February 25 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:50 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020
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1:25 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

There are 57 cases of coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

The Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, on February 24.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, on February 24. Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

The US has now confirmed 57 cases of coronavirus, US health officials said today.

This is an increase from the 53 reported yesterday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The newly confirmed cases are all passengers evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. 

In total, the cases include:

  • 40 passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship
  • 3 people repatriated from China
  • 14 US cases

The 14 US cases include eight in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin. Among these cases, there  are two instances of person-to-person transmission: one in Illinois and one in California. 

1:21 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

European Union will keep borders open

Philipp von Ditfurth/Picture Alliance/Getty Images
Philipp von Ditfurth/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

The European Union will keep open borders despite the spread of coronavirus and pledged to take a “common position” in order to face the global challenge.

The ministers of health of Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and San Marino met in Rome today. In a joint statement, they said that closing borders would be a “disproportionate and ineffective measure at this time.” 

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza called it a “very positive” meeting.

Italy now has the highest number of coronavirus infections outside Asia, with more than 280 cases. Those cases are heavily concentrated in the region of Lombardy.

1:06 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Trump says he thinks coronavirus will "go away." Here's what the CDC says.

From CNN's Ben Tinker and Jamie Gumbrecht

CDC employees work inside of the CDC Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta on January 13.
CDC employees work inside of the CDC Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta on January 13. Will Lanzoni/CNN

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert said officials are "hopeful" coronavirus could be seasonal and decline in the warmer months — but they won't know for sure until spring and summer come.

The CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier was asked moments ago about President Trump's optimism about coronavirus. Earlier today, he said of the novel coronavirus: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.”

Trump's comments contradict public assessments by the CDC, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization and many others.

"What information is your agency specifically giving the President and the White House about the current state of the coronavirus outbreak?” CNN asked Messonnier today.

Messonnier said her agency briefs the White House task force on coronavirus daily.

"In terms of the course of this illness, we have, again, a team of mathematical modelers working with us to try to predict the trajectory,” Messonnier said. “One hypothesis is that we could be hopeful that this could potentially be seasonal. Other viral respiratory diseases are seasonal, including influenza – and in many viral respiratory diseases, we do see a decrease in disease in spring and summer."

She continued:

"So we can certainly be optimistic that this disease will follow suit, but we’re not going to know that until time keeps ticking forward. We’re going to be, again, preparing as if this is going to continue, preparing as if we’re going to see community spread in the near-term. But I’m always going to be hopeful that disease will decline either for the summer, or that we’ll be over-prepared and that we won’t see this kind of high levels of transmission here in the US."
12:46 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Goldman Sachs restricts employee travel to South Korea and parts of Italy because of coronavirus

The headquarters of Goldman Sachs is pictured on April 17, 2019 in New York City.
The headquarters of Goldman Sachs is pictured on April 17, 2019 in New York City. Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Goldman Sachs is restricting all business travel to South Korea as well as some regions in Italy due to the coronavirus, the investment bank announced on Tuesday.

Employees who have traveled South Korea and the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy, or who have been in close contact with individuals who have been to these areas, are required to stay out of the office for at least 14 days, the company said. 

Goldman is also asking employees to postpone non-essential travel to other parts of Italy and Asia.

Goldman Sachs has previously directed employees not to travel to China as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread. 

Here's the full statement from Goldman Sachs:

We are restricting all business travel to, from and within South Korea, as well as the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy, and asking that non-essential business travel to other parts of Italy and Asia be postponed. In addition to the previous policy for mainland China, all employees who have traveled to South Korea or the impacted regions in Italy, or who have been in close contact with individuals who have been to these areas, are required to remain out of the office for at least 14 days. 
12:35 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Only 12 US labs other than CDC have working coronavirus test kits

From CNN's Ben Tinker & Jamie Gumbrecht

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still working to make test kits for the novel coronavirus available to state and local labs. Some test kits initially sent out by CDC were flawed.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said there are currently only 12 state and local labs in the US that can test samples other than the CDC.

“I am frustrated, like I know many of you are, that we have had issues with our test. I want to assure you that we are working to modify the kit and hope to send out a new version to state and local jurisdictions soon," she said. "There are currently 12 states and localities around the US that can test samples – as well as we are testing at CDC. Four hundred samples were tested overnight, and there is no current backlog or delay for testing at CDC."

She added that commercial labs will "be coming online soon with their own tests."

"This will allow the greatest number of tests to happen closer to where potential cases are,” Messonnier said.

12:26 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

US health official says coronavirus is moving closer to being a pandemic

From CNN Health’s Ben Tinker

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Dr. Nancy Messonnier speaks during a press conference at the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, January 28.
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Dr. Nancy Messonnier speaks during a press conference at the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, January 28. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said coronavirus has met some of the criteria for a pandemic — but not all of them.

“The fact that this virus has caused illness – including illness that has resulted in death – and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria for a pandemic," she said.

The virus is "moving closer" toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus, she said.

"As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer towards meeting the third criteria: worldwide spread of the new virus," Messonnier said.

She added that the US is implementing "an aggressive containment strategy" and issuing "extensive travel advisories" to help slow the introduction of coronavirus into the US.

However, she added: "But as more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder."

“Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness. We will maintain, for as long as practical, a dual approach where we continue measures to contain this disease, but also employ strategies to minimize the impact on our communities,” Messonnier said.
12:06 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Woman accompanying Italian man with coronavirus has also tested positive

From CNN's Laura Perez Maestro

A Spanish police officer sets up a barrier blocking the access to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, Canary Island, Spain, on Tuesday, February 25.
A Spanish police officer sets up a barrier blocking the access to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, Canary Island, Spain, on Tuesday, February 25. AP

A woman traveling to the Canary Island with the Italian citizen who has test positive for coronavirus has also tested positive to the virus, the Canary Islands' health department said in a statement.

The two are on the Spanish resort island Tenerife.

“These patients are in good condition. At the moment they are isolated in the University Hospital Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria, waiting for the result of the second analysis to be carried out by the National Center for Microbiology of the Carlos III Health Institute of Madrid," the statement said. “The General Directorate of Public Health has ordered health checks of all the guests of the same hotel in which the affected patients were staying."

Dozens of tourists are being asked to remain in their rooms at a hotel on the island on Tuesday, after the man tested positive in an initial test for the novel coronavirus overnight.

11:40 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Passengers on Turkish evacuation flight from Iran are being tested for coronavirus  

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Medical staff enter the Zekai Tahir Burak Hospital where 17 passengers from a Turkish Airlines evacuation flight from Tehran, suspected of having coronavirus, are to be quarantined, in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, February 25.
Medical staff enter the Zekai Tahir Burak Hospital where 17 passengers from a Turkish Airlines evacuation flight from Tehran, suspected of having coronavirus, are to be quarantined, in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, February 25. Burhan Ozbilici/AP

Turkey Health Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca said today that the passengers aboard an evacuation flight from Iran that landed in Ankara, Turkey, are being tested for coronavirus.

“We decided to land this plane, a special flight carrying Turkish passengers from Tehran, to Ankara because it’s been learned that several passengers visited Qom and several passengers showed symptoms for cold. Even though our preparations in Istanbul was complete, we decided to divert it to Ankara because an experienced crew was ready at the quarantine centre in Ankara. To avoid risks, passengers and crew were put under quarantine in a hospital that had never been used before.” 

Koca added that no one aboard the flight has a fever or showed symptoms of coronavirus.

"Out of 140 people, 132 passengers and 8 crew, 4 patients had coughs and 2 patients had sore throats. But they don’t have fever and they’re in good condition. All samples are being processed now, I think the results will be ready in the following hours. We’ll share the results.”

Koca said that he plans to visit the quarantine hospital tonight and then share the results of the tests.

11:27 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Austria's 2 coronavirus cases are Italian citizens

From CNNs Stephanie Halasz

A general view of the Infectiology Department of the University Hospital in Innsbruck, Austria on Tuesday, February 25, as two people are currently in isolation after being confirmed infected with the coronavirus.
A general view of the Infectiology Department of the University Hospital in Innsbruck, Austria on Tuesday, February 25, as two people are currently in isolation after being confirmed infected with the coronavirus. Johann Groder/AFP/Getty Images

The two people diagnosed with coronavirus in the Tyrol region of Austria are both Italian citizens, the regional government press office said in a statement.

The patients are a woman and a man, both 24-years old, originally from the Lombardy region close to Bergamo.

Both are being treated in hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, and are in good condition. They were in Lombardy until Friday, and then drove to Innsbruck, according to the statement. Both are no longer running fevers, and they will stay in quarantine until the weekend.