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January 31 coronavirus news

This is life on lockdown in China
03:05

What we covered here

  • The latest: At least 258 people are dead and more than 10,000 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, as the virus spreads globally.
  • Travel ban: The US is imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals who have been in China in the past 14 days.
  • Evacuations amid a lockdown: Nearly 60 million people have been under partial or full lockdown in Chinese cities for a week. Several countries are sending planes to evacuate foreign citizens under lockdown in Wuhan.
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Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has moved here.

There could be more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus in China, researchers say

An estimated 75,815 people in Wuhan, China could be infected with the novel coronavirus as of January 25, researchers in Hong Kong said.

Gabriel Leung, one of the authors of study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet, said the estimates could be much higher than the number of confirmed cases because “not everyone who is infected would require or seek medical attention.”

Leung, who is the chairman of public health medicine at the University of Hong Kong, and the other authors cautioned “that given the lack of a robust and detailed timeline of records of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases and close contacts, the true size of the epidemic and its pandemic potential remains unclear.”

Passengers were wearing protective masks at Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing, China on Thursday.

Tracking the latest numbers on Wuhan coronavirus

There have been more than 9,800 cases of Wuhan coronavirus globally as of Friday afternoon.

Most of those cases have been documented in mainland China.

Correction: A previous version of this post contained a map that misattributed the source of provincial coronavirus case totals. The data comes from each province’s health authority, not China’s National Health Commission. The sourcing for the graphic above it has also been clarified.

Seventh confirmed case of coronavirus in US

The seventh confirmed case of the Wuhan coronavirus has been confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An adult male in Santa Clara County, California, has tested positive, according to the Count of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

This latest case is the third confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in California. There is one other case in Washington state, one in Arizona and two in Illinois.

JUST IN: US imposing travel ban on foreign nationals who have been in China

The Trump administration announced a ban on foreign national travel for those who have been in China within the last 14 days, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Friday.

The United States, Azar said, is “temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.”

Azar noted that any US citizen who has been in the Hubei Province in the last 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine upon return to the United States. US citizens returning from the rest of mainland China who have been there in the last 14 days will undergo screening at US ports of entry and up to 14 days of self-monitoring.

 The ban will be in effect beginning at 5 p.m. ET Sunday.

 The basis for the temporary ban, Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters, is “the unknown of the aspects of this particular outbreak.”

HHS declares coronavirus a public health emergency in the US

The novel coronavirus is now a public health emergency in the United States, Alex Azar, secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, announced at a White House press briefing today.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

Pentagon looking into additional facilities for coronavirus quarantine

The Pentagon expects to receive a request from the Department of Health and Human Services as early as today for additional housing capacity for people arriving in the United States aboard charter planes arranged by the US government.

They’re being placed into quarantine to ensure they do not have coronavirus, according to a US official directly familiar with the latest developments.

The housing would be for US government personnel, contractors and dependents arriving in the US under the State Department’s order to not travel to China. Nearly 200 people are already being quarantined at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California. But that facility is now considered at capacity.

The Trump Administration is quietly looking at other military bases and facilities that could be used to quarantine people expected to continue arriving in the US through the weekend.

At this point, the effort would not extend to Americans returning from China aboard commercial aircraft, only those returning on flights such as the one arranged by the State Department earlier this week that landed at March Air Reserve Base in California.

CDC’s coronavirus quarantine order is first in more than 50 years

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for nearly 200 Americans who returned from Wuhan, China, is the first such order in more than 50 years. 

“While we recognize this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented public health threat, and this is one of the tools in our toolbox to mitigate the potential impact of this novel virus on the United States,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, referring to the coronavirus that has sickened thousands in China.

The 195 Americans, many of them diplomats and their families, flew from Wuhan to California on Wednesday. They’ve been staying at March Air Reserve Base since then under a three-day voluntary quarantine.  

CDC officials thanked quarantined individuals for their flexibility. Cetron said most of the passengers were “exuberant and elated to be out of harm’s way” during their journey from Wuhan, and they understand the need for a longer quarantine. 

Cetron noted there are cons to quarantine – if they aren’t done properly, if there’s fear and stigma or if people aren’t treated with respect.

“We’re taking every measure possible to ensure these people are treated with dignity and respect,” Cetron said.

One quarantined individual had previously tried to leave the base. CDC officials declined to offer more information about that person.

There are currently six confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in the US – one in Arizona, two in California, two in Illinois and one in Washington.

Some historical context: A quarantine order like this was last used in the 1960s for smallpox evaluation, Dr. Marti Cetron, director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said Friday during a telebriefing with reporters.

Passenger says federal quarantine "is a very good thing"

A charter flight from Wuhan, China, carrying approximately 200 U.S. citizens, lands at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, on Wednesday, January 29.

A passenger who was onboard the US State Department evacuation flight from Wuhan, China to California tells CNN the CDC mandated 14 day quarantine “is a very good thing.”

The passenger requested anonymity because their family has received threats.

The passenger says officials sat them down in a sort of “town hall” meeting and read the official CDC statement.

They say the first question was how the passengers would be able to watch the Super Bowl.

US orders 14-day quarantine for Americans evacuated from Wuhan

A team in white biohazard suits watch as some of the approximately 200 passengers walk to waiting buses upon arriving on a charter flight from Wuhan, China, after landing at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, on Wednesday, January 29.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ordering a 14-day quarantine for nearly 200 Americans who recently returned from Wuhan, China.  

The 195 Americans, many of them diplomats and their families, flew from Wuhan to California on Wednesday. They’ve been staying at March Air Reserve Base since then under a three-day voluntary quarantine.  

Several other countries, such as France, South Korea, and Australia have ordered their returning citizens from Wuhan to be quarantined for 14 days.   

Some background: This morning, a longtime CDC adviser told CNN that the agency should consider extending the three-day quarantine because other countries are doing the same, and because of a report published last night in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that infected people can transmit the virus before they develop symptoms.   

In that study, there were five instances of asymptomatic transmission of the Wuhan virus in one cluster. A woman in Shanghai was infected by one of her parents, who had no symptoms; that woman flew to Germany and while she was asymptomatic transmitted the virus to two colleagues; one of those colleagues, while healthy, transmitted the virus to two more coworkers.  

Flights to Wuhan bring travelers stranded abroad home

A passenger aircraft operated by Xiamen Airlines sits on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, France, on Tuesday, January 28.

Two flights chartered by the Chinese government have brought stranded travelers from Hubei Province, epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, back home from Thailand and Malaysia.

The Xiamen Airlines-operated flights landed at the international airport of Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, on Friday night, according to the Chinese foreign ministry and flight data. 

The foreign ministry said the flight from Bangkok, Thailand, carried 76 passengers. It is unclear how many people were aboard the flight from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The authorities had earlier said that the two flights were expected to bring back more than 200 Hubei residents.

Arranged by the government, two Boeing 737-800 jets took off from the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen on Friday afternoon, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). 

The statement added that passengers would be billed for their flight.

About flying to Wuhan: Technically, flights into Wuhan are allowed but all departures are banned — except special flights, such as evacuation flights. But almost all airlines have canceled their Wuhan flights, both international and domestic, making it nearly impossible for stranded travelers to find alternative flights home.

EXCLUSIVE: Inside a coronavirus isolation ward in Macao

Photos exclusively obtained by CNN give a rare glimpse into a coronavirus isolation ward in Macao, the semi-autonomous Chinese territory where seven people have contracted the virus.

These are among the first photos showing treatment inside an isolation ward, aside from official images from Chinese state media. Medical workers, wearing face masks and protective suits, and a patient (face obscured) can be seen at the Centro Hospitalar Conde de São Januário in Macao.

Sweden confirms first case of coronavirus

The clinic for infectious diseases is seen in Jönköping, Sweden, on January 31.

Sweden has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a woman in Jönköping county who had visited the Wuhan area of China, Sweden’s Public Health Authority said Friday.

When the woman landed in Sweden on January 24, she was free of symptoms of the infection, but later developed a cough and contacted a local hospital. She was isolated in the hospital’s infection clinic, the agency said in a statement, but is not seriously ill.

CDC has investigated 241 US patients for coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed 241 patients under investigation for the novel coronavirus in 36 states, according to an update posted to the agency’s website Friday.

Of them, six have tested positive, 114 negative, and 121 are still pending.

There is one case is in Arizona, one in Washington state, two in California and two in Illinois.

The sixth patient is also the first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission of the virus in the US, according to an announcement by the CDC on Thursday. He is the husband of an Illinois woman who was diagnosed with the virus after returning from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated – though he did not travel to China himself.

Pending cases includes specimens that have been received and not yet undergone testing, as well as those in transit to CDC from health authorities in various states.

Previously, there were 165 patients under investigation in 36 states, as of January 29, including five positive, 68 negative and 92 pending cases.

CDC is the only lab in the US that can conduct diagnostic testing for the virus, but it is developing coronavirus testing kits to share with “domestic and international partners,” according to an earlier statement.

China slams "unfriendly" US comments on coronavirus

Wilbur Ross, U.S. commerce secretary, speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, January 23.

China’s Foreign Ministry has lashed out at “unfriendly” remarks by US officials related to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in a scathing statement.

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross’ comments that the virus could help bring jobs back to the US, officials implying that China was reluctant to cooperate with the US on epidemic control, and the State Department raising travel alarm on China to the same level as Iraq, were all among examples cited by the Ministry as “neither factual, nor appropriate.”

Chunying added that China was fighting against the outbreak “with an open, transparent and responsible attitude” and the government has released information and shared data in a “timely fashion with the international community,” including the US.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” Chunying said.

Dow drops 400 points on coronavirus fears

Worries about the coronavirus outbreak and its economic impact are weighing on the stock market, dragging the Dow more than 400 points lower.

China is the engine of the global economy and investors are worried a slowdown there could have a knock-on effect around the world.

Read more here.

Italy, France to arrange repatriation flights

Buses believed to contain French citizens after their evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan arrive at the Vacanciel Holiday Resort in Carry-le-Rouet, near Marseille, France on Friday.

France and Italy are both sending planes to repatriate citizens from Wuhan, the city in central China where the novel coronavirus was first detected in December and which is now in lockdown.

Italy is sending a military flight in the early hours of Monday to repatriate 70 Italians, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in a press conference Friday.

The flight to Wuhan will carry some sanitary equipment requested by the Chinese authorities, Di Maio said. The returning passengers will be quarantined in a military facility for 14 days.

Italy’s government declared a state of emergency Friday morning a day after its first two cases of coronavirus – two Chinese tourists – were confirmed. Five million euros ($5,500) have been allocated to use if needed to help fight the spread.

Di Maio added that Chinese aircrafts currently on Italian soil have until Sunday to leave, and that it was coordinating with the Chinese embassy in Rome regarding any Chinese citizens who wanted to return home from Italy.

Meanwhile, France said it was working on sending a second repatriation flight after a first one arrived on Friday.

The French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said in a press conference in Marseille that the French government is “doing everything [they] can to do organize a second plane.”

Buzyn said that countries who lack the “logistical capacity” of France have asked for their help in repatriating citizens. Buzyn stated that “the idea is to bring in this plane all the nationalities who ask for our help and also the French that we can pick up.”

Buzyn said that the plane will fly to France and that it will be “up to other the countries to come and collect their citizens.”

Delta Airlines to temporarily suspend all US-China flights over coronavirus

A Delta Airlines aircraft is pictured at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in November 2019.

Delta has decided to temporarily suspend all flights from the US to China from February 6 through April 30, due to ongoing concerns related to the Wuhan coronavirus, the airline said in a statement on Friday. 

Between now and February 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to leave China have options to do so, according to the airline. 

The last China-bound flight departing the US will leave on Monday, February 3, with the final return flight back to the US departing China on February 5. The airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation evolves. 

Delta currently operates 42 weekly flights between the US and China, including daily service connecting Beijing and Detroit and Seattle, and Shanghai and Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Magnified images show coronavirus replicating 

Magnified images of cells infected with the Wuhan coronavirus were released Friday by scientists at the University of Hong Kong, who are studying samples of the virus to better understand how it might replicate.

Thin-section electron micrographs of the novel coronavirus show a portion of the infected cells, with viral particles being released from the surface (the round dots lined up on the edge). Dr. John Nicholls, a clinical professor in pathology at the university, told CNN that this shows “the cell is a very efficient virus producing factory.”

The cells were infected with a patient sample from Hong Kong.

“It allows us to see how this virus is replicating in cells and whether it is any different to MERS or SARS in the way it replicates,” Nicholls said.

“If this virus uses the same replication mechanisms as SARS and MERS, then we can use our existing SARS and MERS information and apply it to the new corona viruses.”

Wuhan coronavirus can be spread even without symptoms, top US infectious disease doctor says

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci speaks during a press conference at the Department of Health and Human Services on the coordinated public health response to the coronavirus on January 28 in Washington, DC.

The nation’s top infectious disease doctor says a study published Thursday night shows people can spread the Wuhan coronavirus before symptoms set in.

In the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, German researchers described four business associates who became infected through asymptomatic transmission.

“They were in workshops together, they went to the company canteen together,” Dr. Camilla Rothe, an infectious disease specialist in Germany who co-authored the paper, told CNN.

A woman from Shanghai met with German business associates at a company near Munich on January 20. The Chinese woman was healthy during her visit to Germany.

Within eight days, four employees of that company were diagnosed with Wuhan coronavirus. None of them became seriously ill, but Fauci said there was concern that they would pass along the infection to someone who could develop life-threatening complications. 

Chinese health authorities said earlier this week the Wuhan coronavirus could be spread while people were asymptomatic, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had not seen evidence of that.

Canada evacuates diplomatic staff and relatives from China due to coronavirus

The Canadian government has evacuated a limited group of diplomatic staff, their family members and children from mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Angela Savard said people at risk, meaning the elderly or those with existing medical conditions or mental health concerns, were flown out of China on Thursday.

“The health, safety and security of our diplomats serving abroad and their families is a priority,” Savard said in a statement.

On January 29th, in light of school closures and due to a lack of English-speaking medical services, Global Affairs Canada authorized a limited departure of staff and dependents who met the criteria of being vulnerable (those with existing medical conditions, mental health concerns, the elderly, or other vulnerabilities), as well as all school aged and younger children.

62 countries have placed immigration control on Chinese citizens

Sixty-two countries have implemented some form of immigration control on Chinese citizens, as the deadly coronavirus has spread from Wuhan – capital of China’s Hubei province – around the world.

Six countries have tightened visa rules for Chinese citizens, four have restricted Chinese citizens’ entry into their countries, and five have launched restrictive measures on anyone from Hubei or with recent travel history to the province, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Forty-seven countries have required Chinese citizens to undergo temperature checks and submit health declarations, according to the Ministry.

The Ministry advised Chinese citizens to arrange travel plans based on their health, and obey immigration regulations of their destination countries.

French national taken to hospital after evacuation from China

A woman among the 180 French nationals evacuated from China by plane has been taken to hospital after she showed symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus, France’s Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said in a press conference Friday. 

Buzyn said there were many families and children on board.

“They are tired and happy to be back on French soil. I think they feel safe,” Buzyn said.

Buzyn said nurses and psychologists were on hand at the resort near Marseille, where the French citizens will be quarantined for the next 14 days.

Inside the resort, the evacuees will have to wear a mask and their temperature will be checked twice a day, according to Buzyn.  

UK coronavirus patients transferred to specialist infection unit

Some of the 83 Britons and 27 foreign nationals who were evacuated from Wuhan disembark a plane at RAF Brize Norton in England on Friday.

England’s first two confirmed novel coronavirus patients have been transferred to a specialist infection unit in Newcastle, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said in a Twitter thread.

The Department said the “risk to the public has not changed as a result” of the cases.

A flight transporting British nationals from Wuhan landed in the UK this afternoon. Those passengers will be transferred to a National Health Service accommodation facility, where they will stay in quarantine for 14 days.

In quarantine, they will be able to access a team of specialist medical staff, who will closely monitor their condition and will be regularly assessed for symptoms as a precaution. They will also have “fully furnished rooms, food, Wifi, toys and games for children, and laundry facilities” provided free of charge by the government.

“Our priority is to make sure the UK public is safe,” the health department said, adding that the quarantine was a “precaution” and that health officials were working to “ensure their comfort and well-being.”

Singapore issues travel restrictions for Chinese visitors

Health officers monitor a thermal scanner as passengers from Singapore, China and Hong Kong arrive at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on January 30.

Health officials in Singapore have suspended visas for China and banned visitors who have recently traveled to mainland China.

People who have been to mainland China within the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through the Asian city state, according to the Singaporean Ministry of Health. The ministry also announced that it would stop issuing new visas and suspend short term and multiple term visas for travelers with passports from the People’s Republic of China.

The measures are aimed at minimizing the virus’ spread in Singapore, where there are currently 13 confirmed cases.

First two cases of Wuhan coronavirus confirmed in Russia

Russia has identified its first two Wuhan coronavirus cases, both Chinese citizens, Russia’s TASS news agency reported, citing Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Tatyana Golikova.

One patient is being treated in Zabaikalsky region, which borders China, with the second case detected in the Tyumen region in Western Siberia, which borders Kazakhstan, TASS reports. 

According to Golikova, Russia will begin evacuating its citizens from Chinese provinces of Wuhan and Hubei, where there are 300 and 341 Russians respectively. 

China charters flights to bring stranded Wuhan travelers back home

China has chartered two flights to Southeast Asia to pick up stranded Chinese travelers from Hubei Province, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus that has spread across the globe.

Arranged by the government, two Boeing 737-800 jets took off from the southeastern city of Xiamen on Friday afternoon, bound for Bangkok, Thailand, and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The charter flights are expected to bring 217 Hubei residents stranded in the two locations back to Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, on Friday night, CAAC said.

The statement added that passengers would be billed for their flight.

Technically flights into Wuhan are allowed but all departures are banned – except special flights, such as evacuation flights. But almost all airlines have canceled their Wuhan flights (both international and domestic), making it nearly impossible for these travelers to find alternative flights home.