CORONA VIRUS : The Latest: Australia bans travel from S Korea over virus

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Australia has banned travel from South Korea and will more thoroughly screen travelers from Italy in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The travel ban from late Thursday follows similar bans on travel from China and Iran.

Australian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from the ban. Those returning from Korea are asked to self-isolate for 14 days when they return home.

The new measures come as a 95-year-old nursing home resident became the second person in Australia to die with COVID-19 disease.

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China’s deaths from the new COVID-19 illness have surpassed 3,000 though new cases have fallen steadily.

Authorities on Thursday reported 31 deaths over the previous 24 hours.

Another 139 cases of infection with the new corona virus were reported, all but five of them in the hardest-hit province of Hubei.

While Hubei hospitals admitted another 134 patients, a further 1,923 were declared cured and released.

The update brings China’s totals to 80,409 cases and 3,012 deaths. It has the vast majority of cases and deaths though the virus has spread to more than 70 countries.

China’s numbers have fallen steadily. Though Thursday’s cases were up by 20 from Wednesday’s, deaths were seven lower.

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U.S. officials say a medical screener at the Los Angeles International Airport has contracted the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says it’s unclear if the person contracted the virus through their work as a medical screener or from community transmission. The agency said no travelers screened at LAX have tested positive for coronavirus.

The person, who is a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security, is being quarantined at home and has mild symptoms.

The patient last worked at the airport on Feb. 21 and began feeling cold-like symptoms on Feb. 29. The patient’s doctor tested them for corona-virus on March 1.

Officials say the screener wore protective equipment at the airport.

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Korean Air suspended service last month from several airports in South Korea to Beijing and other cities in China, Japan and Asia.

According to the new schedule, direct flights will stop by next Monday to Boston, New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Seattle. It expects service to resume to many cities in late April.

Reductions in flights were announced for service to Honolulu, Chicago, Washington and Atlanta, as well as Vancouver and Toronto.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a “small cluster” of patients with the new coronavirus in Northern California who were passengers of a Grand Princess cruise ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico in February, including a patient who died at a hospital Wednesday.

The Grand Princess’ chief medical officer says the ship is at sea off the coast of Mexico and will skip a scheduled stop in Ensenada and return directly to San Francisco, where CDC and cruise officials will meet to determine the next course of action. He said guests who sailed on the Feb. 11-21 voyage and are currently on the ship need to remain in their rooms until they are cleared by medical staff.

The ship is expected to dock in San Francisco Thursday.

(Associated Press)