January 28 coronavirus news

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10:40 p.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Wuhan coronavirus can be transmitted through contact, China says

A couple wearing face masks kiss on an underground metro train in Hong Kong.
A couple wearing face masks kiss on an underground metro train in Hong Kong. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

China’s National Health Commission has said the Wuhan coronavirus can be transmitted through contact, as well as droplets.

The announcement, released in a statement Tuesday morning, follows results of the fourth trial of a coronavirus treatment scheme run by the NHC.

On Monday the NHC said the major transmission mode of the Wuhan coronavirus is through “close range droplet transmission."

Droplet transmission is when a virus is passed on due to an infected person sneezing or coughing, and another comes into contact with those infected particles.

That is still the case, but contact is also at play, the NHC said. No further details were given as to what type of contact could transmit the virus.

All ages at risk: The NHC also said that people of all ages are susceptible, including children and infants, and adds that elderly patients and people with underlying conditions have more severe symptoms after infection. 

10:50 p.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Chinese travelers forced to cancel Lunar New Year holidays to Japan

Passengers wearing masks arrive at Tokyo's Narita airport on January 24, 2020.
Passengers wearing masks arrive at Tokyo's Narita airport on January 24, 2020. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Kamome, a Tokyo-based travel agency that specializes in tours for Chinese travelers, has received 20,000 cancellations following Beijing’s decision to impose severe travel restrictions on citizens in multiple cities. 

Staff at Kamome remained upbeat in the face of the cancellations, saying they had dealt with a similar situation during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis -- which first appeared in southern China.

But with Chinese tourists to Japan numbering up to 9.6 million in 2019, and accounting for a third of foreign tourist expenditure in the country, speculation is growing around the ramifications Beijing’s travel ban will have on Japan's tourism industry and economy. 

As Japan gears up for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the government has set an ambitious goal of attracting up to 40 million foreign visitors to the country.

Read the full story here.

10:28 p.m. ET, January 27, 2020

The number of confirmed cases in China jumped by nearly 65% in one day

Security personnel wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus in Beijing.
Security personnel wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus in Beijing. Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

By the end of day Monday, the number of confirmed cases of people infected with the Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China was 4,515, according to China’s National Health Commission.

The majority of confirmed cases are in Hubei province, which is where the virus was first identified.

By the end of day Sunday, the number of cases in mainland China stood at 2,744.

That's a jump in reported cases of nearly 65% over the course of a day.

During the 2002 and 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), there were 8,098 confirmed cases worldwide from November 2002 to July 2003, with 774 deaths.

While the current outbreak does not appear to be as deadly as SARS, it may be spreading more rapidly. That could be due to being more contagious, or the increased interconnectedness of both China and the world than in 2003.

As of mid-March 2003, roughly a month after the World Health Organization was first alerted to SARS by Chinese authorities, and three months after the first cases were detected in China, the number of confirmed cases worldwide stood at around 3,200, with 159 confirmed deaths.

Information release

On Monday, the mayor of Wuhan admitted that people were "not satisfied" with the rate that his government released information on the coronavirus, adding that it was "not disclosed in a timely fashion."

Mayor Zhou Xianwang told state-run CCTV that, "we didn’t effectively use that information" in its response.

He explained that under Chinese law on infectious diseases, the local government first needs to report the outbreak to the national health department, and then get approval from the State Council -- the country's chief administrative body, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang -- before they can make an announcement.

The mayor added that he took responsibility for the "unprecedented" decision to lock down the city.

10:00 p.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Chinese exchange student in Philadelphia tested for Wuhan coronavirus

A student from China, who is currently part of an exchange program at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, is being tested for the novel coronavirus, a health official said.

The exchange student's flight to the US connected through Wuhan -- ground zero for the virus -- and while there, they presented to local health care officials with respiratory symptoms, according to James Garrow with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Samples were taken from the student and sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing, Garrow said.

Wuhan's direct international flight links.
Wuhan's direct international flight links.

The student has been in isolation since being in care, and the other exchange students and their chaperones are being monitored for symptoms. So far, none have any.

Garrow said the exchange student has improved and is feeling well and they expect to hear back from the CDC with the test results within days.

According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia continues to have no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. 

CNN has reached out to the school for comment. 

9:37 p.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Singapore confirms fifth case of coronavirus

Five people have now been confirmed to have the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

Doctors have diagnosed a 56-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- with the respiratory virus.

The woman was put in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Monday after seeking medical attention the previous day, according to a news release from Singapore's Ministry of Health.

She had arrived in Singapore with her family on January 18��and developed symptoms on January 24.

While the woman has no known links to the other confirmed cases, the Ministry is contact tracing individuals who have had close contact with her.

Officials are also working to confirm 57 suspected cases of the virus in Singapore, the news release added.

9:35 p.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Here's the latest on the coronavirus

Visitors wearing masks walk through the Merlion Park on January 26 in Singapore.
Visitors wearing masks walk through the Merlion Park on January 26 in Singapore. Huiying/Getty Images

There are 4,515 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 106 deaths in mainland China. Global concern is mounting about the rate of its spread. 

Here's what you need to know:

  • Outbreak in China: 4,515 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, and 106 people are dead. There are full or partial lockdowns in 15 Chinese cities in an effort to limit the virus' spread.
  • Global spread: There are more than 50 cases confirmed around the world, in the United States, Germany, Sri Lanka, Canada, Singapore, and more. Some countries are trying to evacuate their citizens out of Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • Contagious before symptoms: People can spread the virus before symptoms show, China warned on Sunday -- meaning people may have been spreading the virus without knowing they were ill. However, US experts say there is no clear evidence this is happening and more investigation is needed.
  • Transmission: The major transmission mode of the coronavirus is through “close range droplet transmission,” Feng Luzhao, researcher from the Chinese Disease Prevention and Control Center, said. His comments suggest that most people have contracted the virus by being in close contact with an infected person.
  • Travel advisories: More countries are warning against all but essential travel to China in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.