February 6 coronavirus news

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9:32 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has moved here.

7:33 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

A coronavirus evacuee in Southern California has been sent to the hospital

An evacuee from Wuhan, China who arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California was transported to a local hospital after developing a fever or a cough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement Thursday.

The adult was sent to UC San Diego Health, according to the statement.

So far, a total of five evacuees from the base have been transported for further evaluation.

7:16 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

New coronavirus cases confirmed in Singapore and Taiwan

Medical staff at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore on January 31.
Medical staff at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore on January 31. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore and Taiwan confirmed new cases of coronavirus on Thursday.

Three new coronavirus cases were reported in Taiwan, bringing the total to 16, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In Singapore, two additional coronavirus cases were confirmed, increasing the total number in the country to 30, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

About the new cases in Taiwan:

  • A couple in their 50s are said to have transferred through Hong Kong on a trip to Italy on Jan. 22 and returned to Taiwan via Hong Kong on Feb. 1. They developed a cough on Jan. 26 and 28, respectively.
  • A woman in her 40s traveled to Macao with three family members from Jan. 21 through 24, and started showing symptoms Feb. 1. 

About the new cases in Singapore:

  • A 41-year-old man developed a fever on Jan. 28.
  • The other patient, a 27-year-old man, was tested and confirmed after attending a private business meeting from Jan. 20-22. The meeting included participants from Hubei, China, as well as confirmed cases from Malaysia and South Korea.
  • Both Singaporean patients are said to have no recent travel history to China and are now in isolation. 
7:10 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Third case of coronavirus confirmed in Italy

A military coach transporting Italian citizens repatriated from Wuhan leaves the Mario De Bernardi military airport in Pratica di Mare en route to the nearby Cecchignola center on February 3.
A military coach transporting Italian citizens repatriated from Wuhan leaves the Mario De Bernardi military airport in Pratica di Mare en route to the nearby Cecchignola center on February 3. Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Italy has confirmed its third case of coronavirus after an Italian national tested positive for the infection, the country's health ministry said Thursday.

The patient is the first Italian to have the virus after its first two cases were from Chinese tourists. According to the statement, the patient was quarantined in the city of Cecchignola, a historically known military district on the outskirts of Rome, after being repatriated from Wuhan last week.

The patient is currently being treated at Lazzaro Spallanzani Institute, an infectious disease hospital in Rome, where they have a slight “temperature and conjunctival hyperemia," the statement said.

6:40 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Death toll rises to 618 in China's Hubei province

Medical staff members work at a quarantine zone in Wuhan on February 3.
Medical staff members work at a quarantine zone in Wuhan on February 3. AFP via Getty Images)

The death toll in China's Hubei province now stands at 618, and the total number of confirmed cases has increased to 22,112, the health authority in Hubei province announced Thursday.

The health authority reported that 15,804 patients remain hospitalized, of which 841 are in critical condition.    

6:17 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Chinese hospital announces that whistleblower doctor is dead

Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang.
Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang. From Li Wenliang

Li Wenliang, the Chinese whistleblower doctor who was reprimanded by Wuhan Police after warning the public of a potential "SARS-like" disease in December 2019, died of coronavirus in Wuhan in the early hours of Friday morning (local time), according to a statement from Wuhan Central Hospital.

“Our hospital's ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected with coronavirus during his work in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic,” the statement read. “He died at 2:58 a.m. on Feb 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful.”

The statement came after hours of confusion over Li’s status.

Earlier on Thursday, several state media outlets reported Li’s death, following Chinese social media erupting into profound grief and anger. A short time later, Wuhan Central Hospital released a statement saying Li was still alive and in critical condition, adding that they were “making attempts to resuscitate him.” State media subsequently deleted their previous tweets.

About Li: After he alerted colleagues in December, Li was questioned by local health authorities and was later summoned by Wuhan police to sign a reprimand letter in which he was accused of "spreading rumors online" and "severely disrupting social order."

Li was one of several medics targeted by police for trying to blow the whistle on the deadly virus in the early weeks of the outbreak, which has sickened more than 28,000 people and killed more than 560. He later contracted the virus himself.

Li was hospitalized on Jan. 12 and tested positive for the coronavirus on Feb. 1.

CNN gives an update from Beijing:

4:01 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Pentagon readies additional coronavirus quarantine housing in US

The Defense Department expects to announce today that 11 additional military housing locations have been approved to accept people for quarantine if public health authorities believe there are coronavirus concerns, according to two US officials.

The request for the additional military housing has come from the Department of Health and Human Services and has been preliminarily approved by the Pentagon.

The list of housing sites has not yet been made public but they are located near 11 designated commercial airports where planes carrying US citizens who have recently been in China must land, the officials said.

Those airports are: John F. Kennedy in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Honolulu, Dallas, Detroit, Newark and Washington's Dulles.

The expectation is relatively small numbers of people will have to be housed as they come off those commercial flights, officials said. Health authorities will be in charge of making those decisions. The request estimates about 20 beds per site may be needed. The officials said these will be sites used after other military sites and public health sites are full.                        

This is different than the initial charter flights flying from mainland China directly to military facilities where the Pentagon was told to be ready for approximately 1,000 people, the officials said.

4:07 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

UK urges anyone with symptoms who traveled to affected countries to stay indoors

A man walks past ambulances parked outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital where a third person has tested positive for coronavirus in the UK on February 6.
A man walks past ambulances parked outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital where a third person has tested positive for coronavirus in the UK on February 6. Andrew Hasson/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's chief medical officer urged anyone who has traveled to countries affected by the coronavirus in the last 14 days to stay indoors, "even if symptoms are mild."

The UK updated its public health advice for anyone who is returning to the UK from Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Macao or mainland China and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath.

“These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review. Our advice for travellers from Wuhan and Hubei Province remains unchanged,” the Department of Health’s website said in the statement.

The advisory was updated on Thursday — the same day that a third case of coronavirus was confirmed in the UK.

12:07 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020

World Health Organization aims to speed up research on coronavirus at global forum next week

The World Health Organization aims to speed up research and innovation on the novel coronavirus through a global forum to be held on Feb. 11 and 12 in Geneva, the organization announced Thursday.

Leading researchers and public health agencies will attend the forum, including those involved in developing vaccines, honing diagnostic tools and tracing the virus back to its source.

The forum aims to create a "global research agenda for the new coronavirus, setting priorities and frameworks that can guide which projects are undertaken first," the organization said.

"There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement Thursday. "WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress."