January 24 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Tara John and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0138 GMT (0938 HKT) January 25, 2020
21 Posts
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2:17 a.m. ET, January 24, 2020

Shanghai Disney is closing due to the Wuhan virus

From CNN's Yuli Yang

Shanghai Disney has announced its temporary closure due to concerns over the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

Shanghai Disney
Shanghai Disney Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

In a statement, the park said it would be closed from January 25, in order to aid in the "prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests" and employees.

We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation.

Shanghai Disney Resort will assist in the refund for guests who have purchased tickets for admission to Shanghai Disneyland, have booked a resort hotel, or have booked tickets for Beauty and the Beast Mandarin Production through the original ticket purchase channel, and we will introduce the detailed procedure and guidelines via the resort’s official platforms as soon as possible.

We wish our guests a healthy and happy Spring Festival!
3:13 a.m. ET, January 24, 2020

Youngest person to die from Wuhan virus now stands at 36

The Hubei government has released further details regarding seven cases among the 24 deaths related to the Wuhan coronavirus in the province. Among them is a 36-year-old man, surnamed Li, who is the youngest person so far to have died as a result of the virus.

Li was hospitalized on January 9 after three days of fever, and died on January 23. There is no mention of him having any pre-existing conditions.

Previously, the youngest confirmed fatality was 48-years-old, with most casualties in their 60s or older.

12:58 a.m. ET, January 24, 2020

Videos shared on social media appear to show packed hospitals in Wuhan

From CNN's Yuli Yang

Videos and witness accounts are being shared on Chinese social media of packed and overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan, the 11 million-strong city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the videos. However, CNN producers have analyzed images in the videos and the dialects of the people speaking and believe them to be genuine. 

The content from these videos matches Chinese state-owned media’s reporting that medical facilities in Wuhan have been overwhelmed with patients.  

In one widely shared video, a hospital corridor can be seen packed with patients.

A female medical practitioner shouts, "Everyone stop speaking! Listen to me! Be quiet!" She instructs medical staff to "get all the people coming for the test results to line up outside," before shouting at patients, "Everyone coming to check their test results, follow this young man to the entrance and line up! Go out first! Line up! Don't be nervous!" 

All voices in this video are speaking in either Wuhan dialect or Mandarin with a Wuhan accent. 

Another video shared on social media appears to show white tents set up outside a hospital in Wuhan. Signage on the tents reads in Chinese characters "China Health." One other sign post in between the tents reads in Chinese characters "Patients' Path." 

Chinese state media previously reported that construction has begun on a new 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan to help alleviate the rush of patients. The new hospital is expected to be ready by February 3.

12:42 a.m. ET, January 24, 2020

Chinese authorities are asking the public for information about any alleged cover-ups related to the Wuhan virus

Central government authorities in China are asking people for information about any underreporting or concealment of the facts around the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, according to state broadcaster CGTN.

There have been numerous allegations that officials in Wuhan downplayed the virus in the initial weeks following its discovery.

During the 2003 SARS outbreak, which originated in the southern province of Guangdong, local officials there and elsewhere in China actively covered up the extent and danger of that virus.

According to CGTN, China's State Council said it is "welcoming information from citizens about potential issues with the reporting of the new coronavirus."

"This includes cover-ups, attempts to play down the numbers or delayed and incomplete reporting of the outbreak. All information and leads will be investigated, and any issues will be dealt with according to laws and regulations."
12:13 a.m. ET, January 24, 2020

Virus is just the latest challenge for China's Xi

Analysis from CNN's James Griffiths

With the Wuhan coronavirus spreading across the country, killing at least 26 people so far, China is now facing a major test of just how much it has changed since 2003, both in terms of the healthcare system's ability to react to a new deadly pathogen -- and crucially, how the central government handles the developing crisis. 

Speaking this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered "all-out efforts" to contain the virus' spread and treat those affected. His intervention seemed to carry with it a clear message: the mistakes of SARS will not be repeated. 

Wuhan is only the latest crisis to face Xi since he secured personal control of the Communist Party, joining the US-China trade war, ongoing anti-government unrest in Hong Kong, and the recent Taiwan election, in which Tsai Ing-wen, much loathed by Beijing, handily won reelection against a more pro-China candidate

More than any leader since Mao Zedong, Xi has centralized power around himself. He is the state, and while this gives him immense control, it also means that every crisis is a test of his leadership -- Wuhan perhaps most of all, as the country looks to their leader for reassurance and confidence.

Read more here

11:57 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Hubei raises public health emergency response to highest level

Authorities in central China's Hubei province have lifted the public health emergency response to Level 1, the highest level, according to state broadcaster CGTN.

Three cities in the province, including the capital Wuhan, center of the coronavirus outbreak, have been placed under travel restrictions in an effort to control the spread of the virus.

Hospitals in Wuhan are struggling to handle the intake of patients. A new, 1,000-bed hospital is being built on the outskirts of the city, to be completed by February 3. In the meantime, hospitals have asked for donations of medical supplies, including masks, medical gloves and protective suits, CGTN reported.

11:54 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

How does the Wuhan virus compare to regular winter flu outbreaks?

With global attention on the Wuhan coronavirus and its spread around China and other countries, it's important to put it in the context of other deadly infections, including seasonal influenza, which claims the lives of thousands of people every year.

According to a September 2019 study by Chinese scientists in The Lancet, there are an average of around 88,100 influenza-related deaths every year in China, with a mortality rate of between 1.6% and 2.6%. The majority of those who died as a result of the flu were aged over 60, the report said.

While the true extent of the new coronavirus is unclear, it appears to be more deadly than seasonal influenza. Of the 846 confirmed cases, there have been 26 deaths, a mortality rate of 3%.

However, that is far less deadly than related coronaviruses SARS and MERS. SARS has a mortality rate of around 10%, while MERS has killed 34% of those infected with that virus.

11:17 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

An Indian nurse in Saudi Arabia thought to have the Wuhan virus actually has MERS

From CNN’s Vedika Sud in New Delhi

An Indian nurse being treated at a hospital in Saudi Arabia has Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), not the Wuhan coronavirus, according to the Consul General of India in Jeddah.

On Thursday, India’s foreign office reported that the nurse had the Wuhan coronavirus.

However, the Consulate tweeted on Friday that the nurse "is suffering from MERS-CoV (and) not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). We request everyone to refrain from sharing incorrect info."

MERS is in the same family of coronaviruses as the infection detected in Wuhan.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of November 2019, a total of 2,494 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS have been reported globally.

Of those, 858 patients died as a result of the disease, a fatality rate of 34.4%. The vast majority of the cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia.

10:53 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Video shows new hospital under construction in Wuhan

Construction has begun on a new, 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan dedicated to treating the new coronavirus. According to the state-run People's Daily, the hospital will be ready by February 3.

Similar efforts were put in place in 2003 during the SARS crisis, with a new hospital built in Beijing in less than a week.