February 26 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Rachel Bowman, CNN

Updated 9:23 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020
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12:39 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

European Parliament cancels internships for people from coronavirus affected areas

From CNN's James Frater

European Parliament chamber in 2007.
European Parliament chamber in 2007. Gerard Cerles/AFP via Getty Images

As a "precautionary measure" 35 European Parliament interns have had their upcoming internship postponed to later in the year. Their 5 month internship was due to run from the beginning of March to July.   

 A European Parliament Spokesperson says:

“As part of its duty of care and in line with the precautionary measures for staff regarding the novel COVID19, Parliament has informed the upcoming Schuman traineeship candidates with declared residence addresses in China, Singapore, South Korea and Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto that their traineeship was postponed from 1st March 2020 to 1st October 2020. The decision was taken and communicated to the upcoming trainees on 25/02/2020. 35 upcoming trainees have been notified about the above decision.”

More context: The European Parliament runs two 5-month internship windows per year, from March through July and October through February. It is open to any EU citizen aged over 18 with University level degree or diploma. A limited number of Non-EU citizens are able to apply as well.

12:33 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Royal Jordanian suspends flights to Rome due to coronavirus

From CNN’s Eoin McSweeney

Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images
Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

Royal Jordanian Airlines has suspended its Amman-Rome flights until further notice. The suspension starts today.

The carrier also said it is consolidating several flights from Amman to its stations in the parts of Asia, bringing the average of cancellations of weekly Asian operations up to 50%.

“Royal Jordanian President and CEO Stefan Pichler stressed that these decisions are aimed at the safety of travelers, which Royal Jordanian places at the top of its priorities, and in light of the increasing numbers of infections with Coronavirus in Italy and some Asian countries. He added that RJ takes all possible measures to help Jordan stay virus free.” the company said.

12:23 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

New York City has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, but is ready to escalate its response

From CNN’s Mirna Alsharif

New York City has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, but officials are “taking every step necessary” to protect the health of New Yorkers.

The mayor's office noted as the “nature of the threat continues to evolve,” the city stands “ready to escalate our response as necessary.”

Here's the full statement from the Mayor's office:

“While the City has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, we are taking every step necessary to protect the health of New Yorkers. As the nature of the threat continues to evolve, we stand ready to escalate our response as necessary, and encourage all New Yorkers to practice basic flu precautions and to contact a health provider immediately if they have the symptoms and travel history.”
12:20 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Brazil's stock market drops sharply on coronavirus fears

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Brazil’s Bovespa dropped 5% after Brazil's heath minister confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus today.

The patient is a 61-year-old Brazilian man who arrived in Sao Paulo after traveling to Italy. This is the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Latin America.

12:26 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Pakistan confirms first 2 coronavirus cases

From CNN's Sophia Saifi

Medical staff stand at the Pakistan-Iran border in Taftan, Pakistan, which was closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in neighboring Iran, on Tuesday, February 25.
Medical staff stand at the Pakistan-Iran border in Taftan, Pakistan, which was closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in neighboring Iran, on Tuesday, February 25. Arshad Butt/AP

The first two positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan have been confirmed, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said on his official Twitter account Wednesday.

Mirza Tweeted:

"I can confirm first two cases of corona virus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable. No need to panic, things are under control. I will hold press conf tomorrow on return from Taftan.”
12:17 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Events and sporting matches suspended in Northern Italy

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

The Duomo Square in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, February 26.
The Duomo Square in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, February 26. Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

The Italian government is banning all sporting matches and public events until next month in several regions of Northern Italy.

The new measures, approved last night, extends the urgent steps the government is taking for the containment of the coronavirus outbreak outside the exclusion zone. 

The decree bans all events and sport matches in public and private locations until March 1. 

The new extended measures will cover the regions of:

  • Emilia Romagna
  • Friuli Venezia Giulia
  • Lombardy
  • Veneto
  • Piedmont
  • Liguria

Additionally, the decree suspends educational trips in the entire country until March 15, and it introduces "smart working" which encourages Italians to work from home.

12:10 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Can pets catch coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Pets can catch coronaviruses — the group of virus the novel coronavirus belongs to — and the infections can become severe.

Sometimes the viruses can lead to deadly diseases. One can cause feline infectious peritonitis in cats and something called a pantropic canine coronavirus can infect cats and dogs, according to a 2011 study.

Cats can catch SARS, but none of the infected cats developed symptoms, according to the study. The feline coronavirus typically is asymptomatic, but can cause mild diarrhea. Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, can cause flu-like symptoms for a cat, but can also be more serious for cats and can cause organ failure, but it is not contagious and will not spread from animal to animal or person to person.

Pantropic canine coronavirus that can impact cats and dogs can be fatal to dogs, studies show.

These particular dog and cat viruses don't seem to spread to humans.

12:04 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

CDC has confirmed 59 cases of novel coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

The US has now confirmed 59 cases of coronavirus, according to an update Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is an increase from the 57 reported Tuesday. The newly confirmed cases are all among passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The current total breaks down to 42 passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three people repatriated from China and 14 US cases.    

These are the states with confirmed cases:

  • Eight in California
  • One in Massachusetts
  • One in Washington state
  • One in Arizona
  • Two in Illinois
  • One in Wisconsin 
12:08 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

The US has a stockpile of masks, health secretary says

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Alison Main

Susan Walsh/AP
Susan Walsh/AP

The US has more masks in the national stockpile than the 30 million Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described yesterday, he told members of the House Appropriations Committee today.

Azar gave the 30 million number when talking to the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday.

Today he clarified it like this:

"We have 30 million surgical masks. Those would be the gauze tied behind the ear-type masks meant to really protect people from the healthcare workers spreading. We have 12 million N95 NIOSH-certified masks in the stockpile and we have about 5 million N95 masks that I believe may have expired, they're no longer NIOSH-certified.”  

Azar did not go into detail about what an expired mask means, or whether it can still be used. NIOSH refers to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Azar explained that N95 masks are “mostly for health care workers.” 

When asked if the public should access N95 masks, Azar said, "No no, we do not recommend that. We do not recommend that, no,” adding the best defense is basic public health hygiene — washing hands for an extended period of time, not touching your face and coughing into your elbow.

Still, he said the stockpile is not enough. “What we have talked about is approximately 300 million additional N95 masks from the emergency supplemental," Azar said.