February 21 coronavirus news

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10:30 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Iran says coronavirus has spread to several cities

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Tehran

The novel coronavirus has spread to several Iranian cities, Minnou Mohraz, a member of the National Committee for Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Health said today.

 “The spread of the coronavirus started in Qom and has reached other cities in the country like Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and other cities due to people traveling. There is a possibility that it exists in all cities across the country,” Mohraz said.

Mohraz said that the source of virus in Iran could be a Chinese worker who works in the city of Qom and had traveled to China. “It’s clear that new coronavirus has circulated in the country and probably the source of this illness was Chinese workers who work in the city of Qom and had traveled to China.”

 

10:04 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Singapore now has at least 86 cases of confirmed coronavirus

From CNN's Akansha Sharma and Anna Kam

Singapore reported one new case of the novel coronavirus today, taking the national total of confirmed cases to 86, according to a press release by the country's Ministry of Health.

The new confirmed case is a 24 year-old Singapore national. He has no recent travel history. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection yesterday and is currently in isolation.

9:53 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Trump economic adviser says "there's barely any impact" to US economy from coronavirus

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Top Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow downplayed the prospect of a significant impact to the US economy from coronavirus today. 

Asked by reporters about the potential impact of the coronavirus on the economy and whether he anticipates it being similar to the effect of SARS, Kudlow said, “I understand the risks, and I understand these things could change quickly, but right now what we know is there’s barely any impact here at home.”

“The human toll in my opinion is more important than the statistics… [China’s] getting hurt very badly,” he added. 
9:47 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Nissan factories in China delay production

From CNN's Anna Kam in Hong Kong

Nissan factories in China's Hubei province will not restart production until Monday at the earliest due to the novel coronavirus, a Nissan spokesperson told CNN.

The company is complying with Chinese government instructions and does not rule out that restart at the plants could be further delayed.

9:46 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Some people in Wuhan say they're being quarantined despite testing negative. Here's how the World Health Organization is reacting.

From CNN's Carly Walsh

The World Health Organization said China is making "intensive efforts" to contain the novel coronavirus in response to an inquiry from CNN about conditions in a field hospital and reports that healthy people who had tested negative were being quarantined there.

The WHO stated that the Chinese government’s efforts were in response to an "unprecedented crisis." They also credited the containment effort for keeping the number of cases outside of mainland China “relatively low”.

Some people quarantined in Wuhan field hospitals told CNN's David Culver that they had previously tested negative for the virus and were afraid they would contract it inside the facility. Images from inside the hospitals show close living quarters.

Here's the statement from the WHO:

"Our acknowledgement of China’s response is purely based on evidence; the fact that they shared the genome sequencing of the virus with WHO and the world in record time, thus preventing the virus from spreading to other countries; the fact that they have shared epidemiological data with WHO since the beginning of the outbreak and then regularly: the fact that they have willingly joined all WHO experts’ networks and are sharing their experience and knowledge regularly through these platforms; and the fact that they welcomed a WHO-led team of international experts to come to China and support local counterparts.
China is facing an unprecedented crisis and is responding in an unprecedented manner. We need to acknowledge that the relatively low number of cases of the virus detected outside of China is as a result of the intensive efforts the Chinese government is taking to contain the emergency and protect other countries."
9:31 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

This is what coronavirus looks like under a microscope

The University of Hong Kong's LKS Faculty of Medicine has released a new image of the virus. In the micrograph, the orange dots are viral particles, and the blue is the surface of a cell.

Here's what it looks like:

A pseudo-color scanning electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2, grown in culture from a patient isolate. After 24 hours in culture there are large numbers of orange viral particles on the surface of the cell (blue).
A pseudo-color scanning electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2, grown in culture from a patient isolate. After 24 hours in culture there are large numbers of orange viral particles on the surface of the cell (blue). Credit: The University of Hong Kong

10:01 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

There's at least 1 coronavirus patient in Lebanon

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali

Lebanon announced its first confirmed coronavirus case in the country, Lebanese Health Minister Hammad Hassan said during a news conference today.

Hassan said that the patient is a 45-year-old female who returned yesterday from the city of Qom in Iran. There are two more suspected cases but they are yet to be confirmed as positive, Hassan added.

Hassan announced that all travelers returning from Iran will now be held under home quarantine for 14 days.

Earlier today, Iran announced there are a total of 18 coronavirus cases in the country. At least four people have died from the virus.

9:17 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Israel announces first case of coronavirus 

From CNN's Amir Tal and Oren Liebermann

Israel's Ministry of Health announced the first case of coronavirus in the country after a woman who was evacuated from the Diamond Princess in Japan was diagnosed with the disease, the Ministry said in a statement Friday morning.

The woman was one of eleven passengers aboard the Diamond Princess flown back to Israel from Japan. The ten other passengers tested negative for the virus. 

All of the passengers are being held in isolation at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. They will remain in the hospital for 14 days.

Four other Israeli citizens who were on board the ship and have been diagnosed with coronavirus remain in Japan.

9:05 a.m. ET, February 21, 2020

South Korea reports second death among confirmed coronavirus patients

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

A second coronavirus patient has died in South Korea, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The victim was identified as a woman born in 1965. She was confirmed to have the virus Friday.

The first patient in South Korea to die from the novel coronavirus had a chronic lung disease and had been hospitalized for a long period of time, according to Jung Eun-Kyeong, the center's.

CORRECTION: South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported the death. A previous version of this post misattributed the source of this information.

Jung Eun-Kyeong, head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gives a briefing on domestic coronavirus contamination in Sejong, South Korea, on February 7.
Jung Eun-Kyeong, head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gives a briefing on domestic coronavirus contamination in Sejong, South Korea, on February 7. Credit: Yonhap/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock