January 29 coronavirus news

5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:39 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Cases of coronavirus in China jump by 30% overnight

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

As of Wednesday, there were 5,974 confirmed cases of the virus in China, including 132 deaths, according to the National Health Commission (NHC).

The number of cases grew by almost 1,500 from Tuesday, a more than 30% increase.

From Sunday to Monday the number of cases confirmed in China had jumped by 65%.

With the number of confirmed cases increasing day by day, concern is growing over the global spread of the virus. Numerous countries, including the US, have stepped up airport screenings and warned their citizens not to travel to China. Some countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, have restricted Chinese tourists.

Chinese authorities say they are throwing everything they have into containing the infection within its borders.

Wuhan’s Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang said in a press conference that the sudden increase in confirmed cases is down to more efficient testing measures.

Before January 14, all the testing for the Wuhan coronavirus was done by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which as a "very long process," Ma said.

"To confirm a case in Wuhan, (we) needed to send his sample to the national CDC," he said.

To speed up that process, from January 16 the Chinese central government allowed the Hubei provincial CDC to conduct the tests.

"So our samples are no longer required to be sent to Beijing, and can be tested at the provincial CDC, with a capacity of testing about 300 cases (per day)," Ma said.

The rate of testing also increased from January 24, as nine hospitals could test the samples, "which drastically increased our testing capacity and efficiency."

This does not mean the speed of the disease has increased drastically," Ma said.
10:35 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Australia to evacuate its nationals out of Hubei

From journalist Anna Kam in Hong Kong

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that his government will be evacuating Australian citizens from Hubei.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that his government will be evacuating Australian citizens from Hubei. Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that his government will be "evacuating all Australians out of the Hubei province" amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

Morrison said they'll be "focusing on the young, especially infants and the elderly" for repatriation.

There are more than 600 Australian citizens in the province of Hubei, including its capital city of Wuhan, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.

"This will be done in a last in, first out basis," Morrison said, adding that they are looking into "those who have been there who do not have established support infrastructure in where they are living."

The operation, which will be aided by Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways, is still tentative, however.

"I want to stress that we cannot give a guarantee that this operation is able to succeed," Morrison said. "I also want to stress very clearly that we may not be in a position if we’re able to do this on one occasion to do it on another.”

The move comes as Australia raised its travel advice to "reconsider all travel" to China, due to concerns over the coronavirus. 

Controversy of Christmas Island used as a quarantine

Morrison said that "Christmas Island will be used as a quarantine area," for returning Australians from Hubei.

While the Australian citizens will wait out their quarantine on the Pacific island before heading home, the use of Christmas Island to house them has drawn uneasy comparisons with the plight of refugees who have been detained there.

Australia has a strict border protection policy and sends all asylum seekers arriving on its shores by boat to detention centers for processing -- Christmas Island houses one such facility.

There have been repeated allegations of abuse and even torture of those held in Australia's offshore detention centers.

Morrison said that Australian returnees who do arrive on the island, "would be there, we envisage, for up to 14 days. But that will be subject to the medical advice we receive."

He said that measure would be put in place to ensure support is "provided directly to the Christmas Island community completely separate and quarantined from the support that is being provided in the quarantine zone."

 

9:50 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Japanese evacuee from Wuhan says they are relieved to be home, situation in Wuhan deteriorating

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Takeo Aoyama and Takayuki Kato speak to journalists following their charter flight arranged by Japan's government to evacuate Wuhan at Haneda airport in Tokyo.
Takeo Aoyama and Takayuki Kato speak to journalists following their charter flight arranged by Japan's government to evacuate Wuhan at Haneda airport in Tokyo. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Two Japanese evacuees who arrived in Tokyo Wednesday morning on a flight from Wuhan said they are relieved to be home.

Speaking at a press conference after they landed, Takeo Aoyama and Takayuki Kato, both board members of the Japan Chamber of Commerce in Wuhan, said the situation in the city -- which is ground zero for the outbreak -- is rapidly deteriorating, and while they can still access food and other necessities, they cannot freely shop and work.

Both evacuees urged support for the Chinese people in Wuhan and spoke of their Chinese colleagues and other citizens who stayed behind.

The two were among 206 Japanese nationals who arrived on a chartered flight operated by ANA, according to Japanese officials.

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.

9:43 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

Hong Kong stocks just started trading amid coronavirus outbreak. They promptly dropped 3%

From CNN's Laura He

AP Photo/Vincent Yu
AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Hong Kong stocks tumbled Wednesday as investors returned from a four-day holiday to weigh the consequences of an escalating coronavirus outbreak.

The city's benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 3% at market open and was last down 2.7% -- its first day of trading after the Lunar New Year holiday celebrations. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 and South Korea's Kospi both rebounded a little from losses earlier this week. The indexes were last up 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively.

Read the full story here.

9:14 p.m. ET, January 28, 2020

What you need to know about the coronavirus

A Chinese worker is dressed in a protective suit as he takes the temperature of a woman at a subway station during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holiday on January 28 in Beijing.
A Chinese worker is dressed in a protective suit as he takes the temperature of a woman at a subway station during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holiday on January 28 in Beijing. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus now stands at 132, and authorities in China and across the world are working to contain the disease.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The casualties: 132 people have died, all in mainland China. There are 5,974 confirmed cases across the country, and more than 70 confirmed cases outside China, including the US, Australia, France and Germany.
  • Accelerating spread: The virus appears to be spreading rapidly -- there was a 30% jump in reported cases in mainland China in just one day.
  • Human-to-human infections: Germany and Japan have both confirmed cases of patients who tested positive for coronavirus, but who had not visited Wuhan. 
  • China's response: Some 60 million people are under travel restrictions in Hubei province. The provincial capital, Wuhan, is under almost complete lockdown, with no movement in or out. In several cities, businesses and schools have been closed for the next few weeks.
  • Hospitals under strain: Hospital staff in Hubei province are struggling to cope with the number of patients, and supplies are running low. China has deployed 1,800 more medical personnel to the province to help.
  • Global response: Numerous countries, including the US, have stepped up airport screenings and warned their citizens not to travel to China. Some countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, have restricted Chinese tourists. Others have begun to plan for the evacuation of their citizens from Wuhan. Hong Kong is to stop issuing individual travel permits for travelers from mainland China.
  • WHO delegation goes to China: World Health Organization sending a team of international experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak, and US health experts expect the country's Center for Disease Control staff to be among them.