February 6 coronavirus news

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2:20 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak could throw "cold water" on Tokyo Olympics, senior official says

From CNN's Emi Jozuka

Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked in Yokohama, Japan, on February 6, 2020.
Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked in Yokohama, Japan, on February 6, 2020. Carl Court/Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak could impact Japan's preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer, a senior organizer has warned.

"I am extremely worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games," said Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
"I hope that it will be stamped out as soon as possible."

Spike in cases: At least 45 cases have been reported in Japan, including 20 people on board a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama Bay. It's the highest number of cases in a country outside of mainland China.

Olympic jitters: The Olympics open in less than six months, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated Monday that the Games would proceed as planned.

"Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of our plans to host a safe and secure Games," Olympic organizers told CNN in a statement on Monday, which they reaffirmed Thursday.

Read the full story here.

2:05 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Taiwan confirms two more cases, will discharge first patient today

A woman prays at the Lungshan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan, on January 28, 2020.
A woman prays at the Lungshan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan, on January 28, 2020. SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwan confirmed two more cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to 13 on the self-governing island.

The new cases: The two patients are a 40-year-old man and a woman in her 20s, according to a statement by the Taiwan Ministry of Health.

The man had worked in Wuhan in December, and returned to Taiwan on February 2. He developed a fever, coughing, and a headache the next day.

The woman had been living in Wuhan, said the statement. She returned to Taiwan on January 21, developed symptoms on February 1, and sought medical treatment this Tuesday.

Both of the patients are in isolation and in stable condition.

First patient recovering: The first patient confirmed in Taiwan, who had been diagnosed on January 21, was recovering and would son be discharged from the hospital, said the statement.

1:50 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Will the new coronavirus burn out like SARS -- or is it here to stay?

From CNN's Kristie Lu Stout, Eric Cheung and Begona Blanco Munoz

A child wearing a face mask on February 3, 2020 in Manila, Philippines.
A child wearing a face mask on February 3, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

Nearly two decades after he was treated, former severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patient Alex Lam is still haunted by his experience.

"(It is) painful hearing the news again. SARS is coming back, the deadly virus is coming back," he said. SARS, of course, has not returned, but the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus is sweeping China, opening old wounds for some.

John Nicholls, clinical professor of pathology at the University of Hong Kong, said the SARS outbreak was brought to an end in July 2003 by good hygiene practices and environmental factors such as high temperature and humidity.

"That will be the same for this one," he said. "My feeling is that this is just going to be like SARS and the world is going to get basically a very bad cold for about five months."

When will it end? Zhong Nanshan, one of China's leading respiratory experts, said he expected the coronavirus to peak as quickly as the coming weekend.

Gabriel Leung, HKU's chair professor of public health medicine, was less optimistic and estimated the number of cases to peak around mid-April or mid-May.

Another scenario is that the coronavirus could become a common global illness, like influenza. That outcome would not be without precedent. H1N1 -- a strain of flu responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic has now become a seasonal virus.

Read more here.

1:33 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

New York is "one step closer" to being able to test for coronavirus, mayor says

From CNN’s Joe Sutton and Nadia Kounang

New York City is "one step closer" to being able to test coronavirus samples, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday night local time.

"The CDC has given localities the tools, but we still need our labs to be granted the authority. We’re pushing to speed up this process," he said in a tweet.

Nationwide testing: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will distribute 200 test kits to labs nationwide, and another 200 test kits to international labs. 

Previously, the CDC was the only lab in the United States able to test for the novel coronavirus. The CDC expects approved labs to be using the tests by early next week.

Cases in the US: There are 12 confirmed cases in the US: 6 in California, 1 in Massachusetts, 1 in Washington state, 1 in Arizona, 1 in Wisconsin and 2 in Illinois.

1:11 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

A 30-hour-old newborn in Wuhan is the youngest patient infected with coronavirus

From CNN Health’s Nadia Kounang

Two newborn babies in Wuhan, China, have been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV.

The youngest baby was diagnosed at just 30 hours old. The baby's mother was also infected with the virus, and CCTV suggested that "there may be mother-infant transmission,” where the mother passes the virus on to the baby in utero.

Other possibilities: Without more details, it's impossible to know if the infants were infected in the womb. There are other ways they could have been exposed -- through handling by healthcare workers, mothers coughing, breastfeeding or even in the delivery process. 

“Was this just contact? Did baby get infected because, you know, mucous membranes were exposed to some virus that the mother was excreting or was it blood borne through the placenta? We have no idea,” said Susan McLellan, a director at the University of Texas Medical Branch. 

Paul Hunter, a medical professor at Britain's University of East Anglia, said that a baby born vaginally is exposed to the mother's gut microbiome -- meaning "if a baby does get infected with coronavirus a few days after birth we currently cannot tell if the baby was infected in the womb or during birth."

Researchers still learning: Nancy Messonnier, a director at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that "there is a lot about the novel coronavirus that we don’t know."

1:03 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Taiwan shuts ports to international cruise ships

From journalist Alex Lin in Hong Kong

Taiwan will prohibit international cruise ships from docking in its ports from today onward, according to a statement form the self-governing island's Ministry of Health.

This comes as two cruise ships remain docked and quarantined in Japan and Hong Kong, with thousands on board, after the virus was spread by infected former passengers.

The ship that is now in Hong Kong had docked and departed from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on February 4.

It is unclear how long the ban will be in place.

12:41 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Disney could lose $280 million because of coronavirus and Hong Kong protests

From CNN's Michelle Toh

A visitor wearing Mickey Mouse ears at the Shanghai Disney Resort on June 16, 2016.
A visitor wearing Mickey Mouse ears at the Shanghai Disney Resort on June 16, 2016. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Disney has warned that profits from its parks in China could drop by $280 million in the current quarter, due to shutdowns caused by the coronavirus and a loss of business related to recent mass protests in Hong Kong.

The company added during its earnings call Tuesday that the coronavirus will hurt its results for the quarter through March and the fiscal year as a whole.

Closed businesses: Disney suspended operations at some of its facilities in China last month as the outbreak spread.

For now, the properties in Hong Kong and Shanghai are closed indefinitely, and "the precise magnitude of the financial impact is highly dependent on the duration of the closures," chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said.

Operating income at the company's Shanghai park could drop by about $135 million this quarter if the park remains closed for two months, she added.

Read more about the hit to Disney here.

12:19 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

This is where coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide

From CNN's Eric Cheung

The Wuhan coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December.

There are now at least 250 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in more than 25 countries and territories outside mainland China:

  • Australia (at least 14 cases)
  • Belgium (at least 1 case)
  • Cambodia (at least 1 case)
  • Canada (at least 5 cases)
  • Finland (at least 1 case)
  • France (at least 6 cases)
  • Germany (at least 12 cases)
  • Hong Kong (at least 21 cases, 1 death)
  • India (at least 3 cases)
  • Italy (at least 2 cases)
  • Japan (at least 45 cases, including 20 in cruise ship quarantine)
  • Macao (at least 10 cases)
  • Malaysia (at least 12 cases)
  • Nepal (at least 1 case)
  • Philippines (at least 3 cases, 1 death)
  • Russia (at least 2 cases)
  • Singapore (at least 28 cases)
  • South Korea (at least 23 cases)
  • Spain (at least 1 case)
  • Sri Lanka (at least 1 case)
  • Sweden (at least 1 case)
  • Taiwan (at least 11 cases)
  • Thailand (at least 25 cases)
  • United Arab Emirates (at least 5 cases)
  • United Kingdom (at least 2 cases)
  • United States (at least 12 cases)
  • Vietnam (at least 10 cases)

Read more about the patients in each place.

12:02 a.m. ET, February 6, 2020

Virgin Australia withdraws all flights and services to Hong Kong

A Virgin Australia plane at Sydney Airport on March 14, 2019.
A Virgin Australia plane at Sydney Airport on March 14, 2019. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The airline Virgin Australia announced today that it was withdrawing all services between Australia and Hong Kong.

The combined effect of the coronavirus outbreak and 2019 anti-government protests have led to declining business and growing uncertainty, said the airline in a statement.

The airline had previously suspended flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong, announced in November 2019 and effective from February 11. Flights between Sydney and Hong Kong will also stop running from March 2.

“Hong Kong has continued to be a challenging market," said the airline's chief commercial officer, John MacLeod, in the statement.
“Current circumstances demonstrate that Hong Kong is no longer a commercially viable route for Virgin Australia to continue operating, however international tourism remains an important part of our strategy through our other international routes and partner airlines."