February 13 coronavirus news

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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.

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.