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Governments seek to cushion social and economic impact of the virus.
With the threat of a full-scale pandemic growing by the day, governments around the world shifted their focus on Tuesday to devising plans to contain the spread of the new coronavirus rather than to stamp it out, and to do so without causing widespread social disruption and economic upheaval.
In the United States, where there are now more than 100 confirmed cases in 15 states and six deaths linked to the virus, the Trump administration sought to project an image of control even as concerns emerged about early missteps, including defective diagnostic kits and highly restrictive rules for administering the tests, both of which may have contributed to the early spread of the virus.
Officials promised to speed up delivery of testing kits, saying that they hoped to distribute more than a million by the end of the week.
In New York, where a 39-year-old health care worker tested positive for the virus after going to the hospital with mild respiratory symptoms, health officials said they would no longer need to send tests to the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta but could perform tests in labs locally, speeding up the process.
As the number of global infections surged past 90,000, financial policymakers from the world’s seven largest economies, known as the Group of 7, met on Tuesday and said they were “ready to act” to limit the economic fallout, but did not announce any specific policy measures, disappointing Wall Street.
President Trump, in an early morning post on Twitter, called for a “big” interest rate cut “to make up for China’s coronavirus situation and slowdown.”
China, where the virus first emerged, reported 125 confirmed new infections on Tuesday, the lowest such total since January, as the infections there continued to dwindle.
But the epidemic showed little signs of waning elsewhere.
Iran remained a source of concern in the Middle East, with nearby Bahrain and Kuwait reporting dozens of new cases tied to the Iranian outbreak.
Tehran has confirmed more than 2,300 cases, but public health experts have expressed concern that the authorities are understating the true breadth of the epidemic there.
Just three weeks ago, South Korea had only a handful of cases. Now there are nearly 5,000, demonstrating how quickly the virus can spread.
And officials in Italy saw the number of new cases push past 2,000 on Tuesday, even as the government sought to restore some sense of normality in Milan, the city closest to the hardest hit areas in the country’s north.
Museums in Milan were permitted to reopen, but visitors were asked to stand about three feet apart.
New travel restrictions announced in China.
Major cities across China have announced new travel restrictions on people who have recently visited countries where coronavirus infections are on the rise.
On Tuesday, the authorities in Shanghai said that all travelers entering the city who had visited countries with significant outbreaks within the past two weeks must undergo a 14-day quarantine at home or at an approved isolation center. Officials in Guangdong Province announced similar measures, state news outlets reported on Tuesday.
And a city official in Beijing announced on Tuesday that all arrivals into the capital from countries struggling with outbreaks — including Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea — would be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
At least 13 people in China were found to be infected with the coronavirus after returning from countries such as Iran and Italy, two places that have seen some of the most severe outbreaks outside Asia in recent days, according to the authorities.
A 31-year-old Chinese woman had worked in a restaurant in the Italian city of Bergamo before returning home to Qingtian County, in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, where she tested positive for the virus. Seven more people who worked at the same restaurant in Bergamo were later found to be infected after they returned to Zhejiang, the local authorities said.
In recent days, county officials in Qingtian have urged overseas residents to reconsider any plans to return home, citing the challenges they could pose to China’s efforts to control the epidemic.
Six people have died in the U.S., including residents of a nursing care facility.
After the coronavirus killed four residents at a nursing care facility near Seattle, the authorities said that they intended to open isolation centers to limit the further spread of the virus.
The number of cases across the United States climbed to 100, with infected patients in more than a dozen states, as local health authorities from coast to coast raced to assess the risk to schools, medical centers and businesses.
So far, 14 people have tested positive for the virus in Washington State. But in a sign that the virus is spreading locally, officials said that in at least a dozen cases they were unaware of any connection to overseas travel that might explain the origin.
All of the six U.S. fatalities have been in Washington State, and four of those who have died were residents of the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, a Seattle suburb.
In Oregon, dozens of staff members at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro have been placed on paid furlough after coming in contact with coronavirus patients there. They have been asked to remain in self isolation at home for 14 days, officials with Kaiser Permanente said.
As criticism mounts, the Trump administration pledges to speed up testing.
The Trump administration said on Monday that it was working with private companies and academic laboratories to develop and validate coronavirus tests in order to ramp up testing across the country.
Nearly a million tests could be administered by the end of this week, officials said, a significant escalation of screening.
Testing has proved to be one of the more challenging aspects of dealing with outbreaks, in part because people who show no symptoms can still transmit the virus.
Efforts to get a fuller picture of the virus’s spread in the United States were also hindered after The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention botched the first attempt to mass produce a diagnostic kit, a discovery made only after hundreds of kits had been shipped to state laboratories.
New York prepares for a potential outbreak.
With its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, New York City has shifted from trepidation to high alert, with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo saying that it was “inevitable” that the outbreak will spread.
Both the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio have urged calm, noting that the virus often produces only mild symptoms.
Still, the arrival of the coronavirus has rapidly raised anxiety levels among New Yorkers, many of whom spend their days in close quarters in office and residential buildings, on crowded sidewalks and in packed subway cars.
British government announces plans for worst-case scenario.
A fifth of the British work force could be out sick at the peak of a coronavirus outbreak. The police, hamstrung by virus-related staffing shortages, could be forced to concentrate on only the most serious crimes. Even the army could be called on to help.
Those were among the scenarios outlined in a 28-page planning document released by the British government on Tuesday.
Health officials said that they were preparing for a reasonable worst-case scenario of 80 percent of people contracting the coronavirus, but that they expected a number “a lot lower than that.”
Britain now has 40 confirmed coronavirus cases, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a news conference on Tuesday that it was “highly likely” that the number would increase.
But he said that the overwhelming majority of people would experience only mild symptoms, and that the scenarios set out in the action plan were what the government could do if it got worse — not what it was doing now.
The government also said that it was considering plans to delay medical care that is not considered urgent and to bring back retired doctors, measures that may be needed to help a health care system that was already dealing with a shortage of beds and workers.
North Korea orders thousands into quarantine.
North Korea has quarantined between 7,000 and 8,000 people as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told a lawmaker on Tuesday.
Lee Eun-jae, a lawmaker affiliated with the opposition Future United Party, told South Korean news outlets that the quarantines took place in the northwestern provinces of North Pyongan and South Pyongan and in Kangwon Province in the southeast. Ms. Lee said she got the information in a written briefing from the National Intelligence Service.
The intelligence agency could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday evening.
North Korea has not reported any cases of the new coronavirus. But there has been concern that the country may be hiding an outbreak. North Korea shares a 930-mile border with China, where the coronavirus emerged. The border has long been porous for smugglers.
In late January, North Korea closed its borders with China and Russia, suspending all international flights and train services. It also asked hundreds of foreign diplomats not to leave their compounds.
Ms. Lee said that the North Korean government lifted the quarantine imposed on foreign diplomats in Pyongyang, estimated to number 380, on Monday. It planned to reopen flight services between Pyongyang and Vladivostok, Russia, on Friday in case the envoys wanted to leave North Korea, she said.
The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, called the Political Bureau of his Workers’ Party last week to discuss “measures to deter the influx and spread of the infectious disease in a scientific, pre-emptive and lockdown way,” the country’s official Korean Central News Agency reported on Saturday.
“In case the infectious disease spreading beyond control finds its way into our country, it will entail serious consequences,” the news agency quoted Mr. Kim as saying.
Hong Kong residents to be evacuated from Hubei Province after weeks of waiting.
More than 500 Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province for more than a month will be repatriated on charter flights in the coming days, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s top official, announced on Tuesday.
Those scheduled for repatriation include pregnant women, people requiring medical treatment or surgery, and 11 students scheduled to take university entrance exams, said Patrick Nip, the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs.
The evacuation comes after weeks of planning and mounting pressure from lawmakers. The Hong Kong government had previously cited public health risks and logistical challenges, as well as inadequate quarantine facilities, as a reason for not acting sooner.
“We do not feel that we have delayed the return of Hong Kong people stranded in Hubei,” Mrs. Lam said. “As you are aware, even up to this point, Hubei Province, particularly the city of Wuhan, is still under a very challenging situation,” she added, referring to the region at the center of the outbreak in China.
The evacuated residents will be quarantined at a converted public housing estate in the New Territories district of Fo Tan.