking the country’s first known case and the second in sub-Saharan Africa. Elsewhere, Indonesia, one of the few large nations thought to be free of the virus, said Monday it had two confirmed cases, while others were reported from Australia to India to Portugal.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The U.S. death toll rose to six on Monday, with the number of cases topping 100 across 15 states.
  • There are at least 18 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state. Kirkland, Wash., has become a hub for the coronavirus response, as evidence suggests the virus may have spread undetected in the state for weeks.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to cancel the planned release of dozens of people from quarantine in his state after a patient tested positive for the virus after she was mistakenly released and spent 12 hours in the community, visiting a mall and a hotel.
  • As President Trump boasted of his efforts to contain the outbreak in the United States on Monday evening, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) of Washington, the location of the nation’s most serious outbreak, said people should consider avoiding large public events and prepare for other disruptions in their daily lives as the coronavirus continues to spread.
3:34 a.m.
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Georgia reports first two cases of coronavirus

By Teo Armus

Two people in Atlanta have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Georgia health officials said Monday night, marking the state’s first two cases of the rapidly spreading virus.

Kathleen Toomey, who leads the state’s public health department, said one of the patients had recently returned from Milan, which has been at the center of a serious outbreak in Italy, and the other lives in the same household. Both individuals are isolated at home in Fulton County with minimal symptoms.

The first patient did not experience symptoms until after exiting the plane and going through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic. Toomey added that the state has not experienced any other reports of person-to-person infections.

“Everything about this situation demonstrates how well the system is working,” she said.

Her report, announced at a news conference Monday, brings the number of states reporting coronavirus cases up to 15.

Besides Georgia, other states include: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah, although some of those states include only former cruise passengers who have returned home.

3:08 a.m.
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San Antonio loses bid to keep coronavirus evacuees quarantined

By Derek Hawkins

A federal judge on Monday ruled that the city of San Antonio cannot stop the federal government from releasing more than 130 coronavirus evacuees from a local military base where they have been quarantined for two weeks.

The evacuees were passengers from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship who were flown to Lackland Air Force Base in mid-February and monitored for symptoms.

After spending 14 days in quarantine and testing negative for the disease, they were scheduled to be transported to San Antonio International Airport, area hotels and rental-car facilities so they could return home.

San Antonio officials sought a temporary restraining order to block their release, arguing in federal court papers that the people still posed a health risk to the community.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez rejected the request, deferring to the federal government in the dispute.

“The Surgeon General of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services are authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in their judgment are necessary to prevent the transmission or spread of communicable diseases,” Rodriguez wrote. “In this case they have determined that two negative tests (twenty-four hours apart) and/or quarantine for fourteen days is sufficient to prevent transmission or spread of COVID-19. This Court has no authority to second-guess those determinations even though the Court also shares the concerns expressed by the Plaintiffs.”

San Antonio officials argued the release was premature and said the group should be quarantined for another two weeks. They noted in court papers Monday that a patient from a different cohort of evacuees tested negative for covid-19 twice and was released from quarantine, only to be recalled later after the results of a third test were processed.

“This person visited a local mall, ate at its food court, and spent a few hours among other persons, potentially exposing the public to the virus,” the city said. “It is necessary to the public health of the residents of San Antonio and surrounding areas that those quarantined persons at Lackland remain within the confines of those safe, secure facilities during the quarantine period following their exposure to the virus.”

3:05 a.m.
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South Korea reports 600 new coronavirus cases as other countries impose travel restrictions

By Min Joo Kim

SEOUL — South Korea on Tuesday reported 600 additional cases of the coronavirus as more than 80 countries placed travel restrictions on arrivals from the country.

With the latest jump, South Korea’s national tally of the virus has been brought up to 4,812, more than two-thirds of which are in the southeastern city of Daegu, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

As of Tuesday morning, 87 countries have imposed entry restrictions or quarantine procedures on visitors from South Korea, according to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.

Vice President Pence said late Tuesday that all passengers on direct flights from South Korea and Italy will be subject to “100 percent screening.” Pence said the rules will be up and running within 12 hours.

The number of confirmed cases in South Korea was expected to rise, as 15,660 coronavirus tests were conducted the previous day, according to the KCDC.

South Korea has tested 121,039 people for the virus, far more than most countries.

3:02 a.m.
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Twitter CEO urges employees to stay home amid coronavirus

By Michael Brice-Saddler

Twitter on Monday urged its employees to work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak — a move the social media company’s leadership says will protect its workforce “and the world around us.”

The announcement comes as major companies are rethinking how to handle major conferences, gatherings and travel plans inside and outside the United States. Google and Facebook, for example, have canceled multiple events in California and Nevada this spring. On Sunday, Twitter started to notify its partners that it was suspending nonessential business travel and events.

The company wrote Monday that the decision was out of an “abundance of caution.” It also said employees based in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea will be required to work from home “due in part to government restrictions.”

Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and Square, indicated in tweets Monday night that both his companies would enforce the work-from-home policy.

1:58 a.m.
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New Hampshire authorities confirm first case of coronavirus

By Michael Brice-Saddler

New Hampshire officials on Monday confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the state — a hospital employee who’d recently traveled to Italy.

The patient, who is experiencing mild symptoms, is an employee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and has been asked to stay home, according to state epidemiologist Benjamin Chan. Chan said even though the CDC needs to confirm the state’s test results, authorities are moving forward with possible containment plans, the Associated Press reported.

“We’re going through the process of not only figuring out how to reach out to individuals that may have had contact with this individual, but much more broadly, how do we address concerns of the public,” Dartmouth-Hitchcock chief executive Joanne Conroy said, according to the news organization.

The medical center has also set up an incident command center in the wake of the new case, the AP reported.

1:36 a.m.
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Virginia’s public lab begins testing for covid-19

By Jenna Portnoy

Virginia’s public health lab is among the dozens of labs that have begun testing for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and it has already found negative results for two suspected cases, the state said Monday.

The state has no confirmed cases of the virus. Ten Virginia residents have been tested, including five from Northern Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Virginia’s state lab also tested a resident of another state.

Before Saturday, all samples from Virginia were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing and results, a process that could take up to a week. The Virginia lab can cut that time to hours, according to Virginia’s Department of General Services.

“Our ability to test suspected covid-19 cases locally is critical to quickly diagnosing and providing treatment to anyone who may become infected, as well as stopping the spread of this novel virus among our citizens,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said in a statement.

The Food and Drug Administration in February granted the CDC approval to expand testing to state public health labs, such as Virginia’s lab.

The Virginia Department of Health is monitoring 100 Virginia residents and has already monitored 207 Virginia residents since the start of the crisis, the state said.

There is no vaccine to protect against covid-19 and no medications approved to treat it.

1:00 a.m.
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Trump hails coronavirus response, says vaccine coming ‘relatively soon’

By Seung Min Kim

CHARLOTTE — President Trump boasted of his efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the United States at a campaign rally Monday evening and said a vaccine to combat the illness would be coming “relatively soon.”

At a rally here, Trump touted the travel restrictions put in place by his administration and noted a “great” meeting he had Monday with officials from major pharmaceutical companies.

“We closed our borders very early. I took a lot of heat for that,” Trump said. The actions, Trump said, “have proven to be 100 percent right.”

Trump also was optimistic on a timeline for the development of a coronavirus vaccine, although Vice President Pence said in a briefing earlier in the day that one will probably not be available to the public until later this year or early next year.

During the rally, Trump also noted some of the criticism coming from the Democrats, although he did not repeat his complaint from last week that Democrats were trying to turn the coronavirus outbreak into the latest “hoax” trying to cripple his presidency.

“The political attacks from some of the Democrats really must stop,” Trump said. “We’ve got to all work together on this one to safeguard our people. We’re going to safeguard our people. The United States is right now ranked by far number one in the world for preparedness.”

12:43 a.m.
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Inslee tells Washington state residents to prepare for disruptions as virus spreads

By Derek Hawkins

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said Monday people should consider avoiding large public events and prepare for other disruptions in their daily lives as the coronavirus continues to spread in the state, where the disease has killed six people and sickened others.

“We are not making a request formally right now for events to be canceled, but people should be prepared for that possibility and need to be thinking about it,” Inslee said in an afternoon news conference.

“As this situation develops, what people are likely to see is local officials, county health and school districts responding to this,” he added.

Inslee has the authority to shut down major public functions under an emergency declaration issued last week. He’s not exercising that authority now, he said, “but people need to know that we need to start thinking in these terms.”

The governor said the state was expecting more person-to-person cases to emerge and urged people to take health precautions like washing their hands and staying home if they’re sick.

“The steps you take to prepare will help everyone around you,” he said.

Officials were also evaluating “surge capacity” in the state’s health-care system to accommodate an influx of new patients, Inslee said. The governor also asked Vice President Pence on Monday to release a “variety of medical equipment” from the federal government’s stockpiles.

12:16 a.m.
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Sign up for the coronavirus newsletter

By Angela Fritz and Reis Thebault

While coronavirus dominates health news, we’re commandeering the To Your Health newsletter as a way to deliver the latest developments to your inbox — from The Post’s reporting on the outbreak’s spread to important explainers and what you should do to prepare.

Virus news is moving fast, and we know it can be hard to keep up. We want to give you an easy-to-scan way to read the most important updates from the day, along with The Post’s most-read stories about the virus.

Plus, we’re going to include our continuously updating advice from experts. The more scientists learn about the virus, the more you can learn how to prepare, who’s at the highest risk and what you should do if you or one of your loved ones contracts it. We’re also tracking where the coronavirus has spread.

If you like the newsletter, consider sending it to friends, family members and co-workers. They can sign up with this link.

11:49 p.m.
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Pelosi arranges briefing for top Hill leaders on Capitol coronavirus prep

By Mike DeBonis

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is convening a Wednesday briefing for the four top congressional leaders on the coronavirus response on the Capitol campus.

The briefing — for Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — comes as speculation has swirled on Capitol Hill about how a coronavirus outbreak might cripple the legislative branch.

A senior Democratic aide not authorized to comment publicly on the private meeting said “Capitol officials” would deliver the 2 p.m. briefing.

“There have been no discussions of shutting down public galleries or limiting tours,” the aide said. “The focus has and will continue to be on preparedness and keeping the Congress open for the People’s business.”

Pelosi told reporters Friday she planned to consult with the House physician on any further preparations or preventive actions.

11:37 p.m.
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Last person to leave Diamond Princess is its Italian captain

By Siobhán O'Grady

With his uniform on, bag packed and mask secured, Gennaro Arma, 44, disembarked from the Diamond Princess on Sunday. The captain was the last member of the crew to step off the ship after a coronavirus outbreak sparked an international drama that kept thousands of passengers on board and in quarantine.

“He is a hero in our eyes,” Princess Cruises tweeted, alongside a photo of the captain walking away from the ship docked in Yokohama, Japan.

Arma is from Sorrento, Italy. On Monday, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said the captain is a “symbol of the Italy that does not give up.” He also said Arma deserved recognition for “transmitting serenity to all,” Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Arma’s voice became a familiar sound to passengers stuck in their rooms aboard the ship as he periodically addressed them over the speaker system, often with a sense of humor and a touch of humanity. Several passengers took to social media to praise the captain’s levity and levelheadedness throughout the outbreak.

“I am confident that remaining united as a family, we will successfully complete this journey together,” Agence France-Presse reported him as saying over the speakers while passengers were still on board. “The world is watching us. This is an additional reason for all of us to show our strength.”

The news agency reported last month that Arma joined Princess Cruises in 1998 and was promoted to captain of the Diamond Princess in 2018.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Arma said he didn’t take much time to consider whether he was resentful over the quarantine that left him and his crew with no choice but to stay aboard much longer than they had planned. “All I knew was that I had to keep things moving,” he said.

A Princess Cruises representative said Arma was in quarantine and unavailable for an interview on Monday.

11:32 p.m.
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U.S. health officials say immediate risk to Americans ‘remains low’

By Derek Hawkins

Trump administration officials said Monday that the risk of coronavirus to the public remained low, but cautioned that the outbreak could change course as the disease spreads through person-to-person contact.

“We know there will be more cases,” Vice President Pence said at a White House news conference. “Now we’re focused on mitigation of the spread as well as treatment of people that are affected.”

The remarks came as health officials in Washington state announced that four more people died of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and new disease clusters emerged in the Pacific Northwest.

Forty-three people have fallen ill from the disease in the United States, 29 of them in California and Washington. Six people have died.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said 26 of the confirmed cases were believed to be from person-to-person spread, indicating the disease is circulating in communities.

“The immediate risk to any American has been and continues to be low,” Azar said. He added, however, that “the degree of risk has the potential to change quickly, especially if we see sustained spread of the disease around the world, which could qualify this disease as a pandemic.”

Pence, projecting confidence about the administration’s handling of the outbreak, said administration officials met Monday morning with governors from all 50 states and three territories to discuss response efforts.

President Trump also spoke with leaders of the top pharmaceutical companies about developing coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, Pence said. He said vaccine clinical trials could begin in the next six weeks, though a vaccine will probably not be available to the public until later this year or early next year. Therapeutics used to treat the deadly virus could be available by summer or fall, Pence said.

The vice president also said the White House may broaden travel advisories issued last week affecting Italy and South Korea. “Those advisories may expand but we’ll allow the caseload in the countries to define that,” he said.

The administration has tapped Ambassador Deborah Birx, a State Department diplomat in charge of the government’s activities combating HIV/AIDS, to coordinate the White House’s coronavirus response.

11:19 p.m.
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Sonoma County declares emergency after second coronavirus case

By Michael Brice-Saddler

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services on Monday declared a local health emergency after confirming its second case of coronavirus.

The new California case — which health officials said was found in a resident who had recently traveled internationally — was called “presumptive,” meaning it is “likely to be positive for COVID-19,” according to health officials. The patient is in stable condition and had recently returned from a cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico.

The traveler was not aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, officials said. The case is the second confirmed in Sonoma County in the past week.

Meanwhile, health officials in Placer County, Calif., confirmed the county’s first case Monday — a NorthBay VacaValley Hospital health-care worker who had contact with a confirmed case in Solano County. The patient tested positive and is in isolation at home with mild symptoms, the county’s government said. Other details about the patient were not immediately available.

“We have expected to see cases of covid-19 in Placer County and have been planning and preparing accordingly,” Placer County Health Officer Aimee Sisson said in a statement. “Given recent evidence of community spread occurring elsewhere in California, we are now encouraging the public to prepare for the likelihood of local community spread here as well, unrelated to this case.”

10:31 p.m.
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Morocco declares first case of coronavirus

By Siobhán O'Grady

Morocco declared a case of coronavirus Monday, the first in the country of around 36 million people.

The patient, a Moroccan man who has been living in Italy, is being treated in a Casablanca hospital, Reuters reported the Health Ministry as saying.

On Sunday, one day before the patient’s case was confirmed publicly, state media reported that officials were considering postponing sporting events to limit the possibility of the virus being spread.

At that time, officials said that 25 people had been tested for the virus in Morocco but no cases had come back positive. It was not immediately clear whether Morocco might consider limiting travel to newly affected areas, including Italy, where a large outbreak has taken hold. Royal Air Maroc, the country’s national airline, previously suspended flights to China.