February 25 coronavirus news

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4:50 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020

Italian PM points to "not entirely proper" hospital management for coronavirus spread

A healthcare worker screens for coronavirus at a hospital in Italy on February 24.
A healthcare worker screens for coronavirus at a hospital in Italy on February 24. Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters Monday evening that a "not entirely proper" management of a hospital in northern Italy contributed to the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

"Obviously we cannot predict the progress of the virus. It is clear that there has been an outbreak and it has spread from there," said Conte.

“There has been a management of the hospital not entirely proper according to prudent protocols which are recommended in these cases, and this has certainly contributed to the spread," he said of the hospital in northern Italy where the first case of coronavirus was confirmed.

Conte added: “we continue with the utmost caution and rigor and ensure maximum concentration night and day.”

Neither the hospital nor the town was named.

The outbreak in Italy: At least 229 people have been infected with the virus, and seven people have died. Around 100,000 people in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto are facing travel and other restrictions. Meanwhile, Italy has not identified "patient zero," the source of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

4:18 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Fourth former passenger from Diamond Princess cruise ship dies

An 80-year old passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan has died, the country's health ministry said Tuesday.

This is the fourth passenger from the ship to die.

However, the cause of death has not been confirmed and no details were given as to whether the passenger had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Diamond Princess was docked in Yokohama for two weeks while under quarantine, and nearly 700 coronavirus cases have been linked to the ship.

4:00 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak

A woman buys face masks at a pharmacy in Beijing.
A woman buys face masks at a pharmacy in Beijing.  STR/AFP/Getty Images

Clusters of novel coronavirus outbreaks are spreading as cases surge in South Korea, Iran and Italy, though the World Health Organization (WHO) said it is still too early to declare a pandemic.

Here's what you should know:

The numbers: The novel coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people worldwide and killed more than 2,700. There are at least 2,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than 35 countries and territories outside mainland China, including 37 deaths.

South Korea in crisis: In South Korea, at least 977 cases have been confirmed, up from 31 a week ago. The country reported three more deaths on Tuesday, bringing the number of people who have died to 10. The virus has spread throughout the country, with the worst outbreak linked to a religious group 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 -- -though one lawmaker in the city of Qom claims the death toll could be as high as 50. Iran's health ministry denies the claims. Economic sanctions imposed against Iran by the United States and other bodies have made tackling the disease harder, a board member of Iran's Association of Medical Equipment Importers has said.

Italian outbreak: At least 229 people have been infected with the virus, and seven people have died in the southern European nation. Around 100,000 people in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto are facing travel and other restrictions. Italy has not identified "patient zero," the source of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters Monday that a "not entirely proper" management of a hospital in northern Italy contributed to the spread of the virus in the country.

More countries report first cases: Oman has announced its first two cases of the virus, after two Omani women returning from Iran tested positive. Meanwhile, an Iranian student who entered Iraq prior to the country's travel ban on Iran has been confirmed to have the virus.

Thailand, Singapore and Kuwait all reported additional cases on Tuesday.

Investors are nervous: A mixed showing for markets in Asia Pacific on Tuesday followed a terrible day for US stocks, which plunged on mounting worries about the spread of the coronavirus outside China to major economies. The Dow Jones index finished down more than 1,000 points at the closing bell on Monday, its worst day since February 2018.

Outbreak is not a pandemic: Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said it's too early to declare the novel coronavirus a pandemic -- but now is the time to prepare. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus has pandemic potential -- but it’s not there yet. 

Military drills on hold: The US and South Korea are considering scaling back joint military exercises due to the coronavirus on the Korean Peninsula. 

The situation in the US: There are now 53 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36 of whom were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Meanwhile, Alabama's mayor said the state was not prepared to handle coronavirus patients. President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."

Closing access to Iran: Due to Iran's outbreak, Oman has suspended flights to and from the country. Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq have closed their borders with Iran, while Kuwait Airways, Iraq Airways and Turkey have suspended flights to the country.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is banning its citizens from traveling to Iran and Thailand, and all flights from Dubai airport to Iran have been suspended, except to Tehran.

3:45 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

South Korea coronavirus cases hit 977, with 10 deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea has almost reached 1,000.

As of Tuesday afternoon, cases jumped by 84 to bring the national total to 977, a spokesperson for the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.

The death toll has also increased to 10.

3:37 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Kuwait announces 3 more coronavirus cases

Members of Kuwait's national guard keep watch outside a hotel in the capital where Kuwaitis returning from Iran are quarantined and tested for coronavirus.
Members of Kuwait's national guard keep watch outside a hotel in the capital where Kuwaitis returning from Iran are quarantined and tested for coronavirus. Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Three Kuwaiti citizens returning from Iran have tested positive for novel coronavirus, the Kuwaiti health ministry said in a tweet on Tuesday. 

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Kuwait to eight, the ministry said.

Fears of an outbreak in Kuwait, which is sandwiched between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, prompted the suspension of all sport activities in the country for two weeks, the official state news agency KUNA said on Monday.

Earlier Kuwait suspended flights to and from a number of countries including Iraq, South Korea, Italy and Thailand. 

3:27 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Dubai airport stops flights to all Iranian destinations except Tehran

Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates will stop flights to and from Iran, "except for the capital Tehran," a Dubai airport spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak has spread in Iran, which has reported 12 confirmed deaths and 61 cases.

“All passengers arriving on direct flights from Tehran will receive thermal screening at the airport,” the spokesperson said. 

Dubai airport is one of the busiest in the world, with 86.4 million people traveling through it in 2019.

3:12 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Hong Kong extends school closures in attempt to contain coronavirus outbreak

Workers wearing protective equipment carry cleaning supplies into a residential building in Hong Kong.
Workers wearing protective equipment carry cleaning supplies into a residential building in Hong Kong. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Hong Kong on Tuesday announced that all classes in schools will be further suspended until at least April 19 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Many students in the semiautonomous Chinese city haven't been to school since before the Lunar New Year Holiday, which began on January 22, though they are continuing their studies via online learning.

The announcement came after health officials reported two new coronavirus cases in the city, bringing the total to 81, including two deaths.

The two new cases involved a man and a woman, both aged 57, who recently returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined for two weeks in Japan.

Treble hit for economy: The coronavirus outbreak that originated across the border in mainland China has taken its toll on Hong Kong, coming after months of increasingly violent anti-government protests and a US-China trade war that pushed the city into a recession last year for the first time in a decade.

The virus has hit the tourism and restaurant sector hard, and caused shops, theme parks, cultural attractions and other hotspots to close. The government has asked civil servants to work from home and urged private companies to do the same with their employees.

Airlines under pressure: Hong Kong is also a major regional and international transport hub, especially for Japan and South Korea -- two countries that have seen their own outbreaks of the virus. Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific has asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave, citing a "significant" drop in demand for flights caused by the virus.

Living at close quarters: The city is home to around 7.5 million people, with much of the population living in tiny apartments stacked on top of one another in giant high-rises -- presenting a possible spreading risk.

Economic woes aside, the extended school closures show the government is trying to make sure Hong Kong's outbreak does not get to the level seen in Japan or South Korea.

3:32 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

More than 2,400 coronavirus cases and 37 deaths have been recorded outside mainland China

Tourists wearing facial masks visit the historic centre of Rome on February 24.
Tourists wearing facial masks visit the historic centre of Rome on February 24. Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December. More than 2,600 people have died globally and over 80,000 people have been infected.

There are at least 2,400 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in more than 35 countries and territories outside mainland China, including 37 deaths.

  • Afghanistan: 1 case
  • Australia: 22 cases
  • Bahrain: 2 cases
  • Belgium: 1 case
  • Cambodia: 1 case
  • Canada: 11 cases
  • Egypt: 1 case
  • Finland: 1 case
  • France: 12 cases, 1 death
  • Germany: 16 cases
  • Hong Kong: 81 cases, 2 deaths
  • India: 3 cases
  • Iran: 61 cases, 12 deaths
  • Iraq: 1 case
  • Israel: 2 cases
  • Italy: 229 cases, 7 deaths
  • Japan: 840 cases, 4 deaths (693 cases linked to Diamond Princess cruise ship)
  • Kuwait: 8 cases
  • Lebanon: 1 case
  • Macao: 10 cases
  • Malaysia: 22 cases
  • Nepal: 1 case
  • Oman: 2 cases
  • Philippines: 3 cases, 1 death
  • Russia: 2 cases
  • Singapore: 90 cases
  • South Korea: 977 cases, 10 deaths
  • Spain: 2 cases
  • Sri Lanka: 1 case
  • Sweden: 1 case
  • Taiwan: 30 cases, 1 death
  • Thailand: 37 cases
  • United Arab Emirates: 9 cases
  • United Kingdom: 13 cases
  • United States: 53 cases
  • Vietnam: 16 cases

Read more here.

2:40 a.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Thailand reports two more coronavirus infections

Thailand has recorded two new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s Ministry of Public Health.

The two new cases are a 31-year old Thai housewife with a family member that frequently travels to China, and a Thai driver, 29, who was exposed to Chinese tourists.

This brings the total number of cases in Thailand to 37, of which 22 have been discharged and 15 remain in hospital for treatment.