February 23 coronavirus news

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9:44 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has moved here.

8:18 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Taiwan confirms two more cases of coronavirus

A drugstore in downtown Taipei displays a poster indicating that surgical masks, face masks and alcohol are sold out. 
A drugstore in downtown Taipei displays a poster indicating that surgical masks, face masks and alcohol are sold out.  Alberto Buzzola/LightRocket/Getty Images

Taiwan confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the island's total number of confirmed cases to 28.

The two patients are a father and son in their 80s and 50s, respectively, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center.

They do not have a recent travel history, but health experts believe they may have contracted the virus from a relative who recently visited mainland China.

7:26 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Canadian officials believe there's another confirmed case of coronavirus in Ontario

Public health officials in Ontario, Canada, have confirmed a new "presumptive positive case" of the novel coronavirus.

The case involves a woman who arrived in Canada from China on Friday, the Ontario Ministry of Health said in a news release. She had an "intermittent cough that was improving," the news release said, but she went to the emergency department at North York General Hospital in Toronto at the advice of Telehealth Ontario.

Laboratory testing indicated the patient was "presumptive positive" for the coronavirus, the news release said. Officials are awaiting final confirmation from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

The patient was discharged and is in self-isolation, the news release said. Officials said there was a low risk that the patient was infectious, and she's had limited exposure to other people since she arrived in Canada. Provincial officials are working to contact airplane passengers who might have been in close proximity to the patient.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health said:

"Because of all the proper protocols and procedures that are in place to contain this virus and exposure to others was limited, I want to assure the public that the risk to Ontarians remains low. Protecting the health and well-being of individuals and families across the province remains our top priority and we continue to vigilantly monitor for and contain any and all new cases."

Canada had nine confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Friday, according to the country's Public Health Agency.

6:24 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Turkey, Afghanistan to shut borders with Iran over coronavirus outbreak

Turkey and Afghanistan will close their borders with Iran due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Turkish and Afghan governments said Sunday.

Turkey has also "temporarily halted" flights arriving from Iran, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, according to state-news agency Anadolu.

Afghanistan closed its border with Iran after it announced it was testing three people suspected of having coronavirus. The three people had recently returned from Iran.

“To avoid spreading of coronavirus the government of Afghanistan has stopped any contact with Iran via land or air. The borders are closed,” the Afghani National Security website said.

Iran’s Health Ministry confirmed on Sunday that eight people have died from the novel coronavirus and 43 have so far been infected in the country.

6:24 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

G20 prepared to act on coronavirus if needed

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan speaks during a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations on February 23, 2020.
Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan speaks during a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations on February 23, 2020. Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Current global economic growth remains slow with the coronavirus outbreak posing the greatest risk, finance ministers and central bankers meeting at the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia said in a statement.

Despite that outlook, the G20 said that global economic growth is expected to pick up "modestly" in 2020 and 2021. 

"Global economic growth remains slow and downside risks to the outlook persist, including those arising from geopolitical and remaining trade tensions, and policy uncertainty. We will enhance global risk monitoring, including of the recent outbreak of COVID-19. We stand ready to take further action to address these risks," according to the final document of the conference.

The host of the G20 meeting, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan, said that countries will be ready to act on the risk coronavirus poses to commerce. 

"We all agreed that all countries and states will be ready to intervene as needed to face these risks and it’ll be a multilateral intervention including the WHO (World Health Organization) to monitor these risks and use relevant policies as needed," Jadaan said.

3:45 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Second person in Israel tests positive for coronavirus, as self-quarantine numbers rise again

Israel's ministry of health has announced the country's second case of coronavirus. A man who was a passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who returned to Israel last week, tested positive for the disease.

The first case of coronavirus was announced on Friday. A woman who had also returned from the Diamond Princess tested positive following a check in Israel.

In addition, the number of Israeli citizens instructed to place themselves under self-quarantine has jumped to more than 700, Ministry of Health Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov told Channel 12 News. More than 300 of those came into close contact with a group of visiting South Korean tourists who tested positive for the disease upon returning home, Siman Tov said. 

Another 400 Israeli citizens who have returned from East Asian countries where coronavirus is spreading have also been told to remain home and avoid public spaces for 14 days, in accordance with Ministry of Health instructions.

As of Sunday evening, the Ministry said 18 members of the South Korean tour group tested positive for coronavirus upon returning to their home country.

By the numbers: In a precautionary move, Israel barred foreign nationals from participating in the upcoming Tel Aviv marathon, scheduled for this Friday. The race will proceed with approximately 40,000 Israeli runners, but 3,000 foreign participants will not be allowed to run.

3:32 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

US military in Italy takes precautionary steps amid virus outbreak

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

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.