February 22 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton and Tara John, CNN

Updated 9:02 p.m. ET, February 22, 2020
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1:34 a.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Australia confirms 6 coronavirus cases from Japan cruise ship

From Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Australia now has 21 cases of the novel coronavirus after six people repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus, the health department said in a statement.

Ten patients have recovered so far.

Here's a breakdown of where those cases are:

  • 5 in Queensland
  • 4 in New South Wales
  • 4 in Victoria
  • 2 in South Australia

Of the six cases associated with the Diamond Princess repatriation flight from Japan:

  • 1 is a resident of Western Australia
  • 1 is a resident of South Australia
  • 2 are residents of Queensland
  • 2 are residents of Victoria

2:27 a.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Novel coronavirus cases outside mainland China have passed 1,500

From CNN's Eric Cheung

The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December.

More than 1,500 confirmed cases and 15 deaths from the virus have been recorded in more than 30 countries and territories outside mainland China:

  • Australia (at least 21 cases)
  • Belgium (at least 1 case)
  • Cambodia (at least 1 case)
  • Canada (at least 9 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 68 cases, 2 deaths)
  • India (at least 3 cases)
  • Iran (at least 18 cases, 4 deaths)
  • Israel: (at least 1 case)
  • Italy (at least 17 cases, 1 death)
  • Japan (at least 738 cases, including 639 linked to cruise ship; 3 deaths)
  • Lebanon: (at least 1 case)
  • 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 86 cases)
  • South Korea (at least 347 cases, 1 death)
  • Spain (at least 2 cases)
  • Sri Lanka (at least 1 case)
  • Sweden (at least 1 case)
  • Taiwan (at least 26 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 35 cases)
  • Vietnam (at least 16 cases)

Read more about the patients in each place.

12:59 a.m. ET, February 22, 2020

A group of US college students may face disciplinary action over a coronavirus-themed party

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

Some students at a New York university are in hot water over allegations they held what the school is describing as a "coronavirus-themed party."

Officials at the University of Albany say they are investigating the event, which they called "distasteful and hurtful" in a news release.

"We are aware of a coronavirus-themed party that was recently held off-campus and not sanctioned by the University at Albany," the University of Albany said in a statement. "The theme of this party was distasteful and hurtful and is not representative of UAlbany or its nearly 18,000 students."

The trouble started last week when a video was posted on Instagram showing a bucket filled with ice and beer and a University of Albany student wearing a surgical mask, Albany's WGY News Radio reported.

Read more here.

12:39 a.m. ET, February 22, 2020

South Korea religious group “deeply regrets” coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Jake Kwon in Seoul

South Korea’s Shincheongji religious group says it “deeply regrets” the coronavirus outbreak that occurred in their Daegu branch that it is cooperating with local authorities.

About half of the country's 346 cases are linked to the Shincheongji group in the southern city of Daegu. On Saturday, South Korean health officials said that 9,300 members of the group will be tested and required to self-isolate as they try to get on top of the outbreak.

“Currently all of our church branches in the nation, including the main headquarter have stopped services, gatherings, and mission activity in churches and related spaces," the Shincheongji group said in a statement.

It also expressed concern over what it said was false information that has been circulating about the group.

“The media had been reporting that we are the 'main culprit in the spread of virus', referring to our 'unusual service style'," the statement said. "A reality where we had to hold service on the floor to maximize the number of occupants in our small space -- which was due to Shincheonji not being allowed our rightful building permit," the statement adds.

12:26 a.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Coronavirus cruise ship to undergo major cleaning before next voyage

From CNN's Stacey Lastoe and Channon Hodge

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, in quarantine due to fears of COVID-19, at Daikoku pier cruise terminal in Yokohama.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship, in quarantine due to fears of COVID-19, at Daikoku pier cruise terminal in Yokohama. Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images)

Some passengers and crew are still aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship following its 14-day coronavirus quarantine in Japan, but the ship has not seen its last days at sea.

On April 29, following what Carnival Corp. (Princess Cruises' parent company) says will be a full sanitation process, the 116,000-ton vessel will resume service.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the ship's plans -- shortly after two of the ship's coronavirus patients died.

Once everyone is off the isolated ship, it will undergo a deep cleaning before spending time in a dry dock.

Princess Cruises is working with the Japanese health ministry on sanitation specifics, cruise line public relations director Negin Kamali told CNN Travel. 

The expectation, Kamali explains, "is that the ship will be fully sanitized by a cleaning company with an expertise in this area following guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization." 

Read more here.

12:13 a.m. ET, February 22, 2020

Japan reports 12 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan reported 12 new cases of novel coronavirus on Saturday, the country's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said.

The new cases include three teenagers.

Japan now has a total of 738 positive coronavirus cases: 99 on land and 639 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. 

Cruise ship safety measures: Japan’s Ministry of Defense has increased the level of protection for its Self Defense Force staff working on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama.

All SDF staff are now required to wear masks, gloves, gowns and hair caps, not just those in direct contact with passengers.

The order came after infectious disease specialist Kentaro Iwata posted a YouTube video criticizing the quarantine and isolation measures onboard the virus-stricken ship, defense minister Taro Kono told reporters.


11:53 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Taiwan repatriates 19 cruise goers from Diamond Princess

From Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

A flight carrying 19 Taiwanese citizens arrived in Taipei from Tokyo Friday night, Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare said in a statement.

The group, who had been on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama since early February, will be sent to an isolation ward for 14 days.

Two additional cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in Taiwan on Saturday, bringing the total on the island to 26, according to the ministry.

Cruise disembarking: On Friday, 253 people who tested negative for coronavirus disembarked from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to the news release from the Japanese Ministry of Health. Disembarkation was expected to continue into Saturday.

11:32 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Over 9,000 members of the Shincheonji religious group to be self-isolated and tested in South Korea

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong in Seoul

A medical worker at a preliminary testing facility at the National Medical Center where patients suspected of contracting coronavirus are assessed in Seoul.
A medical worker at a preliminary testing facility at the National Medical Center where patients suspected of contracting coronavirus are assessed in Seoul. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Thousands of members of the Shincheonji religious group in the southern city of Daegu will be tested for the novel coronavirus, South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Saturday.

Around 9,300 members of the religious group will also be required to self-isolate, after a cluster of coronavirus cases were linked to it.

Among the 346 total confirmed cases in South Korea, 169 are associated with the group.

“We have secured a list of about 9,300 members of the relevant religious group, and we are preemptively enforcing self-isolation and facility isolation," said Kim Gang-lip, South Korean vice minister of health in a news briefing:

Already, 4,474 people from the list are self-isolating and the ministry is conducting the first tests on 544 people who said they have respiratory symptoms.

The ministry is currently enforcing self-isolation and checking symptoms for 4,860 people from a second list they have secured. 

Kim said that mobile sample collection teams will be in operation so people can be tested without going outside.

11:12 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Bridal gowns could be in short supply for wedding season because of coronavirus

From CNN's Parija Kavilanz

 Wedding dresses are displayed in a window at a David's Bridal store in Manhattan.
 Wedding dresses are displayed in a window at a David's Bridal store in Manhattan. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

With the summer wedding season around the corner, the coronavirus outbreak could leave brides-to-be in panic: Some may be unable to get the wedding gown they want for their big day.

China is a leading supplier of wedding gowns. As much as 80% of the world's western-style gowns are produced there, according to the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association. Many factories in China have remained closed this year as the country attempts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Although China's vast manufacturing engine is slowly coming back on line, the extended shutdown has resulted in a production delay across the board for all kinds of products, including wedding gowns.

"We have spent a lot of time monitoring the situation in China and I believe a lot of disruption is going to happen," said James Marcum, CEO of David's Bridal, the largest seller of wedding gowns in the United States. "It's not only with bridal gowns but there's the bridesmaid side of things, too."

Read the full story here