January 23 coronavirus news
Our live coverage of Thursday's coronavirus outbreak has ended, but you can read more about the ongoing crisis here.
China is allocating RMB 1 billion (US$144 million) to combat the deadly Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
A statement released by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday says the money will “support virus control work in Hubei province,” where Wuhan is located.
It did not specify how the funds will be spent.
China’s National Health Commission says 25 people have died from the Wuhan coronavirus with 830 people infected, as of midnight Friday morning local.
Twenty-four of the deaths were in Hubei province, and 1 Hebei.
Two male Chinese patients tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus on Thursday, announced Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Truong Son, according to an article posted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health government website.
According to the report, the Deputy Minister of Health was present at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh city where the two patients are being treated.
Several people are being monitored in Canada for signs of the coronavirus, Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told CNN.
However, Dr. Tam added that there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Canada.
Three major airports in Canada have ramped up their screening processes. International travelers arriving in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver International Airport have signage on electronic arrival screens reminding them inform a border service officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms. An additional health screen question has also been added to electronic kiosks.
“It is important to stress that entry screening alone is not a guaranteed against a possible importation of this new virus,” Dr. Tam said. “It remains an important public health tool and part of a multi-layered government response.”
Dr. Tam said there is currently no specific vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
Beijing’s municipal health authority has confirmed four additional cases of Wuhan coronavirus, bringing the capital’s total to 26.
Over 600 people have been infected with the virus worldwide.
A group of Chinese exchange students visiting the US are no longer participating in on-campus activities with Longfellow Middle School students in Fairfax County, Virginia, according to a letter from the administration sent to parents yesterday.
“While health officials believe the risk of illness transmission of the novel Coronavirus from these students is extremely low, we felt it necessary to make this adjustment,” it said in the letter.
According to school spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell, the students are visiting from Yi Chang, which is located in the Hubei province. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei. The exchange students are expected to stay in the DC area for a week before making other stops in the United States, Caldwell said.
Longfellow Middle School students have an exchange trip to Yi Chang scheduled for early April that hasn’t been canceled yet. They will monitor the situation and make a determination at a later time, Caldwell said.
Caldwell provided CNN with a copy of letter sent to parents:
Good afternoon Longfellow Middle School Families,
In an abundance of caution, we have decided to redesign the cultural exchange program that Longfellow MS was scheduled to begin today, January 22. Although the students will not be visiting Longfellow MS, we will offer to work collaboratively with the travel company to facilitate cultural and educational activities in the DC area so that the students enjoy a positive experience.
Student and staff health and safety remain our first priority. While health officials believe the risk of illness transmission of the novel Coronavirus from these students is extremely low, we felt it necessary to make this adjustment.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
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.
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."