February 23 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Jenni Marsh and Tara John, CNN

Updated 0308 GMT (1108 HKT) February 24, 2020
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3:32 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

US military in Italy takes precautionary steps amid virus outbreak

From CNN's Ryan Browne

Amid reports of multiple diagnoses of the move coranavirus in Italy, the US military in Italy is closing schools and taking other precautionary steps.

"As a precautionary measure USAG Italy will close all Vicenza Military Community (VMC) DODEA schools and activities, CDC, and CYS activities, fitness centers on Ederle and Del Din, AAFES post theater and chapel worship services from Monday through Wednesday, Feb 24-26," Col. Daniel J. Vogel, USAG Italy Garrison Commander, said in a release.

Vogel added: "As of 4 p.m., Feb. 23, there are zero confirmed cases within the city of Vicenza, the Vicenza Military Community, Darby Military Community, or Ghedi Military Community. As of 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 23, there are 17 cases of the coronavirus in the Italian Veneto region, and a total of 79 confirmed cases in Italy."

3:01 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

White House expected to ask Congress for coronavirus money this week

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

White House officials are expected to ask Congress for emergency funding this week to battle the coronavirus amid growing fears of a larger outbreak in the US, two officials familiar with the forthcoming request said.

Government aides worked throughout the weekend on the supplemental request, which is still not final but could be sent to Capitol Hill as soon as Monday,  said a person familiar with the plans. 

That source said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has ruffled feathers through the process by requesting amounts of money that “have been seen as largely out of proportion.” The source noted HHS already has money that could be used for coronavirus issues, but claimed Azar “has been pushing hard for this to overcompensate” for management decisions regarding coronavirus containment that the source criticized.

By the numbers: The US now has 36 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Fourteen Americans who tested positive for the disease returned to the US this week after spending weeks in isolation on the luxury cruise ship Diamond Princess docked in Japan.

A spokesperson for HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The supplemental funding request was first reported by Politico.

1:54 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

See the global spread of the novel coronavirus

Here's a look at where the cases are throughout the world, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data.

These numbers may differ from those reported by national health authorities, who report updated totals at different times than the WHO.

1:35 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

China's president: Coronavirus outbreak a "crisis and big test"

From CNN’s Lily Lee in Beijing and Mitchell McCluskey in Atlanta

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks in December 2019.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks in December 2019. Noel Celis/Pool/Getty Images

Fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak will be “a crisis and big test” for China, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a meeting with government officials held in Beijing on Sunday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

“The novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic was a major public health emergency with the fastest spread, the widest range of infections, and the most difficult to prevent and control in China since the founding of the New China,” Xi said. “For us, this is a crisis and also a big test. After hard work, the current situation of epidemic prevention and control is turning out good."

Xi reassured officials that the Chinese government would overcome the economic obstacles caused by the outbreak, Xinhua reported.

“The novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic will inevitably have a great impact on the economy and society. We must look at our country’s development in a comprehensive, dialectical, and long-term perspective” Xi said.

Xi added: “We must strengthen our confidence. On the whole, the fundamentals of China's long-term economic improvement have not changed, and the impact of the epidemic is short-term and generally controllable.”

1:12 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

The latest coronavirus numbers out of Italy

From CNN’s Livia Borghese in Rome and Anastasia Graham-Yooll in London. 

Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images
Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

Three people are dead and 152 are infected with the novel coronavirus in Italy, the head of the country’s Civil Protection agency Angelo Borrelli confirmed in a second press conference on Sunday.

Lombardy, a region in Italy’s north with Milan as the capital, has 110 cases, the highest number in the country, Borrelli added.

1:03 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

South Korea reports sixth death of coronavirus patient

From CNN’s Jake Kwon in Seoul

A male patient who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and treated at Dongguk University Medical Center in the city of Gyeongju, South Korea, died on Sunday according the minister of health’s Twitter page.

The statement said the cause of death for the patient born in 1961 is under investigation and will be announced at a later time.

South Korea has a total of 556 coronavirus cases so far. Of those, 309 of them are associated with the Shincheonji religious group in Daegu.

More than 9,000 Shincheonji members are being put into self-isolation and will be tested, South Korea’s health ministry said.

More background: The Shincheonji is centered around the personality of its founder and chairman, Lee Man-hee. Members of the group congregate in a way that puts them in close contact with one another for long periods of time.

12:21 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Third death in Italy from coronavirus

From CNN’s Livia Borghese in Rome

A third person infected with the novel coronavirus has died in Italy, a regional official said on Sunday.

Lombardy health official Giulio Gallera told reporters Sunday that the victim was an elderly woman from the town of Crema near Milan, who was also suffering from cancer. Two other elderly patients in northern Italy have died over the past 48 hours.

11:43 a.m. ET, February 23, 2020

EU economic affairs commissioner: "No need to panic" over coronavirus outbreak in Italy

From Anastasia Graham-Yooll in London

The European Union “shares the concern” but sees “no need to panic” over a coronavirus outbreak in Italy, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni told reporters in Riyadh on Sunday.

Speaking after a meeting of G20 financial leaders in Saudi Arabia, Gentiloni said “the EU has full confidence in the Italian authorities and the decisions they are taking." He also announced EU’s decision to send 25 tonnes of protective equipment to China.

The outbreak in Italy killed two people and infected 130 others. The government introduced an emergency lockdown in many municipalities in Italy’s north.  

11:34 a.m. ET, February 23, 2020

4 former Diamond Princess passengers test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Richard Greene

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Four former passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, England’s chief medical officer announced Sunday.

The patients are being transferred to specialist NHS infection centers, Prof. Chris Whitty said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The four new cases bring the total number of cases in the UK to 13, he said.