Image Credit: File


  • Novel coronavirus death toll: 1,113 in China
  • Covid-19 cases up to 44,653
  • 97 people die in China on Tuesday, down from 108 Monday
  • Cases on Japanese cruise ship rise to 175; 138 Indians among 3,700 quarantined on cruise ship
  • WHO says 168 labs around world can now test for coronavirus

Follow the latest updates from around the globe here. [This is a live blog. Please refresh for updates.]

1,113: Death toll from Covid-19

The total death toll from Covid-19 on Tuesday was 1,113, Chinese health authorities said on Wednesday.

The central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 94 deaths, while in the provincial capital of Wuhan, 72 people died. Across mainland China, there were 2,015 new confirmed infections on Tuesday, the lowest since Jan. 30. The total accumulated number so far has reached 44,653.

Coronavirus disease named Covid-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the official name for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (previously called 2019-nCoV) is Covid-19.

The word "coronavirus" refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain. The virus itself has been designated SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Japan cruise ship virus cases jump to 175, including quarantine officer.

Covid-19 cases were lowest since January — but experts disagree over peak.

China’s Hubei province, meanwhile, reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since January, lending credence to a prediction from the country’s senior medical adviser that the outbreak could be over by April.

China reports drop in new deaths from coronavirus

Chinese authorities reported 97 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.

The total is 11 fewer than the 108 deaths reported the day before, with the total number reaching 1,113.

Tuesday also saw 2,015 new confirmed cases of the virus, down from 2,478 on Monday and the lowest since January 30.

The total number of confirmed cases has now reached 44,653.

Another 39 test positive on Japan cruise ship

An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japan coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said Wednesday, bringing the total to 174.

"Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive," he told reporters, adding that a quarantine official had also been infected with the virus.

Hubei province reports 94 new deaths

The number of deaths in China's central Hubei province from a coronavirus outbreak had risen by 94 to 1,068 as of Tuesday, the province's health commission said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

There had been a further 1,638 cases detected in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, taking the total in the province to 33,366.

Novel coronavirus named 'Covid-19': UN health agency

The World Health Organisation on Tuesday said "Covid-19" would be the new official name for the deadly coronavirus that was first identified in China on December 31.

"We now have a name for the disease and it's Covid-19," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, explaining that "co" stood for "corona", "vi" for "virus" and "d" for "disease".

The latest figures reported by global health authorities as of Tuesday in Beijing
_ China: 1,016 deaths among 42,638 confirmed cases on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong has had 49 cases, including one death. Macao has had 10 cases. Most of the illnesses and deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.
_ Japan: 163, including 135 from a cruise ship docked in Japan
_ Singapore: 47
_ Thailand: 33
_ South Korea: 28
_ Malaysia: 18
_ Taiwan: 18
_ Australia: 14
_ Germany: 14
_ Vietnam: 15
_ United States: 13. Separately, one U.S. citizen died in China
_ France: 11
_ United Kingdom: 8
_ United Arab Emirates: 8
_ Canada: 7
_ Philippines: 3 cases, including 1 death
_ India: 3
_ Italy: 3
_ Russia: 2
_ Spain: 2
_ Belgium: 1
_ Nepal: 1
_ Sri Lanka: 1
_ Sweden: 1
_ Cambodia: 1
_ Finland: 1

US authorizes Hong Kong staff to leave over coronavirus

The United States said Tuesday it had authorized consulate staff to leave Hong Kong as concerns spread over the coronavirus that originated in mainland China.

Non-essential staff and their family members will be allowed, but not required, to leave the metropolis "out of an abundance of caution related to uncertainties" on the coronavirus, a State Department spokesperson said.

WHO warning

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned the spread of cases outside of China could be "the spark that becomes a bigger fire", warning the human race must not let the epidemic get out of control.

There are 319 cases in 24 other countries and territories, according to WHO and Chinese health officials. So far only two deaths have been reported outside mainland China — in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

There were 2,478 new confirmed cases on the mainland on Feb. 10, down from 3,062 on the previous day, bringing the total to 42,638, China's National Health Commission said. It marks the second time in the past two weeks that authorities recorded a daily drop in new cases.

Vietnam's coronavirus cases climb to 15, baby infected

Vietnam confirmed another case of the new coronavirus on Tuedsay, bringing its total to 15, the health ministry said.

The latest case is a three-month-old baby, infected by her grandmother, who tested positive for the virus on Feb. 9, the ministry said in a statement.

It said 10 out of 15 confirmed case are from the northern province of Vinh Phuc.

Vietnam has made plans to quarantine hundreds of its citizens returning from China, including 950 at military camps outside Hanoi, and another 900 at temporary facilties on the Vietnam-China border.

Thailand bars cruise ship over virus fears

Thailand has barred passengers from Holland America's cruise ship MS Westerdam from disembarking, its health minister said on Tuesday, the latest country to turn it away amid fears of the coronavirus despite no confirmed infections aboard.

The company, owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp, had said on Monday that passengers would disembark in Bangkok on February 13 and that there was no reason to believe anybody aboard had the virus.

"I have issued orders. Permission to dock refused," Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in a Facebook post.

First confirmed coronavirus case in San Diego

The first coronavirus infection was confirmed in San Diego, California in a person who was aboard the first US evacuation flight from Wuhan, China to a Miramar airbase, local television station 10News reported, citing an official familiar with the situation.

China's Hubei sacks provincial health commission party chiefs

China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, dismissed the provincial health commission's party boss Zhang Jin and director Liu Yingzi, state media CCTV reported on Tuesday.

Wang Hesheng, a member of the provincial committee of the Communist Party in Hubei province who has served in the public health system for years, will take over their roles, CCTV reported.

China virus death toll passes 1,000

China reported 108 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, a daily record, bringing the total number of people killed in the country to 1,016, but the number of new cases fell.

There were 2,478 new confirmed cases on the mainland on Feb. 10, down from 3,062 on the previous day, bringing the total to 42,638, the National Health Commission said. President Xi Jinping called for more "decisive" measures to tackle the outbreak in a rare visit to a frontline hospital.

The Chinese president donned a face mask and had his temperature checked while visiting medical workers and patients affected by the deadly coronavirus that has killed at least 1,016 people.

The fatalities soared after hardest-hit Hubei province - the epicentre of the outbreak - reported another 103 deaths out of a nationwide total of 108 on Tuesday, the highest single-day toll since the virus emerged.

At a hospital treating infected patients in Beijing, Xi on Monday called the situation at the epicentre "still very grave" and "more decisive measures" to contain the spread of the virus, said state broadcaster CCTV.

Xi has largely kept out of the public eye since the virus outbreak spiralled across the country from Hubei province to infect more than 42,000 people.

Japan cruise ship now has 135 coronavirus infections: government

Another 65 people aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the health ministry said Monday, bringing the total number of known infections to 135.

The Diamond Princess has been in quarantine since arriving off the Japanese coast early last week after the virus was detected in a former passenger who got off the ship last month in Hong Kong.

"Test results from 103 people have now come out and 65 of them are confirmed positive for the new coronavirus," the ministry said in a statement.

Four of the 65 patients had been sent to hospital, a ministry official told reporters, adding that more test results were pending.

The official declined to comment on the nationality of those infected, but said that the ministry "aims to report them by the end of tomorrow".

Authorities have continued to test people for the virus where "necessary", the statement added.

The cruise ship operator said 66 people had been newly diagnosed, mostly Japanese, but there were also Australians, Filipinos, a Canadian, a Briton and a Ukrainian. There was no immediate clarity on the discrepancy between that figure and the health ministry.

When the boat arrived off Japan, authorities initially tested nearly 300 people for the virus of the 3,711 on board, gradually evacuating dozens who were infected to local medical facilities.

The number of passengers and crew on board has since declined to 3,622, the ministry official said.

In recent days testing has expanded to those with new symptoms or who had close contact with other infected passengers or crew, and several more cases were reported over the weekend.

Those who remain on the ship have been asked to stay inside their cabins and allowed only briefly onto open decks.

UK calls new coronavirus 'serious and imminent threat'

The British government on Monday warned the outbreak of novel coronavirus was a "serious and imminent threat" and announced new measures to protect the public.

Two hospitals have been designated as "isolation" facilities - both are currently housing Britons who have returned from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.

Anyone with the virus can now be forcibly quarantined and sent into isolation if they are deemed to pose a public health threat.

Britain has four confirmed cases of the virus, including one man who fell ill after going to a conference in Singapore. He was being treated as a specialist infectious diseases unit in London.

Two evacuation flights have returned British nationals from Wuhan and returnees have been taken into quarantine for two weeks.

"The incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health," the health ministry said in a statement.

Health minister Matt Hancock said the new regulations would "ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus".

The SARS-like virus, which first emerged at the end of last year, has killed more than 900 people and spread around the world. Some 40,000 people have been infected in China and 350 elsewhere.

China virus death toll rises to 908, cases pass 40,000

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 40,171 nationwide with more than 3,000 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Monday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 97 new deaths from the virus - with 91 in hardest-hit Hubei province - bringing the national toll to 908.

China virus deaths jump to 902: official 

The number of deaths from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 902 nationwide on Monday after hard-hit Hubei province reported 91 new fatalities.

In its daily update, Hubei's health commission also confirmed another 2,618 new cases in the central province, where the outbreak emerged in December.

WHO team leaves for China

World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Tedros announces departure of WHO advance team to China to investigate coronavirus outbreak

Nine members of Hong Kong family get virus after 'hotpot': officials

Nine members of a Hong Kong family are infected with the new coronavirus after sharing a hotpot meal, officials confirmed late Sunday.

A 24-year-old man and his grandmother, 91, were initially confirmed to have the virus. Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection later said the man's father, mother, two aunts and three cousins were also infected.

Officials said the family was part of a gathering of 19 who shared the hotpot meal over the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January.

A hotpot - also known as a steamboat - is a bubbling cauldron of stock shared communally, to which diners add ingredients.

More French arrive home from virus-hit Wuhan, via UK

Thirty-five more French citizens on Sunday arrived home in France from China's virus stricken Wuhan, in a repatriation organised by the government which saw a stop in Britain, officials said.

Their flight landed at the Istres military base in the south of the country and they were immediately taken into a 14-day quarantine at an academy for the fire brigade in the nearby town of Aix-en-Provence, a base spokesperson told AFP.

This was the third repatriation by France of people fleeing China and the risk of infection by the coronavirus. Some 180 people landed in Istres on January 31 and then 120 on February 2.

This time the French took the initial leg of the journey on board a chartered civilian aircraft that arrived at the Brize Norton airbase in Oxfordshire, southern England.

Some 80 people are already in quarantine at the Aix-en-Provence centre. The other 225 people taken back to France are at a holiday camp in Carry-le-Rouet west of Marseille.

All those in the French quarantine centres are being regularly tested for the coronavirus but so far no positive test has been recorded for the virus

Canada to send second plane to evacuate nationals from Wuhan

Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said a second chartered plane is departing to Asia to bring another load of nationals out of Wuhan, the Chinese city locked down over the coronavirus outbreak, Canadian Press reported.

"The plane would be leaving on the 10th of February, bringing back the last group of Canadians who want to be repatriated on the 11th," Champagne said in Ethiopia Sunday.

Last Friday, a first Canada chartered plane with 176 passengers landed at a military base in Ontario. Separately a smaller group arrived in an American flight. The total number of Canadians that have been repatriated is 215, Canadian Press said.

The evacuation of Canadian citizens follows other countries that in the past days have rescued citizens from the virus-stricken region. Countries including the U.S. and Australia have issued travel bans on foreign nationals who had recently visited China or who arrived directly from the mainland in order to quell the spread of the epidemic.

Confirmed cases for coronavirus have climbed to 37,198, and there have been more than 800 deaths worldwide.

The government is also monitoring 285 Canadians who are subject to quarantine on two cruise ships off the coast of Japan and Hong Kong. There are seven Canadians with confirmed cases of the virus that were contracted aboard one of the ships, which is docked in the port city of Yokohama. They're being treated in Japanese hospitals, the news wire said.

Canada has seven confirmed cases of the virus within its borders, the federal government said on its website.

China says it has spent $4.5b to fight virus outbreak

China has spent 31.6 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) to control the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Finance Minister Liu Kun said.

About 71.9 billion yuan of fiscal funds have been allocated to the epidemic, including ensuring medical care and outbreak control measures are in place, Liu said on Sunday.

The central government's fiscal authorities will continue to offer favorable policies to curb the spread of the virus, Liu said in remarks posted on the finance ministry's website. He said local fiscal departments should support the resumption of factory production, and help small and medium-sized firms that may face difficulties after the Spring Festival.

Passengers wearing masks
Passengers wearing masks and covered with plastic bags walk outside the Shanghai railway station in Shanghai, on February 9, 2020. Image Credit: REUTERS

Spain, UK report new virus cases as they hunt down carriers

The U.K. confirmed its fourth case of the new virus from China and Spain reported its second case as European authorities pressed Sunday to contain the spread of the coronavirus by hunting down those who came into contact with infected people.

Both the new cases were acquired during trips to France, officials said.

Italian health authorities in Tuscany, meanwhile, were trying to re-trace the steps of a Taiwanese couple who stayed four days in a Florence hotel, flew to Hong Kong and then to Taiwan on Feb. 1 and were later confirmed to have the virus.

The new U.K. case is a known contact of a previously confirmed case there, the country's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said, adding that ``experts ... continue to work hard tracing patient contacts."

An ambulance driver (R) of Ernakulam medical college puts on gears up with protective apparel to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus, as he prepares before going to pick a suspected virus patient, in Kochi on February 4, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

In Spain, authorities were working to identify everyone who came into contact with a British man whose case was detected in Mallorca, a popular vacation island in the Mediterranean Sea, Spain's National Microbiology Center said.

The man, who lives on the island, contracted the virus at the end of January at a French ski resort, according to Fernando Simon, head of Spain's Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies.

The man, who was not identified, is healthy but was being kept in isolation in Palma de Mallorca, Simon told a news conference in Madrid. His wife and two daughters tested negative.

In Britain, a plane evacuating more than 200 people from the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic landed Sunday at RAF Brize Norton. British officials said it brought back 105 British citizens and family members, as well as 95 European citizens and family members. In a carefully coordinated ballet of secure planes and buses, those passengers were distributed around Europe.

The British passengers were taken to a hotel-conference center in Milton Keys, where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

Rome coronavirus
A general view of the Palatino Grand Hotel, where two Chinese tourists visiting Rome tested positive on Thursday for a new virus, in Rome, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Italy banned all flights coming from and going to China as European countries have stepped up their response to the new virus that has sickened thousands of people in China and reached 19 other countries. Image Credit: AP

Some 20 people from Germany on the British flight were taken to Berlin, to be tested and quarantined at a hospital for two weeks. Another 17 European evacuees were flown to Berlin and were being transported on to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Romania on special flights.

Thirty-five French citizens on the British flight went on to southern France and were immediately taken to quarantine. The French government had already brought hundreds of Europeans and Africans from Wuhan back on two earlier flights to France.

Eight Italians on the British flight were flown to Italy by the Italian air force and were transferred to a Italian military hospital in Rome to be quarantined. Aboard the same flight to Italy were also seven Danes, three Swedes and two Greeks.

The virus death toll in China rose Sunday to 811, passing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, and officials said nearly 37,200 people have been infected there.

Europe has seen a total of 39 infections in nine countries, including 14 in Germany.

Thousands from cruise ship in Hong Kong freed after virus tests

Thousands of people stranded aboard a cruise ship in Hong Kong for five days were allowed to disembark on Sunday after its 1,800 crew tested negative for the deadly new coronavirus.

Health authorities in the Asian financial hub said the crew and a similar number of passengers had been released from a quarantine imposed due to fears that some staff could have contracted the deadly virus on a previous voyage and passed it on.

The World Dream carried three Chinese passengers to Vietnam between January 19 and 24 who were later found to be infected with the SARS-like coronavirus, which has killed more than 800 people in China since it emerged in December.

Medical workers and security personell stand at a checkpoint as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Anqing, Anhui province, China, on February 6, 2020. Image Credit: REUTERS

The government grounded the ship on its arrival in Hong Kong Wednesday while tests were carried out on the crew, but said the passengers need not undergo examination as they had no contact with the three sick holidaymakers on the January trip.

First found in the city of Wuhan in central China last December, the virus has infected more than 36,000 people on the Chinese mainland and at least 26 in Hong Kong.

The passengers and crew isolated on the vessel had been expecting to stay aboard until Tuesday after Hong Kong authorities said testing would take at least four days.

But chief port health officer Leung Yiu-hong said Sunday "all tests have results this afternoon and are all negative".

He added that passenger testing was deemed unnecessary because they were at relatively low risk. All 3,600 onboard will not be required to self-quarantine after leaving.

Hong Kong on Saturday began enforcing a 14-day quarantine period on all people arriving from mainland China in a fresh bid to curb the spread of the virus.

The city's health minister Sunday morning said 468 people had so far been ordered to stay at home, in hotel rooms or at a government quarantine camp since the policy took effect.

Singapores announces seven more cases of novel coronavirus

There are now 40 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore, the largest number of infections outside of mainland China.

Seven new cases were announced by the Singaporean Ministry of Health on Sunday, five of which were linked to previously known infections.

Coronavirus People wearing protective face masks
People wearing protective face masks wait at a pedestrian crossing in Singapore on February 4, 2020. Image Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

"Amongst the confirmed cases, two have been discharged. Of the remaining 38, most are stable or improving. Four are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, and one requires additional oxygen support," the ministry statement said.

The Singaporean government, however, said in the statement that the risk of contracting the virus in public places is low.

Coronavirus outbreak: 89 more deaths reported in China, toll up to 813

Another 89 people died in China's Hubei province on Saturday, bringing the total death toll around the world to at least 813.

The number of confirmed cases has risen to at least 27,100 in Hubei province alone, with the global number of infected now at more than 37,000 — the vast majority in mainland China.

The number of people killed by the novel coronavirus globally has now overtaken the total death toll for the SARS outbreak in 2003, which killed a total of 774 people across the world.

Ex-CDC-chief: Study is an eyeopener on how virus is spreading and "how little we know".

Royal Caribbean bans all Chinese passport holders from boarding cruises

The Royal Caribbean cruise line announced Saturday that it would no longer allow any guest with a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macao passport to board its ships.

Coronavirus Anthem Of The Seas
Anthem Of The Seas is seen moored at the port of Bilbao, Spain during its maiden voyage, on April 26, 2015. Image Credit: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

"We apologize for the inconvenience to any guests affected by these measures put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all our guests and crew," the statement said.

It added that all itineraries for the next six months that involved stopovers in mainland China were under review.

Head of WHO-led coronavirus probe team leaving for China on Monday or Tuesday

The head of a World Health Organization-led international team investigating the coronavirus outbreak will leave for China on Monday or Tuesday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Tedros, asked whether the team would include experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), told a press conference on Saturday: "We hope so." The death toll in mainland China rose to 723 on Saturday, the WHO said, looking likely to pass the 774 deaths recorded globally during the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Across mainland China, the number of cases stood at 34,598, the WHO said.

Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergency expert, said there had been a stabilisation in the number of new cases reported from Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, over the past four days.

"That's good news, and may reflect the impact of the control measures put in place. But remember there are also lots of suspected cases still to be tested." Ryan, speaking later to Reuters, said: "The daily number of new cases has been stable over a four-day period. The same number each day, around." He added, "It's not a decline. That can just mean four days of relative calm before it accelerates."

138 under observation in Karnataka

The Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Services Department has kept under observation 138 persons across the state in the wake of coronavirus scare, a health official said on Saturday.

"We are observing 138 people across the state, including in Bengaluru," the department's Communicable Diseases Wing Joint Director Prakash Kumar told IANS.

Though no coronavirus-positive case has been reported from Karnataka so far, four persons have been admitted in state hospital under medical observation, Kumar confirmed.

Of the 104 samples sent for testing from the state, 85 have so far been declared negative.

As many as 130 persons across the state were kept under home-isolation observation.

Four Karnataka districts bordering Kerala -- Kodagu, Mangluru, Chamarajanagar and Mysuru - continue to be under surveillance after three positive coronavirus cases were reported in Kerala.

From January 20 till Saturday, 14,153 passengers underwent thermal screening at the Kempegowda International Airport, including three who had a history of visit to Wuhan in China.

The '104 Arogya Sahayavani' call centre, which people can call for guidance on coronavirus, has clocked 1,792 calls so far.

"In case people with recent travel history to China and other affected countries develop any symptoms, they are requested to call 104 or health authorities and provide all necessary details in order to take necessary measures and are requested to be quarantined in isolation at home," reiterated the department.

Five Brits test positive for coronavirus in France

Five British nationals including a child have tested positive for the new coronavirus in France, the health minister said Saturday, adding that they had all been staying at the same ski chalet.

France has now detected a total of 11 cases of the novel coronavirus, and the new "cluster" is centred on a Briton who had returned from Singapore and stayed in Contamines-Montjoie, near Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

"They show no serious signs" of a life-threatening infection added Buzyn, herself a doctor.

In addition to the five Britons who have tested positive for the virus, six other Britons staying in the same chalet in late January were also hospitalised for observation, the minister said.

Authorities are now seeking to contact people who came into close contact with the initially infected Brit, she said.

Most of the six previous cases in France appear to have been treated successfully, though all are still in hospital.

138 Indians among 3,700 quarantined on cruise ship

A total of 138 Indians — 135 crew and six passengers — are among the 3,700 passengers and crew members onboard Japanese cruise liner Diamond Princess that is quarantined at Yokohama, Japan, for the past few days as part of curbs on the coronavirus outbreak, according to Indian media reports.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship with over 3,000 people on board arrives at Yokohama port on February 6, 2020. Ten more people on a cruise ship off Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, local media said, raising the number of infections detected on the boat to 20. Image Credit: AFP

So far, 61 people on board — none of them Indians — have tested positive for coronavirus and have been moved to hospitals.


Citizens of US, Japan die of coronavirus in Wuhan


A US citizen died from coronavirus in China's Wuhan City, in Hubei province, on February 6, 2020 (Thursday), according to the US embassy spokesperson in Beijing on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a Japanese man hospitalised with pneumonia in Wuhan has also died, according to Japan's foreign ministry on Saturday. 

Coronavirus outbreak: 86 die in one day as infections in mainland China top 34,000

Eighty-six (86) people reportedly died in a single day in China on Friday. That brings the coronavirus death toll up to more than 722 people, and all but two of those died in mainland China.

Globally, the virus has infected more 34,400 people across 27 countries and territories.

More than 300 people have tested positive for the virus in over 27 places around the world — including two other countries that share a land border with China: Russia and South Korea.

'Many' Indians on board quarantined cruise ship

NEW DELHI: At least six Indian passengers and “many” crew members are among about 3,700 passengers and crew on Japanese cruise liner Diamond Princess, quarantined at Yokohama port in Japan for the past few days due to suspected coronavirus cases on board.

Two ships are quarantined in Asia 

The Diamond Princess: The Princess Cruises-operated ship was quarantined with thousands of people on board after it was revealed that an infected passenger flew into Tokyo and spent a few days aboard.

On Saturday morning, 64 passengers had tested positive for the virus and been taken off the ship for treatment. About 2,600 guests and more than 1,000  crew are on board. The initial infected passenger is an 80-year-old from Hong Kong who flew into Tokyo — the world's most populous city ù on January 17 with his two daughters. Two days later, he began coughing, Hong Kong authorities said.

He boarded the cruise in Yokohama on January 20. When it stopped in Hong Kong on January 25, he got off and never returned. He sought medical attention on January 30 and was diagnosed with the virus shortly after. Hong Kong authorities said he was in stable condition Wednesday.

The quarantine is expected to end February 19.

The World Dream: The World Dream is docked at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, with 3,600 passengers and crew on board in quarantine. The ship docked there on Wednesday after it emerged that three former passengers, who took a World Dream cruise to Vietnam from January 19 to 24, had the coronavirus, the ship's operator, Dream Cruises, said in a statement.

The World Dream 0101
Hong Kong's Health Department said Wednesday some 30 members of the The World Dream cruise ship crew reported feeling sick, but all were in stable condition. Three who reported fevers are in isolation in a Hong Kong hospital for further testing. Image Credit: Supplied

The crew from that voyage stayed on as the World Dream picked up a new set of passengers before sailing to Hong Kong Wednesday morning, Hong Kong authorities said. Hong Kong's Health Department said Wednesday some 30 members of the crew reported feeling sick, but all were in stable condition. Three who reported fevers are in isolation in a Hong Kong hospital for further testing.

Global shortage of anti-virus masks: WHO chief

The world is running out of masks and other protective equipment against the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization chief warned on Friday.

"The world is facing a chronic shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE)," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO's executive board in Geneva.

Security personnel wearing masks walk along the Financial Street in central Beijing, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus. Image Credit: Reuters

WHO said prices for some items were up to 20 times higher than normal, and Tedros told reporters the problem was being made worse by "inappropriate use" of masks by people who were neither sick nor medical staff.

"There are now depleted stockpiles and backlogs of four to six months. Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet the needs of WHO and our partners," he said, adding: "There is a moral issue here."

After speaking to a supply chain group of producers and distributors on Friday, Tedros praised those companies that have promised to sell only to medical staff.

"There is limited stock of PPE and we need to make sure we get it to the people who need it most in the places that need it most," he said, warning against "stockpiling of PPE in countries and areas where transmission is low".

WHO earlier this week said it had started sending masks, gloves, respirators, protective isolation gowns and test kits to countries requiring assistance.


At least 31,000 have now been infected by the virus, which has killed more than 630 people.

Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO's Emerging Diseases unit, said that overall some 82 percent of cases were considered mild, 15 percent severe and three percent "critical".

"Less than two percent of the reported cases have died," she said, adding that those who have died tended to be older and have underlying medical conditions.

Tedros also said that some countries were still failing to share clinical data on confirmed cases of the virus and urged them to do so "immediately".

"We have a common enemy which is dangerous and which can bring serious upheaval, social, political and economic. This is the time to fight it and in unison," he said.

Tedros also pointed out that for the past two days the number of reported cases of the virus had declined.

He said this was "good news but we caution against reading too much into that - the numbers could go up again".

China sends over 11,000 medics to Wuhan

Chinese health authorities have sent more than 11,000 medics, including the country's best ICU staff, to the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Friday.

Among them, over 3,000 doctors and nurses are intensive care specialists, said Guo Yanhong, an official with the National Health Commission, at a press conference in Beijing.

China's top experts in intensive care also gathered in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, to host consultations and conduct ward rounds, said Guo. "We are fully aware of the urgent need for ICU professionals in Wuhan.

The current medics have been working for quite a long time and are exhausted both physically and mentally," Guo said. She also noted the big gap between the supply and demand of medical resources in other cities in Hubei.

A one-on-one support system was established in 16 provinces, said Guo, adding that each of the provinces helps one city in Hubei to battle the epidemic. "Those provinces will make all-out efforts to improve the treatment of patients in Hubei," Guo stressed.

By the end of Thursday, Hubei had 22,112 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection, with 618 deaths and 4,002 cases in severe or critical condition.

Hong Kong Airlines to lay off 400 staff

Hong Kong Airlines said Friday it has been forced to slash hundreds of jobs and ask remaining staff to take unpaid leave as the coronavirus outbreak compounds problems at the already-struggling firm.

The announcement by the city's number two carrier comes days after Cathay Pacific said it had asked all its 27,000 workforce to take three weeks leave without salary between March and June because of collapsing demand caused by the health crisis.

The virus, which has infected 24 people, one of whom died, comes just as the city was struggling to recover from months of sometimes violent protests that battered the economy and gutted the key tourism sector.

Hong Kong Airlines said in a statement that strict entry and quarantine measures imposed by countries around the world have further impacted travel demand in the city and the firm had to take "vigorous measures" to mitigate the challenges.

The company said it will lay off 400 employees, with the remainder asked to take a minimum of two weeks no-pay leave per month or work three days a week from February 17 until the end of June.

"There has never been a more challenging time in Hong Kong Airlines' history as of now," the company said in an email statement to AFP.

Coronavirus cases on Japan cruise ship treble to 61

Another 41 people on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan have the new coronavirus, the country's health minister said Friday, confirming more on board will now be tested for the illness.

The newly diagnosed infections mean at least 61 people from the ship have contracted the virus, which has killed hundreds of people, most of them in China, and infected more than 30,000 on the mainland.

Japanese authorities have so far tested 273 people on board the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined after a former passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong last month, was diagnosed with the virus.

"The results of the remaining 171 tests came out and 41 tested positive," Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

"Today they will be sent to hospitals in several prefectures, and we are now preparing for that."

"In total, out of 273 specimens, 61 tested positive," he added.

The newly diagnosed include 21 Japanese, as well as Americans, Canadians, Australians, an Argentine and a Briton.

China virus deaths rise to 636

The official Chinese death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose on Friday to 636, with the government saying total infections had climbed past 30,000.

The toll was raised by 73 new deaths from the epidemic, the National Health Commission said in its daily update.

Another 3,143 new cases of infection were confirmed, bringing total infections in the country thus far to 31,161, it said.

The central province of Hubei where the virus originated continued to be hardest-hit, accounting for 69 of the new deaths reported in the 24 hours to Friday.

Of the reported infections, more than 4,800 of those people were in serious condition.

Too early to say coronavirus peaking in China: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was too early to say that China's coronavirus outbreak was peaking, but noted that the country had recorded its first day of a drop in the number of new infections.

The death toll from the virus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563, with more than 28,000 confirmed infections inside the world's second-largest economy. That number had risen by nearly 4,000 from Wednesday to Thursday.

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergencies expert, said it was very difficult to make predictions on the course of the disease first reported in the central city of Wuhan in late December, noting: "We are still in the middle of an intense outbreak".

"There are cycles of transmission, and we may see those cases increase in the coming days. But at least for the moment, things are stable," Ryan told a news conference.

"But 4,000 cases or nearly, 3,700 coronavirus cases confirmed in a single day, is nothing to celebrate and is certainly still a great worry," he said.

Rise in infections

There is a constant rise in infections in the epicentre of Hubei province, which accounts for about 80 pct of cases, Ryan said, adding: "But we haven't see that same acceleration in provinces outside Hubei. And equally we haven't seen that acceleration in Hong Kong, Macao, in Taiwanese people either." Earlier, the United States and China clashed over the issue of Taiwan's exclusion from WHO meetings, including the ongoing Executive Board, where it is represented by China, with Beijing accusing Washington of political "hype-up".

"It's hard to believe just two months ago this virus was unknown to us," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

"We have already learned so much about it, we know its DNA, we know it can be transmitted from one person to another, we know that those most at risk are older people and those with underlying health conditions," he said.

But there is still a lot to learn, including the source of the virus, its severity and ability to spread, Tedros said.

Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, said that the virus causes a "full spectrum of disease".

"You have mild cases which look like the common cold, which have some respiratory symptoms - sore throat, runny nose, fever - all way through pneumonia. And there can be varying levels of pneumomia, all the way through multiple organ failure and death," she said, calling for further study of mild cases and how easily they can spread the virus.

Wuhan tells residents to report temperature daily

The city of Wuhan told residents check their body temperature on a daily basis and report it to local health authorities, part of new steps to contain the coronavirus in the city of 11 million that's the center of the outbreak.

The city is conducting door-to-door inspections as well, and will send someone to check on people displaying a fever, according to a notice posted by the provincial government. People with symptoms will be sent to a community health center for evaluation.

Latest figures reported by health authorities as of Thursday in Beijing
China: 563 deaths and 28,018 confirmed cases on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong has had 22 cases, including one death. Macao has had 10 cases. Most of the deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.
Japan: 45
Singapore: 30
Thailand: 25
South Korea: 23
Australia: 14
Germany: 13
United States: 12
Taiwan: 13
Malaysia: 14
Vietnam: 12
France: 6
United Arab Emirates: 5
Canada: 4
India: 3
Philippines: 3 cases, including 1 death
Russia: 2
Italy: 2
Britain: 3
Belgium: 1
Nepal: 1
Sri Lanka: 1
Sweden: 1
Spain: 1
Cambodia: 1
Finland: 1

640 Indians evacuated from coronavirus-hit China: MEA

New Delhi [India], Feb 6 : As many as 640 Indians and seven Maldivians have been evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan in a "complex operation" done with Beijing's assistance, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

"We have successfully carried out the evacuation of 640 Indian nationals and 7 nationals of the Maldives from 2 flights. These Indian nationals belonged to the city of Wuhan and nearby areas and did not show symptoms of any illness. It was a complex operation. We do appreciate the support and facilitation extended by the government of China during this exercise," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a press briefing.

The Indians and Maldivians had returned on two special Air India flights from Wuhan last week and were subsequently sent to quarantine facilities in Manesar and Chhawla managed by the Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police respectively.

Kumar added that a total of 10 Indians who expressed willingness to return to the country could not travel after they failed the screening process. "Apart from these 10, there are several other people in Wuhan who chose to stay back."

Indian nationals, who were airlifted from coronavirus-hit Wuhan city of China's Hubei province, have meal inside a quarantine facility set by up ITBP, in New Delhi. Image Credit: PTI

"We got in touch with the Chinese authorities and sought their assistance to monitor their health and welfare. Our missions are in contact with them and we are exploring all possible options to ensure their safety and well being," Kumar said.

Kumar also announced that existing electronic and normal visas are no longer valid for any foreign national travelling from China, adding, "it is applicable only to the Chinese mainland and not to Hong Kong and other areas."

Those having compelling reasons to visit the country have been asked to contact the country's embassy or consulates in China to apply for the visa.

Coronavirus originated in China in December, last year, and has since then killed 562 people in that country alone, while cases have been registered in several countries across the world, including India.

Airlines extend China flight suspensions

International airlines Air France-KLM, Virgin and Iberia said Thursday they would extend their initial suspension of flights to China where authorities are struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

Air France-KLM said it would prolong the suspension of its flights to March 15.

The French-Dutch carrier had already suspended all flights to and from China until February 9 and last week began flying employees out of the country.

If conditions allow, it will gradually resume flights to Shanghai and Beijing starting March 16 before returning to normal schedules from March 29, including to Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the virus outbreak, Air France-KLM said in a statement.

"Air France is monitoring the situation in China in real time and has been working closely with national and international health authorities since the outbreak of the coronavirus," it said.

Virgin Atlantic, also said on Thursday that it was extending the suspension of its flights between London Heathrow and Shanghai until March 28.

"The health and safety of our customers and staff remains our absolute priority," an airline spokesperson said.

And Spain's Iberia said it would now not fly to China again until the end of April, at the earliest.

Several airlines have halted flights to China, and some to Hong Kong as well, many citing a drop in passengers because of fears of exposure to a virus that has killed more than 550 people and infected more than 28,000.

The outbreak has been declared a global health emergency, prompting several governments to warn against travel to China and ban new arrivals from the country.

34, including two Chinese nationals, tested negative for Coronavirus in Telangana

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], Feb 6 : As many as thirty-four people, including Chinese nationals, who were admitted at Gandhi and Fever Hospitals with symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) have been tested negative.

According to Dr. G Srinivasa Rao, Director of Public Health, Government of Telangana," 12 new patients suspected to be infected with the novel coronavirus (nCoV) were admitted to the hospital yesterday, and all cases turned out to be negative, including the two Chinese nationals. Test reports of one person are yet to come."

He further added that the state has not had any positive case of the virus and said," As of now, all of these 12 people have been kept under observation in the isolations wards. No positive coronavirus has been reported in Telangana so far."

Coronavirus has killed more than 500 in China and has infected nearly 20,000 globally.

The virus originated from Wuhan, a Chinese city, in December and has since then spread to various parts around the world. China has imposed quarantine and travel restrictions, affecting the movement of 56 million people in more than a dozen cities, amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate.

19 foreign nationals tested positive for novel coronavirus in China

The Chinese foreign ministry Thursday informed that 19 foreign nationals had been confirmed of novel coronavirus pneumonia, among them, two had been cured and discharged from the hospital while 17 were receiving treatment in isolation.

"According to data from the competent authority, as of noon February 6, 19 foreign nationals have been confirmed of 2019-nCoV pneumonia, among them, two have been cured and discharged from the hospital while 17 are receiving treatment in isolation," Chinese Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Hua Chunying said during her regular online briefing. She remarked that China attached high importance to addressing the concerns and demands of foreign nationals in China, especially those in Wuhan, Hubei Province. "The Chinese government has provided timely, multilingual information and advisory services on epidemic prevention and control to foreigners in China," she added.

Air France-KLM extends China flight suspensions

Air France-KLM said Thursday that it would extend to March 15 the suspension of its flights serving China, where authorities are struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

The French-Dutch carrier had already suspended all flights to and from China until February 9 and last week began flying employees out of the country.

If conditions allow, it will gradually resume flights starting March 16 before returning to normal schedules from March 29, including to Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the virus outbreak, Air France-KLM said in a statement.

India suspends visas issued to Chinese passport holders before Feb 5

As the death toll crossed over 500 in the coronavirus outbreak, immigration officials have suspended all visas issued before February 5 to all Chinese passport holders from any part of the world, apart from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

"All visas issued to Chinese passport holders coming from anywhere in the world, including regular (sticker) and e-visa issued before February 5, have been suspended with immediate effect," the officials said.

"The above restriction on travel is not applicable to the Chinese passport holders of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan," they added.

The officials stated that in case of compelling reasons to travel to India, such persons may get in touch with the Indian Embassy in Beijing or consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou for a new visa.

10 more test positive aboard Japan cruise ship

Tokyo: Ten more people on a cruise ship off Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, local media said Thursday, raising the number of infections detected on the boat to 20.

Japanese authorities have tested 273 people among the approximately 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship after a man who got off the boat last month in Hong Kong tested positive for the new strain.

The new cases were reported as the Diamond Princess, which was placed in quarantine off the Japanese port city of Yokohama on Monday night, docked to allow resupply and the removal of sick passengers.

At the port, officials could be seen dressed in white full-body protective suits, complete with face masks and helmets.

As the massive cruise ship docked, passengers who have been told they may have to stay aboard for 14 days even if they test negative for the virus, came out onto balconies, some waving to assembled media or taking pictures.

People on board have described confusion and boredom after being confined to cabins following the decision by Japanese authorities to quarantine the vessel.

China reports 73 new deaths, total rises to 563

Beijing: The number of confirmed fatalities from China's coronavirus outbreak rose to at least 563, after authorities  reported 73 new deaths on Thursday.

In its daily update, the health commission also confirmed another 3,694 new cases to bring total to 28,018.

All arrivals to Hong Kong from mainland China to face 'compulsory quarantine': leader

Anyone arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China from Saturday will face a mandatory two-week quarantine, the city's leader announced Wednesday, a measure aimed at reducing the spread of a deadly coronavirus.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave no details on how the measure would be implemented but said updates would be released in the coming days.

"The measure is harsh. But I believe after we say all arrivals have to be quarantined for 14 days from February 8 the number of arrivals will reduce," Lam said.

Italy scans all international arrivals for coronavirus

Italy began Wednesday scanning passengers arriving on all international flights in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus which has killed almost 500 people, mainly in China.

Controls by thermal scanners previously reserved for passengers arriving from areas hit by the deadly virus would be extended to all flights, including from Europe, the country's civil protection agency said Tuesday.

Airports without scanners would be staffed by hundreds of Red Cross volunteers armed with tablets or digital thermometers to check each arriving traveller.

At Rome's Fiumicino airport, the controls were extended to domestic flights as well.

Italy has only two confirmed cases of the virus; a Chinese couple, aged 65 and 66, from Wuhan - the virus epicentre - who were hospitalised last week in Rome's institute for infectious diseases.

The Spallanzani institute said Tuesday that their condition had deteriorated and they had been placed on life support.

Italy declared a state of emergency on Friday and is the only European country to have shut down all flights to and from China.

At least 10 infected on Japan cruise ship

Thousands were marooned on a cruise ship off the Japanese coast Wednesday, after medics evacuated 10 people infected with the deadly coronavirus, with many facing an anxious wait for their own test results.

Passengers on board the Diamond Princess are being confined to their cabins for as long as 14 days and many expressed concern about medication running out.

Tests are being carried out on samples taken from 273 of the 3,711 people on board after a former passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus that has claimed almost 500 lives in China, where it originated.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told parliament on Tuesday that tests are being conducted on three groups: those presenting symptoms; those who disembarked in Hong Kong and those who had been in close contact with the infected passenger.

Of the 31 results received so far, 10 people tested positive for the virus. They were removed from the vessel and taken to medical facilities, Kato said.

More Chinese cities shut down as virus death toll rises

HANGZHOU, China: Millions more people have been ordered to stay indoors as China battles to curb the spread of a new virus that authorities said Wednesday has already killed nearly 500 people.

With more than 24,000 cases in China, a growing number of cities have been imposing a range of restrictions in recent days far from central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, as authorities struggle to contain the virus.

Global concerns have risen as more countries found cases that were not imported from China and 10 people tested positive for the virus on a ship quarantined off the coast of Japan.

Some 56 million people in Hubei have been under virtual lockdown since last week, with its capital Wuhan at the heart of the health emergency.

In Hangzhou, some 175 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Shanghai, green fences blocked streets near the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Alibaba as a fighter jet circled overhead.

Alibaba, one of the world's most valuable companies, appeared shut down, while deliverymen moved in and out of the nearby fenced-in residential areas to drop off groceries. Many people were also seen going out. Read full report

Major US airlines add Hong Kong to China flight suspensions

United and American Airlines on Wednesday both announced plans to temporarily suspend flights to Hong Kong following the outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus.

United said it would halt flights to the international financial hub from Saturday until February 20, citing a sharp drop in passengers.

American Airlines said it had already suspended flights through to February 20.


Both carriers had previously said they were halting flights to mainland China where the outbreak of the new coronavirus began late last year and has since killed nearly 500 people and infected more than 24,000.

Dozens of major airlines have stopped flying to the Chinese mainland in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, which has been detected among a small number of people in more than 20 countries.

The inclusion of Hong Kong in the flight ban comes as the city struggles with its own outbreak, with 18 people testing positive for the disease, including one who died.

On Tuesday, health officials in Hong Kong warned there was now growing evidence of local transmissions - cases where people have become infected without travelling to China.

Hong Kong has one of the world's busiest airports and is a major transit point for China.

The latest figures as of Wednesday in Beijing
• China: 490 deaths and 24,324 confirmed cases on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong has had 17 cases, including one death. Macao has had 10 cases. Most of the deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.
• Japan: 33
• Thailand: 25
• Singapore: 24
• South Korea: 18
• Australia: 13
• Germany: 12
• United States: 11
• Taiwan: 11
• Malaysia: 10
• Vietnam: 10
• France: 6
• United Arab Emirates: 5
• Canada: 4
• India: 3
• Philippines: 3 cases, including 1 death
• Russia: 2
• Italy: 2
• Britain: 2
• Belgium: 1
• Nepal: 1
• Sri Lanka: 1
• Sweden: 1
• Spain: 1
• Cambodia: 1
• Finland: 1

At least 10 on Japan cruise ship have coronavirus

At least 10 passengers on a cruise ship that Japan quarantined tested positive for the new coronavirus, public broadcaster NHK and other Japanese media reported on Wednesday, citing the health ministry.

Japan has quarantined the vessel carrying 3,711 people and was testing those onboard for the virus after a former passenger was diagnosed with the illness in Hong Kong.

China virus death toll rises to 490

The number of confirmed deaths from China's coronavirus outbreak rose to at least 490, after authorities in Hubei province reported 65 new fatalities Wednesday.

In its daily update, figures from the health commission in Hubei, which has been hit hardest by the virus, also showed a jump in confirmed infections with 3,156 new cases.