February 13 coronavirus news

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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.

8:05 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

EU health ministers call for "common response" to coronavirus

From CNN's James Frater in Brussels and Niamh Kennedy in London

Austria's Minister for Social Affairs Rudolf Anschober, left, talks with European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic during the Ministers of Health meeting on the coronavirus in Brussels on Thursday.
Austria's Minister for Social Affairs Rudolf Anschober, left, talks with European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic during the Ministers of Health meeting on the coronavirus in Brussels on Thursday. Credit: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

European officials stressed the need for a coordinated European Union (EU) response to the coronavirus at a meeting of the Health Council in Brussels Thursday.

Janez Lenarčič, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, emphasized a focus on "preparedness."

Lenarčič also underlined the need for cooperation, adding that “in this situation we have to act as a union.”

He said ministers will discuss the necessity of border checks, and said that although the number of cases in Europe is still low, the EU has "to be prepared in case this situation gets worse."

German health minister Jens Spahn addressed questions about the potential closure of the Schengen free movement area by stressing the need for a "common approach."

Spahn said unilateral decisions regarding Schengen make "no sense."

Maggie De Block, Belgium's minister of social affairs and public health, said the coordinated efforts of European health agencies have also been important in preventing shortages.

"For the moment we don’t see any reason to have shortages in the following months, said De Block.

7:53 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Singapore confirms 8 new coronavirus cases, all linked to previous infections

From journalist Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Medical staff prepare pre screening procedure at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore.
Medical staff prepare pre screening procedure at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore's Ministry of Health has confirmed an additional eight cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number in the city to 58.

In a press statement released Thursday, the ministry confirmed all eight of the new infections are linked to previously confirmed cases in the city.

At least five of the new cases are linked to a cluster at the Grace Assembly of God church, a further two are linked to a cluster at a construction site, and the remaining case was detected in a relative of a previous coronavirus patient.

All of the new cases have no history of travel to China.

Fifteen coronavirus patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital, according to the ministry.

Of the remaining 43 confirmed cases still being treated in hospital, seven are in critical condition in intensive care units.

7:31 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

“We don't know where this outbreak will go,” WHO spokesperson tells CNN

From CNN Health's John Bonifield

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s too early to make any predictions on when the novel coronavirus will be contained.

"We don't know exactly where this outbreak will go. It can go either way," WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told CNN's John Berman on New Day Thursday. 

"One of the reasons why it's difficult to predict is we still don't know much about the virus."

China reported 15,000 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, and Jasarevic explained the dramatic spike is a result of how cases are being tallied.

"Now not only people who are confirmed by laboratory testing are being reported but also people who presented clinical symptoms and have been diagnosed clinically without going through testing," said Jasarevic.

The change allows untested patients to get the same treatments as those who have been confirmed, he added.

Jasarevic said more studies are needed on the spread of the virus in the population in order to determine whether the outbreak is bigger than previously thought.

"There may be more [mild] cases. People who do not see the doctor or people who see a doctor but are not necessarily tested," he said.

7:20 a.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Some quarantined cruise ship passengers could disembark early, says captain

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu and Mick Krever in Tokyo

Passengers are seen on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on February 12.
Passengers are seen on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on February 12. Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Vulnerable passengers aboard the quarantined cruise liner Diamond Princess will be notified today if they can disembark earlier than planned.

The ship is currently quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama, and the restrictions are scheduled to end on February 19.

"Guests who are identified by Japanese officials as potential passengers for disembarkation will get a notice tonight," said Captain Stefano Ravera in an announcement. "Please follow the instructions."

Ravera told passengers that a video message would be broadcast on the entertainment system on Thursday evening with valuable advice about staying healthy, adding that the vessel would remain in Yokohama until further notice.

The captain's message ended by reassuring the passengers. 

"Rest assured that everything is being done to bring this trying time to an end," he said. "We only have 6 days to go. Good night."

Grant Tarling, chief medical officer for cruise operator Princess Cruises, told passengers in a message that the situation is “very dynamic.”

While Japanese authorities said the quarantine period will end on February 19, it is not clear what further measures may be taken, said Tarling.

He said Princess Cruises would keep passengers updated on developments, and reiterated that authorities believe newly identified cases were infected before the quarantine began.

“I understand you may be very anxious when you hear about more confirmed cases,” Tarling added.

“However, health authorities expected additional cases to be identified given the original case likely exposed others and their close contacts between January 20 and February 4.”