February 18 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 9:39 p.m. ET, February 18, 2020
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12:41 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Wuhan hospital director dies from coronavirus

From CNN’s Shanshan Wang and Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, died from the novel coronavirus on Tuesday morning, according to the city of Wuhan’s Health Commission. 

Liu was a neurosurgeon and is the first hospital director to die as a result of the coronavirus epidemic which started in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

12:56 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

This is where coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide

From CNN's Eric Cheung

People on a deck of the Westerdam cruise ship watch a helicopter take off in Sihanoukville.
People on a deck of the Westerdam cruise ship watch a helicopter take off in Sihanoukville. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December. Five people have died outside of mainland China from the virus -- in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and France.

There are now at least 895 confirmed cases in over 28 countries and territories outside mainland China -- around half of them linked to the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

  • Australia (at least 15 cases)
  • Belgium (at least 1 case)
  • Cambodia (at least 1 case)
  • Canada (at least 8 cases)
  • Egypt (at least 1 case)
  • Finland (at least 1 case)
  • France (at least 12 cases, 1 death)
  • Germany (at least 16 cases)
  • Hong Kong (at least 60 cases, 1 death)
  • India (at least 3 cases)
  • Italy (at least 3 cases)
  • Japan (at least 62 cases, 1 death; plus 456 cruise ship cases)
  • Macao (at least 10 cases)
  • Malaysia (at least 22 cases)
  • Nepal (at least 1 case)
  • Philippines (at least 3 cases, 1 death)
  • Russia (at least 2 cases)
  • Singapore (at least 77 cases)
  • South Korea (at least 31 cases)
  • Spain (at least 2 cases)
  • Sri Lanka (at least 1 case)
  • Sweden (at least 1 case)
  • Taiwan (at least 22 cases, 1 death)
  • Thailand (at least 35 cases)
  • United Arab Emirates (at least 9 cases)
  • United Kingdom (at least 9 cases)
  • United States (at least 15 cases)
  • Vietnam (at least 16 cases)

Read more about the patients in each place.

12:40 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Apple warns of "iPhone supply shortages" because of coronavirus

From CNN's Seth Fiegerman

A man uses his cell phone as he walks past advertising for Apple's iPhone.
A man uses his cell phone as he walks past advertising for Apple's iPhone. Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

Apple warned investors on Monday that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is hurting its business more than previously expected by limiting how many devices it can make and sell in China.

In an investor update, Apple said it no longer expects to meet the revenue guidance it provided last month for the upcoming March quarter. "Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated," the company said.

Much of Apple's manufacturing operations are based in China, which has been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly half the country's population are living under some form of travel restrictions.

Read more here.

12:56 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Israel bars entry to foreigners traveling from four places in Asia over coronavirus fears

From CNN's Amir Tal and Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem

Israel is barring entry to foreigners who have traveled through four places in Asia in the past 14 days, as concern over the coronavirus grows ⁠-- adding the locations to a list that already includes mainland China.

Foreign travelers who have been to the following places in the past two weeks will be denied entry to Israel, according to the country's interior and health ministries.

  • Hong Kong
  • Macao
  • Singapore
  • Thailand

Anyone who is not an Israeli citizen and has been to these locations is not allowed to enter Israel through sea, land, or air crossings, interior minister Aryeh Deri said.

Israel has already barred foreigners who have recently traveled through mainland China from entering the country.

Self-quarantine: On Sunday, the health ministry announced that any Israeli citizens returning from the four locations must self-quarantine for a period of two weeks. Those citizens are not allowed to visit any public areas, including schools, their workplaces, hospitals, entertainment centers, shopping centers, or travel on public transportation.

12:36 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Singapore Airlines is cutting flights due to coronavirus outbreak

From Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 passenger plane takes off from Changi International Airport in Singapore.
A Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 passenger plane takes off from Changi International Airport in Singapore. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore Airlines has announced that it will reduce flights due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the company said that Singapore Airlines and its regional wing SilkAir, "will temporarily reduce services across our network due to weak demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak."

Covid-19 is the official name for the coronavirus.

Flights across the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir global network will be affected through February, April and May.

Destinations affected include Frankfurt, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Paris, London, Tokyo, Seoul, and destinations across Australia and Southeast Asia.

It comes after Singapore Airlines reduced flights to mainland China and Hong Kong earlier this month following a decrease in demand.

11:15 p.m. ET, February 17, 2020

Here's how long coronaviruses may linger on contaminated surfaces

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

This transmission electron microscope image shows the virus that causes Covid-19, isolated from a patient in the US, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab.
This transmission electron microscope image shows the virus that causes Covid-19, isolated from a patient in the US, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. NIAID-RML

Concerns are mounting about how long the novel coronavirus may survive on surfaces — so much so that China's central bank has taken measures to deep clean and destroy its cash, which changes hands multiple times a day, in an effort to contain the virus.

It is unknown exactly how long the novel coronavirus can linger on contaminated surfaces and objects with the potential of infecting people, but some researchers are finding clues by studying the elusive behaviors of other coronaviruses.

About the virus: Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials do not know what animal may have caused the current outbreak of novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. But previously, studies have suggested that people were infected with the coronavirus MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome, after coming in contact with camels, and scientists have suspected that civet cats were to blame for SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome.

These human coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, have been found to persist on inanimate surfaces — including metal, glass or plastic surfaces — for as long as nine days if that surface had not been disinfected, according to research published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection.

Cleaning with common household products can make a difference, according to the research, which also found that human coronaviruses "can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite" or bleach within one minute.

Read more here.

12:05 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Hong Kong to send two charter flights to bring home Diamond Princess passengers

From CNN’s Alexandra Lin in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said arrangements are being made to bring back Hong Kong residents aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.

A total of 352 passengers on the ship are Hong Kong residents.  

Two charter flights will be sent to bring them back and each flight has 148 seats, Lam said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The first plane was sent to Japan yesterday, Lam said, with the second going today.

Returnees will be sent to quarantine centers in Hong Kong for 14 days.

12:36 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Singapore increases isolation regulations for travelers from China 

From journalist Anna Kam in Hong Kong 

Health officers screen arriving passengers from China with thermal scanners at Changi International Airport in Singapore.
Health officers screen arriving passengers from China with thermal scanners at Changi International Airport in Singapore. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Singapore is increasing isolation conditions for those who have returned or transited through mainland China, the Ministry of Health said Tuesday.

Previously, Singapore had issued a 14-day "Leave of Absence" (LOA) notice, which "allowed returnees to leave their homes briefly, for example for their meals or to buy household supplies," a news release said.

Now, travelers must abide by a "Stay-Home Notice" (SHN), which means they'll "have to remain in their place of residence at all times during the 14-day period."

"Those placed on the SHN will be reminded to monitor their health closely and minimise contact with others," the statement said.

The new rules apply to Singapore residents, long-term pass holders and returning workers from mainland China on work passes. 

The ministry said support will be available for those who need assistance in getting "food and daily necessities."

Rising cases: Singapore has confirmed two new cases of the virus, bringing the citywide total to 77, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday.

The latest cases are:

  • A 76-year-old man who was evacuated from Wuhan, China on February 9.
  • A 35-year-old man with no recent travel to China who is linked to a previous case. 

A total of 24 coronavirus patients have been discharged, according to the ministry.

12:33 a.m. ET, February 18, 2020

Diamond Princess cruise couple describe their time in quarantine

From CNN's Paul Vercammen

Buses carry American citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier to be repatriated to the United States, on Monday, February 17 in Yokohama, Japan.
Buses carry American citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier to be repatriated to the United States, on Monday, February 17 in Yokohama, Japan. Carl Court/Getty Images

Carl Goldman, 66, and his wife, Jeri Seratti-Goldman, were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise when the ship became quarantined in Japan's Yokohama port.

Now, one of the 13 evacuees who just arrived at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, he recalls his experiences so far.

“We made the most of our time on that cruise. We had friends with an adjoining suite, so we went back and forth,” Goldman told CNN.
“We watched a lot of movies. We chuckled.” 

However, by the time he, his wife, and the other Diamond Princess passengers were being evacuated to the US, Goldman, who is from Santa Clarita, California, began to show symptoms. 

“I had a high fever on the flight and they took my temperature and I wound up in a section of the plane that is isolated,” Goldman said.

“They put me there with other people they suspected of having the virus. The section was sealed off with big sheets of plastic.” 

Goldman, who was first taken to Travis Air Force Base, landed in Omaha this morning.

“I am being tended to by two nurses in full hazmat suits and the doctor who visited me was also in a hazmat suit,” he said.

“My wife and I are in separate wings of this facility and we’re talking to each other via Facetime."

Goldman and his wife are now awaiting test results for the novel coronavirus.