Roughly two dozen countries around the world have taken precautionary measures to stem the spread of the new coronavirus as the death toll continues to rise.
This page has updates from Feb. 5. For updates from Feb. 6, click here.
Another 10 Test Positive on Cruise Ship Quarantined in Japan, Taking Total to 20
Japanese media have reported another 10 people testing positive for coronavirus aboard the now-quarantined Carnival Japan Inc.’s Diamond Princess cruise ship, taking the total number of infections from 10 to 20.
Japan’s health ministry confirmed Thursday that the 10 new cases were among 71 test results returned from 273 passengers who were tested for the virus earlier this week. Test results for 202 passengers are still pending.
All 20 patients have been removed from the vessel and sent to hospitals in Kanagawa Prefecture for monitoring and isolation.
The ship, which carries around 3,700 passengers, is now docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama. Passengers will be quarantined onboard for at least 14 days.
One American, two Australians, three Hong Kongers, one Filipino staff member, and three Japanese were the first 10 to test positive for the virus. They were all between 50 to 80, the ministry said.
It’s unclear who the other 10 patients are at this stage.
House Panel Holds First Hearing on Coronavirus Outbreak
A congressional hearing has heard testimony from three health policy experts who have assessed the recent coronavirus outbreak and the response to it.
Jennifer Nuzzo, associate professor and senior scholar from Johns Hopkins University, told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation: “Evidence is mounting each day that it may not be possible to contain this virus.
“What this means is that if its not possible to completely stop disease transmission, we must plan for how we will mitigate the impacts of the virus as it spreads.”
Read more here.
3,700 Quarantined on Dream Cruises Ship in Hong Kong
Nearly 3,700 people on a Dream Cruises ship are undergoing testing for the Wuhan coronavirus while they’re being held on the vessel off the coast of Hong Kong.
Three people who were on the cruise between Jan. 19 and Jan. 24 tested positive for coronavirus, which has ravaged parts of China and triggered lockdowns, according to a letter from Dream Cruises (pdf). The Taiwanese government blocked the ship from making its port of call in Kaohsiung, forcing it to return to Hong Kong, the letter said.
Hong Kong’s health department said that 90 percent of the people on the cruise are from Hong Kong and added that no mainland Chinese were on board the World Dream, Reuters reported. It’s unclear clear how long passengers and crew would be held on the cruise ship.
“We would like to inform you that all passengers had received stringent temperature checks in Guangzhou Nansha upon disembarkation” on Jan. 24, while any person who had a fever was further tested for coronavirus, according to the letter.
Wisconsin Confirms First Case of Coronavirus, 12th in US
The 12th U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Wisconsin by state health officials.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Homeland Security, the patient came into contact with the virus while traveling in mainland China sometime in the past two weeks.
The Wisconsin patient is in “home isolation” and doesn’t require hospitalization, reported NBC26 and Fox6.
Read more here.
Plane Turns Around After Passenger Claims to Have Coronavirus: Police
A plane had to turn around and fly 1,000 miles back home because a man on board claimed to have caught the Wuhan coronavirus.
On Monday, a WestJet flight from Toronto, Canada, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, turned around after a man declared that he had contracted coronavirus.
The Peel Regional Police said James Potok, 28, was charged with criminal mischief after “he stood up and announced that he had been to China and has the coronavirus,” which was shared with the pilots and flight crew. A decision was then made to return the flight to Pearson Airport.
The man was assessed by medical staff upon arrival and was declared coronavirus-free, according to police. The man was charged and is due in court in March.
Four Planes Carrying Evacuees Landing in US This Week
Two planes carrying evacuees from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the new coronavirus—landed in California on Wednesday while two other planes were slated to land elsewhere on Thursday, federal officials said.
The two planes that landed on Wednesday arrived at Travis Airport Base between Sacramento and San Francisco, the U.S. military said. One plane was continuing to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
On Thursday, one additional plane will land at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, while the fourth will land at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters in a telebriefing.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) personnel would meet the planes and assess the health of the passengers through temperature checks and observing for respiratory symptoms. The passengers will be quarantined for 14 days, the outer edge of the incubation period, from their departure from Wuhan.
Chinese Citizens Say Authorities Misallocating Donations
Sources inside China are accusing authorities of mishandling the distribution of supplies that the public has donated to help with the coronavirus response.
Doctors and nurses from several hospitals designated to treat the coronavirus have turned to social media to plead for help. Videos shared online show medical staff wearing trash bags due to the lack of protective suits and shoe covers.
On Jan. 31, spokeswoman for the Union Hospital in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the outbreak, told state-run media Shangyou News: “We keep on receiving donated materials. But we have a lot of patients, and [medical staff] use a large amount of those materials,” she said.
Teen Dies Alone at Home After Father is Quarantined
A teenager with cerebral palsy was left alone at home in Huanggang City, Hubei Province when his father was quarantined after showing symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus. 17-year-old Yan Cheng died from inadequate care a few days later.
Cheng’s father, 49-year-old Yan Xiaowen, developed a fever on Jan. 19. Local authorities took Yan and his younger son away to a designated clinic office for quarantine, leaving Cheng on his own without adequate care and supervision, according to a report by China’s Autistic Child Service Platform “Rice and Millet” on Chinese social media.
Huanggang is 46 miles away from Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Yan is a native of Huanggang who has been working and living in Wuhan with his two sons in the past few years.
US Hasn’t Verified Pregnancy Reports
The United States has not verified reports that babies are being infected with the coronavirus in China, a top health official said on Feb. 5.
“We have read with interest this report of neonatal, vertical transmission coming from China. For a respiratory virus, it would be pretty unusual. However, there’s a lot about this coronavirus that we do not know,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a phone call with reporters.
Doctors at Wuhan Children Hospital said on Wednesday that pregnant women infected with the new coronavirus may be able to pass it to their unborn children.
The doctors said it was possible after an infected coronavirus patient gave birth to a baby on Feb. 2, according to state television. The newborn was given a test 30 hours later and was confirmed to have the virus, the doctors said.
The newborn has stable vital signs and no fever or cough, but was experiencing shortness of breath, the doctors said. Chest x-rays showed signs of infection and there were some abnormalities in liver function.
The hospital also disclosed details of a second case involving an infant who was born healthy on Jan. 13. The baby’s nanny was later diagnosed with the virus and the mother days later. The baby started showing symptoms on Jan 29.
Chinese Man Questioned After Filming Videos
If Fang Bin, a self-described citizen journalist from the virus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan, expected police to track him down, he didn’t expect it would happen so fast.
For days on end, he had been driving around the town, documenting every step of the way with his phone to document life in a now locked-down city.
On the morning of Feb. 1 alone, he had visited five hospitals where doctors hustled about in the packed halls and frantic patients groaned and sobbed. At the fifth hospital, he counted eight dead bodies from a funeral van, all within five minutes after he arrived at the hospital. Inside, a sick boy moaned and gasped for breath by the bedside of his father, who had already turned lifeless. Fang uploaded all of these moments to the internet.
Around 7 p.m. that evening, half a dozen masked men wearing hazmat suits visited his property, demanding to take his temperature.
US Working With Biotech Firm to Create Virus Treatment
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will collaborate with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to develop new treatments to combat the Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, it announced on Feb. 4.
The New York-based biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will work in partnership with the department to develop “multiple monoclonal antibodies” that could be used individually or in combination to treat the virus, according to a press statement.
These monoclonal antibodies are produced by a single clone of cells or a cell line with identical antibody molecules and bind to certain proteins of a virus, reducing its ability to infect human cells.
HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Regeneron have had a partnership since 2014 and the company will use the same “VelociSuite technology” it used to develop a “promising investigational three-antibody therapeutic” which was used to treat Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019, the statement said.
Suspected NYC Case Tests Negative
One of three people suspected of having the novel (new) coronavirus in New York City does not have the virus, tests confirmed.
The person is hospitalized at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in the borough of Manhattan.
“The first person who met the criteria to have samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was found not to have the 2019 novel coronavirus,” said city Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot in a statement.
“The response and care the patient received reflects how well the systems we have in place are working. We want to thank everyone for all they did, and we will keep New Yorkers informed as the situation develops.”
Cathay Pacific Wants Workers to Take Unpaid Leave
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave, saying preserving cash was key for the carrier and that conditions were as grave as during the 2009 financial crisis due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Cathay is also asking suppliers for price reductions, putting in place hiring freezes, postponing major projects, and stopping all non-critical spending, Chief Executive Augustus Tang said in a video message to staff.
On Tuesday, the carrier said it planned to cut about 30 percent of capacity over the next two months, including about 90 percent of flights to mainland China.
Cathay had already experienced a sharp fall in demand since the middle of last year due to widespread anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Confirms 21 Cases
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Feb. 5 that there were six new cases confirmed in the last two days in the city, bringing the total to 21.
She added that these new cases showed the “worsening trend” of the coronavirus outbreak, since the three patients that tested positive yesterday did not travel outside Hong Kong during the virus’s incubation period.
Scientists say the coronavirus has an incubation period—the period between exposure and the onset of symptoms—of up to 14 days.
Lam said that these three “local infection cases” proved that the next 14 days will be critical, to prevent the virus from spreading further in local communities.
Among the 21, two patients infected with the diseases are in critical condition, Lam said.
To further tackle the outbreak, Lam announced that Hongkongers and other travelers from China returning to Hong Kong will be placed under compulsory quarantine for 14 days. The new measure will be effective beginning at midnight on Feb. 8.
Taiwan Bans Entry to Chinese Nationals
Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s health minister, announced on Feb. 5 that Chinese nationals living in China have been banned from entering the island. The ban will be effective beginning Feb. 6.
Additionally, Chen announced that travelers to Hong Kong and Macao will be quarantined at home for 14 days after returning to Taiwan.
The Philippines Reports 3rd Case of Coronavirus
A 60-year-old Chinese woman has tested positive for the virus in the Philippines, local newspaper Sun Star reported on Wednesday, citing the health department.
The woman arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan via Hong Kong on Jan. 20. She went to a private hospital in Bohol after having a fever.
Several samples were taken from the woman on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, and were tested in Australia. On Jan. 29, the Filipino health department received notice of results of her test sample from Jan. 24, which showed negative for the virus at the time.
The woman returned to China after recovering on an unknown date. However, the Filipino health department was alerted on Monday that her sample from Jan. 23 tested positive for the new coronavirus.
First Indonesian Tests Positive
An Indonesian migrant worker in Singapore has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Jakarta Globe reported on Wednesday, citing Indonesia’s manpower minister Ida Fauziyah.
“She is 44 years old and works as a maid there,” Fauziyah said, adding that the female worker is now being treated at the Singapore General Hospital.
Citing a tweet from the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, Jakarta Globe stated that the female worker had not traveled to China, but her employer tested positive and is among one of the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Singapore.
Currently, Singapore has 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
3 Japanese Airlines Suspend Flights to China
Japan’s flag carrier Japan Airlines will suspend flights between Narita and Beijing and between Chubu and Shanghai from Feb. 17 until March 28, according to Japanese media reports.
All Nippon Airways flights will be suspended between Narita and Beijing from Feb. 10 to March 29. It will also reduce its Haneda-Beijing services by half to seven flights per week.
Budget airline Jetstar Japan has announced that its services between Narita and Shanghai will be halted from Feb. 5 to March 28.
Taiwan Reports 11th Case
Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare announced the 11th case of coronavirus in the country on Wednesday. The case involves a man in his 50s who was among 247 Taiwanese businessmen and their families who returned to Taiwan on a charter flight on Monday.
The man is being treated in isolation and is in a stable condition.
Chinese City Nanjing Announces Partial Lockdown
Nanjing, the capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu province, announced nine measures for “small neighborhood seal-off management” of the city on Feb. 4, according to China’s state-run media.
One measure requires local authorities to check and list vehicles coming into and out of neighborhoods. People from areas heavily infected by the virus, such as Wuhan in Hubei province and Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, are not allowed to enter these neighborhoods.
Another measure calls for people to report to local neighborhood authorities if they have been to areas heavily infected by the virus in the past 14 days.
Public places are also being closely monitored. Places that do not provide “living necessities” should be closed down, the announcement states, without further details.
Another measure calls for a halt to all construction works, including household renovation and gas pipeline reconstruction.
Currently, 27 cities in China have implemented partial lockdown measures, including Wuhan, Wenzhou, Zhengzhou in Henan province, and Linyi in Shandong province, Taiwan’s daily newspaper Liberty Times reported on Wednesday.
Read more here.
South Korea Reports 2 New Cases
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported two new cases on Wednesday, bringing the national total to 18.
One patient, a 38-year-old Korean man, was in Singapore for a conference from Jan. 18 to Jan. 24.
It is known that a Malaysian man attending the conference was infected with the virus. He tested positive on Wednesday in South Korea.
The second new case involved a 21-year-old female, who is the daughter of the 16th confirmed case in South Korea. She also tested positive on Wednesday.
US Airlines Suspend Flights to Hong Kong
United Airlines announced on Tuesday that its flights from the United States to Hong Kong would be suspended from Feb. 8 to Feb. 20.
The suspension is due “to the continued drop in demand,” United Airlines said in a statement on its website.
American Airlines also suspended its flights between the United States and Hong Kong until Feb. 20.
Currently, Hong Kong has 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and one patient passed away on Tuesday.
Vietnam Confirms 10th Case
A 42-year-old woman in north Vietnam has been diagnosed with coronavirus, marking the 10th known case in the country, Vietnam’s health ministry confirmed Tuesday afternoon local time, according to local reports.
The unidentified female, located in Binh Xuyen district, Vinh Phuc province, northwest of Hanoi, developed a high fever on Jan. 31, according to VnExpress. She has been isolated at a medical center and her condition is reported as stable.
According to the outlet, the newly-infected woman had close contact with another confirmed case in Vietnam—a 23-year-old who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 17. The worker was among a group of eight employees of Japan-based Nihon Plast Company that was sent to work-related training in Wuhan two months ago.
10 Test Positive in on Cruise Ship Carrying 3,700
Cases of coronavirus in Japan have jumped to 33 after 10 passengers aboard a quarantined cruise ship tested positive.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference on Wednesday morning local time that the 10 cases were among 31 results from 293 people tested so far on Carnival Japan Inc.’s Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The ship, docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama, was put on lockdown as screenings continue. The screenings started late Monday after an 80-year-old man from Hong Kong who was on the ship last month tested positive for the coronavirus.
“From around 7:30 a.m. we had them [the 10 who tested positive] get off the vessel, and with cooperation with the coastguard we are sending them to medical organizations,” he said, AFP reported.
Kato added that the rest of those on board are required to remain on the ship for 14 days. The ship carries around 3,700 passengers.
Frank Fang, Mimi Nguyen Ly, Jack Phillips, Zachary Stieber, Eva Fu, Katabella Roberts, Olivia Li, and Reuters contributed to this article.
For updates from Feb. 4, click here.