January 29 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Jessie Yeung, Steve George and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 11:44 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020
59 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:12 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Ikea to temporarily close half their stores in mainland China over coronavirus

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty in London

 A customer enters an Ikea f store in Hong Kong on April 26, 2019.
 A customer enters an Ikea f store in Hong Kong on April 26, 2019. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images/FILE

Ikea will temporarily close around half their stories in mainland China until further notice, effective from Jan. 29, an Ingka group spokesperson confirmed in a statement to CNN today. 

“The decision has been made after careful assessment and consideration of the epidemic situation, and IKEA Retail China is proactively working with local authorities in the cities and regions where we operate. The impacted IKEA co-workers are asked to stay at home until further notice with paid leave” the spokesperson said.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation and stay updated on information from local and global authorities, and act in accordance with their recommendations as this situation is evolving” the statement concluded.

4:57 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Delta temporarily reduces number of flights to China

Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines is temporarily reducing its number of weekly flights between the US and China “due to significantly reduced customer demand prompted by global health concerns related to coronavirus,” the airlines said in a statement today.

Here's the airlines full statement:

"Delta is temporarily reducing the number of weekly flights it operates between the U.S. and China due to significantly reduced customer demand prompted by global health concerns related to coronavirus.
To maintain options for customers, the airline will continue to operate from all current U.S.-China gateways. Today, Delta operates 42 weekly flights between the U.S. and China, including daily service connecting Beijing and Detroit and Seattle, and Shanghai and Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle. The airline will reduce this schedule to approximately 21 weekly flights, offering three to four weekly flights on the same routes.
The reduced schedule will be reflected on delta.com beginning Feb. 1 and will be effective Feb. 6 through April 30. Delta will continue to monitor the situation and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve.
Beginning Feb. 1, the Delta team will proactively reach out to take care of customers whose itineraries are affected and will accommodate them on alternate flights.
Additionally, Delta continues to offer a change fee waiver for customers who wish to adjust their travel plans for US-China flights. Delta remains in contact with the CDC and is following their guidance.”
4:49 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Google confirms it is temporarily shutting down Chinese offices due to coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Shannan Liao

Google's Beijing Office seen  on August 7, 2018.
Google's Beijing Office seen on August 7, 2018. Visual China Group/Getty Images

Google is temporarily closing down its offices in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, the company confirmed to CNN. 

Google said it has four offices in China that focus on sales and engineering for its ad business, and is keeping employees updated on the situation.

The tech company’s offices had been closed for the Lunar New Year festival, and the company is extending the closures in light of the outbreak. 

The Verge first reported the news.

4:36 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Dutch airline KLM suspends some flights to China

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

Dutch airline KLM announced it is reducing some of its flights to China because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the company said on Twitter today. 

Starting Jan. 30, direct flights to Chengdu and Hangzhou will be suspended, and from Jan. 30 the number of weekly flights to Shanghai will be reduced from 11 to 7 per week, the airline said.

From Jan. 31, direct flights to Xiamen will be suspended, it added.

3:31 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

US retailers prepared to respond to coronavirus, but are in the "wait and see period"

From CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich

US retailers with production in China are still trying to assess the effect of the coronavirus on their supply chains. 

Many plants and factories were already closed for the Lunar New Year, so companies are considering keeping some closed while the outbreak continues, according to Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation. 

The National Retail Federation has been in touch with the Department of Homeland Security and US Customs & Border Protection who report they have not experienced any disruption in shipping and supply routes thus far.

US retailers are prepared for these types of scenarios, according to Gold. Retailers spend time and money on contingency plans for pandemics such as SARS and the coronavirus, and can move quickly to put alternative plans in place. However, they “are waiting to see what their response should be,” he said.

What may happen in the future: One factor that will effect those contingency plans include a major shutdown in air travel, which would halt the transportation of cargo, Gold said. US retailers are in constant contact with vendors, but are in the “wait and see period.”

Gold points out that retail is not just impacted on the supply chain side, but that a slowdown in tourism from China could affect US retailers.

3:37 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

First case of coronavirus confirmed in Finland

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

Chief Physician Taneli Puumalainen, left, and Director Mika Salminen of THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare) address a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, January 29, relating to the first confirmed coronavirus case in Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi.
Chief Physician Taneli Puumalainen, left, and Director Mika Salminen of THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare) address a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, January 29, relating to the first confirmed coronavirus case in Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi. Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images

Finland's National Health and Welfare Institute confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the country, according to CNN's affiliate MTV3 Finland.

The 32-year-old woman from Wuhan arrived in Finland on Thursday, traveling on the same day to Ivalo, a village in the northern Lapland region.

She developed respiratory symptoms and fever on Sunday, and went to the emergency room yesterday, MTV3 Finland reports. 

"In the EU countries there is a strong knowledge on how to prevent infectious diseases. And I believe that is even more strong in Finland. The health care district of Lapland will take care of the monitoring of the possible exposed persons. The monitoring will take place for 14 days which is a recommendation by the World Health Organization," Taneli Puumalainen, senior physician​ from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare told reporters. 
3:40 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Evacuees on flight from Wuhan to US asked to stay in base housing for "more thorough screening"

From CNN Michael Nedelman

Travelers wearing masks exit off of China Airlines flight 24 at Ontario International Airport after arriving from Taipei, Taiwan Tuesday January 28.
Travelers wearing masks exit off of China Airlines flight 24 at Ontario International Airport after arriving from Taipei, Taiwan Tuesday January 28. Will Lester/Orange County Register/ZUMA Wire

Passengers on a flight from Wuhan to California who don’t have symptoms of coronavirus are requested to stay in housing at March Air Reserve Base "to allow CDC medical officers to perform more thorough screening and to better understand each individual’s exposure,” according to the statement today from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The statement did not indicate how long evacuees would be asked to remain in housing.

For those who do show symptoms, CDC said it will work with the California Department of Public Health and Riverside County Public Health to transport them to a hospital to be evaluated.  

Earlier today: A team of CDC medical officers met the flight after landed this morning in southern California, carrying more than 200 Americans evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

The plane departed Wuhan on Tuesday and stopped in Anchorage, Alaska, to refuel. According to the CDC, passengers were screened before takeoff, during the flight, during the refueling and after arriving.

The agency maintains it believes the risk of coronavirus to the US public is low.

2:40 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

What it was like on the flight evacuating Americans from Wuhan

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy

 

Earlier today, a flight carrying Americans evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak landed at March Air Reserve Base in southern California.

Darby Siebels was on it. She said she was told by a US Embassy in Beijing representative last night that she had a seat, but she had to find a way to get to the airport when travel inside Wuhan is severely limited by travel restrictions put in place by the Chinese government to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

En route to the airport, she was stopped at two checkpoints: the first checkpoint they were taking the temperature of some drivers—her driver was not stopped or checked; the second checkpoint stopped them to check if the people in the vehicle were on a manifest of “accepted passengers.”  

At the airport, there was a manifest check, more temperature checks and paperwork. 

“I was probably in the airport for about 9-10 hours before we actually took off,” she said. 

Once on the plane, "everyone was in a pretty calm mood," she said.

"The people who were working on the flight were working really hard (non-stop) and were super helpful,” she says. “Food and drinks were available, but it wasn't the service you might be used to if you're on a typical commercial flight.”

Two men in what Siebels describes as “full hazmat garb” were walking through the plane giving passengers information. They also tried to boost morale, including getting an exit row of the plane to do the wave.

2:40 p.m. ET, January 29, 2020

Canadian government secures plane to bring citizens back from China

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Canada has secured a plane for those Canadians who want to come back from China, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said today.

“Now the next step obviously is to work on the diplomatic front and the logistics obviously with our Chinese counterparts, we are engaging in discussions as we speak,” Champagne said.

Meanwhile, Canada has also changed its travel advisory to advise all Canadians to avoid non-essential travel to China.