ROME (AP) – The Latest on the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the globe (all times local):
Pope Francis has celebrated morning Mass all by himself in the chapel of the Vatican hotel where he lives, and has offered up prayers for those infected with coronavirus and those caring for them.
The Holy See live-streamed Francisâ€™ Mass on Monday, evidence of new measures the Vatican City State has taken to contain the spread of the virus in line with restrictions adopted by the Italian government. With 7,375 people infected, Italy has the most cases outside Asia.
At 83, and with part of one lung removed, Francis would be at risk for serious complications if he were to catch the virus. He came down with a cold two weeks ago, but appears to have recovered and on Monday resumed private meetings, including with bishops from France and two departing ambassadors.
The Vatican, a 108-acre city state in the heart of Rome, has confirmed one positive case. The Vatican Museums have closed and nationwide, the Italian Catholic Church has suspended Masses and other celebrations to prevent people from congregating.
Singapore will allow the Costa Fortuna cruise ship to dock on Tuesday, after it was rejected by Thailand and Malaysia.
Singapore’s port authority and tourism board said in a joint statement Monday that the ship has declared that none of its passengers had any symptoms of respiratory illness. The statement also said all the ship’s passengers had earlier underwent temperature screening and checks on their travel history before they boarded the ship, which last departed Singapore on March 3.
The statement said the doctor on board the cruise liner will check all passengers and crew to ensure they are healthy before disembarkation. It said Singapore’s cruise terminals remain open to scheduled cruise calls out of Singapore but unscheduled calls have been banned since last month.
Thailand last week refused to let the ship, which has some 2,000 passengers, to dock at the resort island of Phuket since it carried 64 Italians. Malaysia on Saturday also banned the ship from stopping at a northern port.
In a first, games in Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league can now take place without fans.
The governor of Germany’s western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, which has been hardest-hit by the spread of the virus, said he would implement the national health ministry’s recommendations to cancel events with more than 1,000 people.
A Wednesday game between FC Cologne and Borussia Moenchengladbach will take place without audience, the state’s health minister said.
Germany has reported 1,040 cases of the new coronavirus.
Also, after an overnight meeting, Germany’s coalition government says Monday it will ease and financially support regulations for short-time work. The government also wants to financially support companies that are suffering losses because of the virus sweeping the globe.
Organizers of the annual Holocaust remembrance march in southern Poland say it has been postponed this year because of fears about the new coronavirus sweeping the globe.
Each year the “March of the Living” aims to walk 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) between the two parts of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The organizing committeeâ€™s chairman Shmuel Rosenman says Monday that after consulting with health officials he was forced to announce â€œwith a heavy heartâ€ that thisâ€™ yearâ€™s march would be postponed.
The event was expected to draw 110 delegations from around the world.
During World War II, Nazi Germany killed some 1.1 million people in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the vast majority of them Jews. Some 300,000 people have walked in the march since it began in 1988.
Israel has so far confirmed 39 cases of coronavirus and 20,000 people have been ordered into 14-day home quarantines protectively. Scores of flights in and out of the country have been canceled.
Poland has 11 cases of the virus.
Albania’s Health Ministry has reported the country’s first two infections from the COVID-19 coronavirus, a father and son who had returned from Florence in Italy.
After exhibiting symptoms they were hospitalized. Authorities are trying to find all their contacts.
Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak, on Sunday quarantined 16 million people in the country’s north in a bold move to try to contain the virus. Italy has 7,375 confirmed infections and 366 deaths of virus patients, one of the most severe outbreaks outside of China, where the virus first emerged late last year.
Prime Minister Edi Rama held an an urgent Cabinet meeting Monday morning on the virus. Authorities said they will close schools until April 3, suspend flights to and from Italy’s “red quarantine zones” and limit gatherings.
The state oil giant Saudi Aramco saw its shares drop by 10% as Riyadh’s stock market opened on Monday, halting trading.
The Tadawul market only allows stocks to fluctuate by 10% a day, meaning it halted traded as the market opened. The drop came as global oil prices suffered their worst losses since the start of the 1991 Gulf War.
Other Mideast markets fell as well as the new coronavirus has affected global energy prices and OPEC failed to make a production cut deal with Russia last week.
Boursa Kuwait shut down within 30 minutes of opening Monday as stocks again dropped by 10%, the third such emergency halt to trading in recent days.
Earlier Monday, coronavirus concerns led Saudi Arabia to cut off air and sea travel to and from nine countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. That comes after the kingdom earlier closed off its land borders as well.
A special North Korean flight carrying presumably dozens of diplomats and other foreigners arrived in Russia’s Far East on Monday, as the North tightens a lockdown intended to fend off the coronavirus.
North Korea has not publicly confirmed a single case of the COVID-19 illness, but its state media have reported that thousands of people have been quarantined as part of strict prevention measures.
Seemingly dozens of passengers, most of them wearing face masks and some accompanied by children, lined up at Pyongyang International Airport. North Korean health workers wearing white protective suits scanned them for fevers.
Russian state news agency Tass says there were about 60 foreigners aboard, including 13 Russian citizens, flown out to Vladivostok in Russia. The North lifted a monthlong quarantine on foreign diplomats based in Pyongyang on March 2, allowing them to leave the country if needed.
Colin Crooks, the British ambassador to Pyongyang, tweeted, “Sad to say farewell this morning to colleagues from German Embassy and French Office #NorthKorea which are closing temporarily.â€ He said the British Embassy would remain open.
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