January 25 coronavirus news

By Tara John, Joshua Berlinger and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, January 25, 2020
27 Posts
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3:32 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Australia just confirmed 3 more Wuhan coronavirus cases

From CNN's Angus Watson

Three men who traveled from China to Sydney, Australia, have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, health authorities in the city said.

The country has now confirmed a total of four cases.

3:21 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Vehicles to be banned in Wuhan city center

From CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing

Nearly all motor vehicles will be banned from Wuhan’s city center starting Sunday to control the flow of people, according to the local task force set up to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Only vehicles with special permits, free shuttles and government vehicles will be allowed to use the roads.

An empty road is seen on the first day of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on Saturday.
An empty road is seen on the first day of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on Saturday. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

3:44 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Wuhan healthcare workers speak of challenges while dealing with coronavirus outbreak

From CNN's Yong Xiong, Natalie Thomas and David Culver in Beijing

A police car is seen in front of one of the roads blocked by authorities to restrict people leaving Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on Saturday.
A police car is seen in front of one of the roads blocked by authorities to restrict people leaving Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on Saturday. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Healthcare workers in Wuhan are warning that hospitals are running low on supplies as they struggle to cope with the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus.

Four medical staff -- including doctors -- spoke to CNN of the situation and vented their frustrations amid exhaustion. They have asked to remain anonymous, fearing they could face repercussions for speaking to journalists without permission from their superiors.

Through telephone conversations with CNN and posts on Chinese social media, they described scenes of hospitals low on resources. In private groups online, those identified as hospital staff are working with members of the public to import protective equipment as they treat an increasing number of patients infected with the deadly new coronavirus.  

“In terms of resources, the whole of Wuhan is lacking,” one Wuhan-based healthcare worker told CNN by phone. This person said they were looking for more protective clothing, including goggles and masks. 

“It’s really like we’re ‘going into battle stripped to the waist,’” another healthcare worker added, using a Chinese idiom that equates to “going into battle without armor.”

Construction workers drive excavators at the site of a new 1,000-bed hospital being built to accommodate the increasing number of coronavirus patients in this photograph taken on January 24, 2020.
Construction workers drive excavators at the site of a new 1,000-bed hospital being built to accommodate the increasing number of coronavirus patients in this photograph taken on January 24, 2020.

A different hospital staff member even claimed healthcare workers have had to resort to wearing diapers to work so as to avoid having to remove their hazmat suits, which they say are in short supply. A doctor on her Weibo microblog account described similar accounts at another Wuhan hospital. 

“My family members are definitely worried about me, but I still have to work,” a separate doctor told CNN. But she said that she is hopeful that they will ultimately get the gear they need.

“Our bosses, our hospital suppliers will definitely find a way to get these stocks to us,” she added.

It’s not clear if these accounts are merely anecdotal or whether there are widespread shortages across Wuhan.

Chinese state media has also shared posts from multiple Wuhan hospitals in which they are asking for public donations of medical supplies. They report that one hospital staff member said the current supplies “are only able to sustain three or four days."

2:37 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Just tuning in? Here's what you need to know

A rise in fatalities: 41 people have now been killed by the Wuhan coronavirus. As of the end of the day Friday, 1,287 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus -- and 237 of them are in critical condition, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

A 2-year-old patient: The local health authority in the southern region of Guangxi said a 2-year-old girl has been infected by the Wuhan coronavirus. She is believed to be the youngest patient to have been sickened by the new virus that has swept through China.

A global concern: Three more countries -- Australia, Malaysia and Nepal -- have reported confirmed cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus. They are among 13 places outside mainland China where the virus has been confirmed.

A holiday canceled: Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and other major cities have canceled festivities for the Lunar New Year Holiday in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, a time when hundreds of thousands of people travel home to be with their families and celebrate.

A stretched healthcare system: Health officials are responding in full force to the crisis, but videos and witness accounts from Wuhan paint a picture of packed hospitals and overworked staff. There are seven hospitals designated to deal with the crisis in the city, and 10,000 beds have been requisitioned. They are also building a new, 1,000-bed hospital on the city's outskirts -- and are hoping to finish it in six days.

Wuhan officials acknowledged that people have been turned away at local hospitals that are struggling to accommodate people seeking medical attention.

The People's Liberation Army and National Health Commission both announced Saturday that they're deploying more medical personnel to Wuhan.

2:33 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Nepal confirms its first case of Wuhan coronavirus

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

Nepal has confirmed its first case of the Wuhan coronavirus, a spokesman for the country's Health Ministry told CNN.

The patient is a 31-year-old Nepali man studying for his PhD in Wuhan, said the spokesman, Mahendra Kumar Shrestha. The student flew to Nepal earlier this month and was admitted to a hospital in Kathmandu on January 13 with fever and respiratory problems.

He was released on January 17 after his condition improved, but specimens taken from the patient and sent to a World Health Organization lab in Hong Kong tested positive for Wuhan coronavirus.

“The patient is being monitored. The people in close contact with him since he came to Nepal are also being identified and tested," Shrestha said.

2:05 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Starbucks has closed all of its stores in Hubei

From CNN's Vanessa Yung in Hong Kong

The logo of Starbucks is seen in this file photograph from 2015 in Yichang, a city in Hubei Province.
The logo of Starbucks is seen in this file photograph from 2015 in Yichang, a city in Hubei Province. Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Starbucks said it has closed all 90 of its Hubei stores indefinitely amid the spread of a new coronavirus that originated from the province’s capital, Wuhan.

 In a statement released Saturday, the Seattle-based coffee giant said:

“All Starbucks stores and special star delivery in Hubei will be temporarily closed. Hubei employees are asked to rest at home, minimize going out, take care to protect themselves and their families. All store employees who were scheduled to work during the closing period will be paid as usual.”

The closures will continue throughout the Spring Festival, which runs until the end of January. Starbucks will then make a decision as to how much longer stores will be closed.

The company also announced a 3 million yuan ($432,000) donation to the Chinese Red Cross for the purchase of “protective clothing, masks, disinfection and sterilization supplies required by medical personnel in the affected areas in Hubei province.”

2:01 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

US Senator Cory Gardner comments on possible coronavirus case in Colorado

US Senator Cory Gardner, who represents the state of Colorado, said in a statement Friday night in the US that he was "aware of reports" of a potential case of the new coronavirus in his state.

"I stand ready to help local and state officials respond if the need arises,” Gardner said. 

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced it is investigating a possible case of novel coronavirus in a tweet Friday night and is awaiting results from the CDC whether it is a confirmed case.

The agency said the individual being tested has "a history of travel from Wuhan."

1:54 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Hong Kong authorities accidentally put a coronavirus patient in the wrong room

A hospital in Hong Kong accidentally put a 62-year-old coronavirus patient in the wrong room, causing concern that she may have infected others.

The Hong Kong Hospital Authority's director of quality and safety, Dr. Chung Kin-lai, apologized for the mistake Saturday morning.

Chung said the woman was put in the wrong ward, which did not have negative room pressure -- a feature designed to stop the spread of germs.

“We want to apologize for this incident and the imperfect handling,” he said.

The hospital, located in the district of Tuen Mun, is now assessing whether other patients have been put at risk and the extent of that risk.

1:45 a.m. ET, January 25, 2020

The 7 hospitals in Wuhan dealing with the coronavirus need more beds

From CNN's Yong Xiong and Steven Jiang in Beijing

People wait as medical staff wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 25, 2020.
People wait as medical staff wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on January 25, 2020. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

The Wuhan Health Commission has requisitioned more than 10,000 beds from 24 hospitals to be used to treat confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases. 

The commission wrote in a statement Saturday that “So far, we have 4,000 beds for suspected and confirmed patients, and the other 6,000 beds will be ready before the end of January.”

“We will requisition more hospitals according to the development of the epidemic,” the statement read.

Authorities have designated seven hospitals in Wuhan as areas to test and treat those who may have been infected with the virus, the city's health authority said Thursday.

Chinese state media also reported that the city aims to build a new 25,000-square-meter facility within a week, increasing hospital capacity by 1,000 beds.

Wuhan officials have acknowledged that local hospitals were struggling to accommodate people seeking medical attention.