February 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ben Westcott, Eliza Mackintosh, Fernando Alfonso III, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2:36 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020
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9:59 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Several Iranian government officials have coronavirus

From CNN’s Tamara Qiblawi, Ramin Mostaghim and Sara Mazloumsaki 

Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, is the latest high-profile government official to test positive for novel coronavirus.  

Here's a look at other high-profile cases:

  • Two members of parliament, including the chair of the parliamentary committee for national security, have also been infected by the virus. 
  • One of the country’s top clerics, Hadi Khosroshahi, died on Thursday after he contracted the sickness. 
  • Deputy Health Minister Iran Haririchi announced on social media Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 — just 24 hours after he tried to downplay the threat of the virus in a press briefing. 

Ebtekar, one of Iran’s most high-profile female politicians, was last seen at a cabinet meeting Wednesday with President Hassan Rouhani. During the meeting, Rouhani warned about COVID-19 turning into a “weapon at the hands of our enemies” for “propaganda” purposes. 

Iran has emerged as a regional breeding ground for the pathogen, with the most confirmed cases — 245 cases including 26 deaths — in the region. The vast majority of coronavirus cases across the Middle East have been linked to Iran.  

11:45 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Trump had some details of the new California coronavirus case before his press conference, source says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Trump had some — but not all — the details of the new COVID-19 coronavirus case in Sacramento before coming out for last night’s briefing at the White House, a person familiar with the matter tells CNN. 

He was given a quick update on the case beforehand, but it was non-comprehensive, the person said. He was told the case didn’t appear to be connected to other cases in the US, but it’s not clear whether he was given details on the possibilities of its origin.

Why this is important: This individual, a resident of Solano County, California, who has novel coronavirus might be the first example in the country of "community spread," a situation in which the patient did not have "relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient," the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

11:45 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

US stock markets fall again due to coronavirus fears

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe 

US stocks opened lower today, as the selloff over coronavirus fears picked up steam again.

The Dow and the Nasdaq Composite fell into correction territory, defined as 10% below their most recent highs.

Here's where things stand:

  • The Dow opened 1.9%, or 515 points, lower.
  • The Nasdaq sold off 2.5%.
  • The S&P 500 fell 1.9%.
11:45 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Where things stand in Washington, DC

From CNN's White House team

President Trump speaks at the beginning of a new conference with members of the coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
President Trump speaks at the beginning of a new conference with members of the coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

One of the biggest takeaways from last night's briefing was how the White House spent the day — and went on the record — denying a czar would be named to run point on the coronavirus response. Then Trump did just that hours later by naming Vice President Mike Pence to the role, even if they're not calling him a "czar" to spare Health Secretary Alex Azar's feelings.

That's a restructuring of the coronavirus leadership team. Point blank. Because Trump was deeply frustrated by the coverage he was getting over his administration's response so far.

Now Pence is put in the middle of this — and some say being set up for failure.

Did Trump know about the new case when he came out to the briefing and said confidently Americans were at low risk and the disease likely wouldn't spread?

We don't know: He didn't mention it. But Azar certainly knew.

From Azar's opening statement on Cap Hill yesterday: "Coming into this hearing, I was informed that we have a 15th confirmed case, the epidemiology of which we are still discerning."

We can expect the White House to try to streamline who is the face of this. Trump was furious with the CDC doctor who said it was inevitably going to spread. Hence him contradicting her yesterday and saying, "I don't think it's inevitable."

Yet he was contradicted in real time there at the briefing by experts who offered a much more sober analysis.

9:46 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

There's no decision about the Tokyo Olympics yet, World Health Organization says

From CNN's Amanda Watts

A woman walks past the Olympic rings in front of the new National Stadium, on February 26, in Tokyo.
A woman walks past the Olympic rings in front of the new National Stadium, on February 26, in Tokyo. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, said, “we are working extremely closely with the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, and are providing them with risk assessment and risk management advice.” 

"No decision has or will be taken in the near term regarding the future of the Olympics," he said.

Ryan cautioned, it’s not just the Olympics they are advising on, but all mass gatherings, including religious or sports events. 

Many events in the past have gone ahead during outbreaks, such as the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics which continued during an outbreak of Zika virus, Ryan added. 

9:42 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Here's how coronavirus is changing fast food in China

The coronavirus outbreak is changing the way China's restaurants handle takeout.

Customers are being met with temperature checks and even takeout only at popular eateries around China due to the outbreak.

For deliveries, orders are coming with little cards that include the name and temperature of the persons who made the food and delivered it.

Watch CNN New Day's report on the new normal for eating during the outbreak:

9:41 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Iranian official diagnosed with coronavirus

From CNN's Sara Mazloumsaki

Iran’s Vice President of Women and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar has been diagnosed with coronavirus, her media relations officer told IRNA, Iran's state-owned news agency on Thursday.

Fariba Ebtehaj said "She is currently at home recovering from the illness.“

Ebtekar attended a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday and was seen in official photos sitting just a few yards from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. 

“Given the likelihood of contamination of the team members, all the people involved have been tested and the results will be announced on Saturday," Ebtehaj added.

9:25 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Japan’s coronavirus case count is at 907

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan’s Ministry of Health updated its numbers of novel coronavirus today to 705 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and 186 cases on land. 

Local municipal governments also announced today an additional 16 cases of the virus bringing the total to 907.

At least 8 deaths have been attributed to the virus, according to Japanese health officials.

9:19 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Health official: The rest of the world, not China, is "our greatest concern" now

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Michael Nedelman 

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the rest of the world — not China — is now "our greatest concern" when it comes to coronavirus.

For the second day in a row, the number of new coronavirus cases reported outside of China today was larger than those reported inside China.

Tedros said China had reported 48,630 cases with 2,747 deaths. Outside China, there are 3,474 cases in 44 countries with 54 deaths. 

 “It’s what’s happening in the rest of the world that’s now our greatest concern," Tedros said. 

In the last 24 hours, seven new countries have reported cases for the first time, Tedros said. This is now the time for each country to act to contain this virus. “If you act now, you can prevent this virus, you can prevent people from getting sick, you can save lives,” he said.