February 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ben Westcott, Eliza Mackintosh, Fernando Alfonso III, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2:36 p.m. ET, February 28, 2020
33 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:08 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

iPhone maker Foxconn is now making a million masks a day

By CNN's Michelle Toh in Hong Kong

People walking past a Foxconn sign in Taipei in January 2019. 
People walking past a Foxconn sign in Taipei in January 2019.  Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

Foxconn, a major electronics maker and supplier to Apple, has started making surgical face masks for all of its factory workers.

The Taiwanese tech giant said in a statement today that it had ramped up production significantly to meet its internal requirements of making approximately a million masks per day for employees at its facilities.

“Having previously dealt with SARS, Foxconn has a good understanding of how to care for our employees’ health and how we will need to allocate resources in the manufacturing and production departments,” the company told CNN Business earlier this month. 

“We have measures in place to ensure that we can continue to meet all global manufacturing obligations.”

Foxconn also announced this week that it had appointed Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory scientist, as a chief consultant to the company as it continues to resume operations at facilities throughout China.

Zhong is seen as one of the heroes in China’s battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, and is also currently leading the country’s national research team on the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

2:53 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Top Japanese government adviser says Diamond Princess quarantine was flawed

From CNN's Blake Essig, Brent Swails and Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Norio Ohmagari, an infectious disease specialist, on February 26 in Tokyo.
Norio Ohmagari, an infectious disease specialist, on February 26 in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

A top Japanese government adviser has admitted that the quarantine measures enacted on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama may have allowed additional infections to spread among the ship's crew and passengers.

At least 705 people contracted the virus during the quarantine, four of whom have died. For a time, the ship had the largest concentration of cases outside of mainland China, where the outbreak began. 

In an interview with CNN, government adviser Dr. Norio Ohmagari said that the quarantine of the cruise ship "may not have been perfect."

He said a "tough decision" had been made by the Japanese government to allow the cruise workers to keep working aboard the vessel, despite the risk of infection, to ensure the smooth running of the cruise ship.

But by failing to isolate the crew of the Diamond Princess from the beginning of the quarantine, he said infected workers may have passed on "secondary or tertiary" infections to their fellow crew members and passengers, thereby exacerbating the deadly outbreak. 

"We suspected some of the cruise staff may have already been infected, but ... they had to operate the cruise ship itself, they had to see the passengers, they had to deliver the meals," Ohmagari said.
"So that may have caused some close contact with the cruise ship workers and also the passengers."

Read the full story here.

7:55 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Iraq announces new coronavirus case, bringing its total to 6

From CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul and Aqeel Najim in Baghdad

Outside the quarantine zone at the hospital in central Najaf where the first case of coronavirus documented in Iraq is being treated on February 24.
Outside the quarantine zone at the hospital in central Najaf where the first case of coronavirus documented in Iraq is being treated on February 24. Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

A man in Iraq’s capital Baghdad tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Iran, the Iraqi health ministry said in a statement today.

It is the first case of the virus in Baghdad and brings the total number of cases in Iraq to six.

The man is currently under quarantine. He tested positive after he went to a medical facility in Baghdad.

Middle East outbreak: Iraq's neighbor Iran has the largest concentration of coronavirus patients in the Middle East.

Nearly 140 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Iran, and 19 deaths.

Several neighboring countries have cut off travel to Iran, while Qatar has ordered the evacuation of its citizens from the country, and will also help Kuwaitis to evacuate.

2:30 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

More than 3,500 coronavirus cases have been reported outside China

Workers spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Seoul today.
Workers spray antiseptic solution against the coronavirus in Seoul today. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

For the first time on Wednesday, the number of daily cases of the coronavirus reported outside China exceeded the number of those reported within the country where the outbreak began, according to the World Health Organization.

With countries including Denmark and Estonia reporting first confirmed cases today, the virus has now reached nearly 50 countries and territories outside mainland China, with more than 3,500 infections recorded and at least 58 deaths.

The virus has also reached every continent except Antarctica.

These are the worst-hit countries in each region of the world:

  • Africa: Algeria, Egypt; 1 case each
  • Asia: China; 78,497 cases, 2,744 deaths
  • Asia (outside China): South Korea; 1,595 cases, 13 deaths
  • Australasia: Australia; 22 cases
  • Europe: Italy; 400 cases, 12 deaths
  • Middle East: Iran; 139 cases, 19 deaths
  • North America: United States; 60 cases
  • South America: Brazil; 1 case

Read more about the worldwide spread of the virus here.

2:03 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

South Korean coronavirus patients in Daegu will be transferred to Seoul

From Journalist Hyoungjoo Choi in Seoul

A worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant at a railway station in Daegu, South Korea, on Wednesday.
A worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant at a railway station in Daegu, South Korea, on Wednesday. Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

South Korean coronavirus patients in serious condition from Daegu city and North Gyeongsang province will be transferred to Seoul for continued treatment, said the Seoul mayor yesterday.

A spike in the country's southern region -- concentrated in Daegu around a branch of a religious group -- has resulted in a shortage in beds and negative pressure rooms.

"Some of (the patients) have been already transferred and are being treated in Seoul’s municipal hospitals, and a hotline has been established between the Seoul Metropolitan government and Daegu and North Gyeongsang province,” said the mayor.

Spike in South Korea: The country now has 1,595 cases and 13 deaths from the coronavirus. The spike in numbers has continued throughout the week; 334 new cases and one new death were reported today alone.

1:43 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Chinese leader's historic Japan visit set to go ahead despite coronavirus outbreak

Chinese President Xi Jinping has his temperature checked during an appearance in Beijing on February 10.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has his temperature checked during an appearance in Beijing on February 10. Pang Xinglei/Xinhua/AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to Japan as leader won't be cancelled over coronavirus fears, Japan's Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said today.

Xi is expected to travel to Japan in spring 2020, although the dates have yet to be confirmed.

"At this moment, he is coming to Japan as expected. With this in mind, we are making the preparations for his visit calmly," Suga said.
Tokyo "will cover all the bases to produce fruitful results from his visit to Japan," Suga said in a daily news conference today.

Coronavirus brings old rivals together: Despite their long, acrimonious history, Japan has proved to be something of an ally to China during the battle with the deadly coronavirus.

Earlier this month, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang lauded Japan for supporting China.

Boxes filled with face masks and thermometers sent to China from the Japan Youth Development Association (JYDA) came with a message: "Even though we live in different places, we live under the same sky."

1:34 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Denmark and Estonia confirm first cases of novel coronavirus

The novel coronavirus continues its spread across the world today, with Denmark and Estonia the latest countries to announce their first cases.

CNN affiliate Berlingske Media reported that a journalist at a TV channel in Denmark is the country's first confirmed case.

Across the Baltic Sea, Estonia also announced its first confirmed case of the virus.

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik told Eesti Television (ETV) the infected person was a citizen of Iran who came to Estonia on Wednesday.

The patient is now in quarantine.

Coronavirus hits Europe: At least seven European countries have confirmed their first coronavirus cases in just two days.

On Wednesday, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Norway and North Macedonia all announced they had diagnosed their first infections of the deadly disease, which has now infected more than 81,000 people globally.

11:47 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

California coronavirus patient was hospitalized a week ago but wasn’t tested until days later

UC Davis Medical Center in October 2015.
UC Davis Medical Center in October 2015. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

An American coronavirus patient was admitted to the UC Davis Medical Center last Wednesday but wasn't tested until Sunday, according to a letter obtained by CNN that was sent to staff at UC Davis.

This patient, a resident of Solano County, is the 15th confirmed case in the US. When the patient was transferred from another Northern California hospital last week, testing was requested -- but neither Sacramento County nor the California Department of Public Health was doing coronavirus testing at the time.

“Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered,” states the letter. “UC Davis Health does not control the testing process.”

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered testing for the patient and results came back positive today. The patient was put on airborne and strict contact precautions due to the patient’s condition, according to the letter.

Community transmission: The patient is being investigated by the CDC as “possibly the first patient to have received the infection from exposure in the community.”

The letter also asks a small number of employees to stay home and monitor their temperature out of an abundance of caution.

1:09 a.m. ET, February 27, 2020

Fears of a global pandemic are rattling markets

From CNN's James Griffiths

Pedestrians walk past a quotation board displaying numbers of the Nikkei 225 Index in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Pedestrians walk past a quotation board displaying numbers of the Nikkei 225 Index in Tokyo on Wednesday. Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far held off on classifying the coronavirus' spread as a global pandemic, but the outbreak appears to be getting closer to meeting the global health body's definition of one.

US experts' warning: Nancy Messonnier, the director of the US CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday that the situation has met two of the criteria for a pandemic: "the fact that this virus has caused illness -- including illness that has resulted in death -- and sustained person-to-person spread."

"As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer towards meeting the third criteria: worldwide spread of the new virus," she said.

Rattled markets: The situation has rattled global markets and led to concern about the long-term economic impact of the virus, with the Dow posting major losses this week, though the US market opened marginally higher Wednesday.

In a widely-criticized tweet Wednesday, President Donald Trump claimed that CNN and MSNBC "are doing everything possible to make the (virus) look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible."

He later blamed the stock market downturn on the Democratic presidential debates.