Live Updates

February 16 coronavirus news

Updated 9:42 PM EST, Sun February 16, 2020
US evacuates Americans on quarantined cruise ship

What we're covering here

  • More cases: The novel coronavirus has infected more than 71,000 people globally, mostly in mainland China. The death toll is 1,770, including four people outside mainland China.
  • Chinese leader: President Xi Jinping knew about the coronavirus outbreak in early January, he said in a speech this month. Xi says he “issued requirements for the prevention and control of the new coronavirus” on Jan. 7.
  • More cruise ship cases: 70 more coronavirus cases were confirmed on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise liner in Yokohama, Japan, bringing total infections to 356. Two flights evacuating Americans have departed to the US – those on board will face another quarantine once they land.
  • First death in Europe: A Chinese tourist who tested positive for the virus died in France, health officials confirmed on Saturday.
  • Spike in numbers: There’s been a spike in numbers this week – including 15,000 in one day – because China changed how cases are tabulated.
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Death toll from the virus rises to 1,770 globally

There were 100 more deaths due to the coronavirus in China’s Hubei province Sunday, the health authorities there said. That raises the death toll at the center of the outbreak to 1,696.

The global death toll now stands at 1,770, with the vast majority of those deaths in mainland China.

More than 1,900 additional cases of the virus were confirmed Sunday, Hubei authorities said, bringing the total number of cases in the center of the outbreak to 58,182.

The global tally: There have been more than 71,204 cases of the virus recorded worldwide, with the vast majority in mainland China.

China’s National Health Commission is expected to release numbers for all of China’s provinces later.

State Department says it's aware of reports that a US citizen in Malaysia has coronavirus

Authorities in the United States acknowledged reports that an 83-year-old American woman in Malaysia contracted the novel coronavirus while on a cruise ship, a State Department official said.

“We are aware of reports from Malaysian health authorities regarding a US citizen who departed Cambodia and has tested positive for COVID-19 in Kuala Lumpur,” the official told CNN.
“The safety and well-being of US citizens is the top priority of the State Department, and our consular officers are working closely with the Malaysian and Cambodian governments and public health professionals in addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19,” the official added.

More than 300 passengers from the Diamond Princess are traveling in the US chartered planes

More than 300 passengers, mostly American citizens, from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are aboard the two airplanes chartered by the US government, a State Department spokesperson told CNN.

In its communications to passengers on the cruise ship Saturday, the US embassy in Tokyo said American citizens would be able to bring their non-American immediate relatives.

All travelers were screened for symptoms of coronavirus prior to departure and will be screened by staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upon arrival in the United States, another State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

“Only those who were asymptomatic were allowed to board the flights,” the spokesperson said.

“Our primary goal remains ensuring the welfare and safety of all US citizens involved,” the spokesperson added. “The Department of State has no higher priority than the welfare and safety of US citizens abroad.”

Two American charter planes have left Tokyo with Diamond Princess passengers

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Two airplanes chartered by the United States government to evacuate American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have departed Tokyo.

The first plane is heading to Kelly Field/Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The second plane is going to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California.

The planes took off more than four hours after 10 buses brought the passengers from the cruise ship in Yokohama to Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

US officials have not discussed the number of people who asked for a seat on the charters.

Singapore confirms 3 new coronavirus cases

People wearing protective masks walk towards Merlion Park in Singapore on February 12.
Maverick Asio/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
People wearing protective masks walk towards Merlion Park in Singapore on February 12.

Singapore has identified three new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the citywide total to 75 confirmed cases, the country’s health ministry said.

Two of the cases are linked to the Grace Assembly of God church, which is the largest community cluster of cases in Singapore.The third one is related to a separate case.

None of those patients have traveled to China recently, the ministry said.

As of Sunday, a total of 19 patients have fully recovered from the virus and have been discharged from the hospital.

Here's how to protect yourself from coronavirus

Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state – where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed – says the public should do “what you do every cold and flu season.”

That includes washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If you’re the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don’t use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately afterward.

WHO also recommends staying at least 3 feet or 1 meter away from anyone who may be infected.

Is there a cure for novel coronavirus? No. Patients can be treated and may recover from their symptoms, but there is no known cure for the novel coronavirus yet.

Read the full story here

Americans from Diamond Princess are boarding a charter plane to California

A large group of Americans who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were spotted boarding a chartered flight at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

US passengers queue to enter in a plane at the Haneda Airport, in Tokyo on February 17 after disembarking in Yokohama from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
US passengers queue to enter in a plane at the Haneda Airport, in Tokyo on February 17 after disembarking in Yokohama from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Nearly 400 Americans on board of the Diamond Princess were sent a notice Saturday laying out plans to evacuate them to the United States. They are among thousands of travelers who had been stuck in their cabins under mandatory quarantine since February 3.

Those who chose to take part in the US government’s voluntary evacuation arrived in 10 buses at the airport earlier today.

This is where novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide

The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

Meanwhile, a number of countries, such as the United States and Japan, have evacuated their nationals on flights from Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak.

Here’s map showing places outside mainland China with confirmed cases of the coronavirus:

Americans from Diamond Princess arrive at Tokyo airport

Buses carrying passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, February 17.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Buses carrying passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leave a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, February 17.

Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan who chose to take part in the US government’s voluntary evacuation have arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Led by a police convoy, they arrived in 10 busses.

They will board two Boeing 747s chartered from Kalitta Air, and will soon depart for Travis Air Force Base in California. The passengers will have to undergo another quarantine, lasting 14 days, upon arrival in the US.