January 28 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0256 GMT (1056 HKT) January 29, 2020
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7:15 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Japanese evacuees arrive in Tokyo from Wuhan

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

The first charter flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was arranged by Japan's government to evacuate its citizens, lands at Haneda airport in Tokyo.
The first charter flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was arranged by Japan's government to evacuate its citizens, lands at Haneda airport in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Japanese citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan, China arrived in Tokyo Wednesday morning local time.

The 206 Japanese nationals arrived on a chartered flight operated by ANA, according to Japanese officials. About 450 more Japanese citizens have not departed yet.

The passengers are all quarantined on board and those with any pneumonia-like symptoms will be taken to a special medical center for treatment. Passengers without symptoms will be taken to separate hospitals for further screening. 

Japanese citizens who live close to the Huanan Seafood Market and highly-populated areas in Wuhan were given priority on first flight. Chinese authorities have said the market is the likely source of the coronavirus.

Medical supplies for the Chinese government, including thousands of surgical masks, safety goggles and 50 protective suits, were also flown into Wuhan.

6:54 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

US Commerce secretary postpones China travel amid coronavirus concerns 

From CNN's Vivian Salama

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross postponed plans to possibly travel to China this week amid concerns by US officials that the coronavirus was spreading, a department spokesperson said.

6:22 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

This is what life is like inside the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Courtesy Ben Kavanagh
Courtesy Ben Kavanagh

Today is Ben Kavanagh’s birthday. The Irishman is teaching psychology in Wuhan and says he should be out at the local Irish bar in the city celebrating with friends. 

Tomorrow, he had planned on returning to Europe to do some traveling.

He remembers first hearing about the coronavirus as “a disease similar to SARS” around December 31.

“Sir, can I go, I’ve got SARS,” he remembers one student in his class saying as a joke.

Now, he’s trying to pass the time with Netflix and keeping in touch with friends and family. 

Kavanagh is one of 11 million Wuhan residents who are under travel restrictions. They are now essentially quarantined inside the city limits.

Kavanagh went to a nearby supermarket two days ago to get enough supplies: water, pasta, hot dogs, canned food, soy milk and other non-perishables.

Except he’s run of out of face masks, which are essential in preventing him getting the coronavirus. 

“I never had enough to begin with and the stores ran out immediately,” Kavanagh says. 

He says stores have been trying to restock, but he won’t be going outside until absolutely necessary.

Kavanagh says he doesn’t worry, most of the time.

“When I'm going to sleep my mind wanders and worries,” he says. “I think about how there's 11 million people in the city and not even 1% of them are infected.”

6:13 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Death toll in mainland China now stands at 131

From CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing

The death toll related to the coronavirus rose to 131 in mainland China.

There have been 25 more coronavirus-related deaths in China’s Hubei province, bringing the provincial death toll to 125, according to Hubei’s provincial health authority late Tuesday.

There have been 840 more confirmed cases in Hubei, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 3,554.

Among those hospitalized, 228 remain in critical condition.


5:39 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Starbucks closes more than half of its Chinese stores because of coronavirus

From CNN's Danielle Wiener-Bronner

Starbucks has closed more than half of its roughly 4,300 Chinese stores, as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread in the country.

The company said Tuesday it is continuing to "monitor and modify the operating hours of all of our stores in the market," in light of the outbreak.

"This is expected to be temporary," Starbucks added.

Over the weekend, the company said that it was closing shops and suspending delivery services in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and the wider Hubei Province. It has since closed stores throughout China.

The Wuhan Coronavirus has so far killed more than 100 people and infected thousands. It has reached more than 17 countries. 

CEO Kevin Johnson promised transparency into the company's response to the "extraordinary circumstances," in a statement Tuesday.

"We remain optimistic and committed to the long-term opportunity in China," he added.

Keep reading.

5:11 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Three patients in DC tested for novel coronavirus

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Three patients in Washington, DC were tested for novel coronavirus, of which one tested negative and two are pending results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to DC Health.

DC Health said there are currently no cases of the virus in DC and the current risk to DC residents is low.

About the virus: The novel coronavirus, which has sickened thousands and killed more than 100 people in China, belongs to a large family of viruses that mostly sicken animals. But this coronavirus, like SARS and MERS, "jumped the species barrier" to infect people on a large scale, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

4:59 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

A plane carrying US diplomats has left Wuhan, official says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

A plane carrying US diplomats and their families has departed Wuhan, China, according to a State Department spokesperson.

More on this: A California-bound flight chartered by the US State Department was expected to leave the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, a department official said.

About 240 Americans could be on the flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport. It will stop to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska, before arriving early Wednesday in Ontario, California, about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, according to Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokesman Clinton Bennett.

About three dozen US diplomats and their families were expected to be on board, a US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN.

4:36 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

His wife and daughters are stuck in Wuhan, China. He’s in Wisconsin trying to bring them home.

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Courtesy of the Roth family
Courtesy of the Roth family

Sam Roth’s wife and two small children went to Wuhan, China to visit family. Now they are stuck, hoping to be evacuated by the US State Department.

Daisy Roth, 10-month old Adalynn and five-year-old Abigail boarded a flight to Wuhan, China on January 19. They were headed to visit Daisy’s family for the Lunar New Year and spring festival; Abigail would even attend kindergarten there because they would be there until April 8.

Sam said he and Daisy knew about the coronavirus, but the risks looked completely different then.

Just days after landing, Roth said the lockdown began; Abigail was at a sleepover with a cousin.

“Her cousin’s father drove her to my in-laws place where my wife and other daughter were,” he told CNN. “They have stayed there since.”

On Saturday, he heard about a potential flight organized by the US State Department that would evacuate Americans stuck in epicenter of the coronavirus. Roth also sent his congressional delegations emails asking for them for help getting his family on the flight.

Unfortunately, his family was not picked to be on board the flight. Roth is hopeful though; he will bring them home.

“Right now, it is a matter of when, not if,” Roth said. "If we can get them out of there on an evacuation flight, we will.”

2:25 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Taiwan confirms another case of coronavirus, bringing the total to 8

People wear masks at a metro station in Taipei on January 28.
People wear masks at a metro station in Taipei on January 28. Chiang Ying-ying/AP

Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CECC) has confirmed another case of coronavirus in Taiwan, CECC announced in a statement today.

The total number of confirmed cases in Taiwan is now eight, CECC says.

Here's the CECC statement:

“The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced the eighth cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) in Taiwan. The case is a Taiwanese male in his 50s who resides in middle part of Taiwan, is a family member of and lives together with confirmed imported case #5. The eighth case developed cough and was hospitalized on January 26. On January 28, infection with the novel virus was confirmed in the case after testing. The case was determined as household transmission. The case is currently in a stable condition."