The Journal Gazette
Sunday, April 05, 2020 1:00 am

Coronavirus roundup

Cruise ship with 12 patients aboard docks in Miami

News services

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Another cruise ship with coronavirus victims on board, including two fatalities, is docking in Florida.

Princess Cruises spokeswoman Negin Kamali said in an email Saturday the Coral Princess ship is docking in Miami. The ship with 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members has been in limbo for days awaiting permission to dock. As of Thursday, Kamali said seven passengers and five crew members had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A day earlier, the cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam were permitted to dock at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, with 14 critically ill people taken immediately to hospitals. The remaining passengers were slowly being allowed to board flights for home.

The Coral Princess had been on a South American cruise that was due to end March 19 in Buenos Aires. Since then, the ship has encountered obstacles to docking because of various port closures and cancellation of airline flights, the cruise line said.

The Coast Guard said in a news release Saturday it has been involved with processing about 120 vessels carrying some 250,000 passengers over the past three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LA cracks down on businesses

As California officials try desperately to keep people inside to slow the spread of the coronavirus, authorities are beginning to crack down on scofflaws.

The crackdown has escalated in recent days, with nonessential businesses that refuse to shut down as well as people who defy orders to stay out of the water finding themselves in the crosshairs.

Los Angeles prosecutors on Friday filed criminal charges against two smoke shops, a shoe store and a discount electronics retailer, accusing them of refusing to shut down despite orders imposed to fight the coronavirus. It marks the first time the city has filed charges for violations of the “Safer at Home” order, which requires businesses deemed nonessential to close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

China honors COVID-19 dead

With air raid sirens wailing and flags at half-staff, China held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection Saturday to honor those who have died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic.

Commemorations took place at 10 a.m. in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, the industrial city where the virus was first detected in December. Wuhan was placed under complete lockdown on Jan. 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and has been lauded as a “heroic city” by the nation's communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.

People have gradually been allowed to travel in and out of Wuhan under strict conditions. The quarantine in the city is to be formally lifted Wednesday.

Mormon leaders meet at distance

Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sat 6 feet apart inside an empty room as the faith carried out its signature conference Saturday by adhering to social distancing guidelines that offered a stark reminder of how the global coronavirus pandemic is affecting religious practices.

Speeches that largely commemorated the 200th anniversary of events that to the creation of the church by founder Joseph Smith were made in a small auditorium in Salt Lake City and livestreamed to members around the world. It was the faith's first crowd-less conference since World War II, when wartime travel restrictions were in place.

Hospital worker charged in theft

A housekeeping employee at a Prescott, Arizona, hospital was fired after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak unfolded, police said Saturday.

Keith Brown, 49, of Prescott was arrested Friday at Yavapai Regional Medical Center on suspicion of one count each of theft and fraud after police found numerous items valued at $1,700 in Brown's vehicle and residence, police Lt. Jon Brambila said.

The items recovered included gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, wash clothes, paper towels, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper and an automatic hand sanitizer, Brambila said.

Domestic violence expected to rise

Isolation measures such as self-quarantines and stay-at-home-orders will likely lead to an increase in domestic violence, according to the World Health Organization.

Speaking to reporters Friday, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned about the dangers caused by rules recently enacted around the world to curb the spread of the pandemic. “Women in abusive relationships are more likely to be exposed to violence, as are their children, as family members spend more time in close contact, and families cope with additional stress and potential economic or job losses,” said the director, who goes by Dr. Tedros.

A substantial spike in violence has been felt in countries around the world, leading some governments and anti-violence organizations to put reparative measures in place.

Nonprofit sues Fox News

A little-known Washington nonprofit has filed a lawsuit against Fox News in Seattle, claiming the news station, its parent companies and owners violated the state's Consumer Protection Act and acted in bad faith by disseminating false information about the coronavirus through its television news broadcasts and minimized the danger posed by the virus as the outbreak began to explode into a pandemic.

Yakima attorney Liz Hallock, who is representing WASHLITE in the lawsuit, said the classic example to demonstrate the limits of free speech is someone yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no danger. In contrast, Hallock said of Fox News: “They're yelling, 'There is no fire!' when there is a fire.”

The Times of San Diego quoted an attorney for Fox saying the lawsuit is “Wrong on the facts, frivolous on the law.”

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