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Photo: Abdulgani Basheer/AFP/Getty Images

In the blink of an eye, we've entered a new phase on the coronavirus.

The big picture: Italy, Iran and South Korea are at "decisive" points in their responses, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

  • "We are actually in a very delicate situation in which the outbreak can go in any direction based on how we handle it," said WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Iran now has 245 cases and 26 deaths, has closed schools and canceled its Friday prayers. At least six Iranian government officials have fallen ill, the N.Y. Times reports.

  • Saudi Arabia is closing its borders to religious pilgrims, with the hajj coming this summer.
  • Italy has seen its number of cases double in three days.

Between the lines: The world's big democracies are suddenly facing internal transmissions, with less police state control to tamp the spread.

  • California has a shortage of testing kits and is monitoring 8,400 people for the virus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.
  • Obama's Ebola czar, Ron Klain, tore into the White House over a report in the N.Y. Times that all public statements and appearances by health officials must be coordinated with the office of Vice President Mike Pence.
  • The European Union's open borders policy seems to be holding, and 14 European countries are now reporting cases.
  • South Korea's and Japan's responses to the virus have been far less severe than China's. Japan wants its schools to close until April, and Korea delayed schools from starting for another week.

The bottom line: "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.

Go deeper: California health officials confirm 33 cases of novel coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
10 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.