January 22 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Steve George and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 10:05 p.m. ET, January 22, 2020
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9:48 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Scientists estimate more than 4,000 coronavirus cases in Wuhan city alone

From CNN Health’s Meera Senthilingam

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Scientists at Imperial College London estimate that around 4,000 people are likely to have been infected by the new coronavirus in Wuhan city alone as of January 18.

Official numbers show nine people have died and at least 479 have been infected by the outbreak, but a team at Imperial believes these numbers are a gross underestimate. Mild symptoms and delayed onset mean many cases are likely to have been undetected. 

The new estimates are more than double previous estimates the scientists released last week, which suggested 1,723 people were likely to have been infected by January 12. The revision takes into account new information available this week, such as reports of exported cases in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

9:20 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Hong Kong has first "highly suspicious" coronavirus case

From CNN’s Anna Kam in Hong Kong and Chris Liakos in London

Markus Schreiber/AP
Markus Schreiber/AP

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that Hong Kong has identified a first “highly suspicious” coronavirus case.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on stage in Davos, Lam said:

We have the first case of highly suspicious infection in Hong Kong from a passenger from Wuhan or from Wuhan via another city coming to Hong Kong."

Lam said she has asked the health authorities to be on the guard. She added that the "rapid flow of people across the border" makes Hong Kong vulnerable.

“The most important point is to keep people informed so openness and transparency are important features in any public health system,” she said.

9:10 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Coronavirus explained: What you need to know

From CNN's Jen Christensen

The human coronavirus is seen in this image made from a transmission electron microscopy view.
The human coronavirus is seen in this image made from a transmission electron microscopy view. Cavallini James/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A new Chinese coronavirus has infected hundreds since the outbreak began in Wuhan in December. Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans.

Here is what you need to know:

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Coronavirus symptoms

The viruses can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold. Coronavirus symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, possibly a headache and maybe a fever, which can last for a couple of days.

For those with a weakened immune system, there's a chance the virus could cause much more serious respiratory tract illness like a pneumonia or bronchitis

How it spreads

Viruses can spread from human contact with animals. When it comes to human-to-human transmission of the viruses, often it happens when someone comes into contact with the infected person's secretions.

Coronavirus treatment

There is no specific treatment. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own. Doctors can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication.

How can you can prevent it

There is no vaccine to protect against this family of viruses, at least not yet. Trials for a MERS vaccine are underway.

You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by avoiding people who are sick. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds. If you are sick, stay home and avoid crowds and contact with others.

Read the full story here.

8:58 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Inside ground zero of Wuhan's coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's David Culver, Yong Xiong and Nectar Gan

A worker disinfects a railway station in Wuhan, China, on Wednesday, January 22.
A worker disinfects a railway station in Wuhan, China, on Wednesday, January 22. Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The Lunar New Year -- the most important festival in the Chinese calendar -- is just three days away, but in the Chinese city of Wuhan, there are few reasons to celebrate.

A deadly outbreak of a new coronavirus emerged in this city of 11 million people last month. Within weeks, the virus has killed nine people, sickened hundreds and spread as far as the United States.

Watch this video to see the atmosphere in the city.

8:40 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

WHO emergency meeting under way

Experts and representatives from the World Health Organization have gathered for an emergency meeting to discuss the coronavirus outbreak.

8:38 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

UK puts "precautionary measures" in place

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London

UK authorities have announced new "precautionary measures" in relation to the virus outbreak.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England said that enhanced monitoring will be in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK.

In a statement, they said:

The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell. For those travelling back directly from Wuhan, this includes a Port Health team who will meet each direct flight aircraft to provide advice and support to those that feel unwell.

The authorities said the risk to the UK population is "low," raised from "very low".

8:27 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Trump: "We have it totally under control"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump assured the public that the United States has a potential outbreak of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus “totally under control.”

Trump was asked if he was worried about an outbreak during an interview with CNBC from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“No. Not at all,” Trump said. “We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's—going to be just fine,” he added. The first US case was identified this week in Washington state.

Trump was also asked about the virus during a bilateral meeting with the head of Kurdistan, where he praised the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“I think it’s going to be handled very well,” Trump told reporters. “We’ve already handled it very well. The CDC has been terrific, very great professionals, and we’re on very good shape” 

7:15 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

Taiwan advises against "all non-essential travel" to Wuhan

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) raised the travel warning for Wuhan to level 3 on Wednesday. 

The level 3 warning means citizens should “avoid all non-essential travel” to the destination. Quarantines have also been implemented by several airports in Taiwan. 

The self-governing island's Central Epidemic Command Center said in a press statement that “there is a sufficient number of surgical masks and the public is advised to remain calm.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters that authorities have stopped travelers from entering and leaving the island due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen held a news conference over the outbreak.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen held a news conference over the outbreak. Photo: SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

7:00 a.m. ET, January 22, 2020

London Heathrow Airport introduces separate area for arrivals from Wuhan

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London

London’s Heathrow Airport has joined airports around the world that are increasing health screenings and implementing new quarantine procedures as officials race to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The British airport created a separate arrival area for passengers travelling directly from regions that have been affected by the virus, UK transport minister Grant Shapps said Wednesday.

Speaking to Sky News, Shapps said: “This is to ensure that when flights come directly into Heathrow there is a separate area of people arriving. That change has been made.”

On the threat to the UK from the virus, Shapps said: “Public Health England moved this from very low to low but obviously we want to stay ahead of the issue so we’ll keep a very close eye.”

Here's how other international airports are meeting the challenge.