January 23 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Steve George, James Griffiths and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 8:46 a.m. ET, January 24, 2020
54 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:48 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

World Health Organization: Wuhan coronavirus is not yet a public health emergency of international concern

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman

Pierre Albouy/AFP/Getty Images
Pierre Albouy/AFP/Getty Images

The Wuhan coronavirus does not yet constitute a public health emergency of international concern, according to an emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization.

"The advice to the [director-general], which is provided by the emergency committee, is that now is not the time” and that it is "too early to consider that this event is a public health emergency of international concern,” committee chairman Dr. Didier Houssin told reporters Thursday.

The announcement came shortly after the committee was convened over two days in Geneva to advise WHO leadership on the outbreak. The organization was expected to make an announcement Wednesday, but WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus then told reporters that he did not have enough information to make a decision, and the committee was asked to reconvene a second day.

WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern as "an extraordinary event" that constitutes a "public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease" and "to potentially require a coordinated international response." Previous emergencies have included Ebola, Zika and H1N1.

While Ghebreyesus praised the Chinese government and its cooperation with WHO on Wednesday, Houssin then expressed that the information they had from Chinese authorities was too limited and imprecise for the committee to make a recommendation that day. The committee remained divided — roughly 50/50 — over the course of the two-day meeting, Houssin said Thursday.

Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have told CNN they are concerned that Chinese health officials have still not released basic epidemiological data about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, making it more difficult to contain.

WHO has played a number of roles in the international response to the outbreak, including coordinating with international authorities and researchers, as well as developing guidance for lab testing, treatment and prevention measures.

1:35 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Scotland is testing five people for the virus

From CNN's Simon Cullen

According to a Scottish government spokesman, five people being tested for Wuhan coronavirus, a higher number than previously reported.

“Following travel to Wuhan, China, two people confirmed as diagnosed with influenza are now being tested for Wuhan Novel Coronavirus as a precautionary measure only. Three further people are also undergoing testing on a similar precautionary basis," he said.

However, he emphasized that “there are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus (WN Co-V) in Scotland and the risk to the Scottish public remains low."

1:47 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Saudi Arabia denies any cases of Wuhan Coronavirus

From CNN’s Steve Tuemmler in Atlanta

Amr Nabil/AP
Amr Nabil/AP

There are no cases of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Center For Disease Prevention And Control tweeted on Thursday.

"There are no cases of the coronavirus(2019-nCoV)in #Saudi_Arabia so far," the tweet read.

Consulate General of India in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, also denied earlier reports about the Indian nurse in Saudi Arabia diagnosed with Wuhan Coronavirus.

“Dr Tarik Al Azraqi, Chairman, Scientific Regional Infection Control Committee, Aseer Region, has confirmed that Indian Nurse being treated at Aseer National Hospital is suffering from MERS-CoV & not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). We request everyone to refrain from sharing incorrect info,” Consulate General of India in Jeddah tweeted on Thursday.

1:19 p.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Only three Chinese regions have not reported coronavirus

From CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing

Two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Gansu province mean only three Chinese administrative regions remain free from the disease.

Cases have spread out from an epicenter in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, home to 11 million people.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave Wuhan its highest level of travel notice, recommending travelers avoid all non-essential travel to Wuhan.

The agency gave the rest of the country a level one travel advisory, telling people to "remain alert if traveling to other parts of China.”

The total number of confirmed cases is well over 600 worldwide.

11:42 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Two cases of Wuhan coronavirus confirmed in Hong Kong

From CNN’s Bex Wright in Hong Kong

Two cases of Wuhan coronavirus in Hong Kong have been confirmed, according to a statement from Hong Kong’s Department of Health on Thursday.

The two “highly suspected imported cases” were first reported on Wednesday and announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

The Hong Kong Department of Health said the patients who were infected tested positive for the virus and that the patients are in stable condition. The department is continuing its investigation into the cases.

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

CDC raises travel advisory for Wuhan to highest level

From CNN Health’s Michael Nedelman

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised its travel notice for Wuhan, China, to the highest of three levels, according to its website.

"CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China,” it said in announcing the increase to “Warning - Level 3” status. 

The CDC recommends that travelers “remain alert if traveling to other parts of China” by avoiding contact with sick people, animals and animal markets. China as a whole carries a “Watch - Level 1” travel advisory. 

For those who traveled to China in the past two weeks and have symptoms such as fever, cough or trouble breathing, the agency recommends seeking immediate care, avoiding contact with others, not traveling, and practicing proper hygiene.

The CDC says that symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus may appear in as little as 2 days and up to 14, according to its website. This is based largely on what the agency knows about MERS — a different type of coronavirus.

Health experts say there is still a lot to unravel about how — and how quickly — the virus spreads.

"At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people,” the CDC said.

10:31 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Four people in Scotland tested for suspected Wuhan coronavirus, UK media reports

From CNN's Sarah Dean

Four people in Scotland are being tested for suspected Wuhan coronavirus after traveling from the Chinese city where the outbreak began, said Jurgen Haas, head of infection medicine at the University of Edinburgh, according to Britain's PA Media news agency. 

Haas told PA: “We have currently three cases [of] suspected Wuhan coronavirus in Edinburgh and as far as I understand one case in Glasgow.”

10:39 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Scientists collaborating on vaccine for Wuhan coronavirus

From CNN Health’s Elizabeth Cohen

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working with two pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus, according to a Thursday announcement at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, announced the coalition between NIH, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Inovio, and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that human trials could begin in a few months.

In a press release, Hatchett said that, given the “rapid global spread” of the Wuhan virus, “the world needs to act quickly and in unity to tackle this disease.”

9:48 a.m. ET, January 23, 2020

Hong Kong Stock Exchange CEO hopes the world "will do better" on coronavirus than SARS

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Charles Li, CEO of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has said he hopes the world will react better to the coronavirus than it did to the SARS outbreak.

“We’ve been here in 2003 with SARS and everything else, hopefully this time, not only we have learned, but hopefully we’ll do better," said Li in an interview with CNN’s Julia Chatterley in Davos.

"This requires everyone to pay attention," added Li, referencing governments, institutions, hospitals and the media.

Li also commented on the market tumble in Asia.

“Markets reacted very quickly, very naturally to something that is not known, something like this; how fast is going to go, how serious is going to be, how broadly affecting the population is going to be so while those questions are still lingering the market is going to pause,” he said.

Stocks in China had their worst day in more than eight months Thursday as the deadly virus spreads across the country.

China's Shanghai Composite closed down 2.75% Thursday afternoon, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed down 1.5%. The benchmark has lost about 4% so far this week.