February 14 coronavirus news

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5:45 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Mums in Hong Kong give birth alone, as dads banned from delivery rooms to limit virus spread

By CNN's Jenni Marsh in Hong Kong

Dee Cheung and her newborn baby.
Dee Cheung and her newborn baby.

Mothers across Hong Kong are giving birth alone as public hospitals in the territory are banning partners from labor wards in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Dee Cheung, 34, a Canadian-born Hong Kong resident, gave birth to a baby girl at 6pm on Monday, January 27. She found out her husband wouldn't be allowed into the delivery room -- or the labor ward to meet the baby afterward -- when she arrived at hospital.

"He was pretty bummed ... but I thought there’s not much he can do anyway," Cheung said, adding that she understood why the decision had been taken. "It would have been nice if he could have been with me to rub my back. But honestly it was fine."

Sandra Marco Colino, 42, a Spaniard who has lived in Hong Kong for 10 years, gave birth via a planned C section at 37 weeks, as she had placenta previa, which can cause severe bleeding during delivery.

Because her baby girl was just 2.2 kilograms at birth, she had to go to the Special Care Unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital. While Hong Kong battles the coronavirus outbreak, all parents have been banned from the unit to protect the most vulnerable babies from infection, meaning Colino and her husband didn't meet their daughter until she was six days old.

"I felt nervous having to go through the procedure on my own, and my partner was devastated to have to miss his daughter’s birth. We did understand though that public safety comes first," she said. "There was an eerie quietness everywhere in the building which I had never witnessed in a local public hospital before."

Colina added that nurses took photographs of their baby in the Special Care Unit and would give them to her husband every day as an update.

No visitors allowed: the Special Care Unit is empty after Hong Kong hospitals implement strict no-visitor rules to limit the risk of coronavirus infections.
No visitors allowed: the Special Care Unit is empty after Hong Kong hospitals implement strict no-visitor rules to limit the risk of coronavirus infections.

Signs in hospitals advertize the new rules, but many mothers are finding out their partner won't be allowed to be there for the birth when they arrive at hospital already in labor.
Signs in hospitals advertize the new rules, but many mothers are finding out their partner won't be allowed to be there for the birth when they arrive at hospital already in labor.

Veronika, went through 30 hours of labor on her own at the Queen Mary Hospital, on Hong Kong Island.

"I felt lonely during long and painful labor hours ... I just wanted someone to hold my hand and just be close. But they don't provide those services ... I understand the concern for virus spread prevention, and no visits of family, but it's just unfortunate to have no support not only during delivery but anytime before or after. Plus, I can say that even if the staff is professional, you don't get warm words or advice on how to breathe during contractions, how to relax, how to cope with stress.

Kloub's husband met their baby girl, Aurora, on the street outside the hospital while he gave her some bags to take up to the ward.

CNN reached out to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority for comment but did not receive a response.

1:02 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

US CDC director: Novel coronavirus is "probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

A CDC employee works at the Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta.
A CDC employee works at the Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta. Will Lanzoni/CNN

Although comparatively few cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed in the US so far, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren't taking any chances.

Speaking to CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, CDC director Robert Redfield said that they were in "aggressive containment mode."

"We don't know a lot about this virus," he said. "This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission."

Currently there is no known cure for the virus and, by slowing the disease's progression, Redfield said that the CDC has been given more time to work on one.

"The containment phase is really to give us more time. This virus will become a community virus at some point in time, this year or next year," Redfield said. 

Redfield said that while there had been criticism on selected US travel bans in response to the virus, it was their first priority to "protect the American public."

"I would rather be criticized for over-protecting America than under-protecting America at this stage," he said.

Read more here.

12:38 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Macao to hand out $275 million in vouchers to boost economy during virus

From CNN's Chermaine Lee

A man wearing a face mask walks across a street in front of the Grand Lisboa Hotel in Macau on February 5, 2020.
A man wearing a face mask walks across a street in front of the Grand Lisboa Hotel in Macau on February 5, 2020. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Economies across China are suffering from the outbreak of novel coronavirus, which has shut down cities and left workers stuck at home for days or weeks.

In the Chinese special administrative region of Macao -- the world's biggest gambling center -- the government has announced it would hand out $275 million in vouchers to help try to boost the economy during the outbreak.

In a statement Thursday, the Macao government called on its citizens to spend up by sending every resident a $374 electronic voucher which can only be used in a three-month period.

It will also provide a $75 healthcare voucher for every Macao permanent resident, as well as discussing further tax cuts and housing subsidies.

Casinos hit: The virus has had a devastating impact on tourism in the gambling enclave, which relies heavily on mainland Chinese visitors. Gambling is illegal on the mainland and Lunar New Year is usually a particularly busy time for Macao's casinos. But not this year -- tourism to Macao had dropped 73.6% year-on-year, the local government announced on January 29.

A total of 41 entertainment operations in the semiautonomous Chinese city were suspended for 15 days on February 4, according to the government. They include casinos, betting branches, theaters, cinemas, game centers, internet cafes, discos, bars, nightclubs and dance halls.

12:38 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

One cruise ship begins to disembark. Another remains in quarantine

From CNN's Taylor Barnes

Passengers on board the Westerdam cruise ship wave in Sihanoukville, Cambodia on February 14.
Passengers on board the Westerdam cruise ship wave in Sihanoukville, Cambodia on February 14. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images

There was good news this morning for hundreds of passengers who had previously been stuck onboard the Westerdam cruise ship in southeast Asia.

According to tweets from the Holland America Line, some passengers today began to disembark from the Westerdam in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, met on the ground by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The passengers had previously been unable to find a place to disembark the ship due to countries' fears of a coronavirus outbreak on board.

It was turned away by Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. But it was announced Thursday that no cases have been found onboard after it docked in Cambodia.

According to Holland America, it will take some days to disembark all the passengers due to charter flight schedules.

A passenger is seen on a balcony of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on February 14.
A passenger is seen on a balcony of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on February 14. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Stuck in quarantine: Meanwhile, off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, the wait continues for passengers on board the Diamond Princess, where 219 cases of the virus have been found so far.

According to authorities on the ship, more infections are expected to be discovered before quarantine is lifted.

The ship is scheduled to stay under a 14-day quarantine until February 19.

11:23 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

China's National Health Commission revises down death toll after "duplication"

From CNN's Steven Jiang

New numbers from China's top health body revised down an earlier death toll from Hubei province after saying duplications had been found in "data collection and recording."

According to the National Health Commission, the current number of infections in mainland China is 63,851, up 5,090 from the day before, while the death toll has risen to 1,380.

In total, that brings the global total to at least 1,383 deaths and 64,435 confirmed infections.

Previous numbers released out of Hubei province this morning had suggested that the number of infected had climbed above 65,000 but Beijing now says that is incorrect.

12:37 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Manchester United's new striker told to train away from first team due to coronavirus precautions

From CNN's Matias Grez

Odion Ighalo of Nigeria looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Iceland at Volgograd Arena on June 22, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia.
Odion Ighalo of Nigeria looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Iceland at Volgograd Arena on June 22, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia. Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester United's newest signing��Odion Ighalo is training away from the first team due to novel coronavirus concerns following his arrival from China.

Ighalo joined United on January 31 from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and although the risk posed is minimal -- the city is hundreds of kilometers away from Hubei province which is at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak -- the club has opted to take precautionary measures.

United also decided against taking Ighalo on its winter break training camp in Spain due to concerns he may have difficulty re-entering the UK.

Current medical guidelines advise people returning to the UK from certain countries, including China, to be quarantined for 14 days.

Read more here.

12:37 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Hundreds of frontline medics in China likely infected with coronavirus

From CNN's Nectar Gan, Natalie Thomas and David Culver

Medical staff wearing protective clothing arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 25.
Medical staff wearing protective clothing arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 25. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Ning Zhu, a nurse in Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the heart of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, is restless.

Instead of helping on the frontlines, she has been under self-quarantine at home for weeks, after a chest scan on January 26 revealed that she had a suspected case of the novel coronavirus.

Zhu was told to wait for a nucleic acid test that would provide the final verdict, but it never came.

"Right now, it's really a problem. Our hospital already has more than 100 people who are quarantined at home," she told CNN over the phone.

The Chinese health authorities have so far not disclosed the number of infections of health care workers. But accounts shared with CNN and seen on social media suggest that the extent of the infection could be in the high hundreds.

In Wuhan there are 398 hospitals and nearly 6,000 community clinics.

Read the full article here.

10:43 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

"Please test us," quarantined US evacuees tell CDC

A group of US evacuees who were taken out of the coronavirus epicenter in Wuhan last week and are now in quarantine have petitioned the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test them as soon as possible.

The evacuees, who are currently at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, thanked the CDC for their support but asked to be tested to identify potential infections quickly.

"We believe testing everyone at the facility would help identify potential suspects as early as possible, so the appropriate treatment could be put in place,” according to the petition, which is written in both Chinese and English. 

Two people who were evacuated to Miramar have already been diagnosed with the virus and sent into isolation.

The CDC said that it is listening to the evacuees' concerns but testing people who are asymptomatic may provide a false negative.

"A false negative could provide a false sense of security,” Christopher Braden, a CDC official who is with the evacuees in San Diego, said in a statement Thursday.

10:20 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Japanese minister visits quarantined cruise ship with largest coronavirus outbreak outside China

In a statement read out to the passengers of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, Japan's vice minister for health, labor and welfare said the government appreciated their "understanding and cooperation."

Visiting the ship this morning, minister Gaku Hashimoto said that he knew the situation was "difficult and inconvenient."

"We also understand that there are many people who are hoping to go home as soon as possible, and people who have pre-existing medical conditions who are still on board,” he said.

Additional cases expected onboard: So far there have been 219 cases of the coronavirus found on board the Diamond Princess, the largest outbreak of the virus outside of mainland China.

Speaking to passengers Thursday, chief medical officer for cruise operator Princess Cruises Grant Tarling said that the quarantine was expected to end by February 19.

"However, as the situation is evolving daily, we do not know at this point what measures, if any, will be required before or after that date. We will keep you updated if or when we are informed of new information by the ministry," he said.

Tarling said additional cases were likely to be identified onboard.