February 4 coronavirus news
The Wuhan coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December.
There are at least 185 confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in more than 25 countries and territories outside mainland China:
- Australia (at least 12 cases)
- Cambodia (at least 1 case)
- Canada (at least 4 cases)
- Finland (at least 1 case)
- France (at least 6 cases)
- Germany (at least 11 cases)
- Hong Kong (at least 15 cases, 1 death)
- India (at least 3 cases)
- Italy (at least 2 cases)
- Japan (at least 20 cases)
- Macao (at least 10 cases)
- Malaysia (at least 8 cases)
- Nepal (at least 1 case)
- Philippines (at least 2 cases, 1 death)
- Russia (at least 2 cases)
- Singapore (at least 18 cases)
- South Korea (at least 16 cases)
- Spain (at least 1 case)
- Sri Lanka (at least 1 case)
- Sweden (at least 1 case)
- Taiwan (at least 10 cases)
- Thailand (at least 19 cases)
- United Arab Emirates (at least 5 cases)
- United Kingdom (at least 2 cases)
- United States (at least 11 cases)
- Vietnam (at least 8 cases)
Read more about the patients in each place.
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.
Here's what we can tell you so far:
- Is there a cure? No -- but there are signs of progress. Thai doctors say they have successfully treated two patients with a combination of antiviral drugs.
- What are the symptoms? Coronavirus symptoms can look like the flu -- fever, cough, trouble breathing. If you show these symptoms and recently went to China, or have been in contact with someone who visited, experts advise going to the doctor.
- How does the virus spread? The virus is thought to spread from person to person through respiratory droplets emitted by coughing or sneezing. There's also a possibility the virus can exist in and spread through contaminated fecal matter. There's currently no evidence that the virus is airborne -- meaning, for instance, it doesn't travel across a large room.
- Who is at risk of infection? People of all ages can be infected with the virus, but older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions are especially vulnerable to severe complications.
- How can I protect myself? Take the same precautionary measures you would during flu season. Wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, avoid close contact with people or large gatherings, and wear a face mask.
- Is it safe to travel? Airlines have suspended flights, and thousands of foreign citizens in the Chinese city of Wuhan have been evacuated back to their home countries. Many countries including the US have advised against travel to China.
San Diego resident Kenneth Burnett was supposed to fly to Wuhan to join his wife and two children for Chinese New Year.
Instead, the city was shut down, trapping his family there with Burnett still in California.
Finally, he is now set to reunite with his wife Yanjun Wei, 3-year-old son Rowan, and 1-year-old daughter Mia, who are tentatively booked on the next evacuation flight out of China.
Trapped in Wuhan: Wei has not left her home in the last couple of weeks, and has stayed with her children in a high-rise apartment building ini Wuhan.
They’re cooped up in doors and my wife is too scared to take the kids out of the apartment because of the risk of getting sick. It’s very isolating," Burnett said.
Wei's mother tried to get groceries for the family, but “there were no vegetables left in the market and she bought the last carton of milk.”
Burnett and Wei tried to contact the State Department as well as the US embassy in China for help, and finally received a call back after many media outlets picked up on his story.
Evacuation plans: According to Burnett, his wife and two kids are now tentatively booked on the next evacuation flight out. Still, they’re nervous because the State Department said there’s no guarantee.
Authorities across China are imposing stringent restrictions and extended holidays to try to combat the virus -- but these measures are beginning to impact the country's economy.
China's stock markets posted major losses on Monday, their first day open following the Lunar New Year break.
The losses on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets wiped out a combined $445 billion in value. Monday was Shanghai's worst day since 2015, and Shenzhen's worst since 2007.
Federal measures: Authorities in China announced a 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) injection into Chinese markets to help maintain "reasonably ample liquidity" in the banking system and keep currency markets stable.
Migrant workers: It's unclear how long Chinese workers can remain at home, with many facing several weeks out of work since the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday. Many migrant workers traveled home for the festival, potentially leaving them trapped in their provinces and unable to return to the east coast, where most major manufacturing areas are.
On Monday, Japan quarantined a cruise ship after a former passenger was found infected with coronavirus.
Roughly 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew members on the ship will have to remain on the vessel until at least tonight, while government quarantine officers test passengers who fell ill.
How to stay safe: Cruise ships are sometimes given the derisive nickname of "floating Petri dishes," due to the fact that guests are in a contained area for extended periods of time.
Cruise ship companies try to prevent diseases by emphasizing hygiene on board -- for example, having hand sanitizer stations easily accessible in common areas and requiring staff members who handle food to wear gloves.
If you're worried about your health on board, here are some tips: wash your hands frequently, not just before and after eating but whenever you touch shared surfaces like ship railings. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow instead of your hand, and avoid food and drink from questionable sources while on shore.
You might also want to get your vaccinations up to date. And people with underlying conditions or who are recovering from illness should consider postponing their travel, as they are more susceptible to viruses.
Read more about it here.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health says all of its 18 confirmed coronavirus cases are in stable condition, and most patients are improving.
Though the outbreak has claimed hundreds of lives in China and infected over 20,000 globally, the novel coronavirus' mortality rate is only about 2-3% -- far lower than other deadly outbreaks like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed 774 people in 2003.
And there are other cases around the world of coronavirus patients stabilizing and improving. The first confirmed US patient was discharged yesterday from the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington.
“I am at home and continuing to get better," said the patient in a statement. "I appreciate all of the concern expressed by members of the public, and I look forward to returning to my normal life.”
Macao, sometimes described as the Las Vegas of Asia, will suspend operations of its gambling and related industries for half a month, said the region's chief executive Tuesday.
Macao officials tell CNN it has not been decided yet when this suspension will start, as the chief executive will meet with gambling companies today.
The seemingly unprecedented move comes after experts determined Macao's ninth coronavirus case worked in the gambling industry. There are currently 10 known cases in Macao.
Ghost town: When CNN visited the freewheeling, semi-autonomous Chinese territory last week, reporters found a ghost town.
Considered the unofficial gambling capital of the world, Macao received almost 40 million visitors last year.
However, according to the Macao government, January tourism figures plunged 87% compared to the previous year, even though the busiest holiday of the year -- Lunar New Year -- fell in that period.
Hotels that were nearly at 100% capacity during the 2019 Lunar New Year were left half empty.
The health scare has threatened the business model at the heart of Macao's economy. The former Portuguese colony depends on millions of visitors from mainland China.
Read more about the threat to Macao here.
Macao confirmed the 10th coronavirus case on Tuesday, according to a government statement.
The patient is a 59-year-old male Macao resident who traveled to Guangzhou and returned to Macao on January 25. The next day, he started showing symptoms including a running nose, coughing and a fever.
He is now quarantined, and the authorities are investigating his close contacts and his medical history.
Earlier this morning, Macao released details for its 9th coronavirus case as well -- a 29-year-old female Macao resident. She hadn't traveled outside Macao recently, but had visited the home of the 8th confirmed case on January 24.
The US government has implemented new rules around travel from China -- but some officials aren't happy.
The Trump administration’s decision as “a rushed job," Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. Joshua Green told CNN affiliate KITV on Sunday.
“We will be prepared. We are spending 24/7 on this to make sure that whatever steps necessary be taken to keep our people safe. We do, but we never like a rushed job and that’s kind of what the federal government did to us by just announcing this on Friday,” Green said.
Some background: US citizens and others who are allowed to travel to the US from China are being funneled to 11 airports, where US authorities will conduct extra screening and transfer people for quarantine if needed.
The Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii is one of these 11 airports.