January 29 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jessie Yeung, Steve George and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 11:44 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020
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7:10 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

CDC: 195 people evacuated from Wuhan to the US are under voluntary quarantine

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen and Shelby Lin Erdman

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said that 195 passengers who were evacuated from Wuhan to an airbase in California have been screened, monitored and evaluated every step of the way. 

None of the passengers show signs of sickness, CDC officials said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon, but they will remain under a voluntary quarantine at the air base.

The evacuees are not required to stay at the base. The health agency said the travelers agreed to a request to remain there for three days of testing, monitoring and rest.

“The good news here is that despite an aggressive public health investigation to find new cases, we have not,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

“The situation in China is concerning,” Messonnier said. “However we are looking hard here in the United States. We will continue to be proactive. I expect that we will find additional cases.”

So far the agency has confirmed five cases of coronavirus in the US in four states and 165 suspected cases.

6:57 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

How federal agencies are responding to coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Geneva Sands

Multiple federal agencies, in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are contributing resources to respond the coronavirus outbreak. 

For instance, the Department of Homeland Security's Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office is facilitating airport screenings, according to a DHS official.  

Additionally, Customs and Border Protection has measures in place to identify travelers with overt signs of illness, who may be potentially infected with a communicable disease. And the CDC provided signage to the Transportation Security Administration for placement at airports warning travelers of risks associated with travel to certain areas in China, according to a TSA official. 

The US Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency and US Citizenship and Immigration Services are also involved, according to DHS. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Wednesday the department will continue to adapt as the virus changes and adapts.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration official, who referred CNN to the CDC and State Department, said the agency's responsibility is to ensure that planes get safely from one point to another. The agency is not involved with passengers coming in and out of the US. 

But airline personnel are keeping a close watch. 

The Allied Pilots Association — the union that represents Delta and United pilots — said it is updating pilots regularly with current information and has provided them with specific precautions they can use to mitigate any risk, according to Communications Director Gregg Overman. 

"This is obviously a rapidly developing situation, so we may have more to report in the coming days," he added. 

 

6:17 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Planned flight to bring British citizens back from Wuhan delayed

From CNN's Livvy Doherty in London

A planned flight to bring British citizens back from Wuhan will no longer leave on Thursday as originally anticipated, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson said Wednesday.  

“We are doing everything we can to get British people in Wuhan safely back to the UK. A number of countries’ flights have been unable to take off as planned. We continue working urgently to organise a flight to the UK as soon as possible” the spokesperson said.

“We remain in close contact with the Chinese authorities and conversations are ongoing at all levels” the spokesperson added.

It is understood the flight has been delayed due to Chinese permissions that have not yet come through.

 

6:03 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Death toll reaches 162 in the epicenter of the coronavirus

From CNN’s Steven Jiang

A community worker checks the temperature of courier in an Express station on Wednesday, January 29, in Wuhan, China.
A community worker checks the temperature of courier in an Express station on Wednesday, January 29, in Wuhan, China. Getty Images

There are now at least 162 dead from Wuhan coronavirus in China’s Hubei province – the epicenter of the outbreak – and a total of 4,586 confirmed cases in the province by the end of Wednesday, according to Hubei’s provincial health authority.

The case count for the province has gone up by 1,032, and death toll has gone up by 37 from the previous day.

This brings the number of cases for mainland China to over 7,000 and the death toll for mainland China to 170.

5:55 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

US official says enhanced coronavirus screening has expanded to 20 airports

From CNN's Geneva Sands

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Chad Wolf, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said on Wednesday that enhanced coronavirus screening has expanded to 20 airports, including Miami, which is hosting Super Bowl LIV.

Wolf, during a news conference in Miami, addressed security concerns and measures ahead of the NFL’s annual championship and biggest draw. Sunday’s game, which pits the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers, will attract thousands of fans to the area. 

The effort, Wolf said, would pull resources from multiple agencies. Homeland Security will be taking its lead from medical professionals at Centers for Disease Control. He said their medical strategy continues to evolve as the virus evolves. Not all of the work they do will be obvious, he said.

"From my perspective, I am equally concerned for the safety of our CBP and TSA professionals doing their job day in and day out, making sure they have the right protective measures, whether that's gloves, masks and everything in between," he said.

6:12 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Ikea to temporarily close half their stores in mainland China over coronavirus

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty in London

 A customer enters an Ikea f store in Hong Kong on April 26, 2019.
 A customer enters an Ikea f store in Hong Kong on April 26, 2019. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images/FILE

Ikea will temporarily close around half their stories in mainland China until further notice, effective from Jan. 29, an Ingka group spokesperson confirmed in a statement to CNN today. 

“The decision has been made after careful assessment and consideration of the epidemic situation, and IKEA Retail China is proactively working with local authorities in the cities and regions where we operate. The impacted IKEA co-workers are asked to stay at home until further notice with paid leave” the spokesperson said.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation and stay updated on information from local and global authorities, and act in accordance with their recommendations as this situation is evolving” the statement concluded.

4:57 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Delta temporarily reduces number of flights to China

Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines is temporarily reducing its number of weekly flights between the US and China “due to significantly reduced customer demand prompted by global health concerns related to coronavirus,” the airlines said in a statement today.

Here's the airlines full statement:

"Delta is temporarily reducing the number of weekly flights it operates between the U.S. and China due to significantly reduced customer demand prompted by global health concerns related to coronavirus.
To maintain options for customers, the airline will continue to operate from all current U.S.-China gateways. Today, Delta operates 42 weekly flights between the U.S. and China, including daily service connecting Beijing and Detroit and Seattle, and Shanghai and Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle. The airline will reduce this schedule to approximately 21 weekly flights, offering three to four weekly flights on the same routes.
The reduced schedule will be reflected on delta.com beginning Feb. 1 and will be effective Feb. 6 through April 30. Delta will continue to monitor the situation and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve.
Beginning Feb. 1, the Delta team will proactively reach out to take care of customers whose itineraries are affected and will accommodate them on alternate flights.
Additionally, Delta continues to offer a change fee waiver for customers who wish to adjust their travel plans for US-China flights. Delta remains in contact with the CDC and is following their guidance.”
4:49 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Google confirms it is temporarily shutting down Chinese offices due to coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Shannan Liao

Google's Beijing Office seen  on August 7, 2018.
Google's Beijing Office seen on August 7, 2018. Visual China Group/Getty Images

Google is temporarily closing down its offices in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, the company confirmed to CNN. 

Google said it has four offices in China that focus on sales and engineering for its ad business, and is keeping employees updated on the situation.

The tech company’s offices had been closed for the Lunar New Year festival, and the company is extending the closures in light of the outbreak. 

The Verge first reported the news.

4:36 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Dutch airline KLM suspends some flights to China

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

Dutch airline KLM announced it is reducing some of its flights to China because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the company said on Twitter today. 

Starting Jan. 30, direct flights to Chengdu and Hangzhou will be suspended, and from Jan. 30 the number of weekly flights to Shanghai will be reduced from 11 to 7 per week, the airline said.

From Jan. 31, direct flights to Xiamen will be suspended, it added.