February 4 coronavirus news

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12:01 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Russia will quarantine Wuhan evacuees in Siberia

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina in Moscow and Zahid Mahmood in London

A view of the Gradostroitel Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in the Tyumen region of Siberia, where Russian citizens evacuated from China will be quarantined.
A view of the Gradostroitel Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in the Tyumen region of Siberia, where Russian citizens evacuated from China will be quarantined. Credit: Maxim Slutsky/TASS/Getty Images

Russia will set up a quarantine area in Siberia for people travelling back from China's Hubei province due to the coronavirus outbreak, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said Tuesday.

According to state media RIA, Golikova told reporters that returnees will be isolated for two weeks in the Siberian region of Tyumen as it was “the most prepared region.”

“I want to say and reassure everyone that the citizens who fly from Wuhan and Hubei are healthy citizens," Golikova said, adding: “Our colleagues from China do not let those infected leave from their territory, from the quarantine territory.”

11:24 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Stock rebound continues amid coronavirus-related selloffs

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

A person wearing a facial mask passes the New York Stock Exchange on February 3.
A person wearing a facial mask passes the New York Stock Exchange on February 3. Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks opened higher on Tuesday, adding on to Monday’s gains as equities rebound from coronavirus-related selloffs.

Stocks are in the green around the world, and even China’s markets, which took a beating Monday, ended the day higher.

The Dow opened up 380 points, or 1.3%. The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite opened 1.4% higher.

 

11:01 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

US airport official asks 'how is this going to work?' as confusion crops up over virus travel restrictions

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Sweeping travel restrictions related to the Wuhan coronavirus are now in effect at US airports, but there are still questions about how the new rules will be enforced.

"Everyone has been trying to nail down clarifications on the travel ban. There were questions along the line like 'How is this going to work? What are going to be the procedures?' and 'What are the details on a quarantine?'" an official at a major West Coast airport told CNN.

The official's airport is one of the 11 designated airports for coronavirus screenings and possible self-quarantine under new rules that went into effect Sunday afternoon.

The West Coast airport official expressed concern that the airport had not prepared for large numbers of potentially sick people.

Read the full story here.

10:45 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Mask hoarders in South Korea could now be sentenced to two years in prison or fined $42,000

From CNN’s Jake Kwon in Hong Kong

Boxes of protective masks are displayed for sale outside a supermarket in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday.
Boxes of protective masks are displayed for sale outside a supermarket in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday. Credit: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg/Getty Images

South Korea will ban the hoarding of surgical masks and hand sanitizers from Wednesday -- with those found guilty sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison or fined up to $42,000.

The emergency measure aims to prevent manufacturers and vendors from massively profiting from the coronavirus outbreak, Seoul's Ministry of Economy and Finance said in a press release. The measure will stay in effect until the end of April.

The ministry defines hoarding as storing more than 1.5 times the amount of a monthly average sale of two items for more than five days.

“The government will never accept market disrupting action that takes the safety of the citizens hostage,” the Ministry of Economy and Finance said, adding: “We will take the strongest measure.”

10:08 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Britain sequences coronavirus genome in the race to stop its spread

From Lindsay Isaac, London

Scientists at a UK public health authority investigating the coronavirus have discovered that the virus has not evolved “to better infect humans” since its genome was first sequenced in China.

By sequencing the virus’s genome, Public Health England says it has provided “valuable information on any mutations in the virus over time and allows an improved understanding of how the virus spreads.”

“By sequencing this virus’s genome we can better understand the roots of this disease, predict its behaviour, and learn how tackle it," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement.

There's still a lot we don't know about the Wuhan coronavirus, and scientists around the world are racing to gather data and develop a treatment.

Health officials in Thailand have said they are treating a patient with a combination of HIV and flu drugs, while a biopharmaceutical firm is working to see if antiviral drugs used to treat Ebola could also combat the symptoms of coronavirus.

A purpose-built hospital dedicated to treating the virus also opened in Wuhan Monday

9:49 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

At least one person turned away at US border as coronavirus travel restrictions implemented

From CNN's Geneva Sands

A Canadian citizen was turned away at the US' northern border as a part of President Donald Trump's temporary ban on people who have visited China before their arrival in the United States, acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said Monday.

In the wake of Trump's proclamation, the US has started denying entry to foreign nationals who visited China in the 14 days prior to their arrival to the US.

Read the full story here.

10:38 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

What you need to know about the coronavirus

A medical worker collects biomaterial for testing from a suspected coronavirus patient in Wuhan on Tuesday.
A medical worker collects biomaterial for testing from a suspected coronavirus patient in Wuhan on Tuesday. Credit: Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

The Wuhan coronavirus continues its spread across Asia and the rest of the globe. Countries have implemented various emergency measures and travel restrictions, as researchers continue working toward a treatment.

If you're just joining us now, here's what you need to know:

  • The numbers: The Wuhan novel coronavirus has killed at least 427 people and infected 20,645 cases globally. The vast majority of those are within China and concentrated in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Only two deaths have been outside of mainland China: one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.
  • Rising death toll: The number of reported deaths in China has been jumping rapidly. It topped 100 on January 28, passed 200 by January 31, overtook 300 on February 1, and exceeded 400 today.
  • Recoveries: There have also been reports of recovering patients. Most of Singapore's confirmed cases are stabilized and improving, said the government. And in the US, the first confirmed case has been discharged from hospital in Washington state.
  • Global response: Countries are continuing to evacuate their citizens out of Wuhan, and place travel restrictions on travelers from China. Some of these measures -- specifically from the US -- have sparked anger from Beijing.
  • Quarantines: Nearly 60 million people remain under lockdown in China. And in Japan, an entire cruise ship with more than 3,000 people on board is quarantined in the port after a former passenger was found infected a few days earlier.
  • Travel advisories: Some countries, including the UK, are advising their citizens to leave China altogether.

9:10 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Two more evacuation flights carrying 550 American citizens to head to California military bases

From Steven Jiang in Beijing and Barbara Starr at the Pentagon

Two additional evacuation flights for American citizens are scheduled to depart Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, on Tuesday for military bases in California with a combined 550 passengers on board, a US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing.  

One flight will head to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego and the other is going to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, said the US official. The plane heading to Travis AFB is expected to land at 1:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, another official told CNN’s Barbara Starr.

These two flights mark the second time the US government evacuates its citizens from Wuhan. The first evacuation flight was a chartered plane that transported some 201 US passengers – mostly diplomats and their families – to March Air Reserve Base in southern California, where they arrived on January 29.

10:30 a.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Thailand confirms six new cases of coronavirus

From Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Thai officials conduct temperature screenings at a mall in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday.
Thai officials conduct temperature screenings at a mall in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday. Credit: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Thai health officials have confirmed six additional cases of the Wuhan coronavirus -- bringing the countrywide total to 25.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the Director General for the Disease Control Department Dr. Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoen said that four of the new cases are Thai nationals, and two are Chinese nationals.

Two of the Thai nationals are a married couple who recently traveled to Japan and the other two Thais are “hired car drivers” who have transported Chinese passengers.

Five out of the six cases are in stable condition, with the sixth case -- a 70-year-old Thai taxi driver who transported Chinese tourists -- in critical condition, according to Dr. Wattanayingcharoen.