February 13 coronavirus news

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12:13 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Confused about the widened diagnosis for coronavirus? Here's a breakdown

A Chinese man wears a protective mask as he walks in a nearly empty and shuttered commercial street in Beijing.
A Chinese man wears a protective mask as he walks in a nearly empty and shuttered commercial street in Beijing. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Chinese province at the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak reported a record spike in deaths Thursday, bringing the total number to more than 1,300 infections globally.

Hubei announced an additional 242 deaths and 14,840 cases of the virus as of Thursday morning, the largest single-day rise since the epidemic began and almost 10 times the number of cases confirmed the previous day.

The government explained the spike is due to a change in how cases are tabulated.

What now counts as a confirmed case? The total will now include "clinically diagnosed cases" after rising numbers of residents complained about the difficulty in getting tested and treated for the virus.

Who falls into that category? "Clinically diagnosed cases" are those patients who demonstrate all the symptoms of the novel coronavirus but have been unable to be scientifically tested, or died before they were tested.

What effect will this have? The hope is that more people will be able to receive treatment by allowing doctors to diagnose them with the virus.

Case number confusion: The massive increase in the number of cases exposes confusion over just how to diagnose the virus globally.

Delayed diagnosis: Delays in diagnosing the virus could be significant. There are reports of patients waiting up to a week for their results, as the testing kits were sent from Hubei to a lab in Beijing. While there have been efforts to speed up the process, scientific testing of samples is difficult and time consuming, and allowing doctors to diagnose patients will enable far more people to receive treatment, including in several purpose-built hospitals dedicated to treating the virus in Wuhan.

Not just China: In the US, the CDC currently requires that all potential samples are shipped to its central laboratories for full testing.

Read the full story here.

11:53 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

Hong Kong says government workers should work from home until February 23

People wearing face masks walk on a street in Central, the business district of Hong Kong, on Tuesday, February 11.
People wearing face masks walk on a street in Central, the business district of Hong Kong, on Tuesday, February 11. AP Photo/Kin Cheung

The Hong Kong government has announced that it is extending its work-from-home arrangement for civil servants until February 23, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Government workers had been asked to work from home following the end of the Lunar New Year holiday on January 29.

That has now been extended "to reduce social contacts and the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the community," a government statement said.

The directive excludes emergency service workers and people who work for essential public services.

The private sector has also been urged to make similar flexible work arrangements.

Hong Kong has reported 50 confirmed cases of the virus, with one death.

11:40 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

Here are all the cases outside mainland China

A Cambodian hotel guard wearing a mask stands outside a hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
A Cambodian hotel guard wearing a mask stands outside a hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

The global number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases now stands at more than 60,000 in at least 27 countries and territories, with the vast majority in mainland China. 

Outside of mainland China, there have been 568 confirmed cases and two deaths -- in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

A cruise ship docked in Japan carrying 3,700 passengers and crew has the largest outbreak of the virus outside of China, with 219 cases, including one quarantine officer.

Here's the latest rundown:

1. Australia (15 cases)     

2. Belgium (1 case)     

3. Cambodia (1 case)     

4. Canada (7 cases)     

5. Finland (1 case)     

6. France (11 cases)     

7. Germany (16 cases)     

8. Hong Kong (50 cases, 1 death)     

9. India (3 cases)     

10. Italy (3 cases)     

11. Japan (247 total: 28 cases on land + 219 from cruise ship)     

12. Macao (10 cases)     

13. Malaysia (18 cases)    

14. Nepal (1 case)     

15. Philippines (3 cases, 1 death)     

16. Russia (2 cases)     

17. Singapore (50 cases)                                 

18. South Korea (28 cases)     

19. Spain (2 cases)     

20. Sri Lanka (1 case)     

21. Sweden (1 case)     

22. Taiwan (18 cases)     

23. Thailand (33 cases)    

24. United Arab Emirates (8 cases)    

25. United Kingdom (9 cases)     

26. United States (14 cases)    

27. Vietnam (15 cases)

Read more here

11:25 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

Cambodian officials are now onboard the Westerdam cruise ship

The MS Westerdam sails off Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
The MS Westerdam sails off Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Thursday, February 13, 2020. AP Photo/Heng Sinith

Cambodian officials have now boarded the Westerdam cruise liner in Sihanoukville, cruise ship company Holland America Line told CNN on Thursday.

“The Westerdam has arrived and local officials are aboard,” the statement read.

Refused entry elsewhere: Despite having no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board, and no quarantine being in effect, the Westerdam was refused port by four authorities: Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

1,455 passengers: Cambodia Holland America Line previously said that it had reached an agreement with Cambodian authorities for all 1,455 guests on the Westerdam to disembark in Cambodia, and board commercial flights from the capital Phnom Penh at the company’s expense.

WHO thankful: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, thanked Cambodia for allowing the Westerdam cruise ship to dock there, calling the move "an example of the international solidarity we have consistently been calling for."

11:13 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

Hubei Communist Party chief replaced as heads roll in coronavirus epicenter

Ying Yong on October 19, 2017 in Beijing, China.
Ying Yong on October 19, 2017 in Beijing, China. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Hubei province's Communist Party chief is being replaced with Shanghai's mayor, in a major shakeup of provincial leadership in China as the country grapples with the novel coronavirus.

Shanghai mayor Ying Yong will replace Jiang Chaoliang, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. 

Heads are starting to roll as the outbreak shows no sign of abating at the epicenter. This latest replacement came after two officials in charge of Hubei's provincial health authority were sacked earlier this week.

Outbreak epicenter: Hubei province announced 242 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Thursday morning, twice as many as on the previous day. New infections in Hubei also jumped by more than 14,000 amid a broadening of the definition of what constitutes a confirmed case.

10:53 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

44 more people just tested positive for coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship

Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces attach a military vehicle to a gate of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces attach a military vehicle to a gate of the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Another 44 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato said on Thursday.

This bring the total number of cases on the ship to 219, including one Japanese quarantine officer -- the largest outbreak of the virus outside of mainland China.

Kato did not give a breakdown by nationality of the new cases, nor of passengers versus crew.

Floating quarantine: More than 3,700 passengers and crew are stuck on the cruise ship in Yokohama that became a floating quarantine zone after dozens of people tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month.

The number of infections is increasing by the day. On Wednesday, Kato announced 40 new cases among those on board.

CNN’s latest tally indicates that at least 24 Americans have tested positive.

Some respite: The health minister also said that people who have tested negative for the virus and are over 80 years old, or have a non-virus medical condition requiring attention, will be allowed to leave the ship and move to a government medical facility, if they wish. He did not give a timeline for that process.

An unknown number of passengers with non-virus medical conditions were allowed to disembark earlier on Tuesday.

10:44 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

All South Korean citizens just repatriated from Wuhan have tested negative for coronavirus

All 147 South Koreans and their Chinese family members from Wuhan, who arrived at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul yesterday, have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the South Korean Health Ministry announced Thursday. 

Those repatriated were quarantined at the Korea Defense Language Institute, a military school facility located in a rural area in Icheon, Gyeonggi province.

There were about 2,000 South Korean citizens residing in Wuhan, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry. So far 848 have been repatriated via three chartered flights.

10:29 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

Hong Kong extends school suspension until at least March 16

Hong Kong has extended the suspension of school classes until at least March 16 due to the novel coronavirus, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said at a news conference on Thursday.

Schools were previously suspended until March 2, but that start date has been delayed for an additional two weeks due to the virus outbreak.

Yeung said there’s “no urgency” for students staying in mainland China or other places to return to the city, and the government is “considering different options for students from mainland China.”

Students will still be able to complete their work through e-learning platforms, despite the suspension.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city has reported at least 50 cases of the coronavirus, and one death.

10:11 p.m. ET, February 12, 2020

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak

A man wears a protective mask as he rides a segway in a grocery store while shopping on February 11 in Beijing.
A man wears a protective mask as he rides a segway in a grocery store while shopping on February 11 in Beijing. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China's Hubei province has reported 242 deaths and 14,840 new infections of the novel coronavirus, the largest single-day rise since the epidemic began. Authorities continue strict emergency measures -- some of which have led to unforeseen consequences, like thousands of people stranded at sea with nowhere to dock.

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

  • The numbers: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,300 people and infected over 60,000 people worldwide. The vast majority of cases are still in mainland China.
  • Widening definition: Chinese officials have broadened their definition of what constitutes a confirmed case of the coronavirus. The tweak has led to a jump in cases in China but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that it's "normal during the course of an outbreak to adapt the case definition."
  • Cruise crisis: Thousands are still stranded on two cruise ships -- one docked in quarantine in Japan, and another that was denied entry at several ports but has been given permission by Cambodia to dock in the Southeast Asian country.
  • Too soon to predict end: A WHO official has said that it's too early to predict the end of the current novel coronavirus outbreak, saying they have to be "very cautious."
  • Flights cut: United Airlines is extending the suspension of flights to China and Hong Kong until April 24. The destinations affected are Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong. United is just one of many major international airlines that have suspended, reduced, or entirely withdrawn routes to China and its territories