January 26 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brett McKeehan and Tara John, CNN

Updated 9:17 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020
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2:41 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

China is deploying 1,600 more health workers to Wuhan

From CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing

People wearing face masks wait for medical attention at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on Saturday
People wearing face masks wait for medical attention at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan on Saturday Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Beijing will deploy another 1,600 medical professionals to Wuhan today and tomorrow to help the city cope with the growing number of coronavirus patients, Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei said in a rare Sunday news conference.

Another 1,000 workers are on standby, Ma said.

Authorities acknowledged that Wuhan, a city 11 million people and ground zero of the outbreak, and much of Hubei province are facing manpower and medical supply shortages.

Healthcare workers in Wuhan, including four who spoke to CNN on the phone, have complained of being overstretched and lacking resources to combat the crisis.

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

At the news conference Sunday, Wang Jiangping, the vice minister of of industry and information technology, said Hubei needs about 100,000 protective medical suits per day -- but the 40 factories across the country making them only produce 30,000 daily.

Wang said authorities are now trying to get factories to resume production -- most would have closed for the Lunar New Year holiday -- and requisition factories that make the suits for export.

2:19 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

The State Department says it is making arrangements to relocate personnel stationed in Wuhan

The US Embassy in China said on its website that it is making arrangements to relocate people working at the US Consulate General in Wuhan.

The embassy said there is a flight scheduled to leave Tuesday and fly directly to San Francisco, but that capacity for private citizens "is extremely limited."

"If there is insufficient ability to transport everyone who expresses interest, priority will be given to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus," the embassy said.

More information can be found here.

2:39 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

China is banning all sales of wild animals

From Steven Jiang in Beijing

The Chinese government announced Sunday that is banning all sales of wild animals throughout the country, as the number of deadly coronavirus cases continues to rise.

The Wuhan strain of the virus has been linked to a market in the city that was selling seafood and live animals, including wild species.

1:47 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

On the ground in Wuhan: Abandoned streets, packed supermarkets and empty shelves

An empty road is seen in Wuhan on Saturday.
An empty road is seen in Wuhan on Saturday. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

The images, videos and social media posts coming out from Wuhan -- ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak -- this weekend appear to paint a surreal picture of life in a city of 11 million people.

Wuhan is located in central China and normally a gateway to the rest of the country. But the city has now been essentially closed off from the rest of the world, with almost no one allowed to enter or leave.

Images show mostly empty streets on Saturday. Nearly all motor vehicles have been banned as of today to control the flow of people. Only vehicles with special permits, free shuttles and government vehicles are allowed to use the roads.

Cars are seen on a road on the first day of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on Saturday.
Cars are seen on a road on the first day of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on Saturday. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

A man wearing a face mask walks through a Wuhan neighborhood Saturday.
A man wearing a face mask walks through a Wuhan neighborhood Saturday. Chinatopix via AP

Many stores throughout Wuhan have closed operations due to the epidemic -- including Starbucks, which closed all 90 of its branches in Hubei province, and McDonald's.

Images from grocery stores that are open show lines full of people in masks and empty shelves. Many people would have likely been stocking up before the weekend regardless of the coronavirus outbreak, because many shops in China would have closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Chinese authorities have said the city has sufficient food supplies and there is no need to panic.

Shoppers wearing face masks look for groceries with many empty shelves at a supermarket in Wuhan on Saturday.
Shoppers wearing face masks look for groceries with many empty shelves at a supermarket in Wuhan on Saturday. Chinatopix via AP

Shoppers wearing face masks pay for their groceries at a supermarket in Wuhan on Saturday.
Shoppers wearing face masks pay for their groceries at a supermarket in Wuhan on Saturday. Chinatopix via AP

1:27 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

How the Wuhan coronavirus affects the body

From CNN's Natalie Leung in Hong Kong

12:55 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

American in Wuhan: “I won’t leave ... I’m not going to endanger anybody"

From CNN's David Culver in Beijing

Diana Adama, a teacher who has been living in Wuhan for the past 3 months and China for 15 years, spoke to CNN about her experience in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

“I woke up feeling quite desperate, sad, angry. Most of this is because of a lack of information, and lack of knowing what’s going on,” she said by telephone.

There are about 1,000 Americans living in Wuhan, according to a CNN source at the local US Consulate.

The State Department has organized for some of those to be evacuated on a flight out of Wuhan. Adama, however, said she would stay.

“I won’t leave. Because if I am a carrier, I’m not going to endanger anybody else. And that’s just erring on the side of caution."
12:35 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

The equivalent of almost the entire population of the UK is now under travel restrictions in China

From CNN's Yong Xiong in Beijing

Authorities in the port city of Shantou are enacting a series of measures to lock down the city as part of China's efforts to stop the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The city will suspend all buses, shuttles, taxis and ferries starting at 2 p.m. local time today according to a statement on the Shantou's official government website.

Shantou is the first city in Guangdong province to enact such measures. It has a population of 5.59 million people and is located along China's coast about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei and ground zero of the outbreak.

Shantou will ban the all the vehicles, ships and people from entering or leaving the city starting from Monday, except for permitted emergency vehicles or government authorities.

There are now 16 cities that have been either fully or partially locked down, affecting some 62.8 million people -- nearly the same population of the United Kingdom (66.4 million as of mid-2018).

12:06 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

China may be facing a mask shortage. So it's calling manufacturers back from holiday early

An employee arranges boxes of 3M Co. 8247 R95 particulate respirators at a pharmacy in the Central district of Hong Kong on Thursday
An employee arranges boxes of 3M Co. 8247 R95 particulate respirators at a pharmacy in the Central district of Hong Kong on Thursday Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With people rushing to buy face masks to protect themselves from the Wuhan coronavirus, China's central government has asked manufacturers to interrupt their Lunar New Year holiday to resume production.

The holiday is due to run until the end of January. However the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has asked factories to reopen, according to a report in Chinese state media.

The decision was taken to "guarantee market supply" and "meet the needs of epidemic production and control," according to the report. Thirty factories have now resumed production at a total output of 8 million masks per day, the Ministry is reported as saying.

11:39 p.m. ET, January 25, 2020

Supply of face masks in Hong Kong over Lunar New Year "highly uncertain"

From CNN's Chermaine Lee in Hong Kong

Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hong Kong is facing a serious shortage of face masks after fears over the Wuhan coronavirus sparked a surge in demand.

Horace Lau, vice president of Hong Kong’s General Chamber of Pharmacies, told CNN the next batch of face masks was not expected to arrive in the city until February.

"The supply of face masks during the Lunar New Year is highly uncertain," he said.

Hong Kong imports most of its face masks from China, Taiwan and Malaysia, Lau added -- so if China stops exports, supply will be even tighter. Deliveries could also be affected by the Lunar New Year holiday in both China and Hong Kong.

Lau said that in his own shop he had sold over 10,000 boxes of 50 face masks in the last week alone. The price of face masks in pharmacies has already started to rise, he added.