February 13 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT) February 14, 2020
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11:39 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Europe Union could consider border closings if coronavirus escalates

From CNN's James Frater

John Thys/AFP/Getty Images
John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

A Croatian health official said closing borders across the European Union is an option if the coronavirus outbreak escalates — but global officials say that step is not necessary yet.

Vili Beroš, the Croatian Minister of Health, spoke at a news conference following a meeting of EU health ministers.

“The situation needs to be monitored on an hourly basis. Of course, if epidemiologically it escalates, we shall take other actions, if that means the closing of borders, we shall discuss it in line with national legislation," Beroš said.

Remember: The World Health Organization has not said that kind of restriction is needed right now.

Here's how Stella Kyriakidou, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, put it:

“The WHO has been very clear that there is no need at the moment for restrictions on travel and trade from affected countries. And I trust that Member States would adhere to this. Of course, such decisions will always be Member State competence and Member State decisions.”
11:18 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

The CDC is remaking coronavirus test kits. Here's what that means.

From CNN's Ben Tinker

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Late yesterday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would remake part of the novel coronavirus test kit that it has distributed to states.

The hope was that states could test samples more quickly than sending them to the CDC lab in Atlanta – but some of the kits that were distributed had inconclusive results. 

What this means: Testing results may be delayed.

Speeding up the testing process has been a priority for the CDC, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

“During a response like this we know things may not go as smoothly as we would like,” Messonnier said during a press conference yesterday. “We have multiple levels of quality control to detect issues just like this one. We’re looking into all of these issues to understand what went wrong, and to prevent these same things from happening in the future.”  

Texas, Michigan and Arizona are among the states that are awaiting the new materials for the novel coronavirus testing kit, state health officials told CNN.

10:55 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

There's a big jump in coronavirus cases in China today — here's why

From CNN's Ben Tinker

Yesterday, China reported far fewer cases of the novel coronavirus than it did the day before, signaling that the spread of the virus could be slowing.

But the numbers are back up today: China has announced a major jump in both new deaths and new cases. 

There are many reasons we’re seeing this phenomenon, including variances in the incubation period and more people seeking treatment.

But one of the top reasons for the variation in numbers is the constantly changing definitions of what constitutes a case in China: Is it just when someone has a lab-confirmed test? Is it when they exhibit symptoms indicative of infection? Should someone who is asymptotic be counted?

Today's spike is partly due to a broader definition of what constitutes a confirmed case, to include people diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms rather than testing positive.

Keep in mind: This is normal. 

“It’s normal during the course of an outbreak to adapt the case definition,” Dr. Sylvie Briand, director of the World Health Organization's Infectious Hazards Management Department, said during a news conference yesterday.

10:13 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Texas patient tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

The 15th case of the novel coronavirus in the United States has been confirmed in Texas, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

The patient is among a group of people under federal quarantine order at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The patient arrived in the US on a State Department-chartered flight on Friday. This is the first case among a person quarantined at JBSA-Lackland. The person is isolated and receiving medical care at a hospital nearby, the CDC said.

There are now 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States. This is the first case confirmed in Texas. Here's where else cases have been confirmed:

  • California: 8 cases
  • Illinois: 2 cases
  • Massachusetts: 1 case
  • Washington state: 1 case
  • Arizona: 1 case
  • Wisconsin: 1 case

There are two instances of person-to-person transmission, one in Illinois and one in California. Two California cases are among evacuees from China.

9:59 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

2 London hospital employees quarantined after coming in contact with coronavirus patient

From CNN's Max Ramsay and Sharon Braithwaite in London

Two hospital staff "are undergoing active surveillance at home" for two weeks after coming into contact with a coronavirus patient, according to Lewisham & Greenwich National Health Service Trust Chief Executive Ben Travis. 

The patient "self-presented" at Lewisham Hospital in South London. The circumstances match the description of the ninth UK patient, who was the first in London.

The patient came to the Emergency Department of University Hospital Lewisham on Sunday and was diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday, according to the statement. The patient was given a mask on arrival and escorted for testing. 

"In line with our protocols, throughout their care, the patient was escorted and did not come into contact with other patients," Travis added.
9:40 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

What life is like for a father and his kids quarantined on the ship off Japan coast

CNN's Will Ripley spoke to a father quarantined on board the Diamond Princess in Japan with 10 family members, including kids, to get a look at what daily life looks like on that ship.

Harvey, who asked that CNN not use his last name, has five kids on the ship with him — the youngest is 3, the oldest is 8.

The kids are forced to spend 23 hours in their room. They get a daily delivery of clean toys and coloring books. Harvey said being "trapped in this cabin" has made him "appreciate the little moments, little details of life."

He said they told their children that they need to do this to protect themselves from an "invisible monster" called coronavirus.

So far, nobody in the family is showing any symptoms of novel coronavirus, but Harvey wants everyone in his family to be tested. The Japanese government has only tested a few hundred of the 3,000 people on board. He worries that if everyone on board the ship isn't tested, they'll be stigmatized when they get back home to Hong Kong.

Watch the video:

9:01 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

21 people in Spain released from quarantine

From CNN's Laura Perez Maestro in Madrid

Twenty-one people who were brought back to Spain from Wuhan to Spain have completed their quarantine at Gomez Ullah Hospital in Madrid, the Spanish Health Ministry said on Twitter.

They have all been released from hospital.

8:37 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Catch up: Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Jack Guy

Here is a quick roundup of the latest coronavirus developments for those who are just joining our coverage:

  • The first deadly case in Japan: Japan has recorded its first death from the novel coronavirus, a woman in her 80s who was not on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined in Yokohama port.
  • About the Diamond Princess: Passengers on board the ship have been told that the situation is "very dynamic," but some vulnerable individuals may be allowed to disembark before the ongoing quarantine is scheduled to end on Feb. 19.
  • Xenophobia in the UK: University students across the UK have criticized xenophobia against Asian students following multiple incidents involving discrimination related to the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Politics in China: China has replaced key Communist Party officials as the situation in the country shows no sign of improvement.
  • Effects on business: Experts predict that the outbreak will cause global oil demand to shrink for the first time in a decade, and Nissan has revealed worries over a shortage of parts as the coronavirus threatens the global auto industry.
8:59 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

China fires senior officials over coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing and Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong attends a meeting during the annual National People's Congress in Beijing, in March 2019.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong attends a meeting during the annual National People's Congress in Beijing, in March 2019. Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

China has moved to dismiss key party officials as the coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of abating in the country.

Jiang Chaoliang will be replaced by Shanghai mayor Ying Yong as Hubei Communist Party chief in a major shakeup of provincial leadership, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Wuhan Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang has also been replaced by Wang Zhonglin, party chief of Jinan city in Shandong province, according to Xinhua.

These moves come after two officials in charge of the provincial health authority were sacked early this week.