February 1 coronavirus news

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6:02 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

China asks EU for help with supplies

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the European Union to help China procure medical supplies, according to a Chinese government statement.

China is struggling to control the novel coronavirus outbreak. Its health system is on its knees, running out of beds and supplies.

Li spoke to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on the phone, the statement said, and is hoping to buy the supplies from EU member countries “through commercial channels.”

“And we are willing to strengthen information, policy and technical exchanges and to cooperate with international communities including EU,” Li said, according to the statement.

It added:

Li Keqiang said the Chinese government has always put people’s safety and health as first priority and is working to prevent and control the epidemic in a transparent and orderly manner. The current job is to curb the spreading of epidemic and to treat the patients, as well as guarantee the normal life order of Chinese people and foreigners in China.

The statement added that von der Leyen said the EU will try its best and coordinate all necessary resources to provide assistance to China.

China needs more medical supplies.
China needs more medical supplies. Photo: JONATHAN KLEIN/AFP via Getty Images

7:02 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Carry a tissue, wash your hands -- how to prevent the virus from spreading

The UK Department of Health and Social Care has issued a simple guidance on how ordinary people can help stop the new virus from spreading: carry a tissue, catch your sneeze, trash the tissue, wash your hands.

5:23 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

The impact of the Wuhan Coronavirus on China and beyond

CNN Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and The Economist China Editor James Miles discuss public health strategies with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Watch here:

7:10 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Here's how coronavirus outbreak went global in two months

The first case of coronavirus in China was detected in early December. Now, nearly two months later, it's a full-blown global emergency, with close to 12,000 confirmed cases across the world.

Here's a look back at how we got here:

  • December 8: First patient develops symptoms of Wuhan coronavirus
  • December 31: Earliest cases of virus reported to World Health Organization (WHO)
  • January 1: Seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have originated, is closed for disinfection
  • January 7: Chinese scientists identify pathogen involved as new strain of coronavirus
  • January 9: First death linked to virus
  • January 20: Cases reported in Beijing and Shenzhen
  • January 23: Wuhan is placed on lockdown, with movement halted in or out of the city. A total of 60 million people are affected by travel restrictions in Wuhan and neighboring cities. WHO says virus is not yet a public health emergency of international concern
  • January 28: Death toll tops 100. The number of confirmed cases in mainland China overtakes the deadly 2003 SARS outbreak
  • January 30: WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern
  • January 31: Death toll tops 200

4:39 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Australia confirms new cases, bringing total to 12

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Australia reached 12 on Saturday after South Australia confirmed its first two cases and Victoria confirmed its fourth.

A woman and a man, both aged 60, have been diagnosed with the virus and are in isolation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, according to a statement posted on the South Australia Health Facebook page.

The two patients arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan on January 20, the statement said.

“They have been isolated in a home since arriving and appropriate precautions will be taken upon presentation to the [hospital].”

The relative whom the two people were staying with is being tested and is in isolation, the statement added. 

Tourists wear protective masks in Sydney.
Tourists wear protective masks in Sydney.  Photo: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

The latest person to be confirmed with novel coronavirus in Victoria is a woman in her 20s, Victoria’s department of Health and Human services said in a statement. She was confirmed positive on Friday following a series of tests.

The woman is a resident of Melbourne and is recovering at home, the health department said. The department added that she spent time in Wuhan and returned home to Victoria on January 25. She became sick two days later. She was seen by doctors in a Melbourne hospital on January 30 and was “assessed as well enough to stay at home.”

4:42 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Hong Kong and Taiwan confirm new cases

Hong Kong has confirmed its 13th case of the new coronavirus, the government said in a statement on Saturday. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control said on Friday the number of cases in its territory reached 10.

The center said Taiwan’s new case, a man in his forties, is the husband of the ninth confirmed case. He returned to Taiwan from Wuhan on January 12 and developed symptoms of upper respiratory infection on January 21.

The new case in Hong Kong is a 39-year-old man who was reported to have developed muscle pain on January 29 and started having a fever on Friday.

He is currently in a stable condition and in isolation in hospital.

New cases were confirmed in Taiwan on Friday.
New cases were confirmed in Taiwan on Friday. Photo: Sam Yeh / AFP

5:22 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Hospitals are being urgently built for coronavirus patients in Wuhan

Two purpose-built hospitals in Wuhan, constructed in under a week, are due to start accepting patients on Monday and Thursday respectively, according to Chinese state media.

They have 2,500 beds between them, and will be focused purely on dealing with confirmed and suspected cases of the coronavirus, providing some much-needed relief to Wuhan's stretched health system.

Public healthcare crisis: Patients, medical staff and experts have told CNN of an already overburdened health system creaking under the enormous weight of a rapidly expanding outbreak.

According to a nurse in Wuhan who asked not to be identified for fear of professional repercussions, staff are overwhelmed, resources are running low, and there are no beds.

Around 30 of the 500 medical staff at her hospital are now sick and admitted to hospital, and others -- including her -- have self-quarantined at home.

Take a look at the hospitals being built:

4:10 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Hubei is suspending marriage registrations...to fight the virus

Hubei Province, home to Wuhan city where the outbreak began, is suspending all marriage license registrations until further notice.

The suspension will begin on February 3 to prevent the spread of the outbreak, "protect public health, and safeguard public interests," said the province in a statement on its website.

It's just the latest of a series of drastic measures in the province -- in one other city near Wuhan, every household is only allowed one representative to leave the house and buy groceries every other day.

Nearly 60 million people, mostly in Hubei, are under partial or full lockdown -- this means limited movement in or out of cities and towns, closed roads, and suspended public transit.

3:50 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

People are lining up to buy a traditional Chinese remedy said to help fight coronavirus

Could a traditional Chinese medicine help fight the Wuhan coronavirus, or is one of the country's most influential state media outlets promoting pseudoscience and false hope?

Those were the questions dominating Chinese social media after the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Friday that the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica and the Wuhan Institute of Virology had discovered that the Shuanghuanglian oral liquid -- a popular combined herbal remedy commonly used to relieve some symptoms such as fever, cough, and sore throat -- could be used to "inhibit" the deadly virus.

Posts on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, purportedly showed people lining up all night outside pharmacies across China to buy Shuanghuanglian, ironically going against the authorities' advice to avoid congregating in public. 

Such was the apparent demand sparked by the notice that the compound formula sold out on some stores on China's e-commerce platform Taobao.

On Saturday, however, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, warned that "inhibiting does not equal preventing and treating," reminding the public not to rush to purchase the herbal remedy. The findings still needed to be studied, and there are no proven treatments for the virus yet, it said.

Some background: Though many TCM remedies have been used for hundreds of years, critics argue that there is no verifiable scientific evidence to support their supposed benefits.

But in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave its long-awaited nod to include TCM in its influential book classifying thousands of diseases -- its first-ever official endorsement of the ancient practice.

Read more about it here.