February 27 coronavirus news

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12:42 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Japan announces 22 more coronavirus cases

Another 22 patients have tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan, the country's defense minister announced today.

The cases were confirmed yesterday, Taro Kono said in a tweet. Two of the patients are asymptomatic.

That brings the total number of "domestic infections" to 186 in Japan.

There are also 705 cases in Japan linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

11:19 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Indian evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship land in New Delhi

A total of 119 Indian nationals who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have landed back in New Delhi, said Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in a tweet today.

The Air India evacuation flight also carried five foreign nationals, from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru.

All of the evacuees had been quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess, Jaishankar said.

11:06 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak

A worker sprays antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Seoul yesterday.
A worker sprays antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Seoul yesterday. Credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the world, with first cases reported in countries including Brazil, Greece, Norway and Pakistan.

Amid the spread of the virus in Europe, a French patient has died, and Italy is struggling to contain its outbreak -- the largest outside Asia. Meanwhile, authorities in the Middle East are also racing to contain the virus spread.

In Asia, South Korea today reported more than 330 new cases and another death from the virus.

Here's the latest:

  • South Korea spike: The East Asian country reported 334 new cases and one death today, bringing the national total to 1,595 cases and 13 deaths. Many of the cases are linked to a religious group in the country's south.
  • Military infections: Joint US-South Korea military drills have been postponed "until further notice" after a US soldier and several members of the South Korean military contracted the virus.
  • Travel disrupted: Numerous countries are implementing travel restrictions for those coming to and from South Korea, while the US is advising people to reconsider any travel plans to the country.
  • European spread: Italy now has 400 cases -- the largest outbreak outside Asia. And the virus is spreading across Europe, with several countries reporting their first cases, including Norway, Romania, Georgia, and North Macedonia. Many European countries are now implementing emergency measures, with Italy effectively placing 100,000 under quarantine with travel restrictions.
  • Middle East borders closed: Iran now has 139 cases and 19 deaths. This week, the virus has spread to across Middle Eastern nations including Kuwait, Bahrain, and Lebanon, prompting similar travel restrictions and closed borders as seen in Asia and Europe.
  • US warning: United States health officials warn the country may have had its first case of community transmission -- where the patient did not have “relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient." In response to rising fears, some communities are taking precautions; San Francisco, which has no cases, declared a state of emergency.
  • More new cases outside China: For the first time in the outbreak, the number of new cases reported outside of China in a single day was larger than those reported inside the country, said the World Health Organization. China reported 412 newly confirmed cases yesterday, while 459 additional cases were reported outside of China, according to the WHO’s daily report.
11:21 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Global death toll from coronavirus rises to 2,800

A worker in protective gear stacks plastic buckets containing medical waste from coronavirus patients at a medical center in Daegu, South Korea, Monday, February 24.
A worker in protective gear stacks plastic buckets containing medical waste from coronavirus patients at a medical center in Daegu, South Korea, Monday, February 24. Lee Moo-ryul/Newsis via AP

China reported another 433 cases and 29 deaths today -- bringing the national total to 78,497 cases and 2,744 deaths.

Here's the breakdown:

Cases:

  • In China: 78,497
  • Outside China: 3,225
  • Global total: 81,722

Deaths

  • In China: 2,744
  • Outside China: 57
  • Global total: 2,801

Of the 29 new deaths reported in China, 26 were in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. And of the 433 new cases, 409 were in Hubei.

China's National Health Commission said a total of 32,495 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

Deaths outside mainland China:

  • Iran: 19
  • South Korea: 13
  • Italy: 12
  • Japan: 7
  • Hong Kong and France: 2 each
  • The Philippines and Taiwan: 1 each
10:55 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

South Korea reports 13th coronavirus death

South Korea has reported another death from coronavirus, bringing the national death toll to 13.

The death is a 74-year-old man who was a member of the Shincheonji religious group. He died on Thursday morning, said the mayor of Daegu city, located in the country's south.

Many of the cases nationwide have been linked to the Shincheonji branch in Daegu. The group says it has handed the list of all its participants to South Korean health authorities.

10:48 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Special aircraft carrying Indians evacuated from Wuhan lands in New Delhi 

An Indian Air Force Flight has repatriated 76 Indian citizens and 36 other foreign nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began, said India's foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. 

In a tweet, Jaishankar said the plane landed in New Delhi this morning. The same plane also carried medical relief to Wuhan yesterday.

All evacuated passengers will now undergo 14 days quarantine, said the government.

“All those on the first two flights have tested negative for COVID-19 and have since left the quarantine facilities. The passengers on board the third flight will also undergo similar quarantine on arrival in India,” the statement added.

This is the third aircraft to evacuate stranded Indian nationals from Wuhan. 

10:39 p.m. ET, February 26, 2020

Hawaiian Airlines temporarily suspends flights to South Korea

A Hawaiian Airlnes Airbus A330 (A330-200) jetliner lands at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.
A Hawaiian Airlnes Airbus A330 (A330-200) jetliner lands at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. Larry MacDougal via AP

Hawaiian Airlines is temporarily suspending its nonstop service to the South Korean capital Seoul, the company announced today.

“We believe a temporary service suspension is prudent given the escalation of COVID-19 in South Korea and the impact the illness has had on demand for leisure travel from that country,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines, in a news release.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and extend our support for public health efforts to contain the virus. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to support impacted guests.”

11:49 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

US CDC: The 15th coronavirus case in US could be first instance of “community spread"

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. Susan Walsh/AP

The 15th coronavirus case in the US, which was announced earlier on Wednesday, may be the first example in the country of “community spread,” where the patient did not have “relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient," said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The patient is a resident of Solano County, California, and their “exposure is unknown.”

“It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States,” the CDC said.

What this means: Community spread means the virus begins moving through a community and the “source of the infection is unknown,” the agency said.

“It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected,” the CDC said.

The patient is now being treated in Sacramento.

US cases: There are 42 cases in the US that are passengers who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 14 cases who recently returned from China or are the spouse of a recent returnee, and three people who were repatriated from China, making the national total 60 cases.

7:56 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Iraq implements travel bans and closure of public spaces

Iraqi health officials and Civil Defense staff wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus in the commercial markets and hotels used by Iranian citizens, in Najaf, Iraq, Wednesday, February 26.
Iraqi health officials and Civil Defense staff wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus in the commercial markets and hotels used by Iranian citizens, in Najaf, Iraq, Wednesday, February 26. Anmar Khalil/AP

Iraq has decided to close schools, colleges, cinemas, cafes, clubs and various public gathering spots from today until March 7, according to the Iraqi Minister of Health and Environment Jaffar Allawi.

Iraq has also decided to ban its citizens from traveling to the coronavirus-hit countries of China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Kuwait and Bahrain, Allawi said today in a statement.

“Official and foreign delegations and diplomatic missions are excluded from the travel ban,” the statement added.

Iraq will also ban travelers from Bahrain and Kuwait from entering the country until further notice.