Puerto Rico reports first COVID-19 death

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico is reporting its first COVID-19 death.

The Health Department says the victim is an elderly Italian woman who was aboard the Costa Luminosa cruise ship that stopped in the U.S. territory earlier this month.

Officials say 21 people have tested positive and another 71 are awaiting test results. Among those infected are people without a history of travel. Police also have cited more than 120 people for violating a curfew imposed earlier this week to help curb coronavirus cases.

Marriott to furlough thousands of workers

Marriott International Inc. said that it will furlough thousands of corporate employees at its U.S. headquarters and globally. The decision, first reported by The Wall Street Journal Sunday, adds to massive recent payroll reductions that began last week.

The world’s largest hotel company, like many of its peers, is trying to cope with a plunge in demand due to the coronavirus.

Marriott said Sunday that it is furloughing about two-thirds of its 4,000 corporate employees at it headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. It is also furloughing about two-thirds of its corporate staff abroad; it has about 174,000 employees globally. The furloughs are expected to begin in April and last up to 90 days. The company said it plans to bring all the staff back when it can.

The company told President Donald Trump last week that it has begun reducing workers’ hours and starting to furlough what could eventually become tens of thousands of workers at its hotels. About 750,000 people wear a Marriott name badge globally.

U.S. hotel companies are seeking $150 billion in direct aid from the government for their workers.

Rand Paul is 1st senator to report positive test for virus

WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday that he had tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus, becoming the first member of the Senate to report a case of COVID-19. He said in a tweet that he was feeling fine and was in quarantine.

Paul, an eye surgeon, said he has not had symptoms and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He said he was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.

Paul, a deficit hawk, was among eight Senate Republicans who voted against a House-passed bill last week that provided more than $100 billion to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers. He also was only Republican senator who opposed an earlier bill authorizing $8.3 billion for initial response to the coronavirus.

The senator was on Capitol Hill this past week, including at a luncheon Friday among GOP senators. He spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon, addressing the cornonavirus and an amendment he sponsored that would pay for virus relief efforts by withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

— From wire reports