January 28 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:56 PM ET, Tue January 28, 2020
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1:23 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

US health officials expect CDC to be among WHO coronavirus delegation heading to China

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

Shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping and the World Health Organization agreed on Tuesday that WHO would send a team of international experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he expects US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff to be among them.

"I've been standing on the stage, so I didn't hear that," Azar told reporters Tuesday after being made aware of the WHO announcement. "Obviously, if that is the case, [I'm] delighted with that news ... and assuming CDC personnel would be part of that."

Minutes earlier, Azar pressured China for more collaboration in addressing the coronavirus outbreak, saying, "We are urging China: More cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take toward a more effective response."

CNN has reached out to WHO to ask if CDC will be part of its delegation to China.

One question US health officials are keen to answer involves whether the virus can be transmitted before symptoms appear.

"The Chinese have reported evidence of transmission in the asymptomatic phase based on data that they have reviewed," CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told reporters Tuesday. "CDC has not been given the opportunity to review that data."

"We would really like to see the data. Because if there is asymptomatic transmission, it impacts certain policies that you do regarding screening, et cetera," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, standing alongside Redfield and Azar.

But Fauci said that, even if patients are spreading the virus before symptoms show, that is very unlikely to be the leading contributor to the outbreak.

"In all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any time, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks," he said. "The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person."

 

1:43 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

4th case of coronavirus confirmed in France

From CNN's Fanny Bobille in Paris

A general view of Paris, France.
A general view of Paris, France.  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A fourth case of coronavirus has been confirmed in France, according to the head of France’s health department, Jerome Salomon.

The 80-year-old man is a tourist from China’s Hubei province and his condition is "serious," Salomon said. 

He is currently hospitalized in Paris. 

12:37 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

There's not an elevated risk of Wuhan coronavirus if you're traveling outside of high-impact areas, experts say

From CNN's Marnie Hunter

Much is still unknown about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, and health officials are urging vigilance.

That means travelers crisscrossing the globe should be aware of the virus, steer clear of heavily impacted areas and exercise some of the same kinds of preventive measures they'd use to avoid influenza and other illnesses.

But how worried should travelers outside the most impacted areas be about the Wuhan coronavirus?

In this era of global travel, you can never say the risk is zero of being exposed to something, says Dr. Yoko Furuya, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

But most of the cases so far have involved Wuhan and surrounding cities in Hubei Province.

"While the risk is not going to be zero, generally speaking there's not going to be a particularly elevated risk" outside that area, she says.

It's not a big concern for US travelers traveling domestically, says Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine in Vanderbilt University's division of infectious diseases.

Travelers heading to China should be more concerned, he adds.

"As a matter of fact, I have heard colleagues say to a patient or two, 'Gee, do you have to go to China right now? Why don't you wait a little bit?'"

People who have traveled to Wuhan in the last few weeks and are feeling sick with fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention right away and call ahead to inform providers of recent travel and symptoms, according to CDC guidelines.

12:03 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Number of coronavirus cases in mainland China rises to 4,610

From CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing

According to national and provincial health authorities, there's now a total of 4,610 confirmed cases in mainland China total.

The death toll stands at 106.

11:27 a.m. ET, January 28, 2020

The CDC is developing coronavirus testing kits

From CNN Health’s Jamie Gumbrecht

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to share its test for Wuhan coronavirus with other labs in the United States — but for now, it remains the only US lab that can confirm cases of the virus.

For now, CDC is continuing to ask lab partners to send samples to the agency for testing because it’s more efficient and ensures results are as accurate as possible, officials said.

What is the test? The test developed by CDC can diagnose the novel coronavirus in respiratory serum samples. The CDC has posted a “blueprint” to make the test, and said the agency is “refining” this use of the test so it can provide optimal guidance to states and labs on how to use it.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said CDC is working “as fast as we can,” but added "but it’s [going to be] another week or two.”

“We’re working on a plan now so that priority states get these kits as soon as possible,” Messonnier said during a press briefing on Monday. “But in the coming weeks we’ll share these tests with domestic and international partners so they can test for the virus themselves.”

Where has coronavirus spread in the US? CDC has confirmed five US cases of the coronavirus in four states – Arizona, California, Illinois and Washington – and has 73 cases under investigation with results still pending.

10:55 a.m. ET, January 28, 2020

How to protect yourself as Wuhan coronavirus spreads

From CNN's Holly Yan

Nearly all of the confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus are in China, but there virus has spread across Asia and the rest of the world.

In the US, several people have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus — including a man in his 30s in Washington state; a Chicago woman in her 60s; a man in his 50s in Orange County, California, a patient in Los Angeles County; and a fifth in Arizona. All had recently traveled to Wuhan.

If you're worried, here are some tips for protecting yourself:

  • Know the symptoms: Other symptoms of this coronavirus include fever and shortness of breath. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
  • About meat and animals: Scientists believe this coronavirus started in another animal and then spread to humans. So health officials recommend cooking meat and eggs thoroughly. Anyone with underlying medical conditions should avoid live animal markets and raw meats altogether, since those people are "considered at higher risk of severe disease," the World Health Organization says.
  • Take normal flu season precautions: In general, the public should do "what you do every cold and flu season," said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state — where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed. That includes washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you feel sick: If you're the one feeling sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch. If you or your doctor suspect you might have the Wuhan coronavirus, the CDC advises wearing a surgical mask.
10:15 a.m. ET, January 28, 2020

A country-by-country look at confirmed coronavirus cases

There have been more than 4,500 cases of Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China, where at least 106 people have died during the outbreak.

More than a dozen countries around the world have confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus, as authorities struggle to stop its spread.

Here's a country-by-country breakdown of the confirmed cases around the world:

10:04 a.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Hong Kong medical workers demand government ban Chinese visitors

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong and Sarah Faidell

Commuters arriving in Hong Kong wear facemasks as they pass the cross boundary restricted area inside the high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China.
Commuters arriving in Hong Kong wear facemasks as they pass the cross boundary restricted area inside the high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

A trade union representing medical workers in Hong Kong is demanding the government shut down its border with China to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus.

In a statement, the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance said while it agrees with the measures announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, it demands a refusal of all entries to Hong Kong via China. The group also called for the government to publish numbers of passenger flows entering Hong Kong via China.

The trade union, which says it represents 6,000 medical workers in Hong Kong, is threatening to strike if the government does not shut its border with China to prevent the spread of the virus.

What Lam said earlier: Lam on Tuesday said that the government will "temporarily" close some of its borders with mainland China and travel permits to mainland Chinese tourists will stop being issued.

9:57 a.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Taiwan confirms 2 more cases of coronavirus

People wear masks at a metro station in Taipei, Taiwan, January 28.
People wear masks at a metro station in Taipei, Taiwan, January 28. Chiang Ying-ying/AP

Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CECC) has confirmed two more cases of coronavirus in Taiwan, CECC announced in a statement today.

The patients are both 70-year-old women who live in Wuhan, and who were visiting Taiwan for sightseeing, according to the statement. Neither patients developed pneumonia and both are currently in a stable condition.

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Taiwan is seven, according to CECC.