February 26 coronavirus news

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10:44 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Every continent except Antarctica has reported coronavirus cases

Brazil announced its first case of coronavirus today, marking the first time the virus has been reported in South America.

The coronavirus outbreak — which started in the city of Wuhan in China — has now spread to six of the world's seven continents. It has not yet reached Antarctica.

Here's a look at the virus across the world:

  • Africa: Algeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus yesterday. Egypt has also reported a case.
  • Asia: The vast majority of cases — and deaths — are in mainland China. Cases have been reported throughout Asia, with concentrations in South Korea and on board a cruise ship pocked in Japan. In the Middle East, Iran has reported least 139 cases. The total official number of deaths due to coronavirus in Iran stands at 15.
  • Australia: The country has confirmed a total of 22 cases of the novel coronavirus as of Saturday, officials said.
  • Europe: Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where over 320 have been infected and 12 have died.
  • North America: At least 59 Americans have tested positive for coronavirus, US health officials say. Cases have also been reported in Canada.
10:35 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Delta Airlines is temporarily reducing flights to South Korea

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Delta is temporarily reducing the number of weekly flights it operates between the U.S. and Seoul-Incheon (ICN), South Korea, due to global health concerns related to coronavirus, the airline said Wednesday in a news release

From Feb. 29 through April 30, the carrier will suspend service between Minneapolis/St. Paul and ICN, with the last flight departing MSP for ICN on Feb. 28 and departing ICN for MSP on Feb. 29.

Delta will also reduce to five times weekly its services between ICN and Atlanta, Detroit and Seattle through April 30. The airline’s new service from Incheon to Manila, previously scheduled to begin March 29, will now start on May 1. Full schedule details are available on the Delta website.

For customers whose itineraries are affected by the schedule changes, Delta teams are working to help them adjust their travel plans, using partners where appropriate.

Delta continues to offer a change fee waiver for customers who wish to adjust their travel plans for flights between the U.S. and South Korea, China and Italy.

10:22 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

42 Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have coronavirus

There are 42 cases of Americans with coronavirus who were repatriated to the United States from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, according to Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

During a budget hearing in DC today, Azar said there are 14 cases involving travel or close contact, three who were repatriated from Wuhan and 42 among Diamond Princess passengers.  

This brings the total of Americans with coronavirus to 59.

10:14 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

India sends medical supplies to Wuhan

India has sent China 15 tons of medical relief material to help in the battle against coronavirus.

India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said the gesture is a “strong expression of our solidarity with the Chinese people at this difficult time”.

Jaishankar also thanked the Indian Air Force and the Indian Embassy in Beijing for their efforts.

This aircraft will be bringing stranded Indians, who have consented to be evacuated from Wuhan/Hubei back to India shortly.

10:12 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Here's what US Senate Democrats' coronavirus spending proposal looks like

Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats are preparing to request $8.5 billion to combat the coronavirus, a senior Senate Democratic aide told CNN today, setting up a spending showdown in Congress where lawmakers are grappling with how to help contain the disease.

Here's a breakdown of Schumer's proposal:

  • $1.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including for the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund and Global Health Security
  • $3 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund
  • $2 billion set aside for state and local reimbursement 
  • $1 billion for the United States Agency for International Development Emerging Health Threats Emergency Reserve Fund
  • $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Development
10:12 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

These two European airlines are cutting costs to counter coronavirus impact

German airline Lufthansa and Dutch carrier KLM announced a series of cost-saving measures today to counter the impact coronavirus will have on their business, including budget cuts and hiring freezes.

Here's how Lufthansa described its measures in a statement:

“In order to counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus at an early stage, Lufthansa is implementing several measures to lower costs: among other things, all new hires planned for the airline with the crane will be reassessed, suspended or deferred to a later date. Lufthansa is also offering employees unpaid leave effective immediately. An expansion of part-time work options in the context of collective bargaining agreements is currently being examined,” the company said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, KLM announced precautionary measures saying the impact on its operations will be “very significant”.

In a letter to employees, KLM Chief Financial Officer Erik Swelheim said the impact on KLM’s revenues "will be very significant."

Measures announced in the letter include cutting back on external hiring in non-operational departments and hiring of consultants and other advisors as well as delaying IT and “real estate” projects.

“Given the external challenges, there is a serious risk that the operating margin for 2020 will be again under pressure,” the CFO said. 

10:01 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

3 Russians from Diamond Princess ship test positive for coronavirus

Three out of eight Russians who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were diagnosed with coronavirus, the head of Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova said Wednesday, state-run news agency TASS reported.

“We’ve evacuated Russian citizens from Japan, all eight of them were hospitalized under medical supervision, including three people who were diagnosed with a novel coronavirus in Japan,” Popova said according to TASS. “In those three patients, [coronavirus] was confirmed using several virological methods.”

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was previously under a 14-day quarantine in Japan, and more than 600 cases of the coronavirus have been linked to the vessel.

Popova added that all evacuated Russians and their families are under quarantine in the city of Kazan and "feeling well."

Previously, Russia reported two confirmed cases of coronavirus, both in Chinese nationals.

“Obviously, today we must admit that the possibility of coronavirus spreading further into the Russian Federation is certainly increasing,” Popova added. “The number of countries with coronavirus infection is increasing, it is better not to plan a trip abroad if there is no urgent need.”

10:12 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Coronavirus patient in Brazil marks Latin America's first case

Airport employees wear masks as they work at the Sao Paulo International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday, February 26.
Airport employees wear masks as they work at the Sao Paulo International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday, February 26. Andre Penner/AP

Brazil's heath minister confirmed today that a 61-year-old Brazilian man who arrived in Sao Paulo after traveling to Italy is the first case of novel coronavirus in Brazil. 

Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said the man arrived in Brazil on Saturday without any symptoms and spent the weekend with his family before coming down with symptoms and going to a health clinic on Monday. 

He was hospitalized and tested positive for the virus in a preliminary test and was isolated. The second test confirmed he had the virus. The man was in Italy from Feb. 9 until Friday.

Authorities are mapping who the man came in contact with. 

9:52 a.m. ET, February 26, 2020

US stocks open higher after selloff fueled by coronavirus fears

US stocks opened higher today, taking a break from the sharp selloff of the past two days.

Worries about the spread of coronavirus around the world tanked global markets at the start of the week. The Dow lost more than 1,900 points over the past two trading sessions alone.

Here's how the US markets opened on Wednesday:

  • The Dow opened up 110 points, or 0.4%.
  • The S&P 500 rose 0.5%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7%.

All three indexes extended their gains after the open.