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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2:35 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Health secretary says there are now 60 cases of coronavirus in the US

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

There are now 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus related to travel or close contact to travelers in the United States, according to US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“As of this morning, we still had only 14 cases of the novel coronavirus detected in the United States involved travel to or close contacts with travelers. Coming into this hearing, I was informed that we have a 15th confirmed case, the epidemiology of which we are still discerning,” Azar said.  

Azar said there are also three cases among Americans repatriated from Wuhan and 42 cases are evacuees from the Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 60 U.S. cases.  

1:57 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Can household cleaning products kill the coronavirus?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Household disinfectants are thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus. Cleaning products like Lysol and Clorox list the human coronavirus as one of the 99.9% of bacteria it can kill.

However, it's important to note that human coronaviruses are different than the novel coronavirus we are seeing now. This is a new virus and there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments that specifically target it.

Lysol's products have been proven effective in protecting against the other human coronaviruses, so they're thought to be effective against the novel coronavirus, too, said Saskia Popescu, a senior infection prevention epidemiologist in Phoenix, Arizona.

1:43 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Coronavirus cases in France rises to 18

From Antoine Crouin in Paris and Max Ramsay in London

France is now reporting its 18th case of coronavirus, the country's Health Minister said in a news conference in Paris.

The latest case is the wife of someone already diagnosed and in a hospital in the town of Annecy. “Her state of health is not worrying”, Veran said.

“There is no epidemic in France," he added.

1:42 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

US Defense Department bans non-essential travel to South Korea

From CNN's Ryan Browne

The Pentagon is prohibiting non-essential Department of Defense travel to the Republic of Korea because of the coronavirus outbreak.

US Indo-Pacific Command spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman released this statement:

"The number of reported cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Effective immediately, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in line with the CDC Travel Health Notice, restricts all nonessential DoD travel to ROK to reduce risks associated with COVID-19. This travel restriction applies to all military, civilians and contractors under U.S Indo-Pacific command authority,"  
1:44 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Walt Disney World officials keeping a close eye on employees who recently traveled to Italy

From CNN's Tina Burnside

Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images
Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

A Walt Disney spokesperson says they are monitoring several employees at the Florida theme park who recently traveled to Italy during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The spokesperson tells CNN that there are no suspected cases of the coronavirus at Walt Disney World and are working alongside health department officials to take proactive measures. 

It is unclear how many Disney employees traveled to Italy. 

1:04 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

French city cancels last day of carnival over coronavirus outbreak

From CNN’s Max Ramsay in London

A revellers wears a protective mask at the Nice carnival celebrations on February 25.
A revellers wears a protective mask at the Nice carnival celebrations on February 25. Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

The last day of a carnival in the southern French city of Nice has been canceled as a precaution against coronavirus, according to a tweet from Nice Mayor, Christian Estrosi.

There are no cases of coronavirus in Nice, Estrosi said, but he had decided to cancel the last day of the carnival “preventatively and as a precaution”.

The final events of the carnival were due to take place on Saturday.

5:11 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

There are 400 coronavirus cases in Italy

From CNN's Livia Borghese in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite in London

Italy now has 400 cases of coronavirus, according to Angelo Borrelli, head of Italy’s Civil Protection agency.

The three coronavirus cases reported in Rome have now recovered, Borrelli said.

He also gave further details about the statistics so far: half of the positive cases do not need hospitalization; and 4 out of 5 only have mild symptoms. 

The regional breakdown is: 

  • 258 in Lombardy 
  • 71 in Veneto
  • 47 in Emilia Romagna
  • 11 Liguria
  • 3 Piemonte 
  • 3 Lazio
  • 3 in Sicily 
  • 2 in Tuscany
  • 1 Bolzano, Trentino
  • 1 in Marche
12:40 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

When will a coronavirus vaccine be available?

Your coronavirus questions, answered

US officials briefed senators yesterday on coronavirus and said a vaccine was at least 12 to 18 months away, according to three senators present.

After the meeting, when reporters asked if we are close to a vaccine, Sen. Roy Blunt said: “We will not have a vaccine in the next 12 or 18 months.” 

Meanwhile, US biotech firm Moderna has shipped an experimental coronavirus vaccine to US government researchers just six weeks after it started working on the immunization.

Initial trials of the potential vaccine could begin in April — but the process of testing and approvals would last at least a year.

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.