February 26 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Rachel Bowman, CNN

Updated 9:23 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020
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3:08 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

What should we do to prepare for coronavirus? 

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Dr. John Wiesman testifies during a Senate hearing on March 5, 2019.
Dr. John Wiesman testifies during a Senate hearing on March 5, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

In general, the public should do "what you do every cold and flu season," said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state — where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed.

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

The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected.

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.

While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend N95 respirator masks for the general public, it does recommend them for health care workers.

But certain types of facial hair can prevent respirators from working effectively. So, the CDC created an infographic showing which styles of facial hair are riskier than others.

2:59 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Iran to cancel Friday prayers this week, health minister says

From Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki has announced that Friday prayers will not be held this week in coronavirus-affected cities in Iran, according to state news agency IRNA. Namaki specified the cancellation only applied to this Friday

“All these decisions are temporary," Namaki added.

While the minister did not specify which cities are under the moratorium, the city of Qom — which is Iran’s coronavirus epicenter — and capital city Tehran are likely to be included.

Congregational Friday prayers is a mainstay of public life in Iran. 

2:38 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

For the first time, more new coronavirus cases were reported outside of China than inside today

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

Ryu Hyung-seok/Yonhap/AP
Ryu Hyung-seok/Yonhap/AP

For the first time in the novel coronavirus outbreak, the number of new cases reported outside of China in a single day was larger than those reported inside China, the World Health Organization reported today.

China reported 412 newly confirmed cases today, while 459 additional cases were reported outside of China, according to WHO’s daily report.

Most of China’s cases came from Hubei province, which reported 401 new cases. Six came from outside mainland China, including four from Hong Kong, which WHO includes in China’s count.

More than half of new cases outside of China came from South Korea, which reported 284 cases.

2:28 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Israel urges citizens to reconsider non-essential travel abroad over coronavirus fears

From CNN's Oren Liebermann and Amir Tal

Israel's Ministry of Health urged citizens to reconsider non-essential travel abroad due to heightened fears over the spread of coronavirus in Europe and across the globe.

"The Ministry of Health assesses there is a high probability that the disease has spread to additional areas in Europe [beyond Italy] and in many additional places around the globe," the ministry said in a statement Wednesday evening.

The Ministry of Health also advised against travel to conferences and events with international congregations, including religious events, the ministry said. Additionally, the ministry advised against holding international conferences in Israel.

Israel also added Italy to a restricted travel list, comprised of China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Macau, Thailand and Hong Kong. Any foreign national who has been to any of these countries within the last 14 days will not be granted entry into Israel. 

Any Israeli citizens returning from these countries must remain self-quarantined for at least 14 days.

2:35 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Health secretary says there are now 60 cases of coronavirus in the US

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

There are now 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus related to travel or close contact to travelers in the United States, according to US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“As of this morning, we still had only 14 cases of the novel coronavirus detected in the United States involved travel to or close contacts with travelers. Coming into this hearing, I was informed that we have a 15th confirmed case, the epidemiology of which we are still discerning,” Azar said.  

Azar said there are also three cases among Americans repatriated from Wuhan and 42 cases are evacuees from the Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 60 U.S. cases.  

1:57 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Can household cleaning products kill the coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Household disinfectants are thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus. Cleaning products like Lysol and Clorox list the human coronavirus as one of the 99.9% of bacteria it can kill.

However, it's important to note that human coronaviruses are different than the novel coronavirus we are seeing now. This is a new virus and there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments that specifically target it.

Lysol's products have been proven effective in protecting against the other human coronaviruses, so they're thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus, too, said Saskia Popescu, a senior infection prevention epidemiologist in Phoenix, Arizona.

1:43 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Coronavirus cases in France rises to 18

From Antoine Crouin in Paris and Max Ramsay in London

France is now reporting its 18th case of coronavirus, the country's Health Minister said in a news conference in Paris.

The latest case is the wife of someone already diagnosed and in a hospital in the town of Annecy. “Her state of health is not worrying”, Veran said.

“There is no epidemic in France," he added.

1:42 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

US Defense Department bans non-essential travel to South Korea

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The Pentagon is prohibiting non-essential Department of Defense travel to the Republic of Korea because of the coronavirus outbreak.

US Indo-Pacific Command spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman released this statement:

"The number of reported cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Effective immediately, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in line with the CDC Travel Health Notice, restricts all nonessential DoD travel to ROK to reduce risks associated with COVID-19. This travel restriction applies to all military, civilians and contractors under U.S Indo-Pacific command authority,"  
1:44 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Walt Disney World officials keeping a close eye on employees who recently traveled to Italy

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images
Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

A Walt Disney spokesperson says they are monitoring several employees at the Florida theme park who recently traveled to Italy during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The spokesperson tells CNN that there are no suspected cases of the coronavirus at Walt Disney World and are working alongside health department officials to take proactive measures. 

It is unclear how many Disney employees traveled to Italy.