February 14 coronavirus news

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9:20 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Singapore confirms nine new cases of coronavirus

From journalist Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

A general view on February 6 shows the entrance to the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel, the scene of a business meeting that has been linked to several novel coronavirus cases.
A general view on February 6 shows the entrance to the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel, the scene of a business meeting that has been linked to several novel coronavirus cases. Credit: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials in Singapore have confirmed nine additional cases of coronavirus, bringing the citywide total to 67 cases.

None of the nine new cases had traveled to China recently, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health Friday.

At least six of the newly confirmed cases are linked to a cluster of cases related to the Grace Assembly of God church.

A further case involves a 61-year-old female Singapore citizen who is a family member of the 50th and 55th confirmed cases.

One of the two remaining cases is a 61-year-old male Singapore citizen who works at a private hospital in Singapore, and the remaining case is a 50-year-old Singapore citizen.

The Ministry of Health added that contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing.

The Grace Assembly of God church cluster is currently the largest community cluster of cases in Singapore, with a total of 13 confirmed cases linked to it.

The other clusters include four cases linked to a construction site, three cases linked to a private business meeting in the Grand Hyatt hotel, nine cases linked to the Yong Thai Hang shop, and five cases linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore.

According to the Ministry of Health, 17 confirmed cases have now fully recovered from the virus and have been discharged from the hospital.

A further 50 confirmed cases remain hospitalized, with six patients in a critical condition receiving treatment in the intensive care units of various hospitals.

8:52 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Two more Japanese virus cases make seven today

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki

Two more Japanese people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to an announcement from the country's health ministry.

One is a man in his 60s from Aicha Prefecture, the other a man in his 50s from Hokkaido. Neither has a history of travel to China, the ministry said.

That makes seven new Japanese cases today not from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined in Yokohama. It brings the total in Japan to 257, of which 219 are from the vessel.

9:07 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Chinese President calls coronavirus “big test” – state media

From journalist Alex Lin in Hong Kong

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a site for novel coronavirus prevention work in Beijing on February 10.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a site for novel coronavirus prevention work in Beijing on February 10. Credit: Pang Xinglei/Xinhua/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping called the coronavirus outbreak a “big test” for the country in a speech to Communist Party members, state television reported Friday night.

Efforts should be made to improve epidemic prevention and control, added Xi, who also called for an improvement in laws on public health and wildlife.

The President said biosecurity should be part of the country’s national security policies, and that China should avoid letting small infections turn into serious events by improving advance screening for diseases.

8:02 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Small businesses drive China's economy. The coronavirus outbreak could be fatal for many

From Laura He, CNN Business

The small companies that drive China's economy are worried about how much damage the novel coronavirus outbreak will cause. Without help or a reprieve from the disease, many may have only weeks to survive.

While some larger companies are reopening their doors after weeks of lockdowns designed to contain the epidemic, small businesses often can't comply with the strict health rules now required in many regions and many don't have the option of letting employees work from home.

A survey of 163 companies of all sizes across China found that less than half were able to get back to work this week, according to investment bank China International Capital Corp, which published the results. Even more alarming: A third of roughly 1,000 small and medium-sized companies surveyed by academics from Tsinghua University and Peking University last week said they could only survive for a month with the cash they have.

That could spell terrible news for China's entrepreneurs — and an even worse reality for the country's economy. About 30 million small and medium-sized businesses contribute more than 60% of the country's GDP, according to government statistics published last September. The taxes they pay account for more than half of government revenue, and they employ more than 80% of China's workers.

Read the full story here.

7:52 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Japan announces another virus case

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki

Another Japanese person has tested positive for coronavirus, making a total of five new cases today, according to the country's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

The latest case is a Japanese citizen who returned from Wuhan Province in China on a government charter.

The individual tested positive on screening before leaving the post-repatriation quarantine period and will be hospitalized for treatment.

That brings the total in Japan to 255, of which 219 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship which is docked in Yokohama port. The country has seen one death due to the virus.

9:03 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Hong Kong launches $3.2bn fund to deal with outbreak

From journalist Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong on February 11.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong on February 11. Credit: Kin Cheung/AP

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a series of new financial support measures to help alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in a press conference Friday.

"Today's initiative to announce the setting up of this fund with the estimated amount of HK$25 billion (US$3.2 billion) is a commitment to the people of Hong Kong," said Lam.

Included in the fund will be subsidies for various business sectors that have been impacted by the outbreak, including a US$10,300 subsidy for travel agencies and retail businesses. Help for restaurants will range from US$10,300 to $200,000.

Lam also announced the government will give the Hospital Authority an additional US$650 million in funding to help deal with the outbreak.

Hong Kong's Legislative Council will meet next week to further discuss the details surrounding the fund.

6:31 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Russian woman escapes coronavirus quarantine by short-circuiting the lock

From CNN's Radina Gigova

A Russian woman who escaped a hospital ward where she was under quarantine for novel coronavirus is facing a lawsuit filed by heath authorities for endangering the public, according to Russian state media.

The woman had returned from China in early February and was undergoing observation at the Botkin Hospital for Infectious Diseases in St. Petersburg, according to state news agency TASS.

She fled the hospital without permission by short-circuiting the electronic lock on the door to her ward, St. Petersburg's chief sanitary physician said in a statement Thursday.

Nearly 230 Russian citizens are currently waiting to return from China, according to Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency.

Two coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, according to the country's consumer watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being. The two patients were Chinese nationals who traveled to Russia; one of them has recovered and left the hospital, TASS said.

Read the full story here.

8:59 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Diamond Princess disembarkations complete for today

From CNN’s Mick Krever and Sandi Sidhu in Tokyo

A bus with a driver wearing full protective gear departs from the port where the Diamond Princess cruise shipis docked in Yokohama, Japan, on Friday.
A bus with a driver wearing full protective gear departs from the port where the Diamond Princess cruise shipis docked in Yokohama, Japan, on Friday. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Voluntary disembarkations from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have ended for the day, Captain Stefano Ravera told passengers on Friday.

The Diamond Princess has been quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama, but certain passengers have been allowed to leave the ship and complete their isolation period in Japanese government housing.

“Virus-free guests who met the criteria met by the Japanese ministry of health and who decided to spend the remainder of their quarantine ashore have disembarked this afternoon,” he said over the ship’s public address system.

Those eligible for disembarkation include:

  • Passengers aged 80 or over with a chronic medical condition who test negative for the virus.
  • Passengers aged 80 or over in an inside cabin who test negative for the virus.
  • Other passengers under 80 who have been given a test for any other reason, and tested negative.
6:14 a.m. ET, February 14, 2020

Hong Kong confirms three new coronavirus cases

From journalist Alexandra Lin and Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

Police officers wearing protective gear are seen near a cordon outside Hong Mei House in Hong Kong on February 11, where some coronavirus cases were confirmed.
Police officers wearing protective gear are seen near a cordon outside Hong Mei House in Hong Kong on February 11, where some coronavirus cases were confirmed. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials in Hong Kong have confirmed three additional novel coronavirus cases, bringing the city-wide total to 56.

The 54th confirmed case had a family gathering with the 52nd and 53rd case in January, said Chuang Shuk-Kwan of the Center for Health Protection at a Friday press conference.

The 55th case involves a 70-year-old woman who visited mainland China in January and is now in critical condition, while the 56th case is a 61-year-old woman who developed a fever and breathing problems on January 12. She was hospitalized on February 3.

Thirty-six suspected cases have been reported over the past 24 hours and 114 patients remain in hospital, according to Sarah Ho of the hospital authority.

Five confirmed cases are in critical condition and a further four are in a serious condition, added Ho. So far only one patient has been discharged.