February 12 coronavirus news

By Ivana Kottasová, Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:00 PM ET, Wed February 12, 2020
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11:11 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Mongolia suspends coal exports to China

From CNN’s Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Workers sit in front of trucks loaded with coal at the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in Tsogtsetsii, Omnogovi province, Mongolia, on September 24, 2018.
Workers sit in front of trucks loaded with coal at the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in Tsogtsetsii, Omnogovi province, Mongolia, on September 24, 2018. Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mongolia will suspend the delivery of coal to China until March 2, the state-run Montsame News Agency reported, citing the country’s State Emergency Commission.

The decision was made after China reported two confirmed cases of novel coronavirus close to its border crossings with Mongolia.

Coal is Mongolia’s main export commodity, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. In the first 10 months of 2019, Mongolia earned US$2.75 billion from its coal exports to China.

Mongolia has so far not reported any confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. A total of 32 Mongolian citizens were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan in early February.

Measures in Mongolia: The country also closed all schools until March 2, and implemented other preventative safety measures like canceling public gatherings and certain border crossings.

10:53 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Asiana Airlines asks cabin crew to take unpaid leave after cutting flights to China

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul and Mohammed Tawfeeq in Atlanta

An Asiana Airlines plane in Los Angeles on May 24, 2018.
An Asiana Airlines plane in Los Angeles on May 24, 2018. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea's Asiana Airlines has asked cabin crew members to take unpaid leave, after the airline reduced flights to China over the coronavirus outbreak, the airline said.

Asiana said today that it is accepting applications from cabin crew members for voluntary leave of absence between February 15-29.

Suspended flights: Earlier this month, Asiana Airlines announced that out of 28 routes between South Korea and China, 17 routes will be suspended most days in February and some until the end of March.

A total of 11 other routes will operate on a reduced frequency schedule.

10:38 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

More than 5,000 people are still stuck on two ships because of coronavirus fears

An ambulance carries a passenger diagnosed with coronavirus from the Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier on February 10 in Yokohama, Japan.
An ambulance carries a passenger diagnosed with coronavirus from the Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier on February 10 in Yokohama, Japan. Carl Court/Getty Images

With travel advisories across the globe, four cruise ships were put in some form of lockdown over growing concerns of the novel coronavirus. 

Here's what you need to know about each ship:

  • Diamond Princess: Quarantined in Japan since February 4, at least 24 Americans are among the 175 people infected with the Wuhan coronavirus aboard the cruise ship. The ship is the site of the single largest outbreak of the virus outside of China.
  • Westerdam: More than 2,000 passengers and crew are stuck on the Westerdam cruise ship after it was denied entry to its intended final destination in Japan, despite having no confirmed cases aboard. It has since been denied entry to Taiwan, the Phillippines and most recently Thailand.
  • World Dream: More than 3,600 people were quarantined for five days on this boat in Hong Kong as a precautionary measure after three former passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. No confirmed cases were found. Passengers and crew were cleared to leave over the weekend.
  • The Anthem of the Seas: The vessel was docked in New Jersey for two extra days after four returning passengers were sent to the hospital to be tested for the coronavirus. The four family members, and another 23 passengers, were all cleared of the virus and the ship set sail on Monday.
10:34 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Japan extends travel ban to China's Zhejiang province

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

People buy vegetables in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province on February 9.
People buy vegetables in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province on February 9. STR/AFP/Getty

Japan will extend its travel ban to include China's eastern Zhejiang province, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.

All foreign nationals from Zhejiang or anyone who has visited it in the past 14 days will be denied entry to Japan.

Zhejiang is located to the east of the virus epicenter in central Hubei province. Hangzhou, Zhejiang's provincial capital, is approximately 750 kilometers (466 miles) from Wuhan, the Hubei capital where the virus began.

As of Wednesday, Zhejiang has confirmed 1,131 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to the provincial health body.

Coronavirus in Japan: Japan currently has the highest number of confirmed cases outside mainland China, with a total of 201 cases -- 28 on land, and 175 on a cruise ship currently docked under quarantine in Yokohama bay.

10:04 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

650 Americans onboard the stranded Westerdam cruise ship

From CNN’s Mick Krever in Tokyo

The Holland America Westerdam cruise ship is pictured passing through Glacier Bay, Alaska in July 2019.
The Holland America Westerdam cruise ship is pictured passing through Glacier Bay, Alaska in July 2019. Tim Rue/Bloomberg/Getty Images

There are 650 Americans out of 1,455 guests stuck onboard the Westerdam cruise ship, according to cruise operator Holland America Line.

There are more than 2,000 people onboard in total, including 802 crew members.

The ship is stuck at sea with no place to dock, after being turned away by multiple countries -- despite having no confirmed cases of coronavirus and not being in a state of quarantine.

The 1,455 passengers are from:

  • United States: 650 passengers
  • Canada: 271
  • United Kingdom: 127
  • The Netherlands: 91
  • Australia: 79
  • Germany: 57
  • China and Hong Kong: 30
  • Other: 150
9:50 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

US national security adviser says coronavirus could impact trade deal with China

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

National security adviser Robert O'Brien on October 23, 2019.
National security adviser Robert O'Brien on October 23, 2019. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the novel coronavirus could have negative consequences for the US-China trade deal, but it won’t fundamentally change the agreement. 

“This could have an impact on the phase one deal,” O’Brien said Tuesday evening. 

“It’s not going to change the phase one deal,” he continued. “It’s just we expect that part of the phase one deal China will spend more money on US agricultural products, and we’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Virus conspiracy theory: O'Brien also admitted that it’s not clear where the virus came from, and would not flatly deny theories that it may have originated as a biological weapon, as Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has suggested. 

“I’ve seen those reports, and Twitter and the internet are alive with them,” he said. “I don’t have any information on that one way or the other."

Chinese backlash: China's ambassador to the US criticized Cotton for giving credence to the unconfirmed conspiracy theories about the virus, telling CBS News a lot about the virus remains unknown.

"It’s very harmful, it’s very dangerous, to stir up suspicion, rumors and spread them among the people,” he said. 
9:35 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

40 new coronavirus cases on Japan cruise ship, including one quarantine officer

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki, Junko Ogura, and Mick Krever in Tokyo

Relatives of passengers wave towards the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on February 11, 2020.
Relatives of passengers wave towards the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on February 11, 2020. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty

A total of 40 more novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama port, Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato announced today.

This brings the total number of cases from the ship to 175. It has been docked under quarantine since February 4, with the quarantine scheduled to end on February 19.

The 40 new cases include one quarantine officer who came on board to help with the quarantine, Kato said.

In a statement announcing the new cases, the cruise operator Princess Cruises said “we are following guidance from the Japan Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases.”

9:37 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak

A Chinese worker checks the temperature of a customer as he wears a protective suit and mask at a supermarket on February 11 in Beijing.
A Chinese worker checks the temperature of a customer as he wears a protective suit and mask at a supermarket on February 11 in Beijing. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus outbreak has now killed 1,115 people worldwide, of which all but two were in mainland China. The global number of confirmed coronavirus cases has now reached 45,169.

Here's the latest on the outbreak:

  • Stranded at sea: Thousands remain quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, with a total of 175 cases confirmed on board. And more than 2,000 people are stuck on the Westerdam cruise ship, which has been denied entry to multiple countries despite having no suspected patients on board.
  • Hong Kong pipes: City authorities are investigating whether two residents of the same high-rise tower have contracted the coronavirus from fecal matter due to a possible design flaw in the building's piping system.
  • Race for cure: Clinical trials are underway as international scientists work with Chinese authorities to try and find a cure.
  • WHO prediction: The World Health Organization director general said he believes there is a “realistic chance” of stopping the outbreak, but warned that it still posed "a very grave threat."
9:20 p.m. ET, February 11, 2020

Evacuation flight carrying 140 South Korean citizens arrives in Seoul

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo, Jake Kwon, and Mohammed Tawfeeq

An evacuation plane carrying 140 South Koreans and their Chinese family members arrived in Seoul today, according to the South Korean foreign ministry.

The plane had departed Wuhan, where the outbreak began, yesterday. This is the third chartered plane South Korea has sent to retrieve its citizens and their families from the Chinese city.

These evacuees will now be quarantined at a military school facility located in a rural area.

According to the ministry, there were approximately 2,000 South Korean citizens residing in Wuhan. A total of 841 citizens had been repatriated so far through the three chartered flights.