January 27 coronavirus news
The mayor of Wuhan has admitted people were "not satisfied" with the rate that his government released information on the coronavirus, adding that it was "not disclosed in a timely fashion."
Mayor Zhou Xianwang, whose city is at the epicenter of the virus outbreak, told state-run CCTV Monday that "we didn’t effectively use that information" in its response.
He explained that under Chinese law on infectious diseases, the local government first needs to report the outbreak to the national health department, and then get approval from State Council before they can make an announcement.
"I hope everyone can understand that this is (an) infectious disease which has special channels to be disclosed in accordance with law," he said.
The mayor added that he took responsibility for the "unprecedented" decision to lock down the city.
Israel's Ministry of Health has joined several countries around the world in warning its citizens against "unnecessary" travel to China in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ministry warned Israelis to avoid the Hubei region, the epicenter of the virus, altogether.
A number of patients have been checked for the virus in Israel and the West Bank after suffering symptoms of respiratory disease, such as fever and coughing.
As of Monday morning all cases -- apart from one -- had tested negative for the virus. The results of that case are still pending.
Major European markets are down sharply Monday -- almost 2% -- as worries over the coronavirus escalate.
French stocks are being hit particularly hard, with luxury and travel companies suffering the most. Such companies would usually be reaping the benefits of Chinese New Year spending, experts say.
- Air France KLM is down almost 5%
- LVMH, Dior and Gucci owner Kering are down almost 4%
- L’Oreal is down 3%
Elsewhere, Asian markets were lower and oil prices dropped 3% with Brent crude trading below $59 a barrel -- its lowest level since October.
US stock futures also tumbled Sunday, after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a fifth case of the virus in the United States.
Both Paris and Madrid are working with Chinese authorities to repatriate French and Spanish citizens who are currently in Wuhan.
France will fly its citizens back home from Wuhan “in the middle of next week," the country's Health Minister, Agnès Buzyn, said Sunday.
"All our citizens in Wuhan, about 800, are connected to the consulate,” the French Health Ministry told CNN Monday.
"The Prime Minister has decided to respond to the French people of Wuhan and their request to return. Our consulate team is in contact with the nationals. All those who wish to return will be able to do so,” Buzyn added.
“We are arranging a direct flight from Wuhan," she said.
Buzyn said those who return to France will be monitored in one place for 14 days to avoid any spread of the virus.
A spokesman for the Spanish Foreign Ministry also told CNN that "the ministry is working with other European Countries affected to organize a joint repatriation flight."
In a statement, the ministry said: “The Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation has spoken with the Consul General of Spain in Beijing to obtain information of the situation of Spaniards in Wuhan."
There are about 20 Spanish people in Wuhan, the ministry said.
The number of people infected by the Wuhan coronavirus could potentially double every six days in the absence of a major intervention by public health authorities, according to Professor Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine at University of Hong Kong (HKU).
Leung, who is also the founding director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Infection Disease Epidemiology and Control in Hong Kong, gave his forecast on the likely extent of the outbreak during a press conference held at HKU on Monday afternoon.
He said he had submitted his report to Beijing and Hong Kong authorities as well as to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Leung said according to his team’s model, the number of cases of Wuhan coronavirus including patients that are incubating (not showing symptoms) could approach 44,000 cases as of January 25.
This epidemic is growing at quite a fast rate and it’s accelerating,” said Leung.
The results of two scenarios -- one with a population quarantine as has been seen in Wuhan and one without -- were almost identical, suggesting “population quarantine may not be able to substantially change the course of the epidemic in the other major city clusters.”
In addition to Wuhan, Leung warned China could see epicenters of self-sustaining epidemics in other major cities in the mainland, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
"It is not a prediction, it is not certain, but these finding makes us concerned enough to alert the authorities and to alert the public,” Leung said.
According to Leung's forecast, the number of cases could peak between mid-May and mid-April in major cities.
In order to prevent this from happening, there would need to be “substantial draconian measures limiting population mobility sooner rather than later,” said Leung.
Leung said people need to be prepared for the outbreak to become a global epidemic, though it is "not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination…we must prepare better for it.”
There are more than 2,700 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 80 deaths in China. Worldwide concern is mounting about the rate of its spread.
Here's what you need to know:
- Outbreak in China: 2,744 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, and 80 people are dead. There are full or partial lockdowns in 15 Chinese cities in an effort to limit the virus's spread.
- Global spread: There are more than 50 cases confirmed around the world, in the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, France, Australia, and more. Some countries are trying to evacuate their citizens out of Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak.
- Contagious before symptoms: People can spread the virus before symptoms show, China warned on Sunday -- meaning people may have been spreading the virus without knowing they were ill.
- Transmission: The major transmission mode of the coronavirus is through “close range droplet transmission,” Feng Luzhao, researcher from the Chinese Disease Prevention and Control Center, said. His comments suggest that most people have contracted the virus by being in close contact with an infected person.
- Stretched hospitals: A nurse from the Central Hospital of Wuhan tells CNN at least a dozen medical staff from the facility are infected with the Wuhan coronavirus. Videos and witness accounts in Wuhan show packed hospitals and overworked staff. About 1,600 medical professionals are being sent to the city on Sunday and Monday.
UPDATE: A previous version of this post contained a graphic that mapped coronavirus cases using raw counts instead of normalized rates. The graphic has been removed.
After a person in Los Angeles County tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, efforts are being ramped up to trace everyone the patient came into contact with.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Los Angeles International Airport are assisting in contact tracing, along with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Contact tracing is defined as the identification and follow-up of people who may have come into contact with an infected person, according to the World Health Organization.
During a press conference Sunday, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said that her department is working, “with the individual who is infected, along with the airport – LAX – and CDC to identify persons who may have had close personal contact with this individual.”
Ferrer said the patient, who is a resident of Wuhan, ground zero for the outbreak, had previously transited through LAX.
The individual presented themselves to health care authorities on January 22, saying they were ill. They were assessed by health care authorities and brought to a hospital in Los Angeles, where the patient remains.
The health department provided no further details about the patient’s condition, gender or age, or how many people have been contacted through their investigation.
The agency also announced at the press conference that all travelers coming from China through LAX are currently being screened.
The Los Angeles patient is one of two confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in California. The other is in Orange County. The CDC on Sunday afternoon updated the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States to five.
The German Foreign Office has put out an updated travel advisory for China regarding the Wuhan coronavirus.
It is advising German citizens to:
- consider postponing travel to China if it's not urgent
- register at one of the German government crisis preventive lists if you're in China
- avoid travel to the province of Hubei
- plan for travel restrictions in the area
- obey the orders of local security forces
- take into consideration the World Health Organization advisories as well as those from the Robert-Koch institute, the German government agency responsible for disease control and prevention.