February 25 coronavirus news
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Hong Kong has confirmed one new case of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the tally up to 85, according to a government statement.
The patient is a 60-year-old woman who has no recent travel history. She developed a cough on Feb. 12 and consulted a private doctor several times before she was admitted on Feb. 24. She is currently isolated and in a stable condition.
"According to our preliminary epidemiological investigations, some of the confirmed cases are locally infected. The (Center for Health Protection) strongly urged the public to maintain at all times strict personal and environmental hygiene," a CHP spokesperson said.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed has declared a state of emergency in the city to better prepare for the potential arrival of coronavirus.
Breed reiterated that there are no confirmed cases in the city, but they are taking the situation seriously. The declaration frees up resources needed to accelerate planning, increase staffing and ensure future reimbursement.
The declaration is effective immediately.
Air Canada is extending its suspension of flights between Canada and Beijing and Shanghai until April 10, and daily non-stop flights from Toronto to Hong Kong until April 30, according to the airline.
However, Air Canada will continue to operate its non-stop flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong, which will accommodate customers originally booked on its Toronto-Hong Kong flights, the airline said.
Some background: The airline initially suspended services to Beijing and Shanghai in February after the Canadian government discouraged non-essential travel to China.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Viruses don't respect boundaries or borders. Watch:
While the US Food and Drug is not aware of any shortages of medical products being reported in the United States, it is monitoring some that could be at risk, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told reporters Tuesday.
"FDA is keenly aware that the outbreak will likely affect the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to suppliers [and] shortages of critical medical products in the US," Hahn said.
In particular, the FDA is keeping its eye on personal protective equipment such as face masks and gowns used by health care workers. The agency is proactively reaching out to hundreds of manufacturers of medical products for information related to these concerns, Hahn said.
More on this: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said some of the $2.5 billion requested funds would be used to purchase personal protection equipment for the national stockpile. On Tuesday morning, Azar told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee there are 30 million N95 respirators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and the US would need about 10 times that for health care workers.
Hahn also said that the agency is postponing roughly 100 scheduled inspections in China over February and March — mostly routine surveillance inspections meant to ensure that medical products produced in China meet the standards for entering the US marketplace. But he said these can happen at any time during the year, and the agency is moving things around so they can stay on schedule when it comes to planned inspections for the year.
The Kuwaiti health ministry confirmed a woman has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Iran, according to state news KUNA.
This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Kuwait to nine, state news said.
The Kuwaiti woman was placed in quarantine, and the remaining patients are in stable condition, state news reported, citing the ministry's statement.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against “all but essential travel” to 11 Italian towns undergoing isolation measures due to coronavirus.
The towns included in the advisory are:
- Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano and Vo’ Euganeo
Several Italian towns under quarantine over coronavirus. Hear more:
With only 12 state and local health laboratories able to test for the novel coronavirus, public health labs are asking the US Food and Drug Administration for permission to create their own tests for the virus.
“We are now many weeks into the response with still no diagnostic or surveillance test available outside of CDC for the vast majority of our member laboratories,” the Association of Public Health Laboratories wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Monday.
The association represents the 150 largest public health labs across the country and is asking the FDA for a special exemption to create its own diagnostics.
“We find ourselves in a situation that requires a quicker local response,” the association wrote.
While the CDC currently has no backlog or delay in testing, the lab association’s CEO, Scott Becker, told CNN that its concern is not about the current situation, but for when community spread of the virus increases.
“We want to encourage and ensure that we have the test closest to the population,” Becker said.
The CDC announced on Feb. 6 that 200 test kits would be distributed to labs across the United States. The kits needed to be verified by the local health laboratories to ensure they were working. Less than a week later, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said some labs that had received the tests were getting inconclusive results, and components of the tests would need to be remade.
The CDC has been working to resolve the testing kit issue but has yet to provide a timeline about when labs will receive new tests.
A 70-year-old man is the first person to test positive for coronavirus in Switzerland, the country’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) told CNN.
The Swiss man from the canton of Ticino, a region which borders Italy, had been to Lombardy, Italy, in mid-February.
He has been hospitalized, where he's “under isolation and in good health so far," a FOPH spokesperson said.
Italy is the site of Europe's biggest coronavirus outbreak. The cases there are heavily concentrated in the region of Lombardy.