January 26 coronavirus news

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4:51 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Taiwan suspends visa applications for all Chinese nationals

Traffic at an intersection on January 14, 2016 in Taipei.
Traffic at an intersection on January 14, 2016 in Taipei. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Taiwan has temporarily suspended visa applications for all Chinese nationals, and has banned entry for Chinese nationals from Hubei Province, due to the coronavirus outbreak, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Sunday. 

Chinese nationals from Hubei Province, including Chinese students, will be prohibited from entry, the statement added.

Applications of Chinese citizens from Chinese provinces other than Hubei “on account of tourism, social exchanges, professional exchanges, aesthetic medical checkups” will be temporarily suspended.

A review of applications may apply under specific circumstances. 

The measures will affect Chinese students studying in Taiwan, whose entry will be postponed two weeks later, according to the statement.

Individuals on business trips arriving from China must conduct self-health management for 14 days, the statement said.

A Chinese spouse returning from Hubei, China “will be restrained on home isolation, and local competent authorities shall actively monitor the health of such spouse for 14 days,” the statement said.

4:42 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Sixth case of coronavirus confirmed in Hong Kong

A pedestrian wears a surgical mask as he checks his phone while walking along London's Regent Street in central London on January 25.
A pedestrian wears a surgical mask as he checks his phone while walking along London's Regent Street in central London on January 25. NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images

A sixth case of Wuhan coronavirus has been confirmed in Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority Quality and Safety Director, Dr. Chung Kin-lai, at a press briefing Sunday.

Here's the number of the 46 confirmed infections outside mainland China:

  • Hong Kong: 6 cases
  • Macao: 5 cases
  • Thailand: 5 cases
  • Australia: 4 cases
  • Malaysia: 4 cases
  • Singapore: 4 cases
  • France: 3 cases
  • Japan: 3 cases
  • South Korea: 3 cases
  • Taiwan: 3 cases
  • United States: 3 cases
  • Vietnam: 2 cases
  • Nepal: 1 case

*Canada has one "presumptive confirmed" case.

4:09 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

No sign of mutation in the virus, says Chinese medical expert

Gao Fu speaks during a State Council Information Office press conference in Beijing.
Gao Fu speaks during a State Council Information Office press conference in Beijing.

There is no sign of mutation in the Wuhan coronavirus so far, the Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said at a press briefing by China’s National Health Commission on Sunday.

He said the virus has shown little change since its discovery, adding that scientists will need more time to detect minute alterations if they occur.

The Health Commission also announced that a daily press briefing will be made every morning (local time), starting this Monday, January 27.

3:06 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

The US just confirmed its third case of the virus. The patient is in California's Orange County

A third case of the Wuhan coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States, authorities said.

The individual traveled from Wuhan to Orange County, California. He is now being held in isolation in a local hospital and is in good condition, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency's (OCHCA) Communicable Disease Control Division. The other two confirmed cases in the US that have been identified are in Washington state and Illinois.

3:02 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Macao now has five confirmed cases

Visitors wear face masks as they sit inside the Venetian casino hotel resort in Macao on Wednesday.
Visitors wear face masks as they sit inside the Venetian casino hotel resort in Macao on Wednesday. Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

Health authorities in Macao said Sunday that three more cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been confirmed -- bringing the total number in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory to five.

The three new patients are all women who live in Wuhan, the government said in a statement. All three are in stable condition.

The following places outside mainland China have confirmed cases:

  • Hong Kong: 5 cases
  • Macao: 5 cases
  • Thailand: 5 cases
  • Australia: 4 cases
  • Malaysia: 4 cases
  • Singapore: 4 cases
  • France: 3 cases
  • Japan: 3 cases
  • South Korea: 3 cases
  • Taiwan: 3 cases
  • United States: 2 cases
  • Vietnam: 2 cases
  • Nepal: 1 case

*Canada has one "presumptive confirmed" case.

2:41 a.m. ET, January 26, 2020

China is deploying 1,600 more health workers to Wuhan

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

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