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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

Blockbuster Supreme Court day

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court will give conservatives a lot of what they want — but not quite everything.

Driving the news: It voted 9-0 to carve out religious objections to same-sex marriage, saying foster-care agencies have a First Amendment right to turn away same-sex couples. But it also voted 7-2 to preserve the Affordable Care Act, saying Republican attorneys general did not have the legal standing to bring their lawsuit.

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

President Biden and Vice President Harris with members of Congress after the signing in the White House on June 17. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

"Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments," President Biden said before signing legislation Thursday that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, just two days before the occasion.

Why it matters: The holiday, which will be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, is now the 11th annual federal holiday and the first one established since the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

House antitrust chair discusses the bills to bust up Big Tech

House lawmakers last week introduced a series of five bipartisan bills designed to curb the power of Big Tech, targeting Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google in all but name.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the House antitrust committee and a sponsor on most of the bills, to learn how he plans to get these measures over the finish line. The congressman from Rhode Island also faces a slate of other priorities and in the wake of a spending package to bolster the U.S. tech sector’s ability to compete with China.