February 25 coronavirus news

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1:09 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Vietnam says all 16 coronavirus patients have recovered

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong

All 16 patients with novel coronavirus in Vietnam, including a three-month-old infant, have recovered from their illnesses, the country's Ministry of Health said on its website.

One patient is still being monitored in hospital, and the others have been discharged, it said.

More than 1,200 tests have turned out negative since the crisis began, and no new cases have been reported since the 16th patient was diagnosed on February 13, according to the ministry.

Containing the virus: In order to stop the virus spreading, Vietnam placed an entire community on lockdown following the confirmation of its 16th case.

Local authorities locked down the area around the Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the capital Hanoi, affecting some 10,000 people.

12:52 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

A quick catch up ...

From CNN's James Griffiths

A worker in protective gear stacks plastic buckets containing medical waste from coronavirus patients at a medical center in Daegu, South Korea.
A worker in protective gear stacks plastic buckets containing medical waste from coronavirus patients at a medical center in Daegu, South Korea. Lee Moo-ryul/Newsis/AP

Multiple outbreaks of the novel coronavirus outside of mainland China have continued to worsen, as experts warn we may be approaching pandemic levels. 

WHO in Italy: A World Health Organization team landed in Italy late Monday to "support Italian authorities in understanding the situation," the WHO said. The team's focus will be on "limiting further human-to-human transmission" after a rapid rise in cases.

Italian outbreak: At least 229 people have been infected with the virus, and seven people have died in the southern European nation. 

South Korea in crisis: In South Korea, more than 893 cases have been confirmed, up from 31 a week ago. At least seven people have died, and the virus has spread throughout the country, though the worst outbreak remains in the southern city of Daegu. 

Iran onset: Iran is on the front line of the outbreak -- the health ministry has confirmed 61 cases and 12 deaths.

China postpones top political meeting: Chinese authorities announced the postponement of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's rubber-stamp parliament, an unprecedented move in recent times. It comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Sunday that that novel coronavirus is the worst public health crisis facing the country since its founding. 

The cases: At the end Monday, China's National Health Commission's had confirmed 77,658 cases in the mainland, and 2,663 deaths. The virus has now infected at least 80,067 people worldwide and killed 2,698.

Read the full story here.

11:12 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

No US drug manufacturers have reported they anticipate drug shortages due to coronavirus: FDA

From CNN Health’s Jen Christensen

A pharmacy technician grabs a bottle of drugs off a shelve at a pharmacy in Utah.
A pharmacy technician grabs a bottle of drugs off a shelve at a pharmacy in Utah. George Frey/Getty Images

No drug manufacturers have reported that they anticipate shortages of particular drugs due to the novel coronavirus, a US Food and Drug Administration spokesperson said on Monday.

The agency said it has been in touch with 180 drug manufacturers to remind them of their regulatory obligation to notify the FDA if they anticipate any disruption in drugs supplies.

Reviewing supplies: The FDA asked companies to evaluate their supply chain in light of the novel coronavirus and what potential challenge that may pose to the global drug supply, the statement said.

Sourcing from China: The FDA says it has identified about 20 drug products that either solely source their active pharmaceutical ingredients or produce finished drug products from or in China.

“We have been in contact with those firms to understand if they face any drug shortage risks due to the outbreak. None of these firms has reported any shortage to date,” FDA spokesperson Stephanie Caccomo said in the statement. “We will continue to remain in contact with the manufacturers so that we can best help mitigate any potential issues in the future.”

Where do our drugs come from? Most active pharmaceutical ingredients -- the drugs that are formulated into capsules, tablets and injections -- are not manufactured in the United States. As of August 2019, 13% of active pharmaceutical ingredients for the US market are made in China, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in October.

The number of firms making those ingredients in China more than doubled between 2010 and 2019. In August 2019, India made 18% of these ingredients and the EU made 26% of these ingredients for the US market.

12:14 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Westerdam cruise passenger who originally tested positive for coronavirus, now found to be negative

From CNN's Jaide Garcia in Atlanta

A helicopter takes off next to the Westerdam cruise ship in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
A helicopter takes off next to the Westerdam cruise ship in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images

An 83-year-old American woman was the only passenger from the MS Westerdam cruise ship to test positive for the novel coronavirus. 

She has been retested and is now found to be negative, according to a statement from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson Erin Burns. 

The woman had flown to Malaysia to catch a flight back hone, but tested positive for the coronavirus.

"Two sequential tests on samples from that same person were negative," Burns said.

The ship had more than 2,000 people on board and was denied port entry in several countries before Cambodia gave permission for it to dock, according to Holland America Line, the company that owns the cruise ship.

All passengers have disembarked from the ship, and "additional testing of more than 1,500 passengers from the Westerdam was negative," Burns said.

To date, none of the ship's passengers are confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus.

11:50 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

Coronavirus will "decrease earnings and growth" around the world, analyst says

From CNN’s Alison Kosik

A financial board at a Daiwa Securities Co. outlet in Tokyo shows the Nikkei Stock Average plunging over 800 points in early trading on February 25, amid concerns over the spread of a new coronavirus. 
A financial board at a Daiwa Securities Co. outlet in Tokyo shows the Nikkei Stock Average plunging over 800 points in early trading on February 25, amid concerns over the spread of a new coronavirus.  Kyodo News/Getty Images

Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial, said in a statement Monday, “The coronavirus might be slowing in mainland China, but the huge jump over the weekend to various other countries has many reassessing 2020 growth estimates."

Detrick continued:

"The (International Monetary Fund) already lowered China’s growth this year, but should the virus continue to spread to other parts of the world, we could see quickly decreasing earnings and growth outlooks.”

Asia stocks mixed: Some Asian stock markets tumbled on Tuesday as coronavirus fears mount.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 (N225) index plunged 3% in early trade. Markets in the country were closed Monday for a holiday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.5% Tuesday, while China's Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) dropped 2.5%.

South Korea's Kospi (KOSPI) was up 0.6% after closing down nearly 3.9% on Monday, its worst day since October 2018. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) also slightly increased following a 1.8% decline on Monday.

US stocks plunge: The mixed showing in Asia Pacific followed a terrible day for US stocks. US markets plunged almost 1,000 points on Monday, with the Dow closing down 1,032 points -- a 3.6% drop -- for its worst day in two years. That sharp drop wiped out the Dow’s gains for the year -- leaving the index slightly negative for 2020.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each ended the day down more than 3%, too.

11:28 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

Why health officials aren't calling coronavirus a pandemic

From CNN's John Bonifield

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a news conference on the situation regarding the coronavirus in Geneva on February 24.
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a news conference on the situation regarding the coronavirus in Geneva on February 24. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Health officials have yet to label the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic -- but they could be close to calling it one.

"We're on the knife's edge," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We're really on the brink," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes for Health.

Not there yet

On Monday, the World Health Organization's director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said coronavirus has pandemic potential -- but it’s not there yet. 

Tedros said the decision to use the word pandemic is based on ongoing assessments of the geographic spread of the virus, severity and impact of the society and for the moment they are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus.  

He said the virus is affecting countries across the world in different ways and requires a tailored response, adding it’s not a one-size-fits-all response.  

Remember: There is no precise, mathematical definition of a pandemic.

Outbreaks get characterized as pandemics by epidemiologists -- who are not yet using the term.

That's because they've yet to see sustained transmission among people who have not recently traveled to China or had close contact with someone who recently traveled to China. 

It's not enough for a cluster of disease in a country to exist and even spread -- it has to spread in a sustained way, from person to person, time and time again, through many generations of transmission.

Right now, certain countries may still be able to contain the clusters of disease they are experiencing, and if they snuff out the outbreaks before they progress and achieve sustained transmission, they will have avoided a pandemic.

11:12 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Major American companies are reeling from coronavirus

A United Airlines plane taxis at Los Angeles International Airport.
A United Airlines plane taxis at Los Angeles International Airport. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

A growing number of major American companies are saying coronavirus is hurting their business.

Late Monday, United Airlines announced that it has suspended flights between the United States and four destinations in China, routes that represent approximately 5% of the company's planned capacity, because of the virus.

The airline said near-term demand for flights to China has fallen to near zero, and the demand for flights to the rest of its trans-Pacific routes has declined 75%.

The canceled flights were between the US and Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong and will be suspended through April 24. United said that despite these "short-term" issues, the company believes "it will be in a strong position to deliver earnings growth in 2021 and beyond."

Read more here.

10:46 p.m. ET, February 24, 2020

Bahrain suspends all flights from Dubai and Sharjah's international airports for 48 hours

From CNN’s Ruba Alhenawi in Atlanta

Bahrain's aviation authority has suspended all incoming flights from Dubai International airport and Sharjah International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates, for 48 hours over coronavirus fears, according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The statement, which was released on Tuesday shortly after midnight local time, said the suspension was “effective immediately.”

On Monday, Bahrain confirmed the country's second case of the novel coronavirus.

The patient is a Bahraini woman who arrived from Iran via Dubai, BNA reported.

11:12 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

CDC raises travel advisory for Italy and Iran to Level 2

Alert level 2 means older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
Alert level 2 means older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised its travel advisories for Italy and Iran to Alert Level 2, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to the CDC, both Italy and Iran are experiencing “sustained community spread of respiratory illness (COVID-19) caused by the novel coronavirus.”

Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to these countries, the CDC recommends.

Travelers should also avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol, the CDC says.

Also on Tuesday, the CDC raised its travel advisory for South Korea to Warning Level 3 -- recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea.