February 25 coronavirus news

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5:53 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Air Canada extends its suspension of flights to mainland China

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Air Canada is extending its suspension of flights between Canada and Beijing and Shanghai until April 10, and daily non-stop flights from Toronto to Hong Kong until April 30, according to the airline.

However, Air Canada will continue to operate its non-stop flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong, which will accommodate customers originally booked on its Toronto-Hong Kong flights, the airline said.

Some background: The airline initially suspended services to Beijing and Shanghai in February after the Canadian government discouraged non-essential travel to China.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Viruses don't respect boundaries or borders. Watch:

5:01 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

There are no current medical product shortages due to coronavirus, FDA says

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks about the coronavirus while flanked by (from left to right) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephen Hahn during a press briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters on Tuesday, February 25,  in Washington.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks about the coronavirus while flanked by (from left to right) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephen Hahn during a press briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters on Tuesday, February 25, in Washington. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

While the US Food and Drug is not aware of any shortages of medical products being reported in the United States, it is monitoring some that could be at risk, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told reporters Tuesday.

"FDA is keenly aware that the outbreak will likely affect the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to suppliers [and] shortages of critical medical products in the US," Hahn said.

In particular, the FDA is keeping its eye on personal protective equipment such as face masks and gowns used by health care workers. The agency is proactively reaching out to hundreds of manufacturers of medical products for information related to these concerns, Hahn said.  

More on this: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said some of the $2.5 billion requested funds would be used to purchase personal protection equipment for the national stockpile. On Tuesday morning, Azar told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee there are 30 million N95 respirators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and the US would need about 10 times that for health care workers.

Hahn also said that the agency is postponing roughly 100 scheduled inspections in China over February and March — mostly routine surveillance inspections meant to ensure that medical products produced in China meet the standards for entering the US marketplace. But he said these can happen at any time during the year, and the agency is moving things around so they can stay on schedule when it comes to planned inspections for the year.

4:08 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Number of coronavirus cases in Kuwait rises to 9, state news reports

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali

Members of Kuwait's national guard wear safety masks as they keep watch outside a hotel in the capital where Kuwaitis returning from Iran are quarantined and tested for the virus, on Monday, February 24.
Members of Kuwait's national guard wear safety masks as they keep watch outside a hotel in the capital where Kuwaitis returning from Iran are quarantined and tested for the virus, on Monday, February 24. Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

The Kuwaiti health ministry confirmed a woman has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Iran, according to state news KUNA. 

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Kuwait to nine, state news said.

The Kuwaiti woman was placed in quarantine, and the remaining patients are in stable condition, state news reported, citing the ministry's statement.

5:56 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

UK warns against "all but essential" travel to 11 Italian towns

Red Cross health workers with masks near a market in , Codogno, Italy, on Tuesday, February 25.
Red Cross health workers with masks near a market in , Codogno, Italy, on Tuesday, February 25. IPA/Abaca/Sipa USA

The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against “all but essential travel” to 11 Italian towns undergoing isolation measures due to coronavirus.

The towns included in the advisory are:

  • Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano and Vo’ Euganeo 

Several Italian towns under quarantine over coronavirus. Hear more:

3:33 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Public health labs ask to create their own tests for coronavirus

From CNN’s Nadia Kounang

With only 12 state and local health laboratories able to test for the novel coronavirus, public health labs are asking the US Food and Drug Administration for permission to create their own tests for the virus.

“We are now many weeks into the response with still no diagnostic or surveillance test available outside of CDC for the vast majority of our member laboratories,” the Association of Public Health Laboratories wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Monday. 

The association represents the 150 largest public health labs across the country and is asking the FDA for a special exemption to create its own diagnostics.

“We find ourselves in a situation that requires a quicker local response,” the association wrote.

While the CDC currently has no backlog or delay in testing, the lab association’s CEO, Scott Becker, told CNN that its concern is not about the current situation, but for when community spread of the virus increases.

“We want to encourage and ensure that we have the test closest to the population,” Becker said.

The CDC announced on Feb. 6 that 200 test kits would be distributed to labs across the United States. The kits needed to be verified by the local health laboratories to ensure they were working. Less than a week later, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said some labs that had received the tests were getting inconclusive results, and components of the tests would need to be remade.

The CDC has been working to resolve the testing kit issue but has yet to provide a timeline about when labs will receive new tests.

2:26 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

First case of coronavirus reported in Switzerland

From CNN's Max Ramsay

A 70-year-old man is the first person to test positive for coronavirus in Switzerland, the country’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) told CNN. 

The Swiss man from the canton of Ticino, a region which borders Italy, had been to Lombardy, Italy, in mid-February.

He has been hospitalized, where he's “under isolation and in good health so far," a FOPH spokesperson said.

Italy is the site of Europe's biggest coronavirus outbreak. The cases there are heavily concentrated in the region of Lombardy.

2:50 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Woman tests positive for coronavirus in mainland Spain

Policemen stand guard outside a hotel in Tenerife that was placed on lockdown after a guest tested positive for Coronavirus on February 25.
Policemen stand guard outside a hotel in Tenerife that was placed on lockdown after a guest tested positive for Coronavirus on February 25.

A woman has tested positive for coronavirus in Barcelona, according to Joan Guix, the secretary of Public Health in Catalonia.

The patient is a 36-year-old Italian national living in Barcelona, Guix said. The patient traveled to Bergamo and Milan, Italy, from Feb. 12 until Sunday. She is now in isolation in a hospital.

Previously, two people on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife tested positive for the virus forcing their hotel into a lockdown.

Eight more cases are being investigated.

2:31 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Coronavirus death toll in Italy rises to 11

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo in Rome

Salvatore Laporta/IPA/Shutterstock
Salvatore Laporta/IPA/Shutterstock

An 11th person has died of coronavirus in Italy, the civil protection ministry said on Tuesday. 

The victim is a 76-year-old Treviso woman who was being treated in a hospital, Italian Civil Protection press officer Juri Pittaluga said.

Italy is the site of Europe's biggest coronavirus outbreak. The cases are heavily concentrated in the region of Lombardy.

2:26 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

The Dow is now down more than 700 points

From CNN’s David Goldman

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Stocks have turned sharply negative as coronavirus fears continue to mount. The Dow has lost more than 700 points.

Yesterday, the Dow fell more than 1,000 points, recording its worst day in two years, as coronavirus fears led global markets to plummet.