February 8 coronavirus news

By Angela Dewan, Joshua Berlinger and Jenni Marsh, CNN

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET, February 8, 2020
22 Posts
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12:52 a.m. ET, February 8, 2020

The United Arab Emirates has confirmed two new coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Hamzeh Noami in Dubai

The United Arab Emirates confirmed two new coronavirus cases inside the country. according to the official Emirates News Agency.

The two new patients are Chinese and Philippine nationals. The UAE has now confirmed seven cases in the country, Emirates News Agency reported.

12:45 a.m. ET, February 8, 2020

Japanese national dies of pneumonia in a Wuhan hospital

A Japanese man in his 60s suspected of contracting coronavirus has died of pneumonia in a Wuhan hospital, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He would be the first Japanese person to die from the virus, if confirmed.

The hospital that treated him said the cause of his pneumonia was inconclusive.

12:27 a.m. ET, February 8, 2020

The coronavirus is already hurting the world economy. Here's why it could get really scary

Analysis by CNN's Charles Riley and Julia Horowitz, CNN Business

Nearly two decades have passed since a coronavirus known as SARS emerged in China, killing hundreds of people and sparking panic that sent a chill through the global economy. The virus now rampaging across China could be much more damaging.

China has become an indispensable part of global business since the 2003 SARS outbreak. It's grown into the world's factory, churning out products such as the iPhone and driving demand for commodities like oil and copper.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, car plants across China have been ordered to remain closed following the Lunar New Year holiday, preventing global automakers Volkswagen (VLKAF), Toyota (TM), Daimler (DDAIF), General Motors (GM), Renault (RNLSY), Honda (HMC) and Hyundai (HYMTF) from resuming operations in the world's largest car market. According to S&P Global Ratings, the outbreak will force carmakers in China to slash production by about 15% in the first quarter. Toyota said on Friday it would keep its factories shut at least until February 17.

An employee works on an assembly line at Dongfeng Honda in Wuhan.
An employee works on an assembly line at Dongfeng Honda in Wuhan.

Luxury goods makers, which rely on Chinese consumers who spend big at home and while on vacation, have also been hit. British brand Burberry (BBRYF) has closed 24 of its 64 stores in mainland China, and its chief executive warned Friday that the virus is causing a "material negative effect on luxury demand." Dozens of global airlines have curtailed flights to and from China.

If the virus continues to spread, the economic damage will increase rapidly.

Read more here

12:18 a.m. ET, February 8, 2020

China threatens harsh punishments for people who disrupt virus control ... including the death penalty

From CNN's Lily Lee in Beijing

The Chinese government has issued new regulations to severely punish people who disrupt the epidemic control work. Those who violate the rules will be subject to speedy arrests and sentences, and even the death penalty. 

In a joint statement released Saturday, China’s National Health Commission, Supreme Court, Supreme Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security listed seven types of medical-related crimes.

Approval for arrest, prosecutions and trials will be fast-tracked as the epidemic prevention and control is at a "critical stage."

The statement ends by saying the death penalty will not be ruled out in severe cases.

The seven medical-related crimes affected by these new measures are:

  1. Beatings, intentional injuries, and intentional killing of medical personnel.
  2. Illegally restricting medical personnel's personal freedom using violence, threats, or blatantly insulting, intimidating, or slandering medical personnel.
  3. Tearing protective gears off of and spitting on medical personnel, which may cause medical personnel to be infected with the new coronavirus.
  4. Refusing to accept checks, quarantine, and treatment measures of medical and health institutions using violence, threats, or other methods, or obstructing medical and health institutions’ lawful disposal of corpses of infectious disease patients according to law.
  5. Forcibly or intentionally destroying or occupying properties of medical and health institutions, or causing disturbances in the medical and health institutions, illegally placing dead bodies, setting up the mourning hall without permission, causing disorder and disrupting the normal conduct of epidemic prevention and control.
  6. Illegally carrying guns, ammunition, tightly regulated instruments or explosive, radioactive, poisonous and corrosive materials while entering medical and health institutions.
  7. Other situations that violate the safety of medical personnel and disrupt medical order.

11:39 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

"Hi, I am your deliveryman and my body temperature is normal today." Getting groceries delivered in China just isn't the same anymore

From CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing

The side gate at the compound where deliveries are pushed through.
The side gate at the compound where deliveries are pushed through. Steven Jiang

Getting groceries delivered through Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has become a different experience in China since the coronavirus outbreak. 

After a Saturday order on Alibaba's grocery site, a message popped up on my phone:

"Hi, I am your deliveryman and my body temperature is normal today. Wearing a mask, I am on my way to deliver your order. Please be ready to receive it at the designated time."

Many residential compounds in major cities across China, including the capital, are now strictly limiting access to residents only. Delivery people are no longer allowed in.

Recipients usually have to go outside to pick up their orders.

In my compound, delivery people have taken to pushing grocery bags through the gap between a now-locked side gate and the floor.

11:24 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

In virus-stricken Wuhan, normal people are risking infection to drive medics to feverish patients

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

A woman crosses an empty street in Wuhan. The city has been under lockdown since January 23.
A woman crosses an empty street in Wuhan. The city has been under lockdown since January 23.

Hours after a state-imposed lockdown brought public transport in the Chinese city of Wuhan to a halt in late January, Wan Jiuxiong and his colleagues sprang into action.

The 27-year-old ride hailing driver joined a group of volunteers ferrying medical staff to and from overcrowded hospitals, where rows of feverish patients were fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

Wan's first assignment was to pick up a nurse from home and drive her to the Jinyintan Hospital, a key facility designated by the government to treat patients infected with the pneumonia-like illness.

Wan's passenger left in a hurry, without saying "goodbye" or "thank you", but Wan isn't looking for thanks.

"In this time of need, we Wuhan people have to save ourselves. Everyone has got to do their own part," he said.

Wan is among hundreds of volunteers who have formed a lifeline for the residents of Wuhan, a sprawling metropolis of 11 million people.

After the suspension of all buses and subways when the city went under lockdown on January 23, the government deployed 6,000 taxis to help deliver supplies and transport patients without a fever to hospital. Those with a fever can only be transported by special quarantine vehicles dispatched by disease control authorities. But each residential community is only allocated three or four taxis, hardly enough for dense sites housing thousands of people.

That gap is filled by ordinary car owners like Wan. They have organized themselves into groups on WeChat, China's popular messaging app, where they swiftly respond to the requests of medics.

Read more here

11:09 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

US health experts not invited to help fight coronavirus

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield (left) and Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun (right) listen during a news conference on Friday in Washington.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield (left) and Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun (right) listen during a news conference on Friday in Washington. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

China has still not invited US health experts to help with the fight against the Wuhan virus even though the US made the offer more than a month ago, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday.

Azar said the US has experts “ready, willing and able” to go to China and his department would like to get the effort underway quickly. But the Chinese government has its own decision-making process and “we have to respect that,” the secretary told a news conference.

11:01 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Taiwan just confirmed its 17th case

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Taiwan confirmed its 17th Wuhan coronavirus case Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The patient is a man in his 20s and the son of an infected couple. He is now in isolation.

The family travelled to Italy with transit in Hong Kong from January 22 to 31, and returned to Taiwan through Hong Kong on February 1.

The son developed a cough on January 27 during their trip.

10:48 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

The daily death toll from the virus in mainland China keeps rising. On Friday, it topped 80 for the first time

A total of 86 people in mainland China died from the Wuhan coronavirus on Friday, according to the country's National Health Commission (NHC). That was the highest single-day death toll since the Chinese authorities began issuing daily updates.

The number of deaths per day in mainland China has steadily risen over the past few weeks.

Here's the breakdown from the NHC:

  • February 7: 86 deaths reported
  • February 6: 73 deaths reported
  • February 5: 73 deaths reported
  • February 4: 65 deaths reported
  • February 3: 64 deaths reported
  • February 2: 57 deaths reported
  • February 1: 45 deaths reported
  • January 31: 46 deaths reported
  • January 30: 43 deaths reported
  • January 29: 38 deaths reported
  • January 28: 26 deaths reported
  • January 27: 26 deaths reported
  • January 26: 24 deaths reported
  • January 25 15 deaths reported
  • January 24: 16 deaths reported
  • January 23: 8 deaths reported

Chinese authorities said 17 people had died from the virus before January 23.