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Latest Updates on the Coronavirus Disease

International governments are taking action, airlines are canceling flights, and infectious cases keep increasing.

The recent coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, a large number of infected cases has risen, spreading across the world and causing fatalities, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has called it a pandemic.

Globally, there are 842,201 cases of coronavirus infections in at least 202 countries and territories, with 592,693 in mild condition, and 31,599 in critical condition. 41,405 people have died of infection, and 176,504 have recovered. The exact confirmed numbers can be followed here.

Read the latest WHO report here.

Below is the latest information on the coronavirus disease, to keep you up to date.

UPDATE: March 31, 11:36 AM EDT: FDA authorized two-minute test kit to detect the novel coronavirus

The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization for a serological testing kit produced by Bodysphere Inc. — that detects a negative or positive result for the novel coronavirus in only two minutes, reports Axios.

Access to testing for the novel coronavirus has improved significantly thanks to commercial labs, according to Axios, but the wait time for a patient to receive results averages at four to five days — even weeks, according to some reports.

Antibody tests with FDA approval could help those in quarantine know if they can return to work, and could also help researchers track the scale and death rate of the global pandemic that is COVID-19 — both critical items for present and future policies toward outbreaks.

UPDATE March 31, 11:27 AM EDT: CEO of Tesla Elon Musk announces free worldwide delivery of FDA-approved ventilators to hospitals

Elon Musk — CEO of Tesla — announced that his company has FDA-approved ventilators, and will ship them worldwide within delivery regions, at no cost whatsoever, in a tweet.

"We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions. Device & shipping cost are free. Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients, not stored in a warehouse. Please [let] me kor @Tesla know," said Musk, in the tweet.

If Musk goes by Tesla's delivery regions for its cars, then candidate regions will include the U.S., Canada, Mexico, much of Europe, and Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, in Asia.

However, Tesla did not initially say how many ventilators it can offer, or how it will prioritize requests, reports Reuters. Governments spanning the planet have requested help finding or manufacturing ventilators and other medical equipment amid a global pandemic from aerospace companies and automakers.

UPDATE March 31, 10:15 AM EDT: China reopens some factories and already experiencing a manufacturing rebound

China's manufacturing is already experiencing a rebound since anti-disease controls have been lifted and factoris reopen, showed an official survey on Tuesday. 

The nation is trying to revive its economy as it slowly tries to move forward since the coronavirus took its toll and saw most of its factories shut.

An industry group did warn, however, that the economy has yet to fully recover. "Looking forward, while the lowest point is behind us, it’s not the time to celebrate," said Larry Hu of Macquarie Capital.

China's shutdown of its economy saw huge repercussions across the world and notably in Asia where many countries provide raw materials and components for China's factories. 

UPDATE March 31, 10:09 AM EDT: Spain experiences its highest death toll due to coronavirus to date

Spain is feeling the weight of the coronavirus' impact as the country recorded 849 deaths over Monday night, the highest death toll the nation has experienced so far in the COVID-19 outbreak.

Spain has reported that hospitals in at least half of its regions are at or very close to their ICU bed capacities. The country has so far confirmed 8,189 deaths due to the coronavirus, forcing Spain to open a secondary temporary morgue after the ice rink converted last week became overwhelmed. 

UPDATE March 31, 10:02 AM EDT: Entire crew of a Russian nuclear submarine in quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

The entire crew of a nuclear missile-equipped submarine from the Russian Navy has been placed under quarantine after a civilian contractor came on board for business was confirmed as having been in contact with someone with COVID-19, according to the Drive and B-port.

This type of submarine can have a crew of up to 110 people, however, it's unsure exactly how many crew this submarine has. 

UPDATE March 31, 9:58 AM EDT: Ford to produce 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days

Carmaker Ford has committed to producing 50,000 ventilators in the next 100 days along with GE Healthcare in its Michigan components plant, as per the company statement on Monday. 

Production is due to begin on April 20 and will cap at 30,000 per month once everything is up and running smoothly. 

These ventilators will be unique as they don't require any electricity in order to function, they only require air pressure and bottled oxygen to do so. 

Ford's president and CEO, Jim Hackett, stated "By producing this ventilator in Michigan, in strong partnership with the UAW, we can help health care workers save lives, and that's our No. 1 priority."

UPDATE March 31, 9:54 AM EDT: U.S. signs a $450 million coronavirus vaccine contract with Johnson & Johnson

Forbes reported that the Trump administration just signed a $456 million coronavirus vaccine with Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical arm Janssen. To date, it is the largest amount spent on looking for a vaccine in the country, even though the company has yet to start clinical trials, unlike other companies.

The Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) signed the deal on March 27th. 

UPDATE March 31, 9:48 AM EDT: Medtronic shares its portable ventilator design for all to use and recreate

Healthcare and biomedical company, Medtronic, plans on sharing its full design of its Puritan Bennett (PB) 560 portable ventilator hardware.

The compact and lightweight and portable medical equipment can easily be moved, making it handy in a hospital situation. The PB 560 came out in 2010, so it's had 10 years of experience and already has approval, making it an ideal candidate in the fight against the coronavirus. 

The fact that Medtronic will be sharing all of their design specifications will help companies and institutions produce more of the devices in a short space of time, something that's invaluable in the current situation.

UPDATE MARCH 31, 9:42 AM EDT: MIT team designs affordable emergency ventilator and will share details publicly for all to use

A team at MIT called E-Vent has also created an emergency ventilator to try and ease hospitals around the world currently suffering from a shortage of ICU ventilators, and plan on sharing the design online for companies and medical technicians to recreate themselves.

The MTI ventilator is not a replacement ICU ventilator, rather a first port of call when ICU ones are in shortage, to buy more time for medical workers. The MIT ventilator's parts only cost around $500 in total.

Moreover, the ventilator uses medical devices that most hospitals already have: Ambu resuscitation bags, and pumping machines to squeeze air in and out of the bag, and ultimately the patient's lungs. 

The team will be sharing the details on its official website once it's approved by the FDA.

UPDATE March 30, 2:00 PM EDT: Scientists wary of second coronavirus wave as China eases lockdown restrictions

Hubei — the province of China where the first coronavirus case emerged — is getting positive attention. COVID-19 cases have dropped to near-zero numbers, and travel restrictions have consequently been lifted in and out of the province, roughly 60 days after much of the province was locked down, according to the journal Nature.

Now the world watches as the ease of restrictions happens to see if further outbreaks pick up and grow into a second wave. Early analysis suggests that this dark possibility has not yet come to pass.

"It's time to relax the lockdown, but we need to be alert for a potential second wave of infections," said an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, named Ben Cowling. If a new second coronavirus wave hits, Cowling expects it to happen by the end of April.

UPDATE March 30, 10:00 AM EDT: IPC, IOC, Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and Tokyo Metropolitan government declare new dates for the Olympic and paralympic games in Tokyo 2020

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, The Government of Japan, and the Tokyo Metropolitan government agreed on Monday to new dates for the official games for the XXXII Olympiad, in 2021, according to the Olympic.org website. The games for Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The parties also agreed on a new schedule for the paralympic games, which will go forward from August 24 until September 5, 2021.

Key parties' leaderships met via telephone conference on Monday, joined by the IOC President Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō, Olympic and Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko, and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, and who all agreed on the new schedule.

The president of the IPC Andrew Parsons commented: "It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world. When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport. With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic Movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time."

UPDATE March 30, 8:17 AM EDT: Formula 1 team Mercedes has assisted in developing a breathing aid for the U.K.'s coronavirus patients

In an attempt to ease the pressure on the British health services, Mercedes worked closely with engineers at University College London (UCL) and clinicians and University College London Hospital to change and improve a device that closes the gap between an oxygen mask and a ventilator.

The device is known as continuous positive airway pressure has already been used in Italy and in China to bring oxygen to coronavirus patients' lungs during the pandemic. 

Currently, 100 of the devices are being sent to UCL's hospital for clinical trials. The machine works by pushing a mix of oxygen and air into the mouth and nose continuously, so as to assist the passage of oxygen into patients' lungs.

UPDATE March 30, 8:09 AM EDT: Spain's numbers of infections now surpass China's, and the situation in the U.S.

On Monday, Spain became the third country to surpass China's infection numbers, after Italy and the U.S.

85,195 of Spain's 47 million-strong population have been infected with the coronavirus. In one day the number of cases rose by eight per cent, and the European nation confirmed 812 deaths on Monday, bringing the total to 7,300. 

The U.S., which is now considered the current epicenter of the outbreak, has over 143,000 infections and 2,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Because of testing limitations, the numbers are believed to be much higher and unreported. 

Trump has extended federal guidelines and recommends that Americans remain at home for an additional 30 days, until the end of April so as to slow the spread of the virus. 

UPDATE March 30, 8:02 AM EDT: China reports a drop in coronavirus cases for fourth consecutive day

China's National Health Commission stated on Monday that mainland China has seen a drop in new coronavirus cases for four days in a row. On Sunday, for instance, China recorded 31 new coronavirus cases, dropping from 45 cases the day prior. 

Four deaths were reported on Sunday.

The number of new infections has dropped dramatically in China, and the government is exhorting businesses and factories to reopen as it attempts to push forward an economic recovery. 

In Hubei province, where the outbreak began, no new cases were reported for six consecutive days on Sunday, and the province partially lifted its traffic restrictions as well as resuming some domestic flights. 

UPDATE March 30, 8:00 AM EDT: The WHO publishes mental health guidance

The WHO's latest report states that one new country or territory has reported COVID-19 cases, in the Commonwealth of the Nothern Mariana Islands. 

The COVID-19 Solidarity Fund has received over $108 million from 203,000 individuals and organizations. 

The WHO is keeping a close eye on people's mental health during the pandemic and has issued information and guidance on how to upkeep positive and strong mental health.

UPDATE March 30, 6:00 AM EDT: Facebook invested $100 million in journalism amid COVID-19 pandemic

Facebook committed a $100 million investment in the news industry amid the coronavirus outbreak, reports The Verge. $25 million will be issued in grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, with the remaining $75 million coming in the form of "additional marketing spend" to news organizations globally.

Publishers will be hit hard by the economic fallout of COVID-19. Advertising revenue — essential for many publishers — is enduring a bottleneck as companies cut marketing budgets amid financial markets' recent unreliability. The research firm, eMarketer, lowered its growth projections for global media ads spent by 3%, reports SearchEngineLand, while Reuters has said that the novel virus might cost the U.S. advertising industry billions of lost revenue dollars.

UPDATE March 29, 3:21 PM EDT: Microsoft sees 775% increase in cloud services, 44 million daily teams users, 900 million meeting minutes weekly

Microsoft Teams is seeing a tremendous coronavirus bump, with a 775% jump in cloud services, reports Forbes. This applies to areas with social distancing or shelter in place orders, which means much of India, Canada, China, several European nations, and more.

Microsoft Teams at present has more than 44 million daily users, and they created more than 900 million meeting and calling minutes, said Jared Spataro, corporate VP for Microsoft 365, in a blog post.

"We are hard at work providing services to support hundreds of millions of people who rely on Microsoft to stay connected and to work and play remotely," said Spataro, reports Forbes.

UPDATE March 29, 8:45 AM EDT: U.S. coronavirus deaths top 2,100 including the first infant death

U.S. coronavirus cases increased to more than 124,000, with more than 2,100 deaths. These included an infant in Illinois, who is believed to be the youngest death so far from the virus, reported CBS News.

UPDATE March 28, 8:00 PM EDT: Italy coronavirus death toll shoots past 10,000

Italy's death toll from the coronavirus topped 10,000 despite the lockdown. 889 new fatalities were reported on Saturday, just one day after the country registered 969 deaths, reported France 24.

UPDATE March 27, 6:19 PM EDT: COVID-19 cases in the US exceed 100,000; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive

On Friday, the U.S. surpassed 100,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, dragged into the pandemic by a jump of infections in New York and other hotspots across the country, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson becomes the first world leader to test positive for the novel coronavirus that has brought the entire world to a virtual standstill, reports The Daily Beast.

In a video posted on the Prime Minister's Twitter page, Johnson said he has tested positive for COVID-19, after developing "mild symptoms." He added that he'll continue to lead the United Kingdom's fight to curb the spread of the virus while he self-isolates at his home in 10 Downing Street.

UPDATE March 27, 2:00 PM EDT: Mark Zuckerberg pledges $25 million to Bill Gates' research on COVID-19 Therapeutics

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan's philanthropic group — called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) — have pledged $25 million to the "COVID-10 Therapeutics Accelerator," as of Friday, according to an announcement on the CZI website.

The donation was made in a joint partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mastercard, and Wellcome. This is the first official COVID-19 action taken by Zuckerberg, or CZI, which will help the planet develop a possible treatment for — or perhaps a vaccine to — the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're excited to partner with the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to help the biomedical research community quickly identify, develop, and test treatments for COVID-19," read the official statement on CZI's website. "The Therapeutics Accelerator will enable researchers to quickly determine whether or not existing drugs have a potential benefit against COVID-19. We hope these coordinated efforts will help stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as provide shared, reusable strategies to respond to future pandemics."

UPDATE March 27, 10:02 AM EDT: China closing its border to most foreign nationals from Saturday onwards

As China is experiencing a second wave of infections mostly brought in by nationals or foreigners returning from overseas, the nation has decided to take stricter measures and close its border to most incoming foreigners. 

Even those holding a valid visa or work permits will not be allowed into China, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday. Only Diplomats and people going to China "to engage in necessary economic, trade, scientific and technological activities, and for urgent humanitarian needs," are excluded said the ministry

Many other nations have already imposed similar travel bans. China has now joined these ranks as the country had mostly managed to control the spread of the virus and the nationa situation, but is currently seeing another influx of cases following many foreigners and nationals returning from abroad.

According to the National Health Commission in China, all 67 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday came from overseas, as was reported by the Xinhua News Agency.

UPDATE March 27, 9:58 AM EDT: Animation video shows the first contact that the coronavirus has with a cell and its point of entry

A short animation shows how the coronavirus gets into the cell, and its first point of entry.

UPDATE March 27, 9:50 AM EDT: 3 Babies in China may have been infected with coronavirus prenatally 

Further research needs to be carried out, however two reports from China have detailed three cases of newborn babies contracting the coronavirus. It still has to be seen if babies are being infected with the coronavirus in the womb, or immediately after birth.

Experts stress that this information does not prove that the new coronavirus can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, and that the evidence is still inconclusive

UPDATE March 27, 9:43 AM EDT: The WHO's latest report with guidance documents and the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan 

The WHO confirmed three new countries/territories/areas have confirmed cases of COVID-19, one in the Region of the Americas, and two in the African Region. 

The UN has launched a US$ 2 billion COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan to give support to the most vulnerable nations. More details here

The WHO director general mentioned important issues and steps of action to take to effectively combat the outbreak. Read the full report here, which includes information about social distancing vs. physical distancing. 

UPDATE March 26, 1:24 PM EDT: China will seal its borders to most foreigners starting Saturday

China declared that it will block nearly all foreigners from entering the country beginning Saturday in recognition that most novel coronavirus cases are coming from overseas now that the government has curbed the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, reports Bloomberg.

Foreigners will be prohibited from entering China even with valid visas and work permits, said the foreign ministry in a Thursday statement, in what it called a "necessary and temporary" measure.

However, diplomats are exempt from the order -- likewise are those entering the country "to engage in necessary economic, trade, scientific and technological activities, and for urgent humanitarian needs," said the statement.

This latest move reflects similar travel bans issued by several other countries, which China initially resisted when most global cases were inside its borders.

UPDATE March 26, 3:00 PM EDT: Tesla delivering crucial ventilators to New York State, says Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet that medical ventilators — critical to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — will be delivered to New York hospitals on Thursday night.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will have Philips, ResMed, and Medtronic ventilators delivered to New York hospitals on Thursday night. "Working on that with Medtronic. Given NY pressing needs, we're delivering Resmed (sic), Philips, & Medtronic ventilators to NY hospitals starting tonight," tweeted Musk.

UPDATE March 26, 1:01 PM EDT: Italy shutters most of its factories due to the COVID-19 coronavirus

In a drastic move, Italy has become the first developed nation of the west to set most of its industry to idle in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, a precautionary tale to other governments, especially the Trump administration, which have resisted dramatic measures, reports MedicalXpress.

This comes after more than two weeks of a nationwide lockdown in Italy, and the Italian government expanded its closure of nonessential commercial activities in the EU's third-largest economy.

UPDATE March 26, 9:00 AM EDT: Hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnbs offer free accommodation to medics 

As the hospitality industry mostly shuts its doors to guests during the global coronavirus outbreak, some hotels, guesthouses and Airbnbs are now opening their doors to frontline medical workers for free. 

Airbnb is the first to kickstart the program with its Airbnb for Doctors and Nurses in Italy, along with a similar scheme in France. Airbnb will pay for the accommodation including any associated fees for up to two months for medical workers in Italy. The homes are provided by Airbnb hosts and the bookings are overseen by Milan-based OspitaMI hosting organization. 

In France, Airbnb's scheme is called Open Homes and works alongside the government. Airbnb is waiving the fees for hosts offering their homes to medical staff and offering €50 for cleaning fees. Hosts based near hospitals are being invited to join the program by offering their place for 15 days.

In the U.K., the Grand Hotel in Brighton has opened its doors to NHS workers until further notice. Hotel staff are working on a voluntary basis, and the NHS workers are planned to stay for 10 days at a time. 

Spain has similar local initiatives, as more and more of the world is applauding medical workers as they work hard to try and save lives amid the coronavirus outbreak.

UPDATE March 26, 8:47 AM EDT: Tesla expands its vehicle delivery options to adjust to the changing times

Tesla is adjusting as much as possible amid the coronavirus outbreak, and now customers looking to have a Tesla delivered now have a choice of three options. They can eiterh opt for an "Express," "Direct Drop," or "Tesla Direct" option. 

The Tesla Direct option was first rolled out last summer and delivers the new Tesla directly at the new owner's home or workplace. 

Express Delivery is when the customer checks in at a pre-arranged delivery center and is then guided through Tesla's location app to their new car. "All required documents will be waiting inside the car with highlights indicating where to sign. When you’re ready to get on the road, simply pass your documents to the advisor at the exit for review, and we’ll mount a temporary tag and license plate," notes Tesla.

The Direct Drop option is a completely touchless delivery experiencew where Tesla drops off the vehicle at the customer's location of choice. The customer can unlock their vehicle through Tesla's mobile app, and sends all paperwork beforehand. This method is only available in certain areas though: California, Hawai'i, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

UPDATE March 25, 9:02 AM EDT: New York Officials urging Elon Musk to reopen Gigafactory 2 to produce ventilators

New York State officials are calling for Tesla CEO Elon Musk to reopen Gigafatory 2 in Buffalo, New York, for the production of ventilators and other sorely-needed medical equipment. This comes on the heels of the automaker recently suspending its Giga New York plant amid the threat posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus to employees, according to Teslarati.

New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan noted in a statement to ABC7 News that everyone needs to do their part in helping the U.S. combat the novel coronavirus. He praised Elon Musk and the Tesla team for their work so far, but also suggested that the Buffalo-based facility be repurposed to make up the lost ground in providing sufficient medical supplies to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created an unprecedented challenge for New York, for our nation, and for the entire world. At this difficult time, it is critical that each of us do our part to ensure our state can respond to the growing pandemic. I thank Elon Musk and the team at Tesla for announcing that they are working on a plan. Tesla's factory in Buffalo would be an ideal location to ramp up ventilator production, and I urge them to make this commitment immediately," Ryan said in the statement.

In a separate letter to the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Ryan called for Musk to "ramp up ventilator production at the Tesla factory located in Buffalo, New York."

"With COVID-19 impacting every segment of our society and economy, Telsa's solar production factory in Buffalo has currently suspended operations. At this difficult time, it is critical that each of us do our part," added Ryan. He added that New York State is the most impacted state in the country, "with over 20,000 cases of COVID-19, and the numbers are growing every day."

Earlier, NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy tweeted to Musk that "emergency times call for emergency measures," which to Langworthy means repurposing Tesla's Solarglass Roof and Supercharger facility to produce ventilators and medical supplies.

"Perhaps the @Tesla plant in Buffalo owned by New York State and gifted to @elonmusk should be repurposed to manufacture ventilators and critical medical equipment as soon as humanly possible. Emergency times call for drastic measures," Langworthy wrote in his tweet.

UPDATE March 25, 8:24 AM EDT: SpaceX has reportedly quarantined a dozen employees after 2 workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus

SpaceX confirmed two cases of the novel coronavirus among its staff, subsequently sending a dozen home, reports The Telegraph.

A staff email sent on Monday and later seen by The Telegraph lists a medic and an employee at SpaceX's Hawthorne, California, premises have contracted the virus.

The employee was confirmed infected after returning from a trip abroad, and SpaceX said the risk of the virus spreading to other employees was "very low" and "no greater than going to the grocery store" because the person had been on-site for one singular day, last Monday.

The company subsequently asked any who'd come into contact with the employee on that day to go home and self-isolate for two weeks and also said it would do a "video review" of employees' movements to document those who may have also contracted the virus.

The medic had "close contact" with 12 employees, each of which was sent home, said the email. SpaceX has faced scrutiny for remaining open amid California's "shelter in place" order that bans all non-essential businesses from remaining open.

UPDATE March 25, 8:12 AM EDT: Spain has confirmed more than 730 new coronavirus deaths in one day, surpassing the death toll in China

Spain has announced more than 700 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, greater than the total number of fatalities in China, reports Business Insider.

The death toll rose to 3,434 from 2,696 on Wednesday after a confirmed 738 new deaths, according to Spain's Ministry of Health.

As of Wednesday, China's death toll was 3,285, with 81,661 total infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

For now, Spain's infection count stands at 47,610, which speaks to a fatality rate nearly twice that of China. The death toll in Italy — 6,820 — beat China's a long time ago.

Spain enforced a lockdown on March 14, with all private hospitals nationalized following March 16. Last week, camping sites and hotels were closed by the government mandate.

UPDATE March 25, 5:00 AM EDT: World Health Organization report for the day

Four additional countries, territories, or areas in the South-East Asia Region of the Americas have confirmed cases of COVID-19, reports the World Health Organization. WHO also delivered a new shipment of emergency medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a bid to help the country curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Additional information regarding the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean region is also available.

As of writing, the WHO WhatsApp Health Alert has gained 10 million users since its Friday launch, and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund raised more than US$70 million in only 10 days.

WHO and FIFA jointly launched a campaign to equip the football community to beat COVID-19. The awareness campaign urges everyone in the world to follow five key steps to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

WHO and its partners are always working to enhance and strengthen the chains by which essential COVID-19 supplies arrive. As demand rises globally, WHO and its partners hope to ensure assistance reaches areas most in need.

UPDATE March 24, 8:09 PM EDT: Prime Minister of India declares 21-day lockdown to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus

India will mitigate the world's largest lockdown on Wednesday, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a TV address, warning citizens of his country to remain inside or risk inviting the global pandemic into their homes, and committing $2 billion to bolster India's overstrained health care system, reports AP News.

"To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out," said Modi on Tuesday night, affirming that the 21-day lockdown would seriously damage the economy, while also insisting the passive alternative would turn the country's clock back 21 years.

This announcement puts roughly one-fifth of the world's population on lockdown, and drove many neighborhoods into panic as concerned citizens rushed to markets to stock up on supplies. Police attempted to disperse crowds where possible or needed.

As of the announcement, India officials reported 469 active cases of COVID-19, and 10 deaths. Officials stress no evidence has been found of localized spread despite carrying out few tests for the disease. In a country where tens of millions reside in dense urban sectors with irregular access to clean water, experts predict local spreading as an inevitability.

UPDATE March 24, 10:00 PM EDT: Coronavirus could last on surfaces for much longer than thought

Traces of the coronavirus' RNA remained on the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days following the departure of all remaining passengers, according to a new study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, noted the CDC, "viral RNA doesn't necessarily mean live virus was present," which means the risk of infection from subsequent contact is still unknown.

Regardless, the need to be exceedingly thorough in cleaning homes and hospitals — everything really — continues to be a primary concern for everyone.

UPDATE March 24, 5:43 PM EDT: FDA will allow treatment of life-threatening COVID-19 cases with blood of patients recovered

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its rules to allow the use of experimental treatments for the continuing COVID-19 pandemic — specifically, to add the use of "convalescent plasma," in cases where an infected patient's life is in immediate danger, reports Tech Crunch.

This isn't approval for the procedure as treatment, but only an emergency clearance applicable in a case-by-case basis, for the most extreme cases in hopes of advancing research on the plasma of patients who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19.

The FDA granted this temporary authorization despite a lack of clinical trials under its Investigational New Drug Applicants (eINDS) exemption, in recognition of the extent and nature of the coronavirus epidemic.

UPDATE March 24, 1:59 PM EDT: The U.S. missed its chance to avoid COVID-19 shutdowns, businesses should stay closed, says Bill Gates

Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates said on Tuesday that the United States missed its window to avoid compulsory shutdowns because the country failed to act fast enough to curb the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, reports CNBC.

"The U.S. is past this opportunity to control (COVID-19) without shutdown, said Gates during a TED Connects program broadcast online. "We did not act fast enough to have an ability to avoid the shutdown."

"It's January when everybody should've been on notice," said the computer scientist. The virus was initially discovered in China, in December.

U.S. government officials from coast to coast advised or directed those living within the country to stay home in the last several days, hoping to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Several locations, including New York City, California, and Washington, D.C., have compelled all nonessential businesses to close temporarily. Consequently, unemployment claims have surged with markets hitting their lowest marks in years.

UPDATE March 24, 1:20 PM EDT: Verizon Waives Late Fees and Overage, Adds Free 15GB of data amid COVID-19 outbreak

In line with the Federal Communications Commission's recent Keep Americans Connected Pledge, Verizon announced that it will waive some of its fees and add extra high-speed data for wireless and small business customers as countermeasures against the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, reports Gizmodo.

On Monday the company announced it will waive overage charges, late fees, and activation fees for residential and small-business users. A Verizon spokesperson told Gizmodo that the billing cycles are being waived, and won't require payment at a later date. The company also said it will automatically add 15GB of high-speed data to small-business and consumer plans from March 25 to April 30.

This will provide 15GB of additional 4G LTE hotspot data for unlimited customers, and 15GB of extra data for prepaid and postpaid customers on shared or standalone data plans.

Verizon added that the More Everything, Verizon Plan 1.0, Verizon Plan 2.0, all Mix & Match, and the Verizon Unlimited Plan customers will also be eligible, and should expect the upgrade automatically added to their plans.

UPDATE March 24, 10:49 AM EDT: Coronavirus may be a "chimera" of two different viruses, says genome analysis

An extensive study and analysis on the origins of the coronavirus has been conducted, to try and see what causes the virus. 

Results pointing to bats, in particular Rhinolophus, as the carriers of the virus are circulating, and that they constitute the reservoir of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, results of analyses on pangolins carrying the virus RaTG13 also point towards them as being the original hosts. 

After genomic comparisons have been carried out, it is believed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a combination between two different viruses, one close to RaTG13, and one closer to the pangolin virus. Thus, COVID-19 it is a chimera between two viruses.

UPDATE March 24, 10:46 AM EDT: Elon Musk delivers 1,000 ventilators to hospitals in California to help fight the coronavirus

Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, stated on Monday that Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, had delivered over 1,000 ventilators for hospitals in the state. These ventilators will help save the lives of those battling against the virus. 

"I told you a few days ago that [Musk] was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week," Newsom said, adding: "They've arrived in Los Angeles... It was a heroic effort."

UPDATE March 24, 10:40 AM EDT: SpaceX feeling the consequences of the coronavirus

As Argentina tightens its travel restrictions around the coronavirus outbreak, SpaceX is having to indefinitely delay its next scheduled rocket launch. Due to take off on March 30th from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the SAOCOM 1B satellite payload's production facilities are in Bariloche, Argentina. 

Teams in Argentina aren't able to travel to Cape Canaveral in time to prepare the launch. Regardless, it was looking very unlikely that the future launch was going to take place, given the strict measures implemented each day surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. 

But once the restrictions are lifted and life resumes a new pace, SpaceX's launch will most likely make history. 

UPDATE March 24, 10:34 AM EDT: Samsung, LG, and other phone brands pause manufacturing as India goes on lockdown

The last few days have seen several Indian states close under lockdown to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus. Due to this, many phone manufacturers based in India, the world's second-largest smartphone market, will have to shut down their production. 

Companies such as Samsung, LG, Vivo, and Oppo, announced on Monday that they were closing their factories in India for various amounts of time. For instance, Samsung is temporarily closing its Noida factory — the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturing facilty — from March 23 until March 25

UPDATE March 24, 10:28 AM EDT: China partially lifting lockdown in Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have started

April 8th marks the day that Wuhan will see a lift on its lockdown, which has been in place since mid-January. Similar lockdown measures will be lifted on Wednesday in other cities in Hubei province, where Wuhan is situated, as per what provincial authorities have declared on Tuesday

The lift comes after significant drops in cases have happened. Since March 19th, Hubei has recorded no new cases for five consecutive days — down from thousands of new cases per day at the height of the epidemic in February. 

The lockdown restrictions have been very strict in Hubei, locking down nearly 60 million people in total, however they seem to have slowed down the spread of the virus. However, even with no new domestic cases being confirmed, cases imported from people traveling back to China have seen a spike in numbers.

UPDATE March 24, 10:23 AM EDT: Italy records two days straight of fewer new coronavirus cases

Italy recorded a lower day-to-day increase of new coronavirus cases for two days in a row, on Monday. 

Italy's Civil Protection agency noted 4,789 new cases on Monday, 700 down from 5,560 new cases on Sunday. However, officials have warned that it's still too early to tell if the country's seen its hardest days. 

The day to day count of deaths also went down on Monday, to just over 600 deaths, down from 651 deaths on Sunday. 

Italy has been hit hard, with 6,077 deaths so far, and 63,927 confirmed cases so far.

UPDATE March 24, 10:07 AM EDT: Amazon will deliver at-home COVID-19 test kits to Seattle residents as part of a trial

Amazon Care is partnering with the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, which is backed by the Gates Foundation, to deliver COVID-19 test kits to people staying at home.

The trial delivery of these test kits will be limited to a certain amount of kits, but the hope is that it will increase the number of tests for the virus without having to rely on regular mail delivery systems. 

Amazon told CNBC that every driver has been trained in how to handle medical material. The test kits include the regular swabs that are being used int he drive-through testing locations, and if a person's results are positive a healthcare professional will be directly in touch with them. 

UPDATE March 24, 10:01 AM EDT: NASA employee at Kennedy Space Center tests positive 

The information was discovered 10 days after the NASA employee was at the Kennedy Space Center, as explained by the space agency's spokesperson, Tracy Young. 

So it is most likely that the employee contracted the virus after they'd last been at the Kennedy Space Center. As Young explained "Based on the circumstances and elapsed time since the employee was on site, we believe it was acquired after they had started teleworking and there is no additional risk at the center from this person."

At this stage, all NASA personnel has already been working remotely for a week, aside from critial mission personnel.

UPDATE March 24, 9:56 AM EDT: The WHO reports that 85% of new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours have been in Europe and the U.S.

Italy is considered as the current epicenter of the outbreak with 63,928 confirmed cases, and Spain is the third worst-hit country in the world with 39,673 cases

The U.S. has over 41,000 confirmed cases, with New York alone encompassing 5% of the world's total cases, with 12,305 infected

Stricter measures have been imposed on a global scale by countries' leaders with many populations under strict lockdown. The hope is to try and ease the strain on frontline medical workers who are working hard around the clock to save lives.

UPDATE March 24, 9:02 AM EDT: Japan, IOC to postpone 2020 Tokyo Olympics by roughly one year

On Tuesday, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed until 2021 as the novel coronavirus sweeps the world, representing the disruption of the largest sporting event that puts an athletic universe of sponsors, sports organizations, broadcasters, and athletes in an extended period of uncertainty, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The decision to delay was reached via a phone call on Tuesday between the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC President Thomas Bach.

UPDATE March 24, 7:45 AM EDT: Loss of sense of smell, taste, could point to infection as 'hidden carrier' of the novel coronavirus

Those who experience a sudden loss of taste or smell might be a "hidden carrier" of the novel coronavirus, even if they show no additional symptoms, according to evidence collected by leading rhinologists in the UK, reports Business Insider.

In Italy, China, and South Korea, roughly one-third of patients who are confirmed to have COVID-19 have also reported a distinct loss in their sense of smell — also called anosmia or hyposmia — according to leading nose, ear, and throat experts in the UK, Business Insider reports.

"In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases," said the President of the British Rhinological Society Professor, Clare Hopkins, along with the president of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, professor Nirmal Kumar, in a joint statement.

UPDATE March 23, 7:35 EDT: Brazilian startup has developed rapid COVID-19 test

A startup based in Brazil called Hi Technologies announced that it is currently in mass production of a quick test for COVID-19, one that gives results in only 15 minutes, according to ZD Net.

The company added that all of its 130 employees are focused on making and delivering the novel test, projected for completion in the second week of April.

Priority will go to Brazilian states.

UPDATE March 23, 5:01 PM EDT: Apple has lost its status as a trillion-dollar company

Apple, the world's most valuable public company, is no longer a trillion-dollar company, reports Bloomberg.

NASDAQ along with other U.S. indices continued to fall as a coronavirus-fueled panic sell-off by investors also continued. All of this despite the most serious measures ever taken by the US Federal Reserve. Amid the corporate bloodshed, Apple lost its trillion-dollar status, with shares trading at $220 per unit, at the time of writing, according to The Tech Portal.

Apple's shares have fallen up to 4% — leaving Microsoft as the only remaining U.S. stock with a stock value breaching a trillion dollars. The plunge, which happened immediately following the markets' opening at 9:40 AM EDT, dragged the initially trillion-dollar company's market value down to $960 billion.

Apple was one of the first companies to disclose the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their financials and declared it would no longer meet its quarter guidance range of $63 to $67 billion, reports The Tech Portal. Global manufacturers are having difficulty managing the effects of the pandemic on their supply chains, which are extremely dependent on China.

Right when the COVID-19 disease seemed to be losing steam in China, the coronavirus pandemic swept through the U.S. and Europe at its most incredible speed yet, dragging the cultural epicenter from China to western countries.

Earlier in March, Apple shut down offices and employees started working remotely much like employees of other tech giants. Weeks ago, Apple shut down every store outside Greater China in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus while the company's online presence remained.

UPDATE March 23, 2:39 PM EDT: Uber moves for government to include drivers in COVID-19 stimulus package

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called on U.S. lawmakers to include the ride-share company's drivers and delivery workers in the COVID-19 stimulus package currently under negotiation, in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump.

"My goal in writing to you is not to ask for a bailout for Uber, but rather for support for independent workers and, once we move past the immediate crisis, the opportunity to legally provide them with a real safety net going forward," said Khosrowshahi in the letter.

Ride-hailing drivers were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Khosrowshahi recently said to investors that the company's ride volume decreased by 60 to 70 percent in cities like Seattle. Earlier in March, Uber said it would give drivers financial assistance for up to 14 days if they're unable to work because of a diagnosis of COVID-19, or a quarantine.

As it stands, the stimulus package will allow most Americans to receive $1,200 direct deposit from the federal government. If it passes, the stimulus package will also help people access up to 39 weeks of unemployment insurance. However, since Uber drivers and delivery drivers are contractors, they're not entitled to unemployment insurance.

While Khosrowshahi's appeal seems altruistic, in the second part of the letter he asks the federal government to give more protections to contractors. "Put simply, our laws should protect all workers, not just one type of work," he wrote. "I urge you to act quickly to provide protections for independent workers, and in your ongoing efforts to consider legislative action on a 'third way' that would update our labor laws to remove the forced choice between flexibility and protection for millions of American workers."

UPDATE March 23, 2:00 PM EDT: TikTok donates $10 million to the World Health Organization in bid to combat the novel coronavirus

The ByteDance-owned video sharing platform TikTok announced a $10 million donation to the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Response Fund, according to a blog post written by TikTok President Alex Zhu.

"In this time of global distress and concernabouthteimpactofCOVID-19, we've been inspired by people in towns and cities everywhere whose fundamental humanity is shining through when we need it most," said Zhu in the blog bost.

He added: "people serenading across quarantined buildings; neighbors delivering food and medicine to those who cannot leave their homes; global outpourings of empathy and support for grieving families."

"This humanity transcends borders and backgrounds, and we're moved by how people are sharing their strength when we need it most."

The President & CEO of the UN Foundation Elizabeth Cousens said of TikTok's donation: "We can only stop this virus with a coordinated, global response, where everyone — from every sector — is doing their part," according to Music Business World.

Cousens added: "TikTok's extraordinary generous contribution to the World Health Organization's global effort is a perfect example of that. Now is the time for all individuals and companies to come together and fight this virus — because the case for cooperation simply couldn't be clearer."

UPDATE March 23, 1:00 PM EDT: Boeing temporarily closing all factories across Washington state following death of employee from COVID-19

On Monday, Boeing announced it would suspend production at its facilities within Washington state for two weeks amid the continued threat of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reports Business Insider.

The move to cease production comes one day following the death of an employee from COVID-19, who worked in Boeing's Everett, Washington, plant. The worker — who was not initially named — was the first death related to the novel virus among the company's workforce, reports Business Insider.

As of Sunday, there were 29 confirmed cases of the virus among Boeing's employees, reports the Seattle Times. Of those, 24 were in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.

In Boeing's press release, the company stated that affected employees who are unable to work from home will continue to be paid for 10 business days, covering the entirety of the suspension period.

"These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers," said the press release.

"This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live," said Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun in the release. "We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we're in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension."

Roughly 70,000 people are employed at the two major factories and several smaller facilities in the Puget Sounds area. The company's other production sites in South Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, will remain open, however.

The state of Washington, the hardest-hit state in the U.S. so far, was first to declare a state of emergency in the country.

UPDATE March 23, 10:50 AM EDT: European Union to give 20 million euros in humanitarian aid to Iran

The European Union will give Iran 20 million euros in humanitarian aid — despite U.S. sanctions on the Middle Eastern country — in hopes of alleviating the effects of the coronavirus, and also to support Tehran's request to IMF for financial assistance, according to a top EU diplomat, reports Reuters. 

"We've not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help but there is some 20 million euros in the pipeline .. that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks," said Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, in a video news conference on Monday, according to Reuters.

"We also agree in supporting the request by Iran and also by Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund to have financial support," said the EU diplomat following a video conference of EU foreign ministers, without adding more details.

Of all Middle Eastern nations, Iran is hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, suffering more than 1,800 deaths and 23,049 cases of infection. One person in Iran dies every 10 minutes, according to the country's health ministry, reports Reuters.

UPDATE March 23, 8:38 AM EDT: Scientists find 69 drugs that may be effective in treating the coronavirus

On Sunday night a team of researchers reported that nearly 70 drugs may be effective in treating COVID-19. Some of these are already used to treat other diseases, and may be repurporsed to treat COVID-19, which may be a faster approach than waiting for a vaccine to be put together from scratch.

Hundreds of researchers studied the genes of the coronavirus in order to come up with this comprehensive list of drugs, however, more data at every level is still needed before being able to proceed to using these drugs against the coronavirus.

UPDATE March 23, 8:31 AM EDT: Lost sense of smell and taste may indicate coronavirus infection

After COVID-19-infected patients from South Korea, China, and Italy have stated a loss of smell and taste after contracting the virus, it is now believed that these may be telltale signs of having caught the infection. 

This may help to identify people at risk of having the coronavirus and who will require testing and isolation. 

NBA player Rudy Gobert-Bourgarel, who is infected with COVID-19, shared the news that he experienced loss of smell and taste.

UPDATE March 23, 8:23 AM EDT: Scientists pushing for more testing as many coronavirus cases show little to no symptoms

The number of silent COVID-19 carriers may be higher than was previously thought, as per scientists who are now pushing for more tests to be carried out on more people. 

Iceland, which has tested more people than any other country so far, has stated that half of those who tested positive for COVID-19 showed no signs, as per the country's chief epidemiologist, Thorolfur Gudnason, statement to BuzzFeed News. As much as up to a third of tested people showed delayed symptoms, or none at all, of coronavirus.

Asymptomatic people may create an issue in trying to curb the virus as it continues to spread unbeknownst to those who carry it. 

Scott Gottlieb, former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that "It’s becoming clearer that spread of Covid-19 by people who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic may be responsible for more transmission than previously thought; making control of the virus more difficult."

More testing may help in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

UPDATE March 23, 8:16 AM EDT: NASCAR goes virtual with iRacing

As the coronavirus has put all sporting matches and group activities to a worldwide halt, NASCAR decided to run a virtual race. As NASCAR has stopped all racing until at least May 9th, in the space of a week the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series was put together instead. 

Drivers agreed to take part, even though many didn't have any previous eracing expertise. 

Denny Hamlin, the three-time Daytona 500 winner, virtually raced barefoot from the comfort of his North Carolina living room, and won by beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday.

UPDATE March 22, 5:30 AM EDT: Apple donates millions of masks to medical staff in the U.S. and Europe

Apple is donating millions of masks to medical staff in the U.S. and Europe, according to a tweet by CEO Tim Cook. "Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you," wrote Cook.

UPDATE March 22, 5:05 AM EDT: Amazon and IBM launch programs to get developers to solve COVID-19-related problems

Amazon and IBM have launched programs to help developers solve COVID-19 related problems, reported Tech Crunch. Amazon's program is called the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative while IBM is refocusing its 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge developer contest to go beyond just tackling global warming to tackling COVID-19 problems.

UPDATE March 21, 11: 30 AM EDT: YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix reduce streaming quality

Youtube and Amazon Prime are now joining Netflix in reducing their streaming quality in Europe in order to help internet infrastructures cope with the surge of traffic brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, reported The Independent

“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” YouTube said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prime Video said the platform was working with authorities “to help mitigate any network congestion”.

UPDATE March 21, 10: 30 AM EDT: Google launches COVID-19 dedicated site

Google has launched a special site dedicated to COVID-19 that can be accessed at google.com/covid19. For the time it targets U.S. visitors but aims to soon be available in other countries and other languages, according to TNW 

UPDATE March 20, 3:21 PM EDT: Trump activates the Defense Production Act to galvanize U.S. industry against coronavirus outbreak

U.S. President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up the production of sorely needed medical supplies on front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, mobilizing the private sector against the viral outbreak, reports the New York Post.

Trump told a staffer, "Do it now," while on the phone with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

During the Friday morning call, Schumer (D-NY) strongly recommended that the president should immediately invoke the measure, to help correct a dire shortage of ventilators and respiratory masks in places like New York, which are the hardest hit in the U.S. by the COVID-19 pandemic, said a spokesman of the senator's office, to the Post.

While on the phone, Trump assured Schumer he would issue the act and then "yelled to someone in his office to 'Do it now,'" said the spokesman, according to the Post.

The president confirmed he was invoking the act on Friday morning during a briefing at the White House, which was Congress initially approved during the Korean War. The act was put into effect Thursday evening.

The executive action will open the door for the U.S. federal government to order private industries to rapidly-produce medical supplies presently in short supply as the novel coronavirus outbreak sweeps the country.

"We invoked it yesterday. We have a lot of people working very hard to get ventilators and various other things," said Trump, reports the Post.

"We're invoking it to use the powers of the federal government to help the states get things that they need like the masks, like the ventilators."

In the briefing on Friday, Trump said he had a "very good telephone conversation" with Schumer, leader of the Democrats' attempt to pass a $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill being negotiated in the Senate.

"We're working on various elements of the deal and the Democrats are very much wanting something and the Republicans likewise are very much wanting something," said Trump.

UPDATE March 20, 12:21 PM EDT: New York Governor Cuomo declares stay-at-home order: "New York State On PAUSE"

New York State Governor Cuomo declared that the way for the excelsior state to shut the "valve" on rapidly growing COVID-19 coronavirus cases threatening to overwhelm the New York health care system, he is placing all of New York State on "PAUSE;" an acronym for policies designed to keep as many New Yorkers at home as possible, and maximize social distancing, reports Gothamist.

PAUSE means Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone. Cuomo said 100% of non-essential workers are ordered to stay home, and non-essential businesses must close. This is a rise in mandatory curfew from 75 percent of the workforce that Cuomo ordered home earlier this week, on Thursday.

"This is the most drastic action we can take," said Cuomo to reporters, according to Gothamist.

The rules are most strict for those over the age of 70: they are ordered to remain home except for solitary exercise, wear masks in the presence of others, and must check the temperatures of any essential aides or visitors. Contact of any other kind is prohibited.

Cuomo calls this "Matilda's Law," after his 88-year-old mother.

Less vulnerable people face similarly stringent prohibitions. All non-essential gatherings are not permitted, New Yorkers are compelled to maintain a six-foot distance from one another when leaving the apartment for essentials like medicine and food, and sick New Yorkers are to stay home unless in need of urgent medical attention.

Solitary exercise, said the governor, is permitted.

New York State PAUSE Coronavirus
New York State's new PAUSE order goes into effect Sunday. Source: CBS News / YouTube

"There are people and places in New York City that look like life as usual, no this is not life as usual, and accept it and realize it and deal with it," said the mayor of New York.

"These are not helpful hints," said the governor. "These are legal provisions, they will be enforced, there will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that's not in compliance." Cuomo declined requests to elaborate penalties for individuals, but added that there will violators of the legal provisions would be addressed.

"Again, your actions can affect my health, that's where we are. There is a social compact we have, government makes sure society is safe for everyone."

The governor said his administration is still working out what precisely is or isn't "essential business," law enforcement, transit workers, healthcare workers, firefighters, grocers, restaurant workers producing food for delivery and take out, child care workers, delivery workers, auto repair workers, utility workers, hardware store employees, and even liquor store employees are considered essential. A full list from an executive order signed earlier this weak is viewable here.

New York State Pause Policies Coronavirus
New York State policies for everyone under 70. Source: CBS News / YouTube

New York State's PAUSE goes into effect Sunday night. "This all comes down to the healthcare system and we're scrambling to increase the capacity of the healthcare system," said the governor.

Cuomo also said he would suspend all statewide evictions for 90 days, and that he was directing internet service to remove data caps at no extra cost to customers.

"This is a statewide order, it's not what your county executive is doing, it's not what your mayor is doing, it's not what anyone else but me is doing," said Cuomo of PAUSE. "I accept full responsibility."

He then added: "I want to be able to look back and say to the people of New York, 'I did everything we could do.'"

For more crucial news on the state of New York amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the COVID-19 pandemic globally, stay in-the-know here.

UPDATE March 20, 11:37 AM EDT: Big tech has lost a combined $1.3 trillion stock market value

Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet have collectively lost $1.3 trillion in value in the last month, while markets suffer under the stress of the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports Tech Radar.

Facebook took the biggest hit, losing 29.63% of its value while Amazon's slump was only 13.33%, insulated by a general uptick in ecommerce activity.

The broader S&P index — composed of 500 of the largest companies in the U.S. — fell by 29% in the same timeframe, devastating pension pots and stock portfolios globally.

The rapid progression of the novel coronavirus — which the World Health Organization declared a genuine pandemic — has shaken markets worldwide.

UPDATE March 20, 11:10 AM EDT: World's fastest supercomputer has determined 77 potential treatments to the COVID-19 coronavirus

Scientists told the world's fastest supercomputer to solve the megalithic task of sifting through thousands of simulations to arrive at drug compounds with the grit to fight the novel coronavirus, reports CNN.

The IBM supercomputer is known simply as "Summit" and housed within the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, U.S. — has identified 77 potential treatments that could stop the COVID-19 disease in its pandemic tracks.

The research — published in a paper uploaded to the preprint server ChemRxiv, might possibly help researchers curate a viable vaccine for the novel virus — however, it's only an initial advance in the battle.

"Our results don't mean that we have found a cure or treatment for the coronavirus," said Jeremy Smith, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Center for Molecular Biophysics, in a statement.

"We are very hopeful, though, that our computational findings will both inform future studies and provide a framework that experimentalists will use to further investigate these compounds," he said.

Using prepared models of the coronavirus spike in populations, researchers simulated the motion of particles in viral proteins, which react differently in different drug compounds.

The researchers eliminated the list from 77 to the top seven most viable candidates to match the radical SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"Given the results from both sets of docking calculations, our work suggests that at least the seven compounds identified here would be reasonable initial compounds for experimental investigations in limiting SARS-CoV-2's virus-host interactions," said the paper.

UPDATE March 20, 11:00 AM EDT: NASCAR to replace canceled races with esports starring pro drivers

Global sports leagues and broadcasters are rushing to fill the void left by a seemingly-endless list of canceled competitions due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and together NASCAR and Fox Sports will replace NASCAR races with "simulation-style" competitions, reports Engadget.

The two organizations declared an inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on Friday, which will include top-tier competitors like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, and Denny Hamlin, among others from various NASCAR series.

Broadcasters familiar to Fox audiences -- like Jeff Gordon -- will commentate on the 90-minute race programs. Fox said it would follow CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of the production.

The first event happens on March 22 at 1:30 PM EDT, on FS1 and the Fox Sports app.

UPDATE March 20, 10:27 AM EDT: This U.S. company's AI camera may be able to detect people with COVID-19

Austin-based Athena Security said that their security cameras with thermal imaging and computer vision technology may be able to detect people with fever, one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus. This could prove useful in monitoring the situation outside of people's homes.

Working as a large-scale scanner, Athena Security's camera detection system could be used for scanning large groups of people in hospitals, airports, and grocery stores, among other areas.

Athena CEO, Lisa Falzone, said that their cameras are able to detect the heat from 12 different places on our bodies with an accuracy of within a half degree. The company's software uses an AI model to zoom in on a subject's inner eye — which is the zone that's the most reflective of our actual body temperature. 

It can do 1,000 temperature readings in an hour without recording the faces of all people passing by the camera, however, it does record the faces of those with a temperature or fever. Let's see who will use Athena Security's tech, and what other tech companies come up with to help the current situation.

UPDATE March 20, 10:20 AM EDT: South of Europe feeling the strain of COVID-19

On Friday the death toll due to COVID-19 surpassed 10,000 worldwide. with the WHO noting a rapid increase of the virus' spread. 

The U.N. health agency said "It took over three months to reach the first 10,000 confirmed cases, and only 12 days to reach the next 100,000."

Italy and Spain have felt the majority of the strain in Europe so far, with overwhelmed hospitals. A nation of 60 million people, Italy has registered 3,405 deaths related to coronavirus, surpassing China who had 3,248 deaths in a nation 20 times larger than Italy. 

Spain is the second hardest hit country in Europe behind Italy with 1,002 deaths and 19,980 infections

UPDATE March 20, 10:00 AM EDT: Tesla offering a no-touch service with remote mobile technician assistance

A project that Tesla has been working on for the last few years will prove to be very useful during the coronavirus outbreak. Its "no touch" service experience allowes Tesla owners to have their cars serviced without them needing to be present or having to unlock the vehicle — it can all be done remotely by a mobile technician. 

Called the "Tesla Rangers", these technicians will prove to be very useful at the moment as more and more people are being urged to stay at home.

The technicians drive with all necessary tools to perform the necessary maintenance on Tesla vehicles. The company is now ready to set its Rangers out on their "no touch" service experience. 

UPDATE March 20, 9:53 AM EDT: The WHO's report states seven new countries confirm cases of COVID-19

The WHO's report from Thursday 19 March that seven new countries/territories/areas have declared cases of COVID-19. There are three in the African region, one in the Eastern Mediterranean region, one in the European region, and two in the region of the Americas. 

The report also stated that a new protocol to investigate COVID-19's reach in the world population has been developed. More details of the protocol can be read here.

UPDATE March 20, 8:14 AM EDT: NASA delays development of Moon rocket amid coronavirus pandemic

NASA said it will suspend development on a Moon rocket — or Space Launch System — at its Michoud facility in New Orleans, reports the BBC.

The space agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi — the testing ground for the rocket booster — will also close temporarily.

This might delay NASA's plans to return to the Moon in 2024.

"NASA (sic) will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware," said administrator Jim Bridenstine. Only workers involved in security and critical infrastructure will be allowed.

"We realize there will be impacts to NASA missions, but as our teams work to analyze the full picture and reduce risks we understand that our top priority is the health and safety of the NASA workforce," added Bridenstine. "There is no team better prepared for doing hard things."

Thee new delay will adversely affect the testing and manufacturing of both the Space Launch System and Orion, the crew capsule slated to transport astronauts to the Moon. NASA had set the end of 2024 as a date to land on the Moon again.

UPDATE March 20, 7:30 AM EDT: Millennials aren't taking the COVID-10 coronavirus seriously, warns a top WHO official

A top World Health Organization official who directs the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has warned that millennials and other young people are shrugging off pleas from health officials to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports TIME.

"This is one of the most serious diseases you will face in your lifetime, and recognize that and respect it," said Dr. Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to Director-General of WHO, to TIME.

Risks of severe symptoms and death are much higher for older people and people with underlying health conditions, but Aylward stresses that COVID-19 is more of a danger for young people than many know.

"One of the things that terrifies me now is, as this is spread in the west is, there's this sense of invulnerability among millennials," he said, according to TIME.

While there is no official age range for the marketing term "millennials," some sources define it as referring to people born between 1981 and 1996, although the U.S. Census has also said the birth years are 1982 and 2000.

"We don't understand why some young healthy people progress to severe disease and even die, and others don't," said the top official. "Never, never underestimate a new disease, there's just too much unknown."

UPDATE March 19, 2:38 PM EDT: Startup company to release $135 at-home coronavirus test

To close the gap in coronavirus tests, a U.S. medical-testing startup company will soon release a direct-to-consumer test for the novel coronavirus, reports Digital Trends.

Called Everlywell, the company will initially release 30,000 tests for public purchase beginning on Monday, March 23. Tests will cost $135, and include overnight sample delivery, reports Everlywell's press release.

However, prospective buyers will need to undergo initial screenings before they are approved to purchase the test. These will include questions based on COVID-19 coronavirus guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Results will be posted online in roughly 48 hours of the company's receipt of the test, and people who test positive for the test will be offered a free virtual consultation with a physician.

Everlywell added that it worked with exceptional scientists and laboratories to design and curate the test.

"The extreme shortage of tests for COVID-19 puts millions of Americans at risk. Everlywell is committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. by making this test widely available. As the national leader in at-home lab testing, we want to use our resources and expertise to help as many people as we can. We are committed to this fight, and we're here to help," said Founder and Everlywell CEO Julia Cheek in the press release.

"All of Everlywell's laboratory partners conducting COVID-19 testing have had their validation data and reports reviewed by FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) framework," said an Everlywell spokesperson to Digital trends.

Cheek added that Everlywell would gain no profits from the coronavirus tests, and that it contacted government and public health officials to explore ways to potentially offer the test for free.

With the U.S. in a seriously disorganized state regarding coronavirus testing, not to mention a shortage of tests, Everlywell's offer is a great first step in extending testing capabilities to the public.

UPDATE March 19, 2:00 PM EDT: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio requests new ventilators previously offered by Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Wednesday night, Elon Musk told a fan that Tesla "will make ventilators if there is a shortage." Hours later, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio replied to Musk, confirming that there is, in fact, a national shortage of ventilators, and that Musk should deliver on his offer. "@ elonmusk New York City is buying!" tweeted de Blasio, adding: "Our country is facing a drastic shortage and we need ventilators ASAP — we will need thousands in this city over the next few weeks."

De Blasio added: "We're reaching out to you directly."

More updates on Musk's prospective assist to the City of New York to follow.

UPDATE March 19, 1:56 PM EDT: Italy's coronavirus death toll surpasses China's

The novel coronavirus has killed more people in Italy than it has in any other country in the world, after deaths climbed by 427 in one day, reports BBC.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Italy is now at 3,405, more than in China — the origin of the radical virus.

As of writing, there have been 3,245 reported deaths by COVID-19 in China, but questions have been raised over the reliability of the country's data.

Italy imposed a lockdown on March 12, which has since been extended beyond the initial March 25 end date. Almost all Italians have been told to self-isolate in their homes.

Despite these serious measures, the number of new coronavirus cases and subsequent deaths continues to grow.

So far there have been 220,000 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus globally, with more than 9,000 killed by the disease.

UPDATE March 19, 12:33 PM EDT: Cannes Film Festival postponed amid coronavirus pandemic

The Cannes Film Festival said on Thursday that it is postponing the 2020 edition, in one of the most significant business and entertainment casualties of the novel virus, reports Deadline.

Organizers added that they are tentatively looking to dates in late June to early July, to make up for the now-canceled mid-May slot.

In a statement shared on Deadline, the festival said:

"At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the COVID-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease.

Today we have made the following decision : The Festival de Cannes cannot be held on the scheduled dates, from May 12 to 23. Several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being a simple postponement, in Cannes, until the end of June-beginning of July, 2020.

As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes' City Hall as well as with the Festival's Board Members, Film industry professionals and all the partners of the event."

The Cannes Marché told Deadline that it won't happen as a separate virtual market in May. The virtual part of the festival will happen when the main event goes down, in June or July — for all who won't make it to the physical event.

UPDATE March 19, 9:37 AM EDT: Spanish authorities using drones to scold people for not social distancing

On Saturday, Spain officially placed its citizens under lockdown, yet depsite this some people still aren't adhering to the regulations. So, the spanish authorities are turning to technology to assist them and are now using drones mounted with microphones to scold people not sticking to the strict social distancing regulations.

The main point of staying indoord and socially distancing yourself from others is to flatten the upward moving curve of COVID-19, so as to ease the strain on overwhelmed medical and health systems. 

UPDATE March 19, 8:59 AM EDT: Robots deployed in Texas hotel that zap pathogens to curb coronavirus outbreak

The Westin Medical Center Hotel in Houston, Texas, has implemented new ultraviolet light robots to singe germs and pathogens out of existence throughout the coronavirus outbreak, and the company behind the robots said interest in the new technology is rising in proportion with the coronavirus crisis, reports AccuWeather.

Called LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots, the devices were deployed as an integral part of the hotel's cleaning process, offering a way to double-down on cleaning rooms between guests' stay.

The robot uses technology previously seen in the medical healthcare field, but are now proving effective against the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

UPDATE March 19, 8:19 AM EDT: Wuhan reported no new domestic coronavirus cases, whereas Italy looks set to surpass the China's total numbers

On Thursday the city of Wuhan in China declared it had no new domestic cases reported of the coronavirus, although it did report cases brought in from people returning to China from abroad. 

At the same time, Italy's numbers of cases keeps increasing, looking to surpass those of China. As of Wednesday, Italy declared it had 2,978 deaths, and given the European nation is registering around 350 deaths a day since March 15, it is looking to surpass China's registered 3,249 deaths

There is a glimmer of hope though, as the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, declared no new domestic cases. "Today, we have seen the dawn after so many days of hard effort," stated Jiao Yahui, a senior inspector at the National Health Commission. 

There were 34 recorded new cases in China, but now Wuhan, however these were all brought in from abroad, and there were eight recorded deaths on Wednesday.

UPDATE March 19, 8:14 AM EDT: Canada and U.S. partially close the border to non-essential travel

After discussions, the U.S. and Canada have come to an accord to close their border to all but essential traffic so as to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted "We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!"

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated "We’re encouraging people to stay home. We’re telling our citizens not to visit their neighbours if they don’t absolutely have to. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach. I want to be clear though, that essential travel will continue."

The question of supply chains is a crucial one between the two North American nations, and PM Trudeau continued by saying "Our governments recognise that it is critical that we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border."

UPDATE March 19, 8:12 AM EDT: WHO now does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen for COVID-19 symptoms

After much back and forth over whether to use paracetamol over ibuprofen if people showed COVID-19 symptoms, the WHO has updated its advice via their official Twitter account. 

"Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of ibuprofen."

UPDATE March 19, 8:02 AM EDT: Japanese flu drug appears to be effective in coronavirus patients, say medical authorities in China

On Wednesday, Japanese media stated that medical authorities in China praised a Japanese drug that is effective in coronavirus patients. 

The drug favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, has given positive outcomes to 340 patients undergoing clinical trials against the coronavirus in Wuhan and Shenzhen. 

Zhang Xinmin, an official of China's science and technology ministry said on Tuesday that "It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment."

Those infected with the coronavirus who took the drug tested negative after an average of four days, compared with 11 days for those recovering without it. Moreover, X-rays of the patients' lungs shows a 91% improvement with those treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% of those without it. 

Doctors in Japan are using the same drugs in clinical trials to find a treatment and vaccine against the coronavirus. It is originally intended to treat the flu, and it still needs government approval for full-scale use on COVID-19 patients.

UPDATE March 18, 7:31 AM EDT: NASA sending all 17,000 employees to work from home after two space centers confirm coronavirus cases

NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, stated on Tuesday that all 17,000 or so NASA employees would be sent him to work "until further notice." Only "mission-essential personnel" would be allowed on-site to keep working at space agency centers. 

"This is the first time NASA has been in this situation," stated a NASA spokesperson to Business Insider.

Bridenstine's statement was very clear "Effective immediately, all employees and contractors will move to mandatory telework until further notice. Mission-essential personnel will continue to be granted access onsite."

He continued "[I]t is imperative that we take this pre-emptive step to thwart further spreading of the virus among the workforce and our communities."

UPDATE March 18, 7:27 AM EDT: Daimler Group is shutting down production of vehicles in Europe for two weeks, initially

The Daimler Group, which holds numerous brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, Smart, and Freightliner trucks, announed on Tuesday that it would be shutting down its operations for "an initial period of two weeks."

The automaker made a statement to Business Insider saying that "The suspension applies to Daimler's car, van and commercial vehicle plants in Europe and will start this week."

"Connected to this is an assessment of global supply chains, which currently cannot be maintained to their full extent. An extension of this measure will depend on further developments. Wherever operations need to be continued, the company will take appropriate precautions to prevent the infection of its employees."

Other car companies to have shut down their factories are Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ducati.

UPDATE March 18, 7:23 AM EDT: Coronavirus has now been confirmed in all 50 US states

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has now officially been spread to all U.S. states, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Up until Tuesday, the only state remaining clear of the coronavirus was West Virginia, however, they too confirmed cases. The first case was confirmed in Washington state on January 20th, and in the amount of time since then every state has confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

UPDATE March 18, 7:19 AM EDT: Google, Facebook, and other major tech companies are supposedly in talks with the US government to disclose people's whereabouts to help track the spread of COVID-19

Efforts to keep social distancing at a bare minimum are spreading across the world, enforced by countries' governments. Now, supposedly major tech firms like Google and Facebook are in talks with the U.S. government to provide information about their users' locations, to try and track the spread of the virus. 

The aim would be to map out how COVID-19 is spreading. 

The project raises red flags amongst privacy advocates, however, in times like these such measures may save lives. Moreover, the data is suspected to be aggregated and anonymized and would not enable government officials to track particular individuals' movements.

UPDATE March 18, 7:14 AM EDT: Tesla told to close down its California factory for three weeks

Tesla is no exception to the San Francisco Bay area shut downs, as county officials and the local sheriff's office have asked the electric carmaker to temporarily shut down its Fremont, California, factory. 

The closure is due to last three weeks and is part of a collective effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. However, the company kept its doors open today, which was meant to be its first day of closure.

This news may come as a clash against what Tesla believes to be "essential business", which are allowed to remain open at this stage. Reportedly, Tesla's human resources head Valerie Workman stated in an email that "People need access to transportation and energy, and we are essential to providing it," as such, marking the company as an essential business. 

Other automakers have been asked to suspend their activities as well, though they are not based in the Bay area. 

UPDATE March 18, 7:09 AM EDT: A China study states that people with blood type A may be more susceptible to the coronavirus

Preliminary research in Wuhan and Shenzhen in China points towards the fact that people with this blood type had a higher rate of infection of COVID-19 than any other type. On the flip side, those with blood type O had a lower rate of infection. 

The medical researchers in China took blood group patterns of more than 2,000 patients who had been infected with the coronavirus and compared them with local healthy people's. In doing so, they discovered that people with blood type A had a higher risk of infection than others, and that those with type O had a stronger resistance. 

Even though this is only a preliminary research with more work needing to be carried out, the researchers urged governments and medical facilities to take this into consideration when planning for mitigating measures or when treating patients.

UPDATE March 18, 7:07 AM EDT: US, Canada close mutual border to non-essential travel

The U.S. and Canada have mutually decided to "temporarily restrict all nonessential travel across the Canada-U.S. border," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, reports Politico.

U.S. President Donald Trump also made an announcement on Twitter this Wednesday, to the same effect.

The collaborative move will almost completely close the largest non-militarized land border on Earth, representing the latest international restriction on normal activity as the novel coronavirus sweeps the planet and cases grow in number in both Canada and the U.S.

No one will be allowed to cross the border — north- or south-bound — for recreational reasons, said Trudeau, according to Politico. However, travel deemed "essential" — like shipping food, medicine, and fuel — will continue, he said.

Americans and Canadians engaged in "essential" work, or who possess "urgent" reasons for border-crossing will be allowed to do so, said Trudeau — who added that more details will soon follow.

"Travel restrictions will not apply to commerce or trade," said the Canadian Prime Minister.

The decision was made jointly and represents the most dramatic closure of the U.S.-Canadian border since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

UPDATE March 18, 5:00 AM EDT: Cuba develops effective treatment to fight CoViD-19 coronavirus, despite US blockade

A Cuban drug called Interferon Alpha 2B has proven effective in fighting the CoViD-19 coronavirus pandemic, reports OnCuba News.

The Cuban pharmaceutical industry is primed to begin treatment on thousands of possible CoViD-19 patients on the island nation, according to President of the BioCubaFarma Business Group Eduardo Martínez.

Last Friday, he said that 22 drugs produced in Cuba are part of a protocol envisioned on the island to combat the coronavirus disease. Of the disease, he said, "we have for the treatment of thousands of people and we are preparing to significantly increase the production of those with less coverage," according to OnCuba.

He added that "the vast majority of products that appear in the Cuban protocol are domestically manufactured"  — even though some are imported, according to OnCuba. Martínez pointed to the antiviral recombinant Interferon Alpha 2B — which has seen success in China — as a viable means of treating the disease.

"We think we are capable of satisfying not only the possible demand in Cuba but also the requests that we are getting from other countries, and that are increasing day by day," said Eulogio Pimentel, director of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), according to OnCuba. Pimental added that roughly 15 countries from several continents have already asked for or shown interest in this and other Cuban-made medicines.

UPDATE March 17, 4:27 PM EDT: EU Commission president said a German company might have a coronavirus vaccine by this fall

President Ursula von der Leyen of the EU Commission has said that a German company might have a coronavirus vaccine by the fall, according to a tweet by The Spectator Index.

This comes on the heels of a multimillion-dollar investment of the European Union in CureVac — German company — on Monday, which ABC News said is working on a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus amid reports that the U.S. government had an interest in acquiring the firm.

The tweet and the EU-funded German company CureVac could be one and the same, but be sure to follow-up here for more updates.

The European Union's funding of CureVac is one part of a coordinated EU reaction against CoViD-19, one that will use public and private funding to push research, said the European Commission, according to ABC News.

"I am proud that we have leading companies like CureVac in the EU,' said the EU Commission president. "Their home is here, but their vaccines will benefit everyone, in Europe and beyond."

The executive body of the EU didn't mention U.S. interest in CureVac, or whether the sale could or would happen, but the EU did say it will front up to 80 million euros ($89.4 million) in support of CureVac, so it can "scale up development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus in Europe (sic)."

On Monday, CureVac denied reports that the government of the U.S. had taken action to acquire the company.

"CureVac has not received from the U.S. government or related entities an offer before, during and since the task force meeting in the White House on March 2," said the company on Twitter.

UPDATE March 17, 3:04 PM EDT: European Union will close all borders for 30 days in an attempt to curb the effects of the coronavirus pandemic

Leaders of the European Union agreed to close all external borders of the area in the latest attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, CNBC reports.

Angela Merkel — Chancellor of Germany — announced that the EU would close all external borders at a press conference on Tuesday, according to CNBC. Travel between member nations of the European Union will however still be allowed, she added.

"The union and its member states will do whatever it takes," said European Council President Charles Michel, reports CNBC. Michel added that the EU would take care to ensure the repatriation of EU citizens outside of EU member countries.

This comes amid similar steps taken by several other countries to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Justin Trudeau — prime minister of Canada — announced Canadian borders were to close to all foreigners on Monday, making an allowance for U.S. citizens.

UPDATE March 17, 10:21 AM EDT: China approves the first stage of clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine

Reuters reported that China has given the green light for researchers at China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, who are affiliated to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), to begin early-stage clinical human trials of a vaccine starting this week. 

Currently in "Phase 1", the clinical trial will examine if an experimental shot is safe to use on 108 healthy volunteers. The test will be carried out from March 16 until December 31. 

The news was shared on Tuesday by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily. The trial is being led by China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, and a Hong Kong-listed biotech firm CanSino Biologics, as per the clinical trial registration database.

UPDATE March 17, 9:20 AM EDT: Amazon looking to hire 100,000 more workers as online orders rise

On Monday, Amazon said that it needs to hire 100,000 new employees in the U.S. to keep up with its rising online orders. As more people are staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, more are taking to buying goods online. 

The company also stated that it would offer a pay rise of $2 an hour through until the end of April to every hourly worker. Those who work for Amazon in the U.K. and European countries would see a similar pay rise. 

Dave Clark who oversees Amazon's warehouse and delivery network stated "We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year."

The company is attempting to keep a handle on its operations, having already said it could take longer than the usual two days for orders to arrive. 

UPDATE March 17, 9:09 AM EDT: EU leaders meeting a second time to discuss a joint response to the novel coronavirus 

On Tuesday, the European Union's leaders are set to meet virtually for a second time in the space of two weeks to discuss their joint effort to respond to the novel coronavirus. 

Currently, most E.U. states have responded separately to the spread of the coronavirus, introducing measures on-the-go, some with partial border closings, some in lockdown, or quarantine, without much consultation amongst each other. 

Their goal is to coordinate forces to halt the spread of the coronavirus, coordinate border crossings to ensure goods and necessary products keep flowing between the 27 nations, as well as ensuring vital medical equipment and food can make its way to those in need. 

There is talk of a potential 30-day travel ban on people looking to visit Europe for tourism or non-essential business. Exceptions for long-term E.U. residents, diplomats, and members of European families would be made, and healthcare and transport workers would be exempt.

As per E.U. Council Predisent Charles Michel, the aim is "to reduce unnecessary movement but at the same time to ensure the movement of merchandise, of goods, so that we can guarantee as much as possible the integrity of the single market, guarantee the deliveries that are needed."

UPDATE March 17, 9:02 AM EDT: Russia steps up coronavirus testing 

Russian health officials have ramped up coronavirus testing for all people returning from European countries within the last 14 days.

Sharing the news on Tuesday, the health officials also stated that anyone who has returned to Russian in the last month from abroad with any flu-like symptoms should undergo mandatory testing.

Up until now, testing in Russia was only mandatory for people showing symptoms or who returned from countries where the coronavirus was rife, or those who had recently been in contact with people who had tested positive for the virus.

So far, Russia has 93 reported COVID-19 cases. Moreover, on Monday the Cabinet stated that as of Wednesday it would be closing its border to all foreign nationals, according to the Associated Press.

UPDATE March 17, 8:37 AM EDT: Elon Musk says Tesla workers don't need to go to work if they feel ill or are concerned about the novel coronavirus

To Elon Musk's knowledge, no Tesla employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Regardless, he sent all employees an email on Monday stating the following "I'd like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please do not feel obligated to come to work," Musk said.

UPDATE March 17, 5:00 AM EDT: People with type A blood could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic, reports study from China

People with type A blood could be more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus — which causes the CoViD-19 disease — but people with type O blood show more resistance, according to a new preliminary study of patients in China, who previously contracted the CoViD-19 disease, reports the South China Morning Post.

Researchers in China took blood group patterns from more than 2,000 patients who had contracted the novel virus in Wuhan and Shenzhen and contrasted them with local healthy populations. They discovered that blood type A patients show a higher rate of infection and tend to develop more severe symptoms.

While the researchers were quick to add that the study was preliminary, with more work needed, they nonetheless urged world governments and medical facilities globally to consider blood type differences when mitigating treatment priority for the virus called SARS-CoV-2.

"People of blood group A might need particularly strengthened personal protection to reduce the chance of infection," wrote the researchers of Wuhan University's Centre for Evidence-Based Translational Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital.

UPDATE March 16, 9:30 PM EDT: Hundreds of prisoners escaped from São Paulo state prisons, take hostages, in southeast Brazil

Prison uprisings, hostage-taking, and escapes from prisons in South East Brazil on Monday, following the cancelation of temporary exits for Easter because of growing concerns regarding potential infection from the deadly coronavirus upon prisoners' return, reports G1 news.

In one escape, roughly 400 inmates escaped the Centro de Progressão Penitenciária (CPP) Dr Rubens Aleixo Sendin (sic), located in Mongaguá, on the São Paulo coast, according to The Sun.

The nine hostages were released and the prisoners who hadn't escaped later returned to their wards.

The prison was holding 2,796 — almost double its 1,640-prisoner capacity — according to Brazil's Secretariat of Penitentiary Administration.

UPDATE March 16, 2:27 PM EDT: Italy declares almost 28,000 cases of the deadly coronavirus, 2,158 dead

The total number of people in Italy with the deadly coronavirus reached 27,980 on Monday, including recovered and dead, announced Angelo Borrelli, the country's Civil Protection Department chief, reports NBC News.

The total in Italy had risen by more than 3,000 the day before, said Borrelli, with almost 350 people dead, bringing the total dead so far up to 2,158.

More than 23,000 people are still infected in Italy, with more than 11,000 hospitalized. Almost 2,000 of those in a hospital are currently in intensive care, with roughly 10,000 in isolation in their homes.

Much of the EU-member state remains in lockdown in hopes of curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

UPDATE March 16, 1:46 PM EDT: Canada closes all borders to noncitizens amid fears of spreading coronavirus, U.S. citizens exempt 'for the moment'

Canada has closed its borders to all noncitizens as a response to the growing threat of the deadly coronavirus, but Justin Trudeau —Canadian prime minister — added that the ban doesn't include U.S. citizens "for the moment," reports CNBC.

"We can still slow the spread of this virus," said Trudeau at a press conference at Rideau Cottage, Ottawa, where he decalred that the border would close, according to CNBC.

"It is time to take every precaution to keep people safe."

As of writing, the ban will not affect shipment of goods in the country.

UPDATE March 16, 7:30 AM EDT: WHO urges rapid escalation in global coronavirus response, specifically for testing and isolation

The World Health Organization held a briefing to update the media on the present status on the global pandemic of the deadly coronavirus and criticized global efforts on what the agency's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described as lacking an "urgent enough" response, arguing for a more comprehensive approach to the crisis, reports TechCrunch.

In previously-readied remarks to begin the Q&A for media, Ghebreyesus said that while so far we have "seen a rapid escalation in social distancing measures, like closing schools and canceling spring events," there still have not been sufficient efforts on a global scale in the sense of "testing, isolation and contact tracing," which he argued represents the "backbone of the response."

"You cannot fight a fire blindfolded," said the director-general. "And we cannot stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case. If they test positive, isolate them and find out who they have been in close contact with up to two days before they developed symptoms, and test those people too."

In total, the agency noted it had shipped 1.5 million tests to 120 countries so far. The U.S., specifically, has lagged behind its peers in terms of testing, having refused the WHO tests offered and instead preferring to develop its own CDC-developed tests, whose rollout schedule appears to some as more smoke-and-mirrors than not.

Based on data from last week, reports TechCrunch, despite private lab tests coming online to supplement the CDC-issued labs, the U.S. is still far behind the U.K., South Korea, Japan, Italy, and many others in terms of a per capita testing basis.

UPDATE March 16, 7:07 AM EDT: China case study believes that coronavirus cannot be transmitted from pregnant mothers to newborns

Four babies born in a hospital in Wuhan, the outbreak's epicenter, did not show signs of the infection and remain healthy today. 

A little bit of good news amist the storm: pregnant women most likely do not transmit the coronavirus to their newborns at birth. The findings of the Chinese professors working on this research were published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.

The babies that were observed were immediately placed in neonatal intensive care units and fed formula. Three of the four babies observed tested negative for the coronavirus, whereas the fourth baby's mother refused to have the test carried out. 

All four babies are healthy and their mothers have fully recovered from the coronavirus.

UPDATE March 16, 7:04 AM EDT: Trump administration confirms coronavirus mobile testing kits will be launched this week

On Sunday the federal government confirmed that it would be rolling out a nationwide coronavirus testing kit this week at mobile sites across the country.

By the end of the end, there should be 1.9 million test kits available to as many as 2,000 labs nationwide. Brett Giroir, a top deputy to health secretary Alex Azar, stated "We believe we’ve created a model, based on the public health and the FEMA system, that is optimized, that can be used for drive-through or potentially walk-through [testing]. Each of these pod-based units, we believe, can screen 2,000 to 4,000 individuals a day."

UPDATE March 16, 6:58 AM EDT: More than 3,800 passengers disembark from a cruise ship in Miami without any screening or testing for coronavirus whatsoever

Nearly 4,000 passengers from the MSC Meraviglia cruise ship have disembarked in Miami without any coronavirus testing. What's even more worrying than that is that a previous passenger on the same cruise ship had previously tested positive for the virus about a week beforehand. 

Unlike other cruise ships around the world, the MSC Meraviglia was not held offshore while coronavirus tests were carried out on its passengers and crew. Instead, all passengers were able to disembark freely. 

A passenger who reqested anonymity when speaking with the Miami Herald stated "When I say there was no check, there was none whatsoever. I expected us to have some kind of a screening. They didn't do a single thing. We walked straight off the ship. There wasn't any check on anyone for anything."

UPDATE March 16, 6:49 AM EDT: NY and LA's restaurants, bars, and other public spaces ordered to shut down

New York and Los Angeles join many of the cities worldwide to have their bars, restaurants, theaters, and cinemas shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed interest rates, and other central banks have taken similar agressive steps to try and minimize the economic impact the virus will have. However, as of Monday the stock markets and the dollar continue to plummet. 

Nations in South and Central America are closing more and more of their borders, also in a bid to curb the pandemic in the region.

UPDATE March 16, 6:43 AM EDT: The U.K. asks over 70-year-olds to self-isolate for four months

In order to protect the more vulnerable and susceptible from the coronavirus, the U.K.'s health secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that people over the age of 70 will soon be asked to self-isolate for four months. 

Hancock confirmed to Sky that "That is in the action plan, yes, and we will be setting it out with more detail when it is the right time to do so because we absolutely appreciate that it is a very big ask of the elderly and the vulnerable, and it’s for their own self-protection."

The U.K. is taking some of these drastic measures, yet has yet to confirm whether or not gatherings of over 500 people will be banned. 

So far there have been 1,140 coronavirus cases across the U.K., and as of Saturday 21 confirmed deaths

UPDATE March 16, 6:39 AM EDT: Germany has closed its borders with Austria, France, and Switzerland

On Monday, Germany officially closed its borders to neighbouring countries, Austria, France, and Switzerland in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as well as bulk shopping by the borders. 

Free movements of goods as well as commuters will still be able to cross the borders. 

So far Germany has 5,426 coronavirus cases, and 11 deaths, and Chancellor Angela Merkel predicts that 70% of the overall population will infected.

Berlin and Cologne have already closed all bars, clubs, cinemas, theatres, and concert halls. Schools and universities are also shutting this week until the end of the Easter holidays. 

UPDATE March 16, 6:34 AM EDT: More events suspended as coronavirus spreads around the world

The latest events to be suspended are NASCAR, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), and Formula-E racing. 

NASCAR stated that "We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport. We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we assess future race events."

The USTA announced its events would be cancelled until at least April 20th.

And Formula-E 's chairman and founder, Alejandro Agag officially stated that "Motorsport plays a major part in our lives and it is important, but what is more important is the health and safety of our staff, fans and their families, as well as citizens in the cities we race."

UPDATE March 16, 6:25 AM EDT: First participant in a coronavirus vaccine trial tested on Monday

As researchers around the world work hard at finding a vaccine for the coronavirus, for which there exists no current cure, one participant in the U.S. will trial an experimental dose on Monday.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial which is taking place in Seattle. There has not yet been a public announcement, as this is still in its trial stages. 

Public health officials warn that it would most likely take up to 18 months for a vaccine to come through. 

Dozens of research groups around the world are working towards finding a vaccine for the coronavirus.

UPDATE March 16, 3:30 AM EDT: Possible 'cure' for coronavirus found in Australia

A team of researchers in Australia claims to have found a cure to the novel coronavirus and aim to enroll patients in a nationwide trial by the end of March, reports news.com.au.

Director of the University of Queensland's Centre for Clinical Research Professor David Paterson said to news.com.au that his team of researchers saw two drugs — also used to treat other conditions — completely wipe out the novel coronavirus in test tubes.

"It's a potentially effective treatment," said Peterson.

Both drugs are registered and fully available in Australia.

At the moment, Paterson and his team wish to conduct a large-scale clinical trial across Australia, using 50 hospitals to compare and contrast results from one drug to the other.

Until the drugs are fully tested across Australia and begin to see global success, it's best to proceed with cautious optimism. But, for now, the world is surely holding its breath. 

UPDATE March 15, 6:52 PM EDT: New York City closes the largest US public school system to slow the spread of coronavirus

New York City will close the largest U.S. public school system on Monday, urging more than 1.1 million children to stay home to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus, reports The Guardian.

This came via an announcement from New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who called it a "very troubling moment."

The New York City mayor decided to close public schools through at least April 20 of this year — and possibly for the rest of the school year, on the heels of an increasing number of closures in communities and entire states across the country and growing pressure from New York City residents, city council members, and teachers.

De Blasio called his decision a "very troubling moment, a moment when I'm just distraught at having to take this action, but I became convinced over the course of today that there is no other choice."

In the same announcement, the New York mayor said there were now five deaths in the city and that he is ordering the end of elective surgeries.

UPDATE March 15, 1:41 PM EDT: Italy reports 3,590 new cases and 368 new deaths

On Sunday, Italy reported 3,590 new cases and 368 new deaths, raising the total to 24,747 cases and 1,809 dead.

UPDATE March 15, 6:00 AM EDT: Ferrari to close Italy factories for two weeks

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Ferrari revealed on Saturday it closed its two Italian plants until March 27. The firm has been struggling with a shortage of parts.

In a statement, the company claimed it was "now experiencing the first serious supply chain issues, which no longer allow for continued production." 

UPDATE March 13, 4:36 PM EDT: Trump has declared a national emergency, adds he will 'likely' be tested

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday in response to the rapid growth of deadly coronavirus cases amid rampant criticism about his response so far to the crisis, reports ABC News.

He added that he will "most likely" be tested himself, despite having no official symptoms. "I think I will be," said Trump. "Fairly soon, we're working on that, we're working out a schedule," he said in reply to a reporter's question, adding that it's not because of exposure he may have had, "but because I think I will do it anyway."

Trump was photographed last weekend standing next to a coronavirus-infected Brazilian official.

Speaking in the Rose Garden, the President said: "To unleash the full power of the federal government, I am officially declaring a national emergency." He referred to it as "two very big words," and added that this would let him send $50 billion to U.S. states, territories, and localities "in our shared fight against this disease."

UPDATE March 13, 1:32 PM EDT: Eiffel Tower and Louvre in Paris to close as Macron confronts coronavirus outbreak

The world-renowned Parisian attraction seen for centuries as a symbol of the French capital has joined the Louvre in closing down, reports Express.

It will be closed down at 9:00 PM local time.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced school closures in a televised address of the nation on Thursday. He also stressed the need for people to avoid close contact for fear of spreading the virus that has already killed 61 people in the EU-member state, and infected nearly 3,000.

Attracting roughly 30,000 visitors every day, the Eiffel Tower is a potential breeding ground for the virus. The Louvre will refund all who bought advance tickets to its exhibitions.

UPDATE March 13, 1:30 PM EDT: Italy sees coronavirus deaths jump 250 in one day, with more than 2,500 cases

Deaths from coronavirus in Italy have jumped by 250 in one day, the biggest 24-hour rise yet seen in the hardest-hit EU-member state, reports AP News.

As of writing the count of Italian coronavirus cases has soared to more than 2,500 cases.

UPDATE March 13, 10:57 AM EDT: Spain is to declare a state of emergency amid coronavirus

The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, stated on Friday afternoon that the cabinet would convene on Saturday 14 March to declare a state of emergency in the country. 

So far Spain has over 4,200 confirmed cases and 120 deaths

In calling a state of emergency the government then has more freedom to limit its residents' movements, to temporarily requisition goods, and to ration basic items. 

The state of emergency will apply for two weeks, after when the government can decide to extend it with parliamentary approval. 

UPDATE March 13, 10:53 AM EDT: Nepal closes Mount Everest to all climbers

The Nepalese government issued a statement on Friday saying it has closed all of its Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest, during this climbing season amid the coronavirus fears. The season lasts until the end of May.

The Asian nation typically makes $4.4 million each year thanks to permit fees for climbing Mount Everest. 

So far, Nepal has only confirmed one case out of 450 tested cases of coronavirus. 

UPDATE March 13, 10:50 AM EDT: Coronavirus sufferers roughly start showing symptoms after five days

If you have the coronavirus you will most likely be symptom-free for five days, said a study that also then reinforced the requirement for a 14-day quarantine period. 

A very small number of people needed the entire two weeks to show symptoms, with the majority starting to feel ill around day five

Senior author of the report and from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Justin Lessler said "Based on our analysis of publicly available data, the current recommendation of 14 days for active monitoring or quarantine is reasonable, although with that period some cases would be missed over the long term."

UPDATE March 13, 10:40 AM EDT: Scientists say that placing Wuhan on lockdown slowed down the spread by 80%

In a new study, scientists have stated that the decision to place Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, under lockdown in late January most likely slowed down the spread of the virus by 80%

The study found that case importations to other nations fell by 77% when international flights were halted to and from China. The import of cases in other countries then began to decline in mid-February 

The team has used a global disease transmission model known as Global Epidemic and Mobility Model (GLEAM). 

UPDATE March 13, 10:33 AM EDT: Latin America preparing itself for coronavirus oubreak by minimizing Europe travel links

The region has so far confirmed three deaths due to the coronavirus. In preparation of the outbreak hitting the region, Latin American nations have restricted travel links with Europe.

Still low compared with global figured, the region has reported more than 250 cases across 15 countries, and three deaths

The Peruvian government has suspended flights from Asia. And Edgar Melgarejo, president of Paraguay's National Directorate of Civil Aeronautics stated "This decision has been taken regionally, so there will be no flights to our continent from Europe."

Latin America's largest airline, Latam, is canceling 30% of its international flights for a two-month period. The measure will mostly affect flights to and from Europe and the U.S. to the region between April 1 and May 30, said Latam. 

Argentina has suspended flights from the worst-affected international countries, and declared a year-long health emergency. In Bolivia, schools and universities have been suspended, as well as travel restrictions put in place.

UPDATE March 13, 10:30 AM EDT: Disneyland in California will close its doors until at least the end of March

As of Saturday Disneyland in Anaheim, California will close its doors amid the coronavirus fears. As the world's second most-visited theme park it attracts over tens of thousands of visitors each day. 

It won't open at least until the end of March. 

A statement issued on Thursday said "After carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California's executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure." 

UPDATE March 13, 10:24 AM EDT: NYC declares state of emergency

The city has now confirmed 95 cases of coronavirus, with 42 reported just in the last 24 hours. Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that this number could reach as high as 1,000 by next week. 

As such, Mayor de Blasio has issued a state of emergency in the city of New York, and warns that the crisis in the city could last as long as six months. 

The declaration enables the city to have a large range of authority, from creating curfews, shutting down public transport, closing public spaces, rationing goods, to imposing cost restrictions. 

More than 1,780 people are under voluntary quarantine in the city, and an additional 29 are under mandatory quarantine.

UPDATE March 12, 1:33 PM EDT: Another shocking 189 deaths in Italy over 24 hours from coronavirus

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has shot up yet again in the last day, this time by 189, bringing the total to 1,016 killed by the deadly coronavirus — a 23% rise — according to the Civil Protection Agency, on Thursday, reports U.S. News.

Italy is the hardest-hit European country by far, with 15,113 cases, up from 12,462 yesterday. This is the biggest 24-hour rise in coronavirus figures since the outbreak first made headlines on Feb. 21.

The Italian agency added that — of people initially infected — 1,258 had fully recovered compared to 1,045 the day before. Roughly 1,153 people were held in intensive care, compared to 1,028 from the previous day.

UPDATE March 12, 11:01 AM EDT: For the first time in 260 years New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade has been postponed

The iconic New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade has been a yearly occurrence since 1762, but now amid the coronavirus pandemic the parade has been officially postponed

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on Wednesday following the WHO's declaration that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic. 

Gov. Cuomo stated "While I know the parade organizers did not make this decision lightly, public health experts agree that one of the most effective ways to contain the spread of the virus is to limit large gatherings and close contacts."

Typically, the parade boasts around 150,000 marchers, and attracts crowds of around two million spectators

Similarly, St. Patrick's Day Parades in Chicago and Boston have also been canceled this year.

UPDATE March 12, 10:58 AM EDT: Iceland has over 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus cases

Iceland confirmed on Wednesday that the island nation has 81 confirmed coronavirus cases. Out of a population of around 364,000 people, the number of infections could rise rapidly. 

Approximately 600 people are in quarantine, and 70 are in isolation. 

UPDATE March 12, 10:51 AM EDT: UEFA will hold discussions next week to decide what crisis steps to take 

UEFA will hold a crisis talk on Tuesday 17 March over the Champions League, the Europa League, and the Euro 2020 to discuss postponements and cancelations. 

Representatives from all 55 member associations have been invited to partake via Skype. 

As the European continent slowly comes to a standstill amid more and more coronavirus cases, the European football's governing body has to decide how the major competitions will proceed. Many believe that cancelations or postponements of all fixtures will take place. 

UPDATE March 12, 10:48 AM EDT: NBA season suspended after player tests positive for coronavirus

The basketball NBA league announced on Wednesday that this season would be suspended after a player preliminarily tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The news was shared after the game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was suddenly postponed on Wednesday evening. 

As per the NBA's statement: "The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."

UPDATE March 12, 10:42 AM EDT: For the first time since 1962 Iran asks the IMF for immediate financial assistance

On Thursday, Iran sought financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the nation has been severely hit by the coronavirus outbreak. 

According to a tweet by Iran's top diplomat, the IMF's chief Kristina Georgieva had "stated that countries affected by #Covid19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument (RFI)."

Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly tweeted back "Our central bank requested access to this facility immediately."

This will be the first time since 1962 that Iran has requested monetary assistance from the IMF. The request has yet to be confirmed.

As it stands, Iran has over 10,000 cases of coronavirus infections, and approximately 430 deaths. The WHO requested for Iran to receive more support in order to fight the oubreak in the country.

UPDATE March 12, 10:36 AM EDT: Actors Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have coronavirus

One of the highest profile celebrities in the world, Tom Hanks, confirmed on Wednesday evening that him and his wife Rita Wilson, also an actor, tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Mr. Hanks who is currently in Australia filming a movie about the life of Elvis Presley, also announced that he and his wife will be keeping themselves in isolation as long as the public requires. 

UPDATE March 12, 10:31 AM EDT: Denmark becomes second country in Europe to set strict lockdown regulations

At a press conference on Wednesday evening, Denmark's PM Mette Frederiksen announced that public sector workers who do not perform critical functions will be sent home on paid leave. Public sector employees are encouraged to work from home as much as possible. 

Indoor events with more than 100 participants are banned, and kindergartens, schools and universities are to close for two weeks

Denmark has yet to confirm any deaths linked to the coronavirus, however the number of infected cases keeps increasing, with a total of 1,303 confirmed as of Wednesday. 

UPDATE March 12, 10:28 AM EDT: India effectively quarantines itself from the rest of the world for a month

As the WHO announced that the coronavirus is to be considered a pandemic on Wednesday, India reacted by virtually putting itself in quarantine for a month

All visas from outside nations will be suspended, except for those of diplomatic, official, U.N. and international organizations, and employment projects, until April 15

UPDATE March 12, 10:23 AM EDT: The U.S. will loan $50 billion to small businesses and defer taxes, said Trump 

President Donald Trump stated that individuals, and small and mid-sized businesses a three-month tax deferation in order to fight the economic impact the nation is feeling amid the coronavirus. 

Moreover, effective immediately the country will offer affected companies $50 billion more in low-interest loans.

The move is meant to keep markets liquid, and businesses and consumers spending.

UPDATE March 12, 10:14 AM EDT: President Donald Trump suspends all travel from most of Europe to the U.S. for 30 days

U.S. President Trump announced on Wednesday that the U.S. would temporarily ban most travel from European Union countries to the U.S. as the country tries to keep a handle on the coronavirus situation. 

The suspension is due to begin on Friday and will last 30 days. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or to passengers from the U.K.

UPDATE March 11, 4:56 PM EDT: Italy has ordered all shops to close except pharmacies and food stores

Italy has ordered all shops except pharmacies and food stores to close amid the growing coronavirus outbreak, reports the Huffington Post.

The entire country of Italy is in lockdown.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared the new retail restrictions to the lockdown on Wednesday, once developing figures showed the country posting the highest daily rate of deaths of any country in the world.

The record-breaking death of 196 people dead in 24 hours came on the heels of the World Health Organization's declaration that the coronavirus is a global pandemic.

Hairdressers and beauty parlors will also be closed, in addition to restaurants and bars unable to provide its employees a minimum distance of one meter (3.3 feet) from customers.

"We will only be able to see the effects of this great effort in a couple of weeks," said Giuseppe about daily updates on the number of deaths and cases of the novel coronavirus.

UPDATE March 11, 4:07 PM EDT: 196 more people dead in Italy from coronavirus, raising death toll to 827

The coronavirus outbreak's death toll has risen 31%, leaving 196 dead in just 24 hours in Italy, as European governments cancel events, close schools and issue draconian travel bans, following the World Health Organization's official designation of the novel virus as a pandemic, The Guardian reports.

Italy, which on Monday banned 62 million people from all travel unless certified as justified by health officials, was faced with calls to enact even stronger restrictions in the European nation's most coronavirus-afflicted areas.

Italy is the hardest-hit EU member state, where cases of the deadly coronavirus rose on Wednesday from 10,149 to 12,462, reports The Guardian.

UPDATE March 11, 12:30 PM EDT: World Health Organization has officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

The World Health Organization officially designated the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on Wednesday as the deadly coronavirus — previously unknown to the world only three months ago — has swept the world, and spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and now even large areas of the United States.

"In the past two weeks the number of cases outside China increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference at the WHO's HQ in Geneva, reports CNBC.

Tedros added that several countries have shown the capability to suppress and control the deadly pandemic, scolding world leaders who failed to act quickly or drastically enough to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

"We're deeply concerened both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction," said Tedros, moments before declaring the pandemic.

"We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear," he said.

UPDATE March 11, 10:51 AM EDT: Israel's Ministry of Health adds extra measures to limit spread of coronavirus

Adding to previous implementations, Israel's Ministry of Health has now decided that all foreign nationals arriving into Israel starting from Thursday 12 March at 8 PM must undergo home quanrantine conditions for 14 days from the date of their entry into the country. 

The announcement also stated "This provision extends earlier implemented limitations that were applied on arriving from: Austria, Italy, Andorra, Germany, Japan, Egypt, China (People's Rep.), Macau (SAR China),  Hong Kong (SAR China), Singapore, San Marino, Spain, France, South Korea (Rep.), Switzerland and Thailand which has been in effect until now."

Israeli citizens, including their spouses and children, as well as residents with a valid Israeli I.D. entering the country from abroad will also have to go through 14 days of home quarantine upon re-entering Israel. 

An email written at least five days in advance must be sent to the Consular Department of the relevant Israeli Embassy in the source country ahead of the scheduled trip. 

All relevant information can be found here.

UPDATE: March 11, 10:48 AM EDT: U.S. reaches 1,000 coronavirus cases, calling officials to cancel more and more large gatherings

On Tuesday the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached 1,000, leading many officials to clamp down on restrictions. 

More and more students are being called to take online classes, and large gatherings are being banned in certain counties and states. 

"We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

UPDATE: March 11, 10:41 AM EDT: First New Jersey resident to die of coronavirus

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that its first resident to die of the coronavirus had been registered. The patient was a man in his sixties living in Bergen county and had underlying health issues, as per news reports. He had been admitted into Hackensack University Medical Center on March 6th. 

According to WPIX-TV, there are 31 New Jersey residents under investigation for possible coronavirus infection.

The man in question is the first to die due to the coronavirus in the Northeastern part of the U.S., and brings the total amount of reported coronavirus deaths to 28.

UPDATE March 11, 10:35 AM EDT: San Francisco spending $5 million towards protecting the homeless amid the coronavirus outbreak

The $5 million will go towards deep-cleaning homeless shelters, supportive housing building, and Single Room Occupancies (SROs) daily. 

As it stands, San Francisco has 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and is taking as many necessary precautions to minimize the impact of the outbreak on the city. The 25,000 or so people living on the streets of the city are deemed as being more at risk of contracting the virus. 

The news was announced on Monday, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared that dozens of hired cleaners would start working on the project. Moreover, the funds will also be used to keep these homeless shelters open 24/7.

UPDATE March 11, 10:27 AM EDT: Massachusetts announces state of emergency amid coronavirus

On Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency in the state after 92 residents tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Gov. Baker stated that this declaration would enable his government to "respond to this evolving outbreak," with more flexibility. 

51 new reported cases of coronavirus were declared on Tuesday, bringing the total to 92 in the East coast state. The U.S. currently has 750 reported cases of coronavirus and 28 deaths. 

UPDATE March 11, 10:21 AM EDT: New Rochelle county, New York, facing crackdowns on large gatherings

Wuhan and Italy are both on complete lockdown, and now New Rochelle county in the state of New York is facing similar crackdowns in social restrictions. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that schools and places of worship with a 1-mile radius of New Rochelle would be closed for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus — there's an exception for grocery stores that will remain open as usual. 

New Rochelle saw a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, hence the restrictions. 

"This is not an exclusion or quarantine zone. No one is prohibited from entering or leaving the area," New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said. "This does not affect individual homeowners or families or businesses. It is purely a prohibition on large gatherings in order to make sure the spread of the virus is mitigated to the greatest degree possible."

UPDATE March 11, 10:19 AM EDT: Millions of coronavirus test kits on their way to clinics and labs in the U.S.

Vice President of the U.S., Mike Pence, told reporters on Monday evening that coronavirus test kits are on their way to labs and clinics nationwide. 

"Over a million tests have been distributed," Pence said, and "before the end of this week, another 4 million tests will be distributed."

Pence also stated that costs for testing would be covered by all health insurances, and that all restrictions on its testing would be lifted.

UPDATE March 10, 6:41 PM EDT: UK health minister in isolation after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus

The UK Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that a health minister — Nadine Dorries — is now in isolation after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, reports The Guardian.

An MP for Mid Bedfordshire and junior health minister, Dorries was confirmed infected by a spokeswoman who first told the Times that Dorries was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 and said a fuller-statement was imminent.

UPDATE March 10, 5:53 PM EDT: Turkey's health minister confirms the country's first case of deadly coronavirus

Turkey's minister of health, Fahrettin Koca, has confirmed the country's first positive case of the coronavirus, reports News Observatory.

"The first case of the virus was detected in Turkey," he said early in the morning, local Istanbul time.

This comes hours after an earlier speech by Koca to the Turkish parliament's Health Committee, in the capital, Ankara. During the initial speech, Koca told the public to take precautions against the virus throughout March.

"We should limit human touch, travel abroad as little as possible, self-quarantine ourselves, and take special care of the elderly," he said.

UPDATE March 10, 5:05 PM EDT: U.S. Democratic Primary Candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden cancel Tuesday campaign events amid coronavirus concerns, reports AP

Both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have canceled campaign events scheduled for Tuesday, reports the AP.

Sanders planned to speak at a convention center in Cleveland, Ohio, as results came in from six states voting on Tuesday in the Democratic presidential contests. But he canceled the event roughly three hours before it was slated to begin, and his campaign declared decisions to move forward or cancel future events would happen on a case-by-case basis, reports AP.

The AP report quotes Sanders' campaign spokesman Mike Casca, who said: "Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonights rally in Cleveland (sic). We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis."

While a Biden spokesman intimated that the former vice president's event would go forward as planned, the Biden campaign later released a statement that pulled the plug on the event, AP reports.

UPDATE March 10, 3:32 PM EDT: Apple has updated iPhone guidelines for cleaning amid growing coronavirus concerns 

On Monday, Apple updated its website to include instructions for cleaning Apple devices, allowing customers to use alcohol wipes as the coronavirus crisis continues its global growth, reports the New York Post.

"Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces," said the company.

For years, the iPhone-maker has told users to avoid using bleach on any of its products and instead suggested consumers avoid getting any moisture on the phone, for fear of some slipping in openings, or in submerging products completely in cleaning agents.

UPDATE March 10, 8:32 AM EDT: New study says that at least 15 million people will die of the coronavirus

According to a new study, the best-case scenario sees 15 million people dying of the coronavirus. The research was carried out by the Australian National University, and also stated that the global GDP could decrease by as much as $2.3 trillion even if the virus creates a "low-end" pandemic. 

In their worst-case scenario, the global death toll would reach a staggering 68 million. In keeping with the negative trend, again during a worst-case scenario case, certain countries' economies could shrink by as much as eight percent.

The two researchers who published the paper, Warwick McKibbon and Roshen Fernando, stated that "even a contained outbreak could significantly impact the global economy in the short run".

UPDATE March 10, 8:31 AM EDT: Apple to reportedly give retail workers unlimited sick leave if symptomatic of coronavirus, says 9to5Mac

The website 9to5Mac reports that Apple's retail arm will allow workers to take unlimited sick leave — without a doctor's note. At present, the company's U.S. retail stores remain open, but it's unknown how long this will go on.

It's also unknown whether employees who take this sick leave will be paid through their absence, despite Apple CEO Tim Cook's statement that his employees working from home will receive normal pay, the report says.

An internal memo sent over the weekend and obtained by Bloomberg shows Cook telling his staff at Apple's California, Seattle, Japan, Germany, South Korea, France, Italy, UK, and Switzerland offices that this week they may work from home "if their job allows."

The latest measures reportedly taken by Apple to protect its staff from the deadly coronavirus reflect steps taken by its peers.

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter have also asked their staff to distance themselves from their Silicon Valley and Seattle HQs. Meanwhile, Google and Square (owned by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey) have ceased in-person interviews.

UPDATE March 10, 8:26 AM EDT: Entirety of Italy under lockdown

Tuesday morning saw the whole of Italy put in lockdown mode. The only reasons for any movement within the nation is only possible for "proven work needs or situations of necessity", or "serious health reasons."

The lockdown started on Tuesday 10 March and extends until April 3rd

Anyone who needs to move from one municipality to another has to have a justification as well as a self-certification. There is a form to download that has to be completed and shown when being checked. Each citizen has to be able to prove the reasons for their movement. 

As of March 9, Italy counted 9,172 cases of coronavirus, of whom 463 have already died, 724 have recovered so far, and over 700 are in intensive care. Italy is now the worst-hit country after China.

UPDATE March 10, 8:30 AM EDT: New York to produce its own hand sanitizer amid shortages

There has been a widespread shortage of hand sanitizer available during the coronavirus outbreak, as so many people around the world have been rushing to order bottles of the product. 

In a bid to curb bacteria and the virus from spreading, New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, stated on Monday that the state will be producing it's very own hand sanitizer. It'll go by the name of NYS Clean. 

At the press conference, Gov. Cuomo stated "We are introducing New York State Clean hand sanitizer, made conveniently by the State of New York." Cuomo went on to describe it as a "superior product to products now on the market." It'll supposedly have a higher alcohol content than that of Purrell's. 

There is no current table for the sanitizer, but the costs will range from $6.10 for a gallon of the product, to $0.84 for the smallest bottle. 

The hope is that price gouging for hand sanitizer will stop occurring, and people can go on in peace of mind with cleaner hands.

UPDATE March 10, 8:14 AM EDT: 31 out of 35 patients in Washington Life Care home infected with coronavirus

Washington state's Life Care nursing home confirmed on Monday that 31 out of their current 35 patients have contracted the coronavirus. Out of the four people who do not supposedly have coronavirus, one tested negative, and three were inconclusive. More testing will be carried out on the latter three

For the time being, those who tested positive will not be moved to hospitals unless their medical situation worsens. Those who have tested negative or inconclusive will be moved to another wing of the Life Care home. 

Employees of the establishment have not yet been tested. 

UPDATE March 9, 2:55 PM EDT: Netanyahu declares anyone entering Israel from abroad will be subject to mandatory isolation for 14 days

Benjamin Netanyahu — the Israeli prime minister — has announced that anyone entering the Middle-Eastern nation from abroad, including Israeli nationals, will be isolated for 14 hours, reports NBC News.

"This is a tough decision, but it is essential to maintain public health — and public health precedes everything," said Netanyahu. The mandate will remain in place for at least two weeks.

The Israeli prime minister made the announcement during a series of discussions with other leaders about the deadly coronavirus outbreak. He also claimed to have plans in the works to maintain the stability of the Israeli economy.

UPDATE March 9, 12:59 EDT: COVID-19 pandemic is now a 'very real threat,' warns World Health Organization — but director adds countries are 'not at the mercy' of the novel virus as number of worldwide cases hits 111,000

The growing threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus triggering a global pandemic is now 'very real,' warned the World Health Organization, reports Daily Mail.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general, said during a conference today that humankind is not "at the mercy" of the deadly virus. He stressed that even a pandemic would be controllable by authorities.

On Monday, more than 111,000 people globally have been infected with the deadly coronavirus, which causes pneumonia, and has left at least 3,892 dead.

The number of new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in China is at present decreasing, but elsewhere outbreaks are surging upward, especially in Iran and Europe.

While the precise definition of a pandemic is not universal, there are three primary criteria: evidence of global spread, continual person-to-person transmission, and a disease that causes sudden sickness or death.

For most confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus (roughly 98%), the symptoms are a mild flu-like sickness, which is perhaps why authorities are reluctant to call it a proper pandemic.

"Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real," said the director-general at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

"But it would be the first pandemic that could be controlled. The bottom line is we are not at the mercy of the virus," he added.

UPDATE March 9, 8:34 AM EDT: Thousands of panicked Italians tried to escape its 16-million-person quarantine amid coronavirus crisis 

Thousands of people tried to flee Northern Italy following a government mandate for a 16-million-person quarantine was leaked to the press, reports Business Insider.

This comes on the heels of Italy shutting down its Northern Lombardy region, an area that includes the city of Milan and also 14 nearby provinces — constituting a national lockdown expected to last until at least April 3.

The order doesn't completely restrict movement within the quarantined areas, but it does mean that schools, museums, and theaters are closed, events like funerals and weddings are off, and restaurants and bars must keep customers at a minimum distance from one another.

While people may enter or leave the affected areas for emergencies, any entry or attempt to leave without following the new injunction may be subject to jail time.

A draft of the bill to enforce the mandate was reported by Corriere della Sera — an Italian newspaper — on Saturday, causing thousands of people to attempt an early exit before the orders were put into effect, reports the Guardian.

UPDATE March 9, 7:30 AM EDT: NASA Staff sent home 'until further notice' following employee testing positive for the deadly coronavirus

NASA has ordered staff from one of its biggest facilities home after one employee tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, reports Independent.

The space agency's Ames Research Center is now in lockdown, and staff have been informed their workplace has entered "MANDATORY telework status effective immediately and until further notice."

Located in Mountain View, California, the research center is home to several of NASA's most significant spaceflight and technology projects.

Restrictions mandate that all employees must work from home. Staff who don't have proper facilities at home or work areas like labs or who need technical equipment will be given additional information about what to do, said NASA.

The staff member who tested positive was declared infected with the coronavirus on March 8, the space agency said.

"We believe the exposure at the center has been limited but — out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with NASA Headquarters and the NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer in accordance to the agency response plans — Ames Research Center will temporarily go to a mandatory telework status until further notice."

UPDATE March 9, 6:23 AM EDT: Home testing kits for the coronavirus may soon be ready in Seattle

Thanks to a team behind a Gates Foundation-backed project, testing whether or not someone is infected with the coronavirus could become much easier and safer. 

The team has been preparing a home testing kit that is meant to be delivered to Seattle-based residents in the "coming weeks." The test includes a swab that each person takes from their nose and sends back the samples to the lab to study. The results are then provided within one or two days. 

Moreover, if someone is infected they can complete an online questionnaire completing their contact and travel habits in case officials need to notify any other persons.

The hope is that the test kit will help lower the rate of infection from spreading.

UPDATE March 9, 6:15 AM EDT: Deaths in Washington state rise to 18, and coronavirus cases increase to 136

Seventeen out of the 18 deaths due to the coronavirus in Washington state, or COVID-19, were in King County, while one was in Snohomish County. The number increased to 18 as of Sunday, as per the state Department of Health

The total number of confirmed cases has risen to 136 in the state, and roughly 1,100 have tested negatively against the virus according to data shared. 

UPDATE March 8, 4:00 AM EDT: New York City declares a state of emergency

On Saturday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus in New York City, reported The New York Times. The number of cases in the city rose to 89.

"The declaration of emergency will allow the state to speed up the purchasing of supplies and the hiring of workers to assist local health departments that have been handling the monitoring of thousands of self-quarantined patients, Mr. Cuomo said," reported The New York Times. 

UPDATE March 8, 3:30 AM EDT: Northern Italy quarantines 16 million people

Update March 9, 6:21 AM EST: As of Sunday the confirmed number of cases reported in Italy due to the coronavirus amounted to 7,375. The number of deaths rose from 233 to 366 — a rise of more than 50% in just 24 hours.

Italy has put up to 16 million people under quarantine until April 3. reported BBC. The areas affected are Milan, Venice, Lombardy and 14 other central and northern provinces.

Italy has had the largest amount of coronavirus cases in Europe. On Saturday, the number of confirmed cases jumped suddenly by more than 1,200 to 5,883.

UPDATE March 7, 9:00 AM EST: Starbucks employee in Seattle diagnosed with virus

A Starbucks barista in Seattle, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus leading the store to shut down. The employee has also self-quarantined, according to Bloomberg.

The branch located at First & University is now undergoing a deep cleaning. “We did talk with public health authorities as soon as we realized what happened,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

“These officials have encouraged us to reopen the store after further preventative cleaning, which we have already conducted, staffed by partners who have no known impact from Covid-19.”

UPDATE March 7, 8:05 AM EST: Stanford University cancels in person classes for the rest of quarter

U.S. University canceled all in person classes for the rest of the quarter according to its health alerts. "For the final two weeks of winter quarter, classes will not meet in person but will move to online formats. Large-group events also are being canceled or adjusted," said the website. There was no information as to when in person classes may be resumed.

UPDATE March 6, 4:30 PM EST: Elon Musk tweets coronavirus panic is 'dumb'

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the coronavirus panic is "dumb" in a tweet on Friday, his first known public comment on the coronavirus crisis.

UPDATE March 6, 3:30 PM EST: International tourist arrivals drop 3% due to coronavirus, reports UN

Tourists arriving at airports from international travel is due to see a sharp drop in 2020 because of the deadly coronavirus, according to the World Tourism Organization on Friday, reversing a previous prediction of substantial growth, reports Yahoo! News.

International arrivals are now expected to fall by 1.0-3.0% this year, instead of growing 3.0-4.0%, as expected at an earlier time, says the Madrid-based UN body.

This will be the first decline in the number of international tourists arriving at airports worldwide since the economic crisis in 2009.

UPDATE March 6, 11:22 AM EST: Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency aid package for coronavirus crisis

President Trump has signed an emergency supplemental spending bill to help the U.S. curb the deadly coronavirus outbreak, reports The Verge.

The package will release $8.3 billion in federal assistance to government health officials and to lend assistance to research and development of a viable vaccine. Initially, Trump only sought $2 billion to curb the deadly virus, but Congress quadrupled the amount in its new version of the bill.

"We've signed the 8.3 billion [dollars], said Trump to reporters on Friday, reports The Verge. "I asked for two and a half and I got 8.3 and I'll take it."

UPDATE March 6, 8:15 AM EST: Coronavirus has stopped 300 million students from receiving education, as per UNESCO

Around 22 countries over three continents have closed their schools for weeks on end amid fears of the coronavirus spreading. Some children have already spent weeks at home, with many partaking in online learning systems the schools have put in place.

Italy is the latest to shut its schools on Thursday until at least March 15th. 

Just two weeks ago, only China had closed its schools' doors, which goes to show just how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading around the world.

Some of the other nations where schools are shut nationwide are China, Hong Kong, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Japan, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Armenia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Mongolia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Countries that have locally closed certain schools are France, India's capital New Delhi, Pakistan, France, Germany, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the U.S., Vietnam, and the U.K.

"The global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education," stated Audrey Azoulay, director-general of Paris-based UNESCO.

UPDATE March 6, 8:11 AM EST: Apple and Google not allowing apps around coronavirus that aren't legitimately recognized

Apple and Google have seen many new apps become available amid the coronavirus as people around the world are trying to monitor the situation. 

However, the two tech giants have stated that they will only accept apps that are from credible sources and that are recognized by governments and hospitals. Google has released a list of recognized apps that share coronavirus-related information. 

Tech companies are doing their best to try and curb the spread of myths and misinformation around the coronavirus. 

UPDATE March 6, 8:08 AM EST: New York confirms 22 coronavirus cases

Officials of New York City stated on Thursday that 2,773 residents were quarantined for observation, and that there are 22 confirmed coronavirus cases statewide. The majority of the cases are in Weschester County and two New York City residents have the virus. The latter are both in critical condition in hospital in NYC.

UPDATE March 6, 8:03 AM EST: The WHO says "this is not a drill", and international stock markets keep falling amid coronavirus fears

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that "We are concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough, or have decided there is nothing they can do."

He continued, "This is not a drill, this is not a time to give up, this is not a time for excuses, this is a time for pulling out all the stops."

Just a day later on Friday, international stock markets dropped once more. In Asia sharp drops occurred in Japan, closely followed by South Korea, and Hong Kong. 

Further afield, Australia and the U.S. also saw drops in the stock market. On Wall Street, major indexes lost around 3.7%.

UPDATE March 6, 7:58 AM EST: Europe being hit by the coronavirus: Belgium cases more than double and Germany passes 530 cases

In just 24 hours the cases of coronavirus in Belgium more than doubled from 50 to 109, according to a government statement issued today, reports CNN. The majority of cases come from local residents having recently traveled to Italy. Belgium expects the number of cases to keep rising at this stage.

Neighboring Germany has confirmed over 530 cases nationwide, as per the German Center for Disease Control Robert-Koch Institute.

More live updates from CNN here.

UPDATE March 5, 3:13 PM EST: Coronavirus has undergone mutation into more aggressive disease, say scientists

The deadly coronavirus has mutated into two distinct strains, say researchers from Peking University's School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, reports The Guardian.

The "S-type" is older, milder, and less infectious than the other, "L-type" strain, which spreads more rapidly, and now represents roughly 70% of all coronavirus cases. While the L strain is more prevalent than the S strain, the latter was deemed to be the ancestral version.

A man in the U.S. underwent genetic analysis after he was confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus on Jan. 21, and was found to have both strains of the virus.

This means anyone can be infected by both strains of coronavirus, simultaneously.

This could slow efforts to research and test a viable vaccine, reports say.

UPDATE March 5, 1:05 PM EST: Global concerns about coronavirus outbreak have led to the biggest drop in global oil demand in history

Worldwide oil demand is undergoing the sharpest drop in history, because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, reports Gizmodo.

London-based financial data group IHS Markit — which recently canceled a major energy conference it hosts every year — published a research alert on Thursday, detailing how the first quarter of 2020 has not been kind to the oil industry.

The study shows an unprecedented shift in the global oil market.

COVID-19, the scientific designation for the novel virus, stopped the Chinese economy in its tracks. China is the largest importer of oil and gas in the world, which means this economic shock has sent the fossil fuel sector into a wild tailspin, one expected to worsen as other countries fight to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

UPDATE March 4, 5:10 PM EST: Los Angeles County declares health emergency amid coronavirus fears

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Public Health declared a local and public health emergency, amid growing concerns of coronavirus infection spreading across the U.S., which saw six more cases in L.A. County, reports the Los Angeles Times.

All of the new cases in L.A. County came from close contacts to lines of transmission tracing back to Wuhan, the origin of the illness, and so were not community spread, nor are any of the cases linked to the first case confirmed in L.A. County in January.

"These declarations are a swift response to this emergent issue and will enhance our ability to effectively manage our response," said Kathryn Barger, supervisor and chair of the Board of Supervisors. "These actions will allow us to have even greater coordination to protect our more than 10 million residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

UPDATE March 4, 5:00 PM EST: New York has confirmed 5 new coronavirus cases

An additional family in the State of New York has tested positive for deadly coronavirus, tweeted Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

The family is from New Rochelle and is believed to have been in close proximity with an infected attorney who has been hospitalized. The attorney and family tested positive for the deadly virus on Wednesday.

This brings the total count of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York up to 11.

UPDATE March 4, 4:51 PM EST: United Airlines cuts down on flights in the US and internationally amid drop in demand from coronavirus crisis

United Airlines is the first airline to lower its US flight schedule as passengers worried about the increased coronavirus threat buy fewer tickets, reports CNN.

Based in Chicago, United Airlines will lower the number of flights in the U.S. and Canada by 10%, and also cut overseas flights by 20% in April, according to an email sent to employees and received by CNN.

UPDATE March 4, 4:00 PM EST: California reports its first coronavirus fatality

A patient has died in Placer County, Calif., marking the first death related to the deadly virus in the state, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The patient was of advanced age, and had pre-existing medical conditions, according to Placer County Public Health. The recently-deceased patient was likely exposed while they traveled internationally from Feb. 11 to 21 on a Princess cruise ship that left San Francisco for Mexico, said the release, and then died in isolation at Kaiser Permanente Roseville.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient," said Dr. Aimee Sisson, county health officer at Placer. "While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see."

"While most cases of COVID-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, this tragic death underscores the urgent need for us to take extra steps to protect residents who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including elderly persons and those with underlying health conditions," said Sisson.

Five emergency workers and 10 health care workers who were in close proximity to the patient are now quarantined, and show no symptoms.

UPDATE March 4, 3:15 PM EST: Regeneron CEO says his company hopes to begin testing a coronavirus treatment by Summer

CEO of Regeneron Leonard Schleifer said his company hopes to have a coronavirus treatment ready for human testing by August, according to CNBC.

Deployment and viability for patient applications will depend on early animal data of the pharmaceutical company, said Schleifer on "The Exchange." "I think we can get a lot done very quickly."

Regeneron and other pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi Pasteur stress that this is a cooperative race to a viable treatment, which will be will not be overpriced.

"It doesn't do us any good, if we want to save lives, to make something that's not affordable," said Schleifer. "We will make this drug affordable."

UPDATE March 4, 3:07 PM EST: Turkish airline passenger confirmed infected with coronavirus, plane grounded at Changi Airport

A passenger of Turkish Airlines arriving in Singapore from Turkey tested positive for COVID-10 on Wednesday, Channel News Asia reports.

The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) had confirmed the situation on Wednesday night.

A statement from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said that Turkish Airlines flight TK55 didn't take off as scheduled from Changi Airport on Wednesday.

MOH also said it began contacting flight passengers who may have been in proximity to the newly-confirmed case while they were infectious.

UPDATE March 3, 11:00 PM EST: Google makes Hangouts Meet function free amid coronavirus threat

Google has made its Hangouts Meet function free to facilitate remote work, in the wake of coronavirus, reports Engadget. From this week to July 1, the company's G Suite and G Suite for Education customers may use Hangouts Meet's premium feature free of charge.

This means people can participate in virtual meetings with up to 250 people, and join live streams with up to 100,000 viewers, reports Engadget. Individuals may also save recordings of their meetings to Google Drive free of charge.

Relevant to Google's decision to extend the feature of Hangouts Meet is the spike in recent usage stats seen in places where coronavirus cases are most heavily-concentrated. In Vietnam and Hong Kong, Google has seen "hundreds of thousands" of students using Hangouts Meet and Classroom apps for remote classes taking place where public schools have closed.

The new offer will also help Google catch and keep up with competitors like Zoom, who are seeing similar spikes in app usage due to coronavirus.

"As more employees, educators, and students work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive," said Google. "We're committed to supporting our users and customers during this challenging time, and are continuing to scale our infrastructure to support greater Hangouts Meet demand, ensuring streamlined, reliable access to the service throughout this period."

This is just one of the numerous effects that coronavirus has had on the tech world, the more visible casualties being major conferences. For example, days ago Google declared it would hold its imminent Cloud Next conference online, instead of in the flesh.

UPDATE March 3, 10:34 PM EST: Amazon employee in Seattle confirmed infected with coronavirus, said company in email to employees

Amazon declared on Tuesday that one of its Seattle employees was confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus, reports Business Insider.

An email to employees in Bellevue and Seattle stated that Amazon's health and safety office found an employee of the company's Brazil office building, located in Seattle, had tested positive for the virus.

"The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since then," said the email. The company added that they were told that the employee was confirmed infected with COVID-19 — the disease that comes from coronavirus — on March 3.

The email also said that the employee is under quarantine, and employees who were in close proximity to the person have since been notified.

"The risk of transmission for employees who were not in close contact with this individual is assessed to be low," said the email.

UPDATE March 3, 5:07 PM EST: CDC says you may need to take a break from your life

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges U.S. citizens to do whatever it takes to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, including taking an extended break from their life as they know and possibly love it, reports Ars Technica.

"You may need to take a break from your normal daily routine for two weeks," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, on Tuesday.

"What is happening now in the United States may be the beginning of what is happening abroad," Messonnier said in a press briefing, according to Ars Technica. "We will continue to maintain — for as long as practical — an aggressive national posture of containment. That said, you might see some local communities taking specific actions to mitigate the disease."

Specific actions probably mean school closures, canceled events and large gatherings, and self-isolating citizens.

UPDATE March 3, 3:51 PM EST: First coronavirus death in Spain, patient is man who traveled to Nepal, 'retrospective investigation' reveals

Spain confirmed its first death from coronavirus infection, reports Daily Mail.

Confirmation of the cause of death came after a "retrospective investigation" — post-mortem — for the man who traveled to Nepal.

When the man died, the cause of death was initially given to pneumonia of unknown origin.

While confirming another case of the deadly virus, Spain's regional health authority said: "We can confirm two new cases of coronavirus in the Valencia Community, which takes the number of cases to 19 positives," according to Daily Mail.

"They are a woman who is at Manises Hospital in Valencia and the case of a man in Arnau de Vilanova Hospital, detected following a retrospective investigation. He passed away on February 13," said the authority.

UPDATE March 3, 3:49 PM EST: Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is testing potential coronavirus treatments

The mega-pharmaceutical company Pfizer has identified compounds that might be used to curate a treatment for the deadly coronavirus, mLIVE reports.

Pfizer finished a preliminary assessment of certain antiviral compounds that inhibit the replication of coronaviruses that are similar to the one causing COVID-19 in cultured cells, a statement from the company said.

COVID-19 was identified as the biological culprit for the outbreak of a wave of respiratory illnesses that first swept through Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China. There have since been more than 91,000 cases around the world, with more than 3,000 deaths.

To fight this growing threat, Pfizer is working with a third party to screen compounds under an accelerated timeline, and at present expects results by the end of March.

If the test results are promising, the company might move forward with the development of antiviral treatment, said the statement.

However, Pfizer cautions that toxicology studies are needed before clinical development can begin. If all goes well, Pfizer estimates the treatment may be tested by 2020's end.

It's important to remember that antiviral treatments are purely preventative, and are not a vaccine. Coronavirus vaccines might be prepared in 18 months, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, in February.

"At Pfizer, we believe the best approach to address COVID-19 is to bring together the resources and know-how from across the pharmaceutical industry to rapidly develop and deliver vaccines and therapeutics," said Dolsten. "We are happy to volunteer our expertise and resources to aid the development and delivery of possible solutions."

UPDATE March 3, 3:20 PM EST: UAE schools will close for one month

Schools and universities across the country of UAE will close beginning on Sunday for a month to curb the spread of COVID-19, said the Ministry of Education on Tuesday, according to The National.

Spring Break was scheduled to start on March 20, but will now start on March 8 and last two weeks. Distance (or, remote) learning will cover the final two weeks when students and teachers will work from home, said the ministry.

The "Learn from Afar" program, to be implemented from March 22 to April 5, is scheduled to see trials in a set of public schools on Wednesday and Thursday.

Meanwhile, all schools, buses and universities will undergo a "sterilisation programme for educational facilities," said the ministry.

So far, patients confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus in UAE include two Italians, two Russians, a Columbian and a German citizen, all of whom are "in a stable condition and receiving all the necessary health care required" according to the ministry.

UPDATE March 9, 9:21 AM EST: BMW quarantines 150 employees after employee tests positive for coronavirus

Although Germany has already confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the illness has now hit BMW. The automaker has ordered 150 employees home under quarantine after an employee tested positive for the deadly virus, reported Automotive News Europe on Monday.

The unnamed employee did not travel abroad and works in the company's research and development center, but the person may have come into contact with employees who have since been quarantined. BMW announced the situation with Roadshow, where it said operations would continue as usual once the area is cleaned and disinfected. Most notably, the employee is well at present, said BMW in the statement.

UPDATE March 3, 4:00 AM EST: Purell hand sanitizer selling out on Amazon, now some independent sellers are marketing it at over $100

As the fears surrounding the coronavirus keep increasing, Purell's hand sanitizer has now sold out from its brand storefront page on Amazon. 

Some third-party sellers are now selling Purell's hand sanitizer bottles for $119 and higher for one pack of two eight-ounce bottles. 

"We have experienced several demand surges in the past during other outbreaks — and this is on the higher end of the spectrum but not unprecedented," a spokesperson for Purell parent company Gojo told Business Insider. "We have added shifts and have team members working overtime – in accordance with our plans for situations like this."

UPDATE March 3, 3:56 AM EST: Google Cloud cancels its largest event of the year because of coronavirus

Amid growing fears of coronavirus infection, Google Cloud has decided to cancel its largest event of the year. Due to be held in April in San Francisco, the Google Cloud Next will not be going forward as planned.

The company has stated that it will instead provide "streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital 'ask an expert' sessions with Google teams."

The company's statement went as follows: "The health and well-being of Google Cloud partners, customers, employees and the overall community is our top priority. Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO, and other relevant entities, Google Cloud has decided to reimagine Google Cloud Next '20, which will still take place from April 6-8."

UPDATE March 3, 3:53 AM EST: Six die in Washington State because of coronavirus

On Monday morning, health officials from Washington State confirmed that four more people have died of the coronavirus, bringing the death toll total in the state to six

The state of Georgia reported its first two cases of reported coronavirus on Monday, increasing the total to 15 states in the U.S. with confirmed cases.

UPDATE March 3, 3:48 AM EST: Alibaba's novel Artificial Intelligence tech can diagnose the coronvirus with 96% accuracy

Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, has developed an AI system that detects the novel coronavirus with an up to 96% accuracy rate. 

By using CT scans of patients' chests, the AI tech only needs 20 seconds to come up with a diagnosis. To compare, humans generally need around 15 minutes to come up with a diagnosis, as there are around 300 images to run through from a CT scan. 

The system was trained on images and data of 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and has already been tested in hospitals in China. 

UPDATE March 3, 3:43 AM EST: The CDC states that you should stay at least six feet away from anyone who appears sick 

The coronavirus primalry spreads through mucus and saliva, which can easily travel from someone's body between three and five feet away. So the CDC recommends staying at least six feet away from anyone who appears sick, in order to minimize the risk of catching the disease. 

Avoiding close contact with anyone who is showing flu-like symptoms is also recommended.

UPDATE March 2, 7:40 PM EST: Twitter, Google, Coinbase tell some employees to work from home amid growing fears of spreading coronavirus

Most of the 8,000 employees at Google's Dublin, Ireland, office — its European headquarters — were told to work from home on Tuesday, after a member of its staff developed flu-like symptoms. Other companies including Coinbase and Twitter are following suit, reports Business Insider.

Google was quick to add that this is a precautionary measure, and is in line with medical experts' advice.

"We continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, in accordance with the advice of medical experts, and as part of that effort we have asked our Dublin teams to work from home tomorrow," said a Google spokesperson to Business Insider.

Similar work-from-home precautionary measures are also being adopted among other tech titans, like Coinbase and Twitter.

Twitter recommends that all of its employees -- worldwide, almost 5,000 in total -- work from home. The company announced its recommendation out of an "abundance of caution" in a blog post on Monday, after it announced the suspension of all unnecessary travel for employees. Its CEO Jack Dorsey decided not to attend the SXSW conference in Austin, scheduled for later this month, said the Business Insider report.

"We are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they're able. Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us — and the world around us," said the post.

Coinbase — a cryptocurrency exchange platform — also declared its enacting similar measures, according to a document that Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, linked to Twitter.

"We're asking some employees to start working home this week," tweeted Armstrong. "Working from home is not a complete solution but it may help slow the growth of infections."

UPDATE March 2, 4:45 PM EST: There are now 100 cases of the deadly coronavirus in the US

There are 100 cases of the deadly coronavirus in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including state and local governments, reports CNN.

The CDC states there are 48 cases of the virus from repatriated citizens. CNN Health's tally of US cases so far detected and tested in the U.S. via public health systems shows 52 cases in 11 states. This brings the total cases of coronavirus up to 100.

This count includes presumptive cases that have tested positive in a public health lab that are as of yet pending confirmation from the CDC, and cases confirmed as positive results from the CDC.

So far, the state cases breakdown like so:

  • Arizona — 1
  • California — 18
  • Florida — 2
  • Illinois — 4
  • Massachusetts — 1
  • New York — 1
  • Oregon — 3
  • Rhode Island — 2
  • Washington state — 18 (including 6 fatalities)
  • Wisconsin — 1
  • New Hampshire — 1

UPDATE March 2, 11:37 AM EST: Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first case of the deadly coronavirus

The country of Saudi Arabia confirmed on Monday its first case of the deadly coronavirus, said its Health Ministry, reports CNN.

The patient is a Saudi male who recently returned from Iran via Bahrain crossing. He didn't say he came from Iran at the Saudi portal, said the ministry.

UPDATE March 2, 11:30 AM EST: Trump said he's requested accelerated vaccine research

U.S. President Trump said he has asked researchers to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine, reports CNN.

"We asked them to accelerate whatever they're doing in terms of the vaccine, absolutely," said Trump on Monday.

More than 20 potential vaccines designed to prevent infection by coronavirus disease are in development around the globe, according to the World Health Organization director-general.

However, health officials have consistently said that a vaccine is at least a year away from being proven effective, and is given the approvals required for widespread distribution.

UPDATE March 2, 9:00 AM EST: Iran's Supreme Leader Adviser dies of coronavirus, state radio reports

Iranian state media reported on Monday that an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died after contracting the deadly coronavirus, reports CNN.

Mohammad Mirmohammadi was 71 and was a member of the Expediency Council tasked with advising Khamenei.

UPDATE March 2, 8:00 AM EST: EU coronavirus risk alert rises to high

The European Union raised its alert level for the deadly coronavirus from moderate to high, said President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission at a Monday news conference, reports CNN.

"ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) has announced today that the risk level has risen from moderate to high for people in the European Union, in other words the virus continues to spread," said von der Leyen.

As of early Monday, more than 2,000 cases of the deadly coronavirus have been confirmed in the EU, with the majority in Italy.

The EU Crisis Management Commissioner, Janez Lenarcic, said during the news conference that every country needs to be fully prepared.

"While we should not give in to panic, the situation is likely to still get worse. So we need to be prepared. Time is of the essence here."

UPDATE March 2, 7:00 AM EST: Portugal announces first coronavirus case, infection count in Germany rises to 158

Two people tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in Portugal, said Health Minister Marta Temido on Monday, reports CNN.

Additionally, Germany reports a total of 158 cases of coronavirus, in 10 states.

UPDATE March 2, 1:41 AM EST: Boris Johnson will hold an emergency meeting on the coronavirus today, reports CNN

Boris Johnson, British prime minister, will chair a "Cobra" emergency government meeting to speak about the coronavirus outbreak later today, reports CNN.

Cobra meetings are interdepartmental government meetings held during times of crisis. The name refers to the place where such emergency meetings usually happen: Cabinet Office Briefing Room A.

The committee will "discuss, finalize and sign off a battle plan containing a detailed set of countermeasures," said a statement on the UK government's website.

At the meeting, the government will consider courses of action and various preparations for the coming outbreak, since cases in the UK are slated to continue increasing in frequency, according to the statement.

The UK government will also establish a "war room," to bring together communications experts who will conduct a public information campaign to quicken response times to emergent issues.

As of early Monday, there are 35 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

UPDATE March 2, 1:38 AM EST: Indonesia confirms its first two cases of the deadly coronavirus

The country of Indonesia has reported its first two cases of the deadly coronavirus, according to state-run Antara News Agency, citing President Joko Widodo, CNN reports.

The two cases involve a 31-year-old woman and her 64-year-old mother, Antara reports Widodo said.

Both patients previously made content with a Japanese citizen who was tested positive for coronavirus after departing Indonesia, Antara said Widodo reportedly said, according to CNN.

UPDATE March 2, 12:58 AM EST: U.S. President Trump's coronavirus strategy under new scrutiny following second U.S. death

The White House warns that more Americans will be killed by the coronavirus as new cases pop up from coast to coast — despite this growing outbreak, top government officials scramble to prove they are in control of the situation, reports CNN.

Democratic presidential candidates are leveling heavy criticism of President Donald Trump for politicizing the outbreak. Trump's son and conservative media publications earlier claimed that public criticism of Trump's efforts constitutes an orchestrated political campaign to affect the president's reputation.

Negotiators on Capitol Hill are nearing a deal on an emergency funding package possibly worth up to $7 billion — far beyond the White House's earlier request for one amounting to $2.5 billion — to confront the threat of the novel coronavirus.

This comes amid appearances of Vice President Mike Pence on political talk shows on Sunday in his new Trump-appointed role as head of the American coronavirus task force.

As of early Monday, there are 89 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus in the U.S., which includes 44 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and three people repatriated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the deadly disease.

UPDATE March 1, 10:53 PM EST: Italy sees 50% increase in confirmed cases of deadly coronavirus

The country of Italy reports a 50% increase in deadly coronavirus cases Sunday, while the U.S. restricts more travel and the renown La Scala opera house closes its doors amid fears of infection until March 8.

The Civil Protection Authority of Italy reported the country's confirmed coronavirus count his risen to 1,694 cases, up from 1,128 cases on Saturday. As of Sunday, 34 people have died from the infection.

Italy has the highest known rate of coronavirus cases outside of the Asian continent.

Delta Air Lines has suspended flights to Milan, the airline announced on Sunday. The final flight will depart New York City on Monday. The last return flight is scheduled for Tuesday.

Delta plans to resume flights to Milan on May 1. Flights to Rome remain unaffected by the crisis.

UPDATE March 1, 10:43 PM EST: Florida, Oregon and Rhode Island confirm presumptive cases of coronavirus

The U.S. States of Florida, Oregon, and Rhode Island have confirmed new presumptive positive cases of the deadly coronavirus, authorities in each of the states have said, reports CNN.

The case in Oregon is the second presumptive positive case of the deadly coronavirus in that state. The patient is a household contact of a Washington County resident, who made a statement.

"My thoughts are with the Oregonians who have contracted this virus, as well as their families. The developments of the last 48 hours in Oregon and across the globe are concerning, and we are taking this extremely seriously," said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in a statement.

The Rhode Island patient is a young female teenager who is presently isolated at home with mild symptoms. She is the second such case confirmed in the state, after a man in his 40s was diagnosed with the deadly disease earlier.

Both patients recently went on a trip to Europe run by Saint Raphael Academy, a school in a city called Pawtucket.

All of the 38 who attended the trip will self-monitor for symptoms at home, for the full 14-day period of quarantine per CDC guidelines. They were told not to go to work or school, and remain home for the full quarantine.

UPDATE March 1, 10:17 PM EST: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city is prepared after first confirmed coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said his city is "ready to respond" after the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Manhattan, reports CNN.

De Blasio tweeted his declaration Sunday, just after the State Governor Andrew Cuomo let his constituents know that New York has confirmed its first deadly coronavirus patient. She is a woman in her late 30s, who became infected with the virus while traveling in Iran. She is presently in isolation in her Manhattan-based home, according to the New York State Department of Health.

"From the beginning, we have said it was a matter of when, not if, there would be a positive case of coronavirus in New York," said de Blasio. "Our health authorities have been in a state of high alert for weeks, and are fully prepared to respond."

UPDATE March 1, 8:08 PM EST: First confirmed case of coronavirus in New York City

The first case of the deadly coronavirus was confirmed to be a woman in her late 30s on Sunday who recently returned from Iran, said a state official, reports the New York Post.

The woman lives in Manhattan, according to a source of the Post.

"The patient, a woman in her late thirties, contracted the virus while traveling aboard in Iran, and is currently isolated in her home," said New York State Governor Cuomo, in a statement.

Despite the gravity of the state's first case of the novel virus, Cuomo insisted, "There is no cause for surprise — this was expected."

"As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York."

As of Sunday evening, there were 76 cases of the deadly coronavirus confirmed, in the United States.

UPDATE March 1, 4:00 AM EST: Ireland and Armenia report their first coronavirus cases

On Sunday, Ireland and Armenia reported their first coronavirus cases while Thailand and Australia reported their first coronavirus deaths.

UPDATE February 29, 8:00 AM EST: Qatar reports its first case of coronavirus while Iran's death toll rises

Qatar reported ist first case of coronavirus on Saturday and said the patient was a recent visitor to Iran. Meanwhile, Iran's coronavirus death toll rises to 43 and includes a member of parliament. Still in the Middle East, Kuwait calls on its citizens to stop traveling outside the country.

UPDATE February 28, 3:30 PM EST: Bill Gates pens op-ed "How to respond to COVID-19"

Microsoft CEO and co-founder Bill Gates has published an op-ed on his website, GatesNotes, in which he argues the COVID-19 pandemic presents world leaders with an opportunity to help African countries and South Asia prepare for a pandemic now.

"The long-term challenge — improving our ability to respond to outbreaks — isn't new. Global health experts have been saying for years that another pandemic rivalling (sic) the speed and severity of the 1918 influenza epidemic wasn't a matter of if but when. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed significant resources in recent years to helping the world prepare for such a scenario," he wrote on his website.

He goes on to say the novel coronavirus may become the "once-in-a-century pathogen we worry about," and while he hopes for the best, he encourages everyone to expect otherwise.

Gates continues with an analysis of the current fatality rate of the coronavirus, which so far is reportedly 1%, compared to the much lower rate of the typical seasonal influenza, which puts it between the 1957 pandemic (0.6%) and the 1918 influenza pandemic (2%).

To Gates, preparing vulnerable or already-exposed areas of the world to curb the virus will help save lives and "slow the global circulation of the virus."

UPDATE February 28, 2:47 PM EST: US Federal Reserve chair warns that the deadly coronavirus is an "evolving risk" to economic activity

While the U.S. economy is at present strong, the deadly coronavirus presents an evolving risk to economic activity, said a statement from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

He also said that the Fed is closely monitoring developments and that the central bank plans to use its "tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."

UPDATE February 29, 2:45 PM EST: The number of coronavirus cases worldwide hits 85,000 and more travel bans are put into effect

The number of worldwide cases of coronavirus hit 85,000 with new cases reported in Washington State, U.S. and Ontario, Canada. Meanwhile, Australia banned travelers from Iran and Kuwait called on its citizens to avoid traveling. 

UPDATE February 28, 2:35 PM EST: Tim Cook, Apple CEO, says China is bringing coronavirus 'under control'

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a Thursday interview with Fox Business that he believes China will push back on the impact of the coronavirus, amid growing fears of the spread of the deadly virus, reports CNET.

"It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control," said Cook during the interview. "You look at the numbers, they're coming down day by day by day. I'm very optimistic there."

Earlier in Feb., Apple said the novel virus has hurt demand from Chinese customers, in addition to production capabilities in the country. Apple assembles its smartphones in China, and has suppliers in Wuhan.

"It will take some time, but by and large I think this is a temporary condition, not a long-term kind of thing," Cook said to Susan Li of Fox Business.

UPDATE February 28, 2:31 PM EST: Amazon asks its employees to postpone all non-essential travel

Amazon is attempting to keep its employees from traveling due to fear of the rapidly-spreading coronavirus.

"We're asking employees to defer non-essential travel during this time," said the company in a statement to CNN.

This comes on the heels of a statement from the cloud computing arm of Amazon, called Amazon Web Services, which declared it would not attend a major conference for video game developers in San Francisco.

"While we won't get to see everyone at GDC this year, we will still have exciting things to share," said the company in an online post. "AWS Game Tech has decided to host a global online event, open to everyone, to showcase our planned content for GDC and more."

UPDATE February 28, 2:31 PM EST: Google has canceled summit amid growing coronavirus concerns

Google canceled its scheduled Google News Initiative Global Summit amid fears of the "novel coronavirus situation," according to an email sent to registered attendees on Friday.

The two-day event was to be held in Google's Sunnyvale, California office and was expected to bring hundreds of media industry experts to meet.

"We regret that we have to cancel our global Google News Initiative summit but the health and wellbeing of our guests is our number one priority," said Maggie Shiels, Google spokesperson, in the email.

UPDATE February 28, 11:01 AM EST: President Trump wants a "miracle" as fear of the deadly coronavirus grows

U.S. President Donald Trump hopes a "miracle" will make the coronavirus disappear but plummeting stock markets and increasing signs the disease will soon enter the U.S. are exacerbating Trump's inconsistent management of the health crisis, reports CNN.

The first case on U.S. soil that couldn't be traced to travel to countries fighting the virus, a significant Wall Street sell off, and worry that drug shortages are leaving White House efforts to demonstrate control wanting.

"It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear," said the U.S. President at the White House on Thursday as the coronavirus moved across Asia and Europe after U.S. officials warned the country to brace for severe disruption to everyday life.

Questions were raised about whether Trump will prioritize science as the reality of the deadly coronavirus sweeps the world when a White House ordered public health officials to clear all television appearances.

UPDATE February 28, 11:01 AM EST: Vietnam stopped granting visas to South Korean citizens.

On Friday Vietnam declared it will suspend the issuing of visas to South Korean citizens, reports CNN.

The South-East Asian government said the measure is an attempt to help Vietnam contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus epidemic and minimize the impact of the deadly virus on its economy and greater society.

The government of Vietnam also declared that any other foreign nationals who recently visited South Korea will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

South Korea has confirmed 2,337 cases of coronavirus — second only to mainland China.

On Friday, 16 cases of the coronavirus are confirmed in Vietnam.

UPDATE February 28, 11:01 AM EST: South Korea has confirmed 571 more cases of coronavirus

South Korea has confirmed an additional 571 cases of the deadly coronavirus on Friday, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports CNN.

This brings the total of infected patients in South Korea to 2,337 cases — the largest outbreak of the virus outside of mainland China.

The latest count includes one additional military person, which brings the total infected of South Korea's military up to 26,

There were no new deaths reported on Friday, which leaves the South Korean death toll at 13.

Of the 571 cases, 447 are Daegu residents, where the outbreak is concentrated. Many of these cases are linked to a religious group in the city.

UPDATE February 28, 11:00 AM EST: Lithuania has confirmed first coronavirus case within its borders

A female patient with "mild symptoms" is now the first case of the deadly coronavirus in Lithuania, said the country's Ministry of Health to CNN in a statement on Friday.

Presently she is in isolation in Republic Siauliai Hospital, which has sufficient infrastructure to handle the case, said the ministry.

Others who may have been in contact with her are being tracked down, to test for possible infection, the ministry added. None so far have experienced any symptoms.

"Despite the efforts made and the proactive preventive measures that we took among the first, we regret to declare that Lithuania did not avoid the coronavirus," Minister of Health Aurelijus Veryga said. "We were well aware that the threat existed, and we were actively getting ready for this scenario."

UPDATE February 28, 10:30 AM EST: President of Mongolia in quarantine after visiting China

Khaltmaagiin Battulga, the Mongolian President, was placed under a 14-day quarantine, following a one-day visit to China, reports CNN.

The state news agency, Montsame, said Battulga along with numerous other government officials, including the minister of foreign affairs, visited China to confer with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

The Mongolian delegation — which includes the President — were placed in a 14-day quarantine immediately following their return to Mongolia on Thursday night, as a precautionary step.

Battulga reportedly met with Xi while in China, said Montsame, to discuss joint efforts to reverse the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Battulga also declared a donation of 30,000 sheep to China.

There are no reported cases of the virus in Mongolia, at present.

UPDATE February 28, 10:13 AM EST: US Navy ships that have put to port in Pacific under orders to self-quarantine

The United States Navy has ordered all ships that have made stops in Pacific countries to self-quarantine and stay at sea for at least 14 days, to monitor sailors for possible coronavirus symptoms, reports CNN.

"Out of an abundance of caution, Pacific Fleet is implementing additional mitigations to prevent Sailors from contracting COVID-19, and to monitor Sailors who have traveled to higher-risk areas," Lt. James Adams, US Navy spokesman, said to CNN.

Lt. Adams said that "at this time, there are no indications that any US Navy personnel have contracted" the deadly virus but added that the Navy acted out of caution.

UPDATE February 28, 10:12 AM EST: Nigeria confirms first coronavirus case, an Italian citizen

The first patient confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus was confirmed in Nigeria, and is an Italian citizen who traveled to Lagos, said Nigeria's Health Ministry in a statement, reports CNN.

The patient works in Nigeria, and returned from Milan on Feb. 25, said the ministry.

"The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos," said the ministry.

Nigeria is Africa's largest country by population, with more than 200 million people.

Health officials in the country are working to identify everyone the patient had contact with since returning to the country, and have urged Nigerian citizens to remain calm.

"Citizens must not abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic," said the statement.

The government of Nigeria has strengthened its ability "to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly," read the statement.

Nigeria's first case of the deadly coronavirus is also the first such case in Sub-Saharan Africa.

UPDATE February 28, 10:12 AM EST: First coronavirus case confirmed in Belarus

Belarus has confirmed its first case of the deadly coronavirus within its borders; a student from Iran, said the Belarus Ministry of Health on its official website on Friday, reports CNN.

"During a laboratory test on February 27, the virus was detected in an Iranian citizen who arrived on a flight from Baku on February 22," read the statement. "The patient and those who were in contact with him are quarantined in Minsk, the young man's condition is satisfactory."

The country's health ministry also said it started testing all travelers coming from Iran, Italy, and South Korea on February 20.

UPDATE February 28, 10:11 AM EST: The UN sanctions committee approves export of medical equipment to North Korea

A sanctions committee of the United Nations has permitted Doctors without Borders, — also called Médecins Sans Frontièrs (MSF), to lend support to North Korea with equipment for diagnostic work. They hope the equipment will help prevent coronavirus outbreaks in the isolated country, reports CNN.

However, it's unclear when the equipment will reach North Korea.

The shipment will include thermometers, stethoscopes, and goggles, including kits to detect if sick people have the deadly virus, said Christoph Heusgen, leader of the committee and German UN Ambassador, to CNN.

"The committee immediately had given permission to export the equipment. The problem is that right now North Korea has closed the border. Around the table the appeal was made for North Korea to allow this equipment in so that the population can be better protected," said Heusgen.

UPDATE February 28, 10:04 AM EST: Foreign diplomats will evacuate from North Korea

A plan is in motion to evacuate foreign diplomats presently quarantined in Pyongyang, North Korea, a source inside the country reported to CNN.

The source spoke to the news service on condition of anonymity, in consideration of the extreme sensitivity of the developing situation.

The French Cooperation Office, the German Embassy, and the Swiss Development Operation will completely close their Pyongyang operations, the source told CNN.

Other countries with diplomatic posts in North Korea also have plans to reduce operations, said the source.

"I would expect around 60 people to be on the flight," the source told CNN.

The evacuation flight has yet to be confirmed, but CNN's source says it will fly from Pyongyang to Vladivostok, Russia. The exact number of foreign diplomats posted in North Korea is not known, but the estimated number is a few hundred.

UPDATE February 28, 8:16 AM EST: Visits between Rome priests and Pope Francis have been canceled as the pontiff is "slightly" ill, as well as the coronvirus outbreak in Italy

Pope Francis has canceled a Mass with priests from Rome that was due to happen on Thursday.

No official statement from the Vatican has been declared, however the Pope was seen blowing his nose and coughing at an Ash Wednesday event this week. So far, all the Vatican has said is that the pontiff has a "slight indisposition."

Moreover, Italy currently has over 400 infected cases of coronavirus, making it the most infected nation outside of Asia so far. There have only been three cases reported in Rome, all of which have been cured.

Commenting on the coronavirus oubreak on Wednesday, the Pope expressed his "closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health care workers who are caring for them”

UPDATE February 28, 8:10 AM EST: Apple CEO, Tim Cook, says he's confident China will "curb" the coronavirus impact

In an interview held on Thursday with Fox Business, Apple's CEO Tim Cook stated that he believes China has the coronavirus "under control."

Cook stated "It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control. You look at the numbers, they're coming down day by day by day. I'm very optimistic there ."

Earlier this month Apple had stated that the virus has hurt Chinese demand on their products, as wellas impacting its production capabilities in China. Many of Apple's products are assembled in China, where there has been a lockdown of many factories amid fears of the outbreak.

UPDATE February 28, 2:01 AM EST: Pope Francis has 'slight' illness,' cancels visit to meet with Rome priests, amid coronavirus outbreak

Pope Francis is ill and skipped a scheduled Mass with Rome clergy throughout the town on Thursday, said officials to the South China Morning Post.

The 83-year-old leader of the catholic world had a "slight indisposition," and would carry out the rest of his schedule for Thursday, according to the Vatican. However, Francis "preferred to stay near Santa Marta;" the Vatican hotel in which the Pope lives.

There was no news from teh Vatican regarding what kind of illness he has, but the pope was seen blowing his nose and coughing throughout the Ash Wednesday Mass.

This comes amid an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that has infected more than 400 people, most of them from the northern region of Italy. Rome has had three cases, all of which were cured.

UPDATE February 27, 5:00 PM EST: The first US coronavirus case of 'unknown' origin has happened

For the first time, a patient in the United States with no known connections to prior cases was confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus, in California, reports CNN.

The patient has no history of contact with people or places known to be at risk for coronavirus infections, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In other words, this was a "community spread" transfer, which is when the source of viral infection is not known.

The patient resided in Solano County, California and was moved to UC Davis Medical Center last week, but had to wait until Sunday for proper testing, according to a letter sent Wednesday to UC Davis staff.

UC Davis initially requested coronavirus testing for the patient, but they "did not fit the existing CDC criteria" for testing, said the letter.

The unknown origin of this infection is significant, said Dean Blumberg, a specialist in infectious disease at UC Davis Medical Center, to CNN.

"That suggests that the virus is out there in the community, and that means pretty much that everybody's at risk," he said to CNN affiliate KCRA. "We don't know who might be carrying it. We don't know who we can get it from."

He added that whoever exposed this patient to the coronavirus probably exposed other people who are as of yet undocumented. Health officials are currently working to trace those who may have been in proximity to the UC Davis patient.

"We currently have people in the field working in the community from the local, from the state and also from the CDC," said Director of the California Department of Public Health, Sonia Angell, to CNN.

Angell said that "the risk of infection to the general public remains low."

There are at present 60 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary.

  • 42 of the infected are former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
  • 3 are Americans returned from Wuhan, China, the outbreak's epicenter.
  • 1 patient was infected by unknown means and is currently at UC David Medical Center.
  • The majority of the other 14 patients have either recently visited China, or are married to another who has returned from China.

UPDATE February 27, 2:27 PM EST: Northern Ireland reports its first case of the deadly coronavirus

The Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland has confirmed the first case of the deadly coronavirus in the region, according to a statement reported on CNN.

"Testing of a patient in Northern Ireland has resulted in a presumptive positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19)," read the statement.

No additional details as to the patient's nation of origin, or how they contracted the virus are available.

"The patient is receiving specialist care and Public Health Agency personnel are working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient had, with the aim of preventing further spread," said the statement, reports CNN.

UPDATE February 27, 2:50 PM EST: Germany reports a total of 19 new coronavirus cases, reports U.S. News

Three western German states have confirmed a total of 19 new cases of the deadly coronavirus on Thursday, one day after the federal health minister said the European country is at the beginning of an epidemic, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The health ministry of Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, had said 14 more people were confirmed to have the coronavirus on Thursday in the Heinsberg region, which is also where a couple were the first who tested positive for the disease in the state.

The new cases bring the total of confirmed cases in the Heinsberg area up to 20. Of the latest new cases, all were isolated at home, and do not require hospital treatment, said the state's health ministry.

The state of Rhineland-Palatinate also declared on Thursday that a man in the region, specifically located in Kaiserslautern, was confirmed infected with the virus.

"The male patient is doing well so far. He's in isolation," tweeted the Rhineland-Palatinate's state government.

UPDATE February 27, 2:10 PM EST: France reports 20 new cases of the deadly coronavirus

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France jumped from 18 to 38 in only 24 hours while global leaders warn that "an epidemic is coming," reports The Local, a French news website.

The new Health Minister of France, Olivier Véran, confirmed on Thursday night that the country has experienced a 20-person jump in the total cases of coronavirus, on Wednesday.

Repeating the words of French President Emmanuel Macron earlier Thursday, Véran said: "We are preparing for an epidemic."

Two of the 20 cases are in serious condition. Both of these people had recently returned to France from Egypt, along with a tour group.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has asked the public not to panic, and instead to practice basic health protection advice, like using disposable tissues, coughing into one's elbow, and regular hand washing.

UPDATE February 27, 2:01 PM EST: Collective Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran have been canceled due to coronavirus fears

It has been announced that collective Friday prayers — an essential part of Iranian culture — will not be held due to coronavirus fears in Tehran, the capital of Iran, according to a tweet of a local news source.

This measure will also be taken in other states of the Iranian country.

No further details are available, but be sure to check back here for more updates on the deadly coronavirus.

UPDATE February 27, 1:38 PM EST: Several Iranian senior officials, including Vice President, Head of Parliament's National Security, confirmed infected with coronavirus

An Iranian cabinet member who sits only a few seats down from President Hassan Rouhani has contracted the deadly coronavirus, reports the New York Times. This makes her the sixth Iranian official to test positive for the virus, counting another prominent cleric who has been killed by the deadly virus.

Mr. Rouhani's Deputy for Women's Affairs and the highest-ranking woman in the government, Masoumeh Ebtekar, said on Thursday she was confirmed infected with the coronavirus and had been quarantined in her home. Her announcement came one day after a cabinet meeting where she may have been exposed to other carriers, like Mr. Rouhani.

A photo tweeted by a reporter for BBC Persia shows her just a few meters (yards) from Mr. Rouhani.

Ms. Ebtekar was previously known to Americans as Mary during the Tehran hostage crisis 40 years ago. During the crisis, Ebtekar was a young revolutionary and spoke for the captors of the 52 Americans held at the United States Embassy.

More than any other country, Iran has the highest number of officials infected with the deadly coronavirus, which first made landfall in the holy Iranian city of Qom. The coronavirus is believed to have spread there from China, which has kept close economic relations with Tehran despite severe sanctions from the U.S.

UPDATE February 27, 12:14 PM EST: US Vice President Pence's handling of coronavirus under scrutiny in light of previous "mishandled" HIV outbreak

U.S. President Trump said Vice President Mike Pence has been tasked with leading the American response to the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday, but critics have said Pence's previous record on a "mishandled" HIV outbreak put his ability into question, reports Now This News.

As governor of Indiana, Pence's leadership contributed to the worst HIV outbreak in the Midwestern state's history. The outbreak — which happened in 2015 — has been linked to the sharing of drug needles, which may have been prevented with a needle exchange program, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At the time, the CDC had advised Pence to implement the program, but he only followed their suggestion after infections in the state had grown far beyond control. Under Pence's leadership, Indiana also spent 5% more than other comparable states on public health.

UPDATE February 27, 10:00 AM EST: Facebook has canceled F8 developer conference amid fears of the rapid spread of coronavirus

Facebook announced on Thursday that the annual F8 conference for developers will not go forward amid concerns regarding the rapid spread of the coronavirus, reports CNET. This move shows how the expanding outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 impacts the livelihood of the world's biggest tech companies.

More updates to come.

UPDATE February 27, 3:31 AM EST: San Francisco declares a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus outbreak

San Francisco in California has issued a state of emergency in a bid to combat the outbreak of the coronavirus — even though there have been no confirmed cases in the city.

Mayor London Breed stated "This declaration of emergency is all about preparedness."

The move will help the city to receive reimbursements by state and federal governments for the money it puts towards its preparations. 

Other Californian cities, such as San Diego and Santa Clara have issues similar statements.

UPDATE February 27, 3:25 AM EST: Australia issues emergency response plan to the novel coronavirus

Australia issued an emergency response plan on Thursday, in which it states that the impact of the outbreak will be determined by a few of the following factors, as per the Guardian

  • The clinical severity of the outbreak (how severe cases are, and many people need to be hospitalised)
  • Tts transmissibility (how easily it is spread, currently it has a preliminary reproduction number of 1.4 to 2.5)
  • The capacity of the health system to treat infected patients
  • The effectiveness of interventions to treat the illness or stop it spreading

UPDATE February 27, 3:21 AM EST: Japanese tour-bus guide has tested positive for the coronavirus a second time

In a first known case in Japan, a woman operating as a tour-bus guide in the city of Osaka has been tested positive for the coronavirus a second time

China so far has been the only country to confirm cases of re-infection (see below), and this is now the first reported case of re-infection of the novel coronavirus in a person in Japan. 

As of Thursday, Japan confirmed 186 infection cases of the virus, up from 170 the day before. These 186 cases are separate from the 704 reported from the Diamond Princess cruise liner. Seven people have died in Japan from the virus, four of which were from the cruise liner. 

UPDATE February 27, 3:15 AM EST: World's biggest iPhone maker reopens factory in China, and hires "SARS hero" to oversee its reopening

During the early 2000s SARS outbreak, Zhong Nanshan, was credited with discovering the Severy Acute Respiratory Syndrome, as well as how to treat it. Zhong is now leading China's investigation against the coronavirus. 

It comes as no surprise that Zhong is held in high regard. Hence why Foxconn, the world's largest iPhone maker, has hired Zhong as an adviser while they reopen their factory. Moreover, the company is offering $1,000 to each new employee in a bid to entice more people to return to work. 

Production came to a screeching halt during the coronavirus outbreak, but now some doors are slowly opening up again, Foxconn included. The company hopes to resume at least half-production by the end of the month.

UPDATE February 27, 3:11 AM EST: 14% of cured coronavirus patients in Guangdong province have tested positive once again for the virus

A local health authority in Guangdong province, China, has confirmed that 14% of patients cured of the novel coronavirus and were discharged from hospital, have caught the virus once more. 

A positive test could suggest that recovered patients could still carry the virus, adding more complexity to the outbreak.

UPDATE February 27, 3:00 AM EST: Korean Air flight attendant with coronavirus reportedly worked on to the U.S. and Israel, potentially affecting over 400 passengers 

The South Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a Korean Air flight attendant infected with coronavirus serviced a flight between Seoul and Tel Aviv, Israel on February 15th, which subsequently confirmed 31 cases of coronavirus from the flight.

The airline has yet to disclose other routes this flight attendant serviced, however it's believed that the employee flew to U.S. destinations as well. 

UPDATE February 26, 4:59 PM EST: Energy and oil stocks crushed amid fears of coronavirus

The rapid spread of coronavirus worldwide has sent shockwaves through an oil market that is simply not prepared for the significant blow to the world's energy demand, reports CNN.

Oil prices fell lower on Wednesday, which reflects the rampant fears about economic repercussions from the fast-growing health crisis. Economists have warned that the coronavirus could spark a severe economic slowdown, and possibly a recession, in the U.S. and globally.

U.S. crude oil stock fell another 2.3% on Wednesday, to $48.73 per barrel. This is the lowest price since January of 2019, and it marks a 23% fall from the last recent peak of $63.27 per barrel on Jan. 5.

"You're seeing the ripple effects of the coronavirus proliferate outside of China. That is what is turning investor sentiment on oil and other risk assets as well," said Director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets, Michael Tran.

UPDATE February 26, 3:50 PM EST: Norway has confirmed its first coronavirus case

Norway has confirmed its first case of a person infected with the deadly coronavirus, according to the country's Institute for Public Health (NIIPH), declared in a statement.

The infected person has shown no symptoms but was tested after a return trip from China, specifically an area affected by the outbreak. The NIPH elaborated that the new case is a "weak positive result."

"The NIPH considers it very unlikely that the person poses an infection risk to others," said Director of the Department of Infection Control and Preparedness at NIPH, Line Vold.

The person is currently under quarantine at their home, as a precautionary measure, added Vold.

UPDATE February 26, 3:47 PM EST: It is "highly probable" New York will see cases of the deadly coronavirus, says governor

The state of New York has "explored" 27 cases of the deadly coronavirus, and so far all tests have had proved negative, excluding one test, which is still pending, said Andrew Cuomo, NY State governor at a press conference.

Cuomo added that he believes the pending case is in Nassau County, on Long Island, NY.

"It is highly probable that you will see a continuing spread of the virus. It is highly probable that we will have people in New York State who test positive," said Cuomo.

He also said he'd submit an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to the state legislature, to ask for an additional $40 million for the New York Department of Health to adequately respond to the threat of the deadly virus.

Cuomo also said that New York State is presently engaged in the "containment phase" of handling the virus. "Our operating paradigm is always prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said Cuomo.

Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association was with Cuomo at the press conference, and said that hospitals have prepared for the coronavirus for weeks.

He added that resources available to the system in confronting potential cases are "significant."

UPDATE February 26, 3:35 PM EST: More coronavirus cases were reported outside than inside China today

Update February 27, 3:32 AM EST: More than 3,500 cases confirmed outside of China

For the first time in the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the number of new cases reported outside of China in a single day outweighs those reported inside China, reports the World Health Organization.

In China, 412 cases were confirmed today, while 459 cases were confirmed outside of China, according to the WHO's daily report.

The majority of cases in China came from Hubei province, which had 401 new cases. Six came from outside mainland China, which included four from Hong Kong, counted in WHO's total China count.

More than half of the new coronavirus cases outside of China happened in South Korea, which has reported 284 cases.

UPDATE February 26, 6:37 AM EST: European cases of coronavirus continue to spread, with France confirming its first death due to the virus

On Tuesday night, a 60-year-old French citizen died of the coronavirus in a Paris hospital. This is the first confirmed death in the nation that has now 17 cases of infected people. 

Europe's cases of coronavirus are spreading rapidly, with Italy harboring the highest number of coronavirus cases outside of Asia — see information below.

Jérôme Salomon, France's health minister, confirmed the death of the 60-year-old unnamed French citizen on Wednesday morning.

UPDATE February 26, 3:45 AM EST: Top U.S. health official says the nation needs at least 300 million face masks for healthcare workers, however, masks aren't enough to stop the coronavirus

Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary in the U.S., has stated that at least 300 million face masks are needed for local healthcare workers. However, the effectiveness of these masks in stemming the coronavirus' spread is questionable. 

So far, the Trump administration has requested that Congress allocate $2.5 billion towards the coronavirus relief. These funds would be used for vaccine development, protective equipment, and other measures. 

The issue with face masks is that they can't entirely filter out airborne coronavirus particles. Coronavirus particles measure between 0.05 and 0.2 microns in diameter, and the masks can block out particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, according to the Lancet journal. 

As of Tuesday, 57 U.S. nationals have been infected by the coronavirus.

UPDATE February 26, 3:41 AM EST: The latest numbers of cases of coronavirus infections and deaths show a surge in fatalities outside of China

The WHO's latest report on the coronavirus outbreak explains that four new Member States have confirmed coronavirus cases: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Oman.

Moreover, the report stated that confirmed cases worlwide have reached 80,239 (908 of these are new in the last 24 hours). The majority of these cases are in China, 77,780 in total.

Outside of China, 33 countries have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and there have been 34 deaths (11 of which were new in the last 24 hours). China has confirmed 2,666 deaths.

UPDATE February 26, 3:37 AM EST: Samsung reopens Galaxy Z flip phone factory after an emergency shutdown last weekend

A Samsung factory in Gumi, South Korea, shut down all operations over the weekend amid fears that an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. This person was in charge of phone production. 

The factory reopened on Monday, and Samsung does not expect any impact on its production to take place. The company stated that "The health and safety of our employees are our highest priority. The company plans to implement all necessary measures for disinfection and containment promptly."

UPDATE February 25, 3:00 PM EST: Woman in mainland Spain tests positive for deadly coronavirus

A woman in Barcelona has been confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus, according to the Secretary of Public Health in Catalonia, Joan Guix, CNN reports.

The patient is a 36-year-old Italian citizen living in Barcelona, Guix said Guix. She traveled to Bergamo and Milan, Italy, from Feb. 12 to Sunday, Feb. 23. She is presently in isolation in a hospital.

Two other people had previously tested positive for the virus on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife, causing their hotel to go into lockdown.

Eight additional cases are presently under investigation.

UPDATE February 25, 2:25 PM EST: The Dow has now dropped more than 700 points

Stocks have made a sharply negative turn amid growing coronavirus fears. The Dow has fallen more than 700 points.

Yesterday, the Dow plummeted by more than 1,000 points; its worst day in two years.

UPDATE February 25, 2:22 PM EST: US-South Korea military exercises are expected to be scaled down amid coronavirus fears

South Korea and the U.S. are expected to announce Tuesday that a critical joint military exercise will be scaled down because the deadly coronavirus is severely reducing the ability of both militaries to participate, according to three U.S. officials, reports CNN.

If this happens, it will be the first major impact of coronavirus on U.S. military readiness, added the officials. Instead of a full-scale exercise, the U.S. may lose ground in its ability to effectively conduct future operations in a coordinated and highly-synchronized manner with the Republic of Korea, should the North Korean government take advantage of the crisis, one of the officials said.

The two allies are finalizing details of the reduced effort.

UPDATE February 25, 1:25 PM EST: France has confirmed 2 new coronavirus cases

Two additional people in France have been confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus, said Jérôme Salomon, the country's general director of Health.

"We have two new cases tonight. Case No. 13 is the case of a young Chinese woman who returned from China on February 7 and was hospitalized in Paris. Case No. 14 is a French man returning from Lombardy; he's being hospitalized in Auvergne Rhône Alpes," said Salomon.

This comes on the heels of France declaring yesterday that it had "cured coronavirus" in its country, in that the last known case of the virus was cured.

UPDATE February 25, 1:25 PM EST: DOW plummets more than 500 points amid coronavirus fears

Stocks have reversed an earlier rise on Tuesday, overwhelmed by coronavirus fears. The Dow plummeted by more than 500 points on Tuesday.

Yesterday the Dow fell more than 1,000 points — its worst day in two years.

UPDATE February 25, 12:46 PM EST: Goldman Sachs employees are restricted from travel to South Korea and parts of Italy amid coronavirus fears

Goldman Sachs is restricting all business travel to South Korea, and also some regions in Italy amid coronavirus fears, according to an investment bank announcement on Tuesday, reports CNN.

Employees who have recently traveled to South Korea, or the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy, or who have experienced proximity to anyone who has been to these areas, are compelled to stay out-of-office for at least 14 days, said Goldman Sachs on Tuesday.

Goldman has also asked employees to delay non-essential travel to other parts of Italy and Asia. The company previously asked employees not to travel to China when the novel coronavirus first took hold in Wuhan.

Here is the full press release from Goldman Sachs:

"We are restricting all business travel to, from and within South Korea, as well as the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy, and asking that non-essential business travel to other parts of Italy and Asia be postponed. In addition to the previous policy for mainland China, all employees who have traveled to South Korea or the impacted regions in Italy, or who have been in close contact with individuals who have been to these areas, are required to remain out of the office for at least 14 days."

UPDATE February 25, 12:26 PM EST: US health official warns coronavirus is close to becoming a pandemic

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the deadly coronavirus has satisfied some of the criteria for a pandemic — but not all, reports CNN.

"The fact that this virus has caused illness — including illness that has resulted in death — and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria for a pandemic," Messonnier said.

She added that the virus is "moving closer" to satisfying the third criteria: the worldwide spread of the new virus.

Messonnier also added: "But as more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder."

"Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in this country. It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness. We will maintain, for as long as [is] practical, a dual approach where we continue measures to contain this disease, but also employ strategies to minimize the impact of our communities," said Messonnier.

UPDATE February 25, 11:20 AM EST: US Senators briefed on coronavirus, and share thoughts on the crisis

U.S. Senators discussed the coronavirus during a classified briefing on Tuesday morning.

On their way out, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Lamar Alexander, and Dick Durban shared concerns over the spread of the deadly coronavirus in countries around the world, reports CNN.

According to Democrat Whip Durban, a key question is "whether or not [countries] will be aggressive in quarantine in cases and reduce the spread beyond their borders. We still have to wait and see."

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy said that the end of the briefing was met with officials saying "it didn't need to be" classified. Sen. Roy Blunt (Republican) affirmed that nothing "top secret" was happening.

Durbin added that he believes the Trump administration's request for roughly $2 billion in additional funds to confront the coronavirus is a "wise allocation" but was quick to add that it "may not even be enough," echoing warnings of other Democrats.

Durbin also criticized the Trump administration budget request, which cuts funds for health agencies like CDC, and NIH, as "completely backwards." He also expressed hopes that the president will reconsider his budget request, because "we've got to anticipate that more resources will be needed," reports CNN.

Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Mike Braun (Indiana) said "panicking about this does not make sense," when asked if people residing in the U.S. should worry about the coronavirus. Braun stresses the low-level impact of the 14 cases detected within the country so far, excluding those infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

UPDATE February 25, 11:11 AM EST: Austria, neighboring Italy, confirms first cases of deadly coronavirus

Two people in Austria have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the Tyrol Region government press office, reports CNN.

The genders and nationalities of the two infected people are still unknown, but they tested positive in the city of Innsbruck.

Austria shares a 404-kilometer (251-mile) border with Italy, where most of Europe's coronavirus cases have occurred. Currently, 7 have died in Italy, and more than 280 coronavirus infections have been confirmed.

UPDATE February 25, 11:08 AM EST: There are 10 Northern Italian towns on lockdown

Update on February 26, 6:40 AM EST: 11 towns in Italy are now on lockdown, with 11 deaths confirmed in the nation

As of Wednesday morning, Italy has become the most infected country outside of Asia, with 322 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Italy's Lombardy region press office has released a list of towns and villages currently under lockdown inside the so-called "red zones" declared to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

They include:

1. Codogno

2. Castiglione D'Adda

4. Fombio

5. Maleo

6. Somaglia

7. Bertonico

8. Terranova Dei Passerini

9. Castelgerundo

10. San Fioran

Measures taken in "red zones" include a total ban on public entry into the zone, closing of train stations, and complete suspension of public transit, including buses.

At present Italy has the highest number of coronavirus infections outside Asia, with 54 cases detected in the northern region of the country overnight, which brings the total up to 283, according to an Italian civil protection agency report on Tuesday. Cases are most common in the region of Lombardy, where there are 212 confirmed infections. So far, seven people have died from the virus in Italy.

UPDATE February 25, 11:07 AM EST: A vaccine to the coronavirus is at least one year away, US senators are told

Administration officials informed U.S. senators that a vaccine was at least 12 to 18 months away, according to three senators present at the closed coronavirus briefing that happened earlier on Tuesday.

In reply to questions about the wait-time for a coronavirus vaccine, Sen. Roy Blunt said: "We will not have a vaccine in the next 12 to 18 months."

Senator Joe Manchin claimed to have asked National Institutes of Health's Tony Fauci if they were close to a vaccine, and Faucci replied "no," said Manchin. "I guess Tony should know ... It's very contagious."

"The vaccine for the coronavirus is moving more rapidly than any vaccine we have already tried to approve — but it will take a year or 18 months. The way to stop (an outbreak) is quarantine and monitoring," said the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair, Lamar Alexander.

"I believe it's under control," Alexander said, reports CNN. "Do I think it will spread to the United States? The advice we got today is inevitably it will spread."

Meanwhile, U.S. President Trump has continued to express confidence to the public throughout his administration's engagement with the crisis. He added that he thinks the coronavirus crisis will be short-lived.

"I think that the whole situation will start working out. A lot of talent, a lot of brain power is being pushed behind it," said Trump during a Tuesday news conference in New Delhi, India.

UPDATE February 25, 10:54 AM EST: Iran's deputy health minister tests positive for deadly coronavirus, says state media

The Iranian deputy health minister tested positive on Tuesday, reports the country's ILNA news agency, according to Reuters.

During an interview on state television, a spokesperson for the health ministry confirmed a coronavirus infection of Deputy Iraj Harirchi and added that he has been quarantined.

There are 95 confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran, and 15 confirmed dead from infection.

UPDATE February 25, 10:13 EST: At least 4 passengers of from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have died from coronavirus

The death of an 80-year-old passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has been confirmed by Japan's Ministry of Health, reports CNN.

The man passed away in the hospital and is the fourth passenger from the cruise ship to die. The total death toll from the coronavirus is five people.

UPDATE February 25, 8:11 AM EST: Harvard scientist claims 70% of the world's population will catch the coronavirus

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist from Harvard University, predicts that between 40% to 70% of the world's entire population will be infected by the coronavirus within a year.

Not wanting to alarm everyone, Lipsitch also stated that most people won't have severe illnesses or even show symptoms, which is already the case for current coronavirus cases.

This is why he believes the virus can't be stopped. As it is sometimes asymptomatic, Lipsitch believes many people will go about their day to day lives without even realizing they've contracted the disease. 

UPDATE February 25, 5:23 AM EST: U.S. woman on the Westerdam cruise line does not have the coronavirus and did not spread it to other passengers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that a woman traveling on Holland America Line's Westerdam cruise ship does not in fact have the coronavirus. It had been believed that she had spread it to fellow passengers. 

The Westerdam had been denied docking at five ports amid rumors that its passengers had the coronavirus, even after the cruise line had confirmed that none aboard had the virus. 

In mid-February, passengers were finally allowed to disembark in Cambodia. However, fears were stoked later as an 83-year-old woman who had been aboard the cruise ship supposedly tested positive for carrying the virus. 

It ultimately turns out that she does not have the virus, as per the CDC.

UPDATE: February 25, 5:20 AM EST: Major American companies are suffering amid the coronavirus outbreak

Major U.S. companies such as United Airlines, which had to suspend its flights to four major Chinese cities — routes that represent approximately 5% of its planned capacity — are suffering due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Another big company's business that's suffering because of the coronavirus is Mastercard, who updated its first quarter and full-year 2020 outlook, and it didn't look promising. 

UPDATE February 25, 5:18 AM EST: Two-thirds of coronavirus cases may still be undetected

A report by Imperial College London has shared the worrying information that a potential two-thirds of coronavirus infections have yet to be discovered, or disclosed. 

As lead researcher of the study, Sangeeta Bhatia, stated "We compared the average monthly number of passengers traveling from [outbreak epicenter] Wuhan to major international destinations with the number of COVID-19 cases that have been detected overseas. Based on these data, we then estimate the number of cases that are undetected globally and find that approximately two thirds of the cases might be undetected at this point."

UPDATE February 24, 12:00 PM EST: "We are in the phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic," says health official

Executive Director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme Mike Ryan said on Monday that it's too early to declare the deadly coronavirus a pandemic — but the time to prepare for one is now.

"Look what's happened in China, we've seen a significant drop in cases, huge pressure placed on the virus and a sequential decrease in the number of cases, that goes against the logic of pandemic. Yet we see in contrast to that, an acceleration of cases in places like Korea, and therefore we are still in the balance," said Ryan, reports CNN.

"We are in the phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic," he added.

Ryan encourages countries of the world to prepare to take and treat patients and work toward containment.

UPDATE February 24, 10:28 AM EST: The deadly coronavirus has pandemic potential, but it's not there yet, says World Health Organization

Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization said on Monday that the deadly coronavirus has pandemic potential — but isn't a pandemic yet.

Tedros added that the decision to use the word pandemic is merely descriptive term that refers to the geographic spread of the virus, severity, and impact on society, and also that for the moment the WHO is not witnessing the uncontained global spread of the virus endemic of the word "pandemic."

He clarified that the virus is affecting countries around the world in disparate ways, which each require a unique and tailored response, not a "one-size-fits-all" response, reports CNN.

Previously, WHO had declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

However, it's important to remember that there is no rigid definition of "pandemic;" mathematical or otherwise. Nor is it subjective.

Outbreaks are characterized as pandemics by epidemiologists — who have yet to use the term to refer to the coronavirus. This is because they haven't yet seen sustained transmission among people who've not recently traveled to China, or had close contact with someone who was recently there.

It is insufficient for a cluster of disease in one country to exist and even spread beyond — it must spread in a sustained way, from person to person, over and over, through several generations of transmission, before the word "pandemic" applies.

UPDATE February 24, 9:36 AM EST: US stocks plunge amid fears of coronavirus

U.S. stocks plunged this morning as worries surrounding the spread of the deadly coronavirus spreading beyond mainland China to other major economies of the world swelled, reports CNN.

  • The S&P 500 declined by 3.1%
  • The Dow dropped to 997 points or 3.4%
  • The Nasdaq fell 3.9%

Having lost more than 1,400 points in three trading days, the Dow has been seriously affected by the deadly coronavirus. This massive drop virtually erased the Dow's gains for 2020, which leaves the index for the year in the negative. The S&P 500 remains, however, positive for 2020.

UPDATE February 24, 8:43 AM EST: First coronavirus case in Iraq is a student from Iran

An Iranian student who made entry into Iraq before the latter's travel ban on Iran is now confirmed infected with the deadly coronavirus, according to a statement from the Iraqi Ministry of Health on Monday.

The student has since been restricted to quarantine in the city of Najaf, added the ministry.

"The ministry would like to clarify that the tests (sic) results made today for one Iranian student showed a positive infection of a student who entered Iraq before the travel ban decision," said the statement, reports CNN.

UPDATE February 24, 8:30 AM EST: CDC declares new travel advisories for Iran and Italy

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared new travel advisories Sunday night for Italy and Iran, following a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases in both nations.

These constitute the fourth and fifth travel advisories the agency has issued beyond mainland China.

Specifically, the CDC advises travelers to "practice usual precautions" in both nations, according to a "Watch - Level 1" notice of the three possible such advisories.

UPDATE February 24, 7:40 AM EST: Chinese government approves implementation of policy to ban the consumption of wild animals

China's highest political body just approved a decision on Monday to officially ban the consumption and illegal trade of wild animals, believed by some experts to be the source of the virus.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee approved the ban on Monday, as a measure to help "safeguard the health and ecological security," according to state media of China.

The measure was created to "completely ban the eating of wild animals," while simultaneously "cracking down on illegal trade of wildlife," reports Chinese state media.

This means the use of wild animals for scientific research, exhibition, or medicine must now undergo "strict examination and approval" by the supervising department, according to regulations.

This comes nearly a month after Chinese authorities suspended the trade of wild animals on Jan. 26, which was an early measure taken to contain the virus.

UPDATE February 24, 7:34 AM EST: Passengers from Diamond Princess cruise ship were released by mistake, says Japan

Authorities in Japan are in contact with each of the 23 passengers who were mistakenly released from the Diamond Princess, the country's health ministry said to CNN, to which it added that at least three of the passengers have also retested negative for the deadly coronavirus.

The accidentally-free 23 passengers were compelled to take a second test because their first test came before Feb. 5, when a ship-wide quarantine was issued, according to the ministry, reports CNN.

Passengers in close contact with someone infected with the deadly coronavirus after their initial test were also compelled to take a second test, and reset their 14-day quarantine since their last contact with infected proxies, before receiving permission to disembark.

There was no specific time window in which the tests must be taken, the Japanese health ministry said to CNN, the 23 in question simply needed to arrange to be tested during their respective quarantine periods.

UPDATE February 24, 7:24 AM EST: Italy has confirmed 219 cases of coronavirus, with five deaths

Italy has confirmed 219 cases of the deadly coronavirus, said Angelo Borrelli, head of the country's civil protection agency, during a Monday press briefing.

Five of the 219 people infected with coronavirus have died, he said.

In addition, 91 of the cases are currently in isolation, at home, said Borrelli.

Hardest hit in Italy is the northern region of Lombardy, with 167 cases and four of the reported deaths, Borrelli added.

UPDATE February 24, 6:10 AM EST: Hundreds of tourists from East Asia to be flown from Israel back home

Hundreds of non-Israeli nationals from East Asian countries currently visiting Israel will be returned home via chartered flights in the coming days, the Israel Airport Authority said in a statement on Monday, reports CNN.

As of Monday, there are between 800 and 900 East Asian tourists in Israel. While there is no precise figure on how many South Koreans are present in the middle-eastern country, authorities have said that a representative of the South Korean embassy will be available, provided by the Ministry of Tourism.

As of Sunday night, 622 South Korean citizens touring Israel have returned to their home country. An additional 879 foreign nationals from different East Asian countries have also returned to their respective homes, the airport authority said.

Israel restricted entry for foreign nationals who have recently been to China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Macau in the last 14 days.

UPDATE February 23, 6:20 AM EST: Israel closes its borders to Japanese and South Korean nationals and Iran's death toll rises to 8

On Sunday, Israel closed its borders to Japanese and South Korean nationals in an attempt to control the virus' outbreak while officials announced Iran's death toll has now reached 8.

UPDATE February 23, 2:10 AM EST: Tehran universities suspend teaching while more deaths from the virus are reported

Tehran announced on Sunday it would suspend teaching amid coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile, South Korea reports 5th death and the death toll in China rises to 2442.

UPDATE February 22, 7:30 AM EST: Iran reports its 5th death from the virus while Lebanon confirms three more cases of infection

Iranian health authorities on Saturday reported a fifth death from the virus. The authorities also confirmed 10 new cases of the virus in Iran. In the meantime, Lebanon reported three new cases of infection.

UPDATE February 22, 5:40 AM EST: Second coronavirus death in Italy

A second patient infected with the coronavirus has died in ItalyThe victim was a female resident in Milan's Lombardy region.

Furthermore, the outbreak of the coronavirus in Northern Italy has considerably worsened on Friday, and officials now confirm 30 cases in the wealthy region of Lombardy and two in the region of Veneto.

Before Friday, only three cases of the virus had been reported by Italy.

UPDATE February 23, 5:20 AM EST: South Korea raises alert to the highest level

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday put South Korea on the highest possible alert. “The coming few days will be a critical time for us,” Jae-in said at an emergency meeting.

“This will be a momentous time when the central government, local governments, health officials and medical personnel and the entire people must wage an all-out, concerted response to the problem.” In just days, the country has reached 602 confirmed infections and five deaths.

UPDATE February 22, 5:20 AM EST: Italy reports its first coronavirus death

A 78-year-old Italian man with coronavirus died on Friday becoming the first death of the country and marking the first European death. He was one of two people who had tested positive for the virus in the Veneto region. He died in the hospital.

UPDATE February 21, 1:47 PM EST: The United States changes its criteria for identifying coronavirus cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is switching-up its criteria for defining confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, to consolidate cases into two distinct and separate groups: those repatriated by the U.S. Department of State, and those who were identified by the U.S. public health network.

This means there are now 21 confirmed cases from repatriated citizens and 13 cases from Americans first identified within the country, according to Director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease Nancy Messonnier, reports CNN.

Until Thursday, the CDC had reported 15 cases within the United States. The number has fallen to 13 because two cases have been reclassified as repatriated individuals.

This systemic change goes into effect on Friday.

 

UPDATE February 21, 11:05 AM EST: 253 people disembark from the Diamond Princess cruise ship

On Friday, 253 people who tested negative for the deadly coronavirus after a 14-day quarantine have disembarked from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to a press release by the Japanese Ministry of Health, reports CNN.

The process of offloading passengers who have tested negative for the virus will continue at least through Saturday, said a spokesperson for Princess Cruises, to CNN.

 

UPDATE February 21, 10:59 AM EST: "The window of opportunity is narrowing" for coronavirus containment, says health expert

There is growing concern regarding the spread of the deadly coronavirus in countries beyond mainland China among people without a connection to China or Wuhan, according to a statement made by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reports CNN.

Tedros clarified that while there remains a possibility of containing the virus, "the window of opportunity is narrowing."

WHO is asking countries to continue containment procedures while also preparing for community transmission, Tedros said. He added that China's containment procedures in Wuhan and elsewhere are "hammering" the virus — in other words, the measures are working.

"We must not look back and regret that we failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have," said Tedros.

Tedros believes the outbreak can still move in any direction, which is why countries need to prepare for that inevitability now, instead of later.

UPDATE February 21, 10:00 AM EST: Lebanon declares its first confirmed coronavirus patient

The country of Lebanon has confirmed its first confirmed case of the infectious coronavirus, said Lebanese Health Minister Hammad Hassan during a news conference on Friday, reports CNN.

Hassan added that the patient is a 45-year-old female, returned yesterday from the city of Qom, Iran. Two more suspected cases exist in the nation, but neither are as of yet confirmed to be infected.

Hassan further announced that all travelers returning from Iran will henceforth be subject to quarantine for 14 days.

This comes on the heels of Iran's announcement that 18 coronavirus cases have occurred within its borders. Four have died of the deadly virus in Iran.

UPDATE February 21, 9:18 AM EST: Israel confirms first coronavirus patient

Israel's Ministry of Health has confirmed its first-ever case of coronavirus after a woman evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan was diagnosed with the illness, in a statement Friday morning, reports CNN.

The woman was one of eleven Israeli-bound passengers on the Diamond Princess, recently returned via a chartered plane. The other ten passengers have tested negative for the virus.

All passengers are currently in isolation at Sheba Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, where they will remain for 14 days.

Four other Israeli citizens diagnosed with the coronavirus remain on the cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.

UPDATE February 21, 9:05 AM EST: South Korea confirms second death from coronavirus infection

Another coronavirus patient in South Korea has died of infection, according to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new victim was a woman born in 1965 and was confirmed infected with the coronavirus on Friday.

The first South Korean patient to die of the deadly coronavirus had a chronic lung disease which caused the patient to be hospitalized for a long time, according to Jung Eun-Kyeong, an official at the South Korean CDC, said CNN.

UPDATE February 21, 8:04 AM EST: Iran has confirmed 18 coronaviruses infections and 4 deaths

Two additional coronavirus-related deaths have happened in Iran, with 13 new cases of the infection, according to Iran's health ministry.

"According to the latest laboratory reports 13 contractions of coronavirus have been confirmed, including 7 in Qom, 4 in Tehran, and two in Gilan. Unfortunately, out of these cases two have lost their lives," said Kianoosh Jahanpour, the nation's health ministry spokesman, in a tweet on Friday. "Most of the cases are residents of Qom or have traveled to Qom in recent days and weeks," he added.

These developments come during Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday. Some voters have elected to don protective masks, and numerous polling stations are forgoing mandatory fingerprint screenings in hopes of slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

UPDATE February 21, 4:27 AM EST: Coronavirus may be spreading through fecal matter 

Watch out, there may be another way in which the deadly coronavirus is spreading, and it's not a very pleasant one. 

The Chinese Center for Disease Control published a report that stated that the coronavirus patients had "live virus in stool specimens," which suggests that the virus could be spread through fecal matter.

"This virus has many routes of transmission, which can partially explain its strong transmission and fast transmission speed," said the report.

Another study also published findings that showed the coronavirus showing up in both blood and anal swabs. 

The advice to minimize risk remains the same: wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with farm animals, and stay away from people who show symptoms of having the virus. 

UPDATE February 21, 3:20 AM EST: Coronavirus deaths rise to over 2,200, and new cases keep increasing

An additional 411 cases of infected people in Hubei province in China were confirmed on Thursday morning, which was 62 more than the previous day. In Hubei province alone the total number of coronavirus cases has reached 62,442

Outside of the epicenter, there are around 14,000 cases in China.

The death toll has reached 2,247.

Outside of China, South Korea and Japan hold the highest numbers of infected people. Just one week ago the number of infected people in South Korea was at 28, whereas now it stands at 156

UPDATE February 20, 1:22 PM EST: International airlines could lose billions from coronavirus

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that the total global loss in revenue for airlines could be $29.3 billion due to the deadly coronavirus, CNN reports.

IATA made its announcement after assessing the impact of the deadly 2019 coronavirus outbreak — also called COVID-19 — and found a potential 13% full-year loss in passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.

"This sharp downturn in demand as a result of COVID-19 will have a financial impact on airlines — severe for those particularly exposed to the China market," said Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac of IATA.

"Considering that growth for the region's airlines was forecast to be 4.8%, the net impact will be an 8.2% full-year contraction compared to 2019 demand levels. In this scenario, that would translate into a $27.8 billion revenue loss in 2020 for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region -- the bulk of which would be borne by carriers registered in China, with a $12.8 billion loss in the China domestic market alone. In the same scenario, carriers outside Asia-Pacific are forecast to bear a revenue loss of $1.5 billion, assuming the loss of demand is limited to markets to China. This would bring total global lost revenue to $29.3 billion (5% lower passenger revenues compared to what IATA forecast in December) and present a 4.7% hit to global demand."

Since this announcement, Kuwait Airways has suspended flights to Iran due to coronavirus concerns, until further notice. It advises its citizens not to travel to Qom amid coronavirus cases in the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to Kuwait Airways and state news.

UPDATE February 20, 12:12 PM EST: US health officials issue travel advisory for Japan amid coronavirus concerns

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new travel advisory for Japan out of concerns regarding the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This is the second coronavirus-related travel advisory the CDC has issued outside mainland China.

The CDC advises travelers to "practice usual precautions," in line with a "Watch - Level 1" notice of three possible levels.

On Wednesday, the CDC listed the first travel notice beyond mainland China — for Hong Kong, for which the agency also stipulated a "Level 1" advisory.

Precautions stipulate avoiding sick people, and thoroughly cleaning hands. The CDC also suggests people find medical advice if they have spent time in Japan in the last two weeks, or feel ill with respiratory symptoms or fever.

"At this time, CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to Japan," said a post on the agency's website.

Mainland China is listed as "Warning - Level 3" and suggests travelers "avoid nonessential travel." The notice excludes Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong.

UPDATE February 20, 11:44 AM EST: US health experts are officially part of the team investigating the coronavirus outbreak in China

U.S. health experts are part of a team of World Health Organization experts, present in China, who are investigating the deadly coronavirus outbreak, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhonom Ghebreyesus during a Thursday press briefing, CNN reports.

Tedros said the team in China consists of experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and also experts from Singapore, Japan, Germany, Korea, Russia, and Nigeria. The experts are specialists in fields of epidemiology, virology, clinical management, public health, and outbreak control, he added.

The team members and their Chinese counterparts are studying transmissibility of the virus, and also the effectiveness of measures already taken in China said Tedros.

U.S. health officials claim they've made numerous offers, beginning in early January, to send China much-needed health experts, and was previously frustrated that U.S. experts were not immediately invited into the process.

UPDATE February 20, 10:18 AM EST: Americans testing positive for coronavirus must meet 3 criteria before returning home

U.S. citizens previously aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus must pass three criteria before returning home, according to letters sent from the U.S. embassy in Tokyo to these passengers, reports CNN.

The guidelines were sent to at least one American still within Japan. The U.S. began moving passengers from Japan earlier this week.

Eligibility for access to U.S.-bound flights, Americans must meet three key criteria:

1. Any fever must have resolved without medication.

2. There must also be an improvement in any symptoms or signs of illness.

3. Patients must test negative on two sets of the throat and nasal swabs spaced 24 hours apart.

These criteria are in accordance with existing guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding when patients may be released from isolation in hospitals.

"You will not be cleared to travel simply by waiting 14 days," the embassy specified. Fourteen days is the higher estimate for the coronavirus' incubation period.

UPDATE February 20, 7:45 AM EST: Japan's Health Ministry confirms 244 passengers from Diamond Princess disembarked Thursday

Two weeks into quarantine, 244 passengers have disembarked from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Thursday, according to the Japanese Health Ministry, said a CNN report.

The recently departed (from the cruise ship) had tested negative for the deadly coronavirus and were set free from the vessel, with full travel privileges.

The ministry said to CNN that it previously expected 800 passengers to leave the vessel on Wednesday, but only 443 did.

UPDATE February 20, 7:25 AM EST: China reclassifies criteria for confirmed coronavirus cases, after gaining better testing capability

China has updated its criteria for diagnosing coronavirus cases, citing improved testing capacity, according to Wang Guiqiang, director of the Society of Infectious Diseases of the Chinese Medical Association.

To declare a "confirmed case" of coronavirus, a potential case must be formally diagnosed before they are added to the totals.

The National Health Commission stated earlier that confirmed cases in Hubei province would now only list people who had positive lab test results from patient samples that match both nucleic acid and the genetic sequencing of the virus.

At Thursday's press conference, Guiqiang said:

"In order to resolve the conflict between diagnosis and treatment, in Hubei, such clinical diagnosis was introduced to enable timely treatment of possible patients and reduce fatality rate," he said. "But now that the situation in Hubei has changed[, t]he nucleic acid testing capability has been greatly improved. And now all suspected cases or unconfirmed cases can be tested for nucleic acids quickly. Nucleic testing is no longer an issue," Wang added.

On Thursday, following this change, mainland China's national count fell to 394 new cases, one of the lowest in weeks.

UPDATE February 20, 7:00 AM EST: the UK plans to evacuate British tourists still aboard Diamond Princess

The UK government has planned an evacuation flight for British citizens still aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, still quarantined in Yokohama, Japan.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the flight will leave Tokyo this Friday.

"Details have been sent to those who have registered for the flight. We urge other British nationals still seeking to leave to contact us," said Raab. "We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan."

UPDATE February 20, 6:43 AM EST: Patient confirmed infected with coronavirus after dying in South Korea

A patient has died in South Korea and was later confirmed to be infected with the deadly coronavirus, according to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The cause of death is still under investigation, said a KCDC official.

This comes amid a significant jump in cases across the Asian nation. The KCDC says there have been 22 confirmed cases, which brings South Korea's total coronavirus infection count to 104 on Thursday.

UPDATE February 20, 3:58 AM EST: Japanese couple flying from Hawaii back to Japan on Delta Airlines has tested positive for the coronavirus, the airline is notifying all other passengers

A couple who was visiting Hawaii over January and February have tested positive for the coronavirus. They flew with Delta Airlines from the Hawaiian islands back to their home in Japan, and now the airline is notifying all other passengers of their flight. 

The man started showing symptoms of the virus while visiting the Hawaiian island of O'ahu, and upon returning to Japan tested positive. His partner also tested positive a day later.

UPDATE February 20, 3:55 AM EST: Scientists use Nobel prize method to create an atomic-level image of the coronavirus 

Scientists have managed to create an image of the novel coronavirus by using an atomic level method. This image could help in the development of treatments or vaccines, something that's crucial if scientists are to curb the ongoing outbreak.

Have a look at the image here.

UPDATE February 19, 1:29 PM EST: Chinese health officials voice their appraisal of how deadly the coronavirus is

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has calculated a case fatality rate of 2.3% for the infectious coronavirus. This means 2.3% of confirmed coronavirus cases have resulted in death, according to CNN.

This is a higher rate than influenza, which hovers at roughly 0.1% -- but the coronavirus is still lower than SARS (9.6%), and MERS (35%), according to the CCDC.

International experts have however cautioned against early figures -- which may not have all the facts. Case fatality rates might decrease as officials find milder cases who have not sought medical care.

UPDATE February 19, 12:03 PM EST: US health agency issues travel advisory for Hong Kong, amid coronavirus concerns

A new travel advisory has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for Hong Kong, amid coronavirus concerns.

This is so far the only such coronavirus-related travel advisory the agency has issued beyond mainland China.

In the advisory, the CDC says travelers should "practice usual precautions," according to a "Watch - Level 1" notice of three possible levels. Prescribed precautions include avoiding proximity or contact to infected people, and cleaning hands thoroughly. The agency also suggests that people seek medical advice if they have spent any time in Hong Kong in the last two weeks and feel unwell with respiratory symptoms or fever.

"At this time, CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to Hong Kong," said the agency website on Wednesday.

The agency currently lists mainland China as "Warning - Level 3" and suggests travelers "avoid nonessential travel." This advisory excludes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

UPDATE February 19, 11:34 AM EST: Singapore has confirmed 3 additional coronavirus cases

The Ministry of Health of Singapore has reported three new cases of the infectious coronavirus today, which brings the national count up to 84 cases.

Here's a summary of the new cases:

  • A 57-year-old woman and Singapore citizen with no recent travel to China. Last Saturday, she was admitted as a dengue patient in a general ward consisting of other patients at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. But Tuesday afternoon, further testing confirmed she's infected with the deadly coronavirus. She has since been isolated, and patients who shared the same room with her have also undergone tests for the disease. Their results are still in-progress.
  • Next is a 54-year-old male Singapore citizen, also with no recent travel to China, but who does frequent Malaysia (a bordering country) for work purposes. He was confirmed as infected with the novel coronavirus on Wednesday morning and is currently held in isolation.
  • The final new case is a 35-year-old female Singapore citizen. She has made no recent travel to China, but she is however linked to a separate case of the virus. This case involves a 28-year-old male Singapore citizen, who has made no recent travel to China but is linked to the cluster of infected cases from Grace Assembly of God (a church).

UPDATE February 19: 8:30 AM EST: Scientists criticize conspiracy theories about origins of coronavirus

Scientists around the world are fighting back to debunk "conspiracy theories" that say the infectious coronavirus didn't come from animals, but from a Chinese laboratory, according to a statement released Wednesday in the medical journalThe Lancet.

"We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin," wrote the statement's 27 authors, citing studies from a global network of scientists who have analyzed the coronavirus' genetic structure.

Their studies "overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens."

UPDATE February 19, 8:18 AM EST: Passengers begin to leave cruise ship post-quarantine

Approximately 500 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were allowed off the boat on Wednesday. They had been docked in Japan and had been told to remain on board as they waited out the 14-day quarantine period. 

There were 621 confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard, out of a total of 3,711 passengers and crew. 

Japan's decision to quaranting everyone on the ship came into question, as it seemed a perfect incubator for the virus to spread rapidly and easily. 

Only those with negative tests have been allowed to leave the ship, while the others remain on board for further check ups and quarantine.

UPDATE February 19, 8:23 AM EST: Apple's biggest iPhone plant in China hit by coronavirus restrictions

Many of Apple's products are assembled and made in factories in China, where the coronavirus is in full bloom. Now, sales of Apple products have seen a low period as many factories in China come to a standstill or work in restricted ways so as to safeguard the health of its workers. 

As of Wednesday, Apple's biggest iPhone plant in China has been hit by restrictions to its Chinese workforce.

A huge notice was placed outside of the factory so that all of its 200,000 workers could clearly see the restrictions, and be barred from entering their workplace. 

The notice stated "In response to government epidemic control requirements to prioritise prevention and safely resume work, and at the same time improve the quality of our worker reception services."

Given how many people work close at hand in these factories, it would be easy for the coronavirus to spread rapidly in such areas.

UPDATE February 19, 8:15 AM EST: First coronavirus cases spread to Iran

As the coronavirus' reach spreads on, Iran has confirmed two cases in the country. These are the first reported cases in the nation. There are reportedly more cases of infection, but these have yet to be confirmed, with a number of these potential cases currently in quarantine. 

Read more up-to-date coronavirus information here.

UPDATE February 19, 8:10 AM EST: Expatriate pilots of Chinese airlines are being sent home on unpaid leave due to low flight demand

Airlines based out of China have seen a huge cut in demand since the coronavirus outbreak began. Now, foreign pilots of these airlines are being sent back to their home countries on unpaid leave, many of whom are now seeking alternative employment. 

Local pilots, who have higher job security as they are typically paid less, have also seen a sharp decrease in their salary as most of their pay is based on per hour flight time. 

Data from the OAG states that around 80% of scheduled airline capacity in and around China has dropped since the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese airlines have been the hardest hit.

UPDATE February 18, 6:16 PM EST: Symptom-based coronavirus test "ineffective" at detecting infected cases, says report

German researchers have called symptom-based screening to detect the deadly coronavirus "ineffective" in a new analysis published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, according to CNN.

The researchers assessed the effectivity of the screening process for 126 people who entered Germany from Wuhan, China.

All 126 evacuees — mostly German citizens — departed Wuhan on February 1, and were subsequently screened for symptoms and clinical symptoms of infection before they were evacuated.

Travelers were required to go through multiple screenings once in Germany, and two tested positive for the novel coronavirus. "A symptom-based screening process was ineffective in detecting" the novel virus, according to the researchers.

The 116 other people went through another medical assessment, and one passenger showed signs of fever and cough. However, this person later tested negative for the virus.

Of the rest of the 115 patients, 114 agreed to a throat swab, to test for coronavirus. Two of those tested positive for coronavirus. These two patients were then isolated at a hospital. One had a sore throat and a faint rash. The two isolated patients were "well" and showed no signs of fever in the week since hospitalization, according to the researchers.

Beyond the effectiveness of the screening process, the authors of the study found that the virus could be spread by those with only mild symptoms: "Shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in persons who have no fever and no signs or only minor signs of infection."

Because of the added risk of contagion from people showing only mild symptoms of coronavirus infection — and thus posing a threat to the world's population — we will begin adding that figure in the summary at top of this article.

UPDATE February 18, 5:20 PM EST: CDC criticizes Diamond Princess for quarantine procedures

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criticized the quarantine efforts of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in a statement reported by CNN.

"We commend the extraordinary efforts by the Government of Japan to Institute quarantine measures onboard the Diamond Princess. While the quarantine potentially conferred a significant public health benefit in slowing transmission, CDC's assessment is that it may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship. CDC believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk. Therefore, to protect the health of the American public, all passengers and crew of the ship have been placed under travel restrictions, preventing them from returning to the United States for at least 14 days after they had left the Diamond Princess," said the CDC in a statement.

The CDC also noted that more than 100 U.S. citizens on board the ship or in Japanese hospitals remain. Since they are high-risk for exposure, there is the potential for more coronavirus cases, which means all passengers disembarking from the ship will be under a 14-day quarantine.

UPDATE February 18, 4:22 PM EST: Russia to suspend entry for Chinese Citizens

The Russian government said it will temporarily suspend entry to Chinese citizens, according to an order displayed on an official state website on Tuesday.

According to the statement, Russia will ban entry through its state border to Chinese nationals entering for work, for educational, private, and tourist purposes. The order further explains that the processing of documents, registration, and invitations to Chinese nationals to enter Russian territory will temporarily cease, starting midnight Tuesday. The ban will be in full effect Thursday.

To clarify, this is in response to widespread fear of coronavirus infection. Russia is a major place of transit for Chinese tourists and shares a considerably long border with China. The new ban will not apply to transit passengers, said the Russian state news agency, TASS.

UPDATE February 18, 3:30 PM EST: Passengers aboard the Diamond Princess will being disembarking tomorrow

Passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Japan's Yokohama port will finally disembark beginning tomorrow, said the Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Some are expected to move to shoreside facilities, but others might board chartered flights for which they qualify, said Captain Gennaro Arma of the Diamond Princess, in a CNN report.

This marks the first news of passengers departing the ship, not counting those infected with the deadly coronavirus, who are receiving treatment on the shore, or to more than 300 Americans previously evacuated over the weekend — now in U.S.-based quarantine.

UPDATE February 18, 3:10 PM EST: Quarantine lifted for hundreds of people isolated in two California bases

Two groups of people who recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan, China, have fulfilled their 14-day quarantine at California bases, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said CNN.

The CDC announced that 180 people quarantined at Travis Air Force Base, in addition to 166 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar were "medically cleared" by officials, subsequently lifting their quarantine. One person of the Miramar group -- a confirmed coronavirus case -- remains hospitalized.

"It is important to know that people released from quarantine pose no health risk to the surrounding community, or to the communities they will be returning to," said the CDC in a statement.

However, passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship — recently returned to the U.S. — remain "separate from those individuals who are already at Travis and nearing the end of their quarantine," said the CDC.

UPDATE February 18, 3:02 PM EST: Coronavirus vaccine may take 12 to 18 months to develop and test, say World Health Organization officials

An effective vaccine for the infectious coronavirus could take 12 to 18 months to develop, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, according to a press briefing report on CNN.

However, a vaccine is a precaution in case of "the worst situation," he added, and for now, long-term measures need to find a balance with immediate public health solutions that can contain the virus and keep the fatality rate as low as possible.

"This is a window of opportunity that should not be missed," said Tedros during a press briefing on Tuesday.

The director of WHO's Infectious Hazards Management Department Sylvie Briand said there might be a candidate for a coronavirus vaccine in roughly 16 weeks, but added it would still require months of development and trials to prove its effectiveness in humans. Briand also said that there have been no new data on the possibility of producing a vaccine since WHO's coronavirus research meeting, which happened earlier this month.

UPDATE February 18, 11:15 AM EST: Dozens more countries will have the capability to test for coronavirus soon

By end-of-week, 40 African countries and 29 in the Americas are expected to gain the ability to test and detect the novel coronavirus in suspected carriers, said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization, in a press briefing this morning.

Many countries have sent samples to others for testing, which takes days. If all goes according to plan, these countries will be able to get results within 24 to 48 hours, Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO has so far sent personal protective gear to 21 countries, and is readying to send an additional 106 in the next few weeks, he added.

UPDATE February 17, 3:37 PM EST: Passengers of stranded cruise ship, some infected, return to U.S.

One day before 328 U.S. citizens were slated to be moved from a contaminated cruise ship in Japan, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo informed passengers that no one infected with the novel coronavirus would be allowed to charter homeward-bound flights, according to The New York Times.

However, this injunction was promptly changed once 14 passengers tested positive for coronavirus, right as they were boarding buses to be dispatched from the airport, where two cargo jets awaited them, to fly to military bases in Texas and California.

After consulting with health experts, the American government elected to allow infected evacuees, who were as yet asymptomatic, to board U.S.-bound flights.

This reversal of decision was the latest chaotic development in a two-week quarantine of the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that has in the last few weeks become an epidemiological nightmare, said The New York Times.

The infected U.S. citizens — declared "fit to fly" by officials — were moved into a custom containment zone on the evacuation aircraft, where they remained under isolation and monitoring.

Once they arrive in the U.S., all evacuees — including those who tested negative for the coronavirus — will be placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine. If more passengers develop symptoms, they will be sent to "an appropriate location for continued isolation and care," said the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services, in a joint statement.

With the former Diamond Princess passengers' arrival, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has almost doubled, to a total of 29.

UPDATE February 17, 12:01 PM EST: Japan confirms 99 news coronavirus cases on Diamond Princess cruise ship

99 people are tested positive for coronavirus on the Diamond Princess, which remains quarantined in Japan. This brings the total number of infected to 454. 

Shigeru Omi, the chief director of the Japan Community Health Care Organisation said, "Many people are testing positive on the ship, but that is because we are testing everyone onboard, regardless of their medical condition and 70% of those testing positive are not showing any symptoms at all."

The ship has 3,700 passengers and crew onboard with only 1,723 people tested as of today. People who have shared a room with someone who has tested positive will face another two weeks in isolation.

UPDATE February 17, 8:38 AM EST: Tokyo's biggest marathon cancels entries from the general public

Japan's biggest marathon will be done without the general public due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reports

The marathon, which is scheduled for March 1, will be home to about 38,000 people who will run in the event. In order to not risk an outbreak in Tokyo, the marathon organizers decided to cancel entries from the general public.

UPDATE February 17, 11:32 AM EST: Coronavirus fears lead to canceled F1 and Formula E races, could push EU off of CO2 target

Last week, the promoters of the Chinese Grand Prix — a Formula 1 race slated for 19 April in Shanghai — successfully petitioned the FIA (the sport's governing body) and Formula 1 to postpone the event, until a date to be determined near the end of the 2020 F1 season, according to an Ars Technica report. There was no word about the Vietnam Grand Prix — slated for 5 April — but some in the sport are also worried about attending the Asia-based race.

On a similar note, the Chinese round of the Formula E series will no longer take place as scheduled on 21 March, in Sanya. Just like the Chinese Grand Prix, plans were in place to reschedule the race, but no one related to the sport has made concrete plans, amid growing fears of coronavirus infection.

UPDATE February 18, 05:39 pm EST: Half of China's population is subjected to travel restrictions 

According to The Time's analysis, at least 150 million people in China are facing restrictions regarding leaving their homes. Apparently, this number represents a subdivision of more than 760 million people in China.

These people's neighborhoods and villages are under strict rules on when or how many times they can leave their houses. This accounts for roughly one in 10 people on the planet not being able to leave their houses. 

The lockdown strictness varies from district to district. The regulations vary from requiring to show ID to only one person from each household to leave their home at a time. 

UPDATE February 18, 05:09 AM EST: Authorities round up patients who delay reporting symptoms

Authorities began a campaign inside Wuhan to find patients infected with the virus, reports The Guardian.

Chinese media reported government checking house-to-house to find infected patients. It is stated that anyone suspected of having the virus will face mandatory testing, and anyone who had contact with the suspected virus patients will be put under quarantine. 

UPDATE February 18, 01:02 AM EST: China postpones biannual auto show 

China's biggest international event is being postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The event was originally scheduled for 21-30 April in Beijing, however, with the recent doublings with the infected number, it is moved to an undetermined date.

The Auto China 2020 is the latest major event in China that is postponed with Shanghai Formula 1 Grand Prix, a major art festival in Hong Kong, and other sports events. 

UPDATE February 16, 7:30 PM EST: First infection confirmed in Africa

The first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in Africa, in a single person in Egypt, according to the journal Nature. Egypt's health ministry and the World Health Organization said on 15 February that the case was found as a direct consequence of the nation's program to trace visitors from affected nations. While the infected person has tested positive, they have shown no active symptoms.

Researchers feared the coronavirus' imminent arrival in Africa before this development.

In an interview with the journal Nature, Vittoria Colizza, who models infectious diseases at the Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health in Paris, said she's most worried about seven African nations with a moderate risk of importing the deadly illness, who are also without the strong health-care infrastructure, economic versatility, or political stability needed to robustly defend themselves from epidemics of this scale.

These countries include Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

UPDATE February 16, 11:32 AM EST: 40+ Americans aboard a quarantined cruise ship test positive for the coronavirus

According to a top U.S. Health official, more than 40 Americans aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The cruise ship has been in the port city of Yokohama for over a week with passengers under mandatory quarantine. The quarantine is due to end February 19, however, U.S. will begin evacuating the healthy Americans earlier. 

American passengers will undergo numerous health screenings before returning to the U.S. The few who have symptoms will not be permitted a return and will stay at hospitals in Japan. 

Once they arrive to the U.S., they will be subjected to another 14-day quarantine.

UPDATE February 14, 2:20 PM EST: Wuhan coronavirus death toll approaches 1,400

The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic neared 1,400 on Friday, counting six medical workers among those killed. This speaks to the nation's struggle to contain a rapidly-growing health crisis.

Nearly 64,000 people are now confirmed to have the coronavirus in China, with 1,716 health workers sharing in their patients' illness, as of Tuesday.

These foreboding figures come one week after public grief and anger emerged over the death of a whistleblowing doctor, who was punished and silenced by Chinese police, after trying to warn his colleagues about the gravity of the novel virus.

The scale of the Wuhan coronavirus grew immensely after authorities in central Hubei province changed their diagnostic criteria for counting cases. Thousands of new patients were subsequently added to the tally.

UPDATE February 14: Beijing orders all returning citizens to be placed under quarantine for 14 days 

Residents in China were told to "self-quarantine or go to designated venues to quarantine" after returning to Beijing after from holiday vacation, according to the BBC. The notice came from Beijing's virus prevention working group.

This policy decision came as Egypt confirmed the first coronavirus case in Africa.

More than 1,300 people have died from the novel virus, since it began in the city of Wuhan, China.

A World Health Organization (WHO)-led mission to China intends on beginning an outbreak investigation this weekend, focusing on how the virus' severity and rate-of-spread worldwide, said director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

UPDATE February 14, 11:59 AM EST: Russian woman escaped hospital quarantine, now under lawsuit for "endangering the public"

A Russian woman who escaped the hospital ward where she was quarantined for the deadly coronavirus is now facing a lawsuit, filed by Russian health authorities, for endangering the public.

The woman, named Alla Illyina, was undergoing observation after returning from China on Jan. 31, at the Botkin Hospital for Infection Diseases in St. Petersburg, said her lawyer Vitaly Cherkasov, to CNN.

There are two confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia, according to the country's consumer watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being. One has receovered and left the hospital, said the TASS.

UPDATE February 14, 11:28 AM EST: Europe's economy is stagnant, vulnerable to shock from China

Fear of recession is rampant in Europe after German's late-2019 flatline. The coronavirus is presently a threat to exports to China.

The German economy didn't grow in the fourth quarter of 2019, leaving the country exposed for a difficult 2020. This weakness has echoed across Europe, where growth has slowed to a seven-year low of 0.1% in the last three months of 2019.

This means Europe is vulnerable to the changes in the global economy due to the infectious coronavirus. More than 64,000 people have been infected around the globe, and China's economy is experiencing a sluggish restart after the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

"The [eurozone] economy should be about to turn a corner, but the coronavirus now means that [the first quarter] could well be a write-off," said Claus Vistesen, the chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a research note.

"The impact from the coronavirus on the Chinese economy is likely to delay any rebound in the manufacturing sector as it at least temporarily disrupts supply chains , wrote Carsten Brzeski, chief German economist at ING, on Friday.

"If you're forecasting zero [growth], then it's definitely fair to be talking about a potential recession," said Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, according to CNN.

UPDATE February 14, 11:17 AM EST: Japan promises to step up its efforts to contain the virus as first national dies

After the first death because of the coronavirus in Japan, the nation has now vowed to step up its testing and efforts to contain the virus. The number of cases has increased around the nation.

The unfortunate death of a Japanese woman in her 80s is only the third recorded death outside of mainland China.

UPDATE February 14, 11:15 AM EST: U.K.'s NHS warns that nationals may have to self-isolate to contain the spread of the virus

As the U.K.'s numbers of coronavirus patients increases, the nation's National Health System (NHS) states that people may need to self-isolate. 

Just on Thursday, 80 nationals were able to leave quarantine as they were deemed safe. This sets an example of containing the virus. 

UPDATE February 14, 11:12 AM EST: China states that 1,716 health workers have been infected with the virus, and six have died

In the first instance that China's National Health Commission has disclosed numbers regarding its health workers and the coronavirus, it has stated that 1,716 health workers in the nation have caught the coronavirus, and six have died because of it. 

UPDATE February 14, 11:10 AM EST: WHO tells the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that there is no case to cancel the Olympics 

The WHO has informed the IOC that no contingency plans need to come into place as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place as originally planned. There will be no need to cancel or move back the event.

UPDATE February 14, 8:45 AM EST: Coronavirus could live up to nine days on surfaces, raising the risk of infections even higher

A new study has found that the coronavirus may be able to survive for up to nine days on inanimate objects and surfaces. This means that people could catch the virus simply by touching an infected doorknob, or light switch. 

Scientists studied the SARS and MERS coronavirus, which enabled the virus to survive for this amount of time on surfaces. It's not yet confirmed that the Wuhan strain of the coronavirus can do this, but it's highly likely. 

Experts are urging places such as hospitals to thoroughly disinfect all surfaces as often as possible.

UPDATE February 14, 8:35 AM EST: Coronavirus spreads to North Korea, how will the characteristically brutal government react?

Given North Korea's abismal human rights record, the worry now is that the country will handle its first coronavirus infectious cases poorly. Furthermore, another issue regarding the coronavirus spreading to the nation is the handling of such medical cases in lesser developed countries, such as North Korea.

So far, North Korea has not shared any records of deaths due to the coronavirus. As the country shares a border with China, where the outbreak began, the chances of zero deaths occurring there is highly unlikely. 

However, as the totalitarian country is so secretive, the worry is that officials are hiding the truth, and that its people are suffering.

"There is no way that North Korea is not being impacted by the coronavirus — they are clearly lying as they don’t want to show any weakness or that there is any threat to the regime," director of Korean Studies at the Center for National Interest, Harry Kazianis, told Fox news.

Reports of an official being executed for having broken his quarantine regulations are spreading. Unfortunately, this wouldn't be so surprising for North Korea.

UPDATE February 13, 2:10 PM EST: Coronavirus can be spread by carriers who show no symptoms, CDC said to CNN

Asymptomatic transmission of the deadly coronavirus can happen, said Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to CNN.

This means a person showing no signs or symptoms of infection may actually still transmit the virus to other people, based on information from Redfield's colleagues in China.

"There's been good communication with our colleagues to confirm asymptomatic infection, to confirm asymptomatic transmission, to be able to get a better handle on the clinical spectrum of illness in China. What we don't know though is how much of the asmptomatic cases are driving transmission," Redfield said to CNN's Medical Correspondent, in an interview on Thursday.

Redfield claims that in the last two weeks he's noticed that the "spectrum" of the coronavirus is "much broader" than was presented. Several confirmed cases apparently only developed a sore throat, without additional symptoms, despite infection by the coronavirus.

UPDATE February 13, 1:55 PM EST: US health expert projects the novel coronavirus will remain "beyond this season, beyond this year"

The infectious coronavirus might affect world affairs for the foreseeable future, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said to CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, in an interview on Thursday.

"THis virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission," said Redfield. "You can start to think of it in the sense like seasonal flu."

While additional research is surely needed to understand the nature of the virus, Redfield said that the CDC has used surveillance to track confirmed cases and containment measures, in order to slow the potential spread of the virus in the United States.

"I do think that eventually we are going to be in more of a mitigation phase in dealing with this virus but that's not to underestimate the importance of the containment phase that we're in right now," said Redfield.

"The containment phase is really to give us more time. This virus will become a community virus at some point in time, this year or next year," said Redfield. He added that while there exists no evidence that the deadly coronavirus is "embedded in the community at this time," the CDC will intensify surveillance measures, in order to optimize their data, and conclusions.

UPDATE February 13 10:20 AM EST: Patient in Texas tests positive for coronavirus

The fifteenth case in the United States of the infectious coronavirus has been confirmed in Texas, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The patient is one of several people currently under federal quarantine order at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas. The new coronavirus patient arrived via a State-Department-chartered flight on Friday; the first case among those quarantined at JBSA-Lackland. The patient is in isolation at the moment, and receiving medical care at a nearby hospital, said the CDC.

Fifteen confirmed cases of the infectious coronavirus are now confirmed in the United States. Other cases in the country include:

  • California: 8 confirmed cases
  • Illinois: 2 confirmed cases
  • Massachusetts: 1 confirmed case
  • Arizona: 1 confirmed case
  • Wisconsin: 1 confirmed case

UPDATE February 13 8:00 AM EST: Coronavirus shrink global oil demand, says Nissan

Experts expect the outbreak to cause the global oil demand to shrink for the first time in a decade, according to CNN. Additionally the auto manufacturer Nissan has expressed concern about a shortage of parts, as a result of the coronavirus' effect on the global auto industry.

UPDATE February 13, 8:00 AM EST: Political turmoil in China increases amid coronavirus panic

China has replaced key officials of its Communist Party, amid growing concerns about the coronavirus epidemic, which started in the city of Wuhan.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread, but fear of infection is beginning to effect world affairs in politics, technology, societal relations, and even global economics.

UPDATE February 13, 8:00 AM EST: Xenophobia against Asians is rising in the UK

University students spanning the entire UK have raised criticism of xenophobia against Asian students, in the wake of several incidents of discrimination related to the infectious coronavirus epidemic.

For example, one Asian PhD student — who has not been to Asia in years — was refused service by an Airbnb vendor.

"I was really shocked," Hsin-Yuan said to CNN. "I certainly think it was xenophobic because you're just scared of me without knowing anything about me," she added.

Clearly, the ways the coronavirus epidemic is impacting society are multiplying.

UPDATE February 13, 8:00 AM EST: Some Diamond Princess passengers may be allowed to leave, reports say

Passengers aboard the Diamond Princess have been told by authorities that the situation is "very dynamic," but circumstances may allow the most vulnerable to disembark early before the scheduled lifting of the quarantine, on Feb. 19.

Several ships have been quarantined, officially by adjacent ports, or unofficially by several nations fearful of introducing the deadly coronavirus into their community.

UPDATE February 13, 8:00 AM EST: The first death from coronavirus in Japan

Japan has confirmed its first death from the infectious coronavirus. The victim was a woman in her 80s, who wasn't aboard the Diamond Princess ship, currently quarantined in Yokohama port.

The woman was west of Tokyo, in the Kanagawa prefecture, said Katsunobu Katu, in a news conference on Thursday. Sadly, she was confirmed as infected only after it killed her.

UPDATE February 13, 7:52 AM EST: 242 people died in just one day from coronavirus infection 

Wednesday saw a sharp peak in coronavirus cases with 242 infected people dying on the same day. This marks it as the fastest rise in coronavirus deaths since the outbreak begain in December 2019. 

In China alone 1,310 people have died since the start of the epidemic, and over 60,000 people have become infected with the coronavirus, now also known as Covid-19. 

UPDATE February 13, 7:43 AM EST: China built two hospitals in record time for coronavirus patients, however, these are treating far fewer people than expected

Two new hospitals were built purely to care for coronavirus patients amid the outbreak. Combined these hospitals have 2,600 beds for patients. It turns out that as of February 12, only a total of 1,136 patients are being cared for in them. That's less than half of what their capacity can handle. 

China boasted that its two newly built hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan, built in 10 and 12 days respectively, were a major glory. These time frames would likely not be possible anywhere outside of China. 

It's a mystery as to why the hospitals aren't currently operating at full capacity given there is a huge shortage of beds in makeshift medical centers around Wuhan.

UPDATE February 13, 7:37 AM EST: Vietnam locks down farming region due to coronavirus outbreak

12,000 people in the farming region of Son Loi in Vietnam, around 40km from Hanoi, have been placed in lockdown since six residents have contracted the coronavirus. It's expected that hundreds more will become infected as well. 

The Vietnamese Health Ministry stated "As of February 13, 2020, we will urgently implement the task of isolation and quarantine of the epidemic area in Son Loi commune. The timeline is for 20 days initally."

Checkpoints have been added surrounding the region, and health officials wearing protective suits are spraying disinfectant sprays on vehicles at the checkpoints.  

UPDATE February 12, 2:30 PM EST: Mobile World Congress cancelled after several major tech companies opt-out

For the last several days, the biggest names in mobile tech have one-by-one announced their intention not to attend the Mobile World Congress (MWC). Now the show is cancelled, Gizmodo reports.

This comes on the heels of a mass withdrawal from the event, citing health concerns amid the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) threat. Among these companies are Facebook, Cisco, AT&T, Sony, Sprint, Intel, Amazon, NTT Docomo, TCL, and Nvidia. These absentees followed previous announcements, to the same effect, from Ericsson, ZTE, and LG.

After the first few absentees announced their decision, the GSMA running the show tried to assure other companies with strengthened health safety measures, claiming that visitors from China's Hubei province (where Wuhan is) would not be granted access. The GSMA also said temperature screenings would be enforced.

Unfortunately for them, the show is off, but officials wish to invite all absent companies to attend next year.

UPDATE February 12, 2:00 PM EST: A new coronavirus vaccine is being tested on mice in the UK

A team of UK scientists may be the first to begin animal testing for a vaccine to the infectious coronavirus outbreak, according to ScienceAlert.com. The virus has killed more than 1,000 people in a few short weeks.

Researchers located in Imperial College London said they are seeking a new, safe, and effective way to stop the epidemic by the end of the year.

"At the moment we have just put the vaccine that we've generated from these bacteria into mice," Paul McKay, an Imperial College London researcher, told AFP, in a recent interview.

"We're hoping that over the next few weeks we'll be able to determine the response that we can see in those mice, in their blood, their antibody response to the coronavirus," he added.

The global community of scientists is racing against time to curate a way to end the coronavirus, once, and for all.

China's Xinhua state news agency also claims to have begun testing for a vaccine in Mice, at Shanghai University.

UPDATE February 12, 12:00 PM EST: China launched a "Close Contact Detector" App to reassure citizens amid coronavirus epidemic

China has introduced a new online app that alerts users to recent proximity to people infected, or allegedly infected, with the coronavirus.

Called the "close contact detector," the new online platform collaborates with other popular apps like Weibo, QQ, and Alipay.

The new platform works by analyzing big data aboiut people's movements, an their records with public authorities (like hospitals), and also retroactively backtracks other people's proximity to suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases, whether from work, home, or travel activity.

This is possibly the first time everyone can unequivocally agree that China's surveillance infrastructure is working for the people.

UPDATE February 12, 10:42 AM EST: China did not release key genetic data about the coronavirus until two weeks after it emerged

Outbreak detection systems need to incorporate more modern scientific tools. It turns out China did not release important genetic data until two weeks after the coronavirus outbreak. 

However, China and other countries don't yet have systems in place that are able to adequately report next-generation sequencing data. This data could help national and global authorities to respond more efficiently in such outbreaks.

UPDATE February 12, 10:32 AM EST: Chinese vlogger sharing the truth about the coronavirus in Wuhan has been "forcibly quarantined"

An outspoken video blogger, or vlogger, from China, 34-year-old Chen Qiushi, specifically travelled to Wuhan to document and share exactly what the coronavirus' impact was having on the city's citizens. 

After honestly detailing dead and sickened patients in Wuhan's overcrowded hospitals, Chen disappeared last week. Defying China's ruling Communist Party's rigid policy on information seems to have taken effect. 

In just over two weeks, Chen shared more than 100 posts about the conditions in Wuhan, which garnered millions of views, as well as police attention. 

The police tried calling Chen, as well as his family. Then, he disappeared. Chen's mother posted a video herself, asking for assistance in finding her son. One of his friends, Xi Xiaodong, tweeted on Friday that Chen had been forcibly quarantined for 14 days, as he had caught the coronavirus. According to Xu, Chen had seemed in full form and not ill before his disappearance.

UPDATE February 12, 10:23 AM EST: One Man from the U.K. infected 11 people in different European countries, known as the "super spreader" he is now fully recovered

Steve Walsh, who is from the U.K., travelled to Singapore for a gas analysis conference two weeks ago, where he unknowingly caught the coronavirus, or Covid-19 as it's now known. 

Walsh has been dubbed the "super spreader" as he managed to infect 11 people living in the U.K. and France. After leaving Singapore, Walsh travelled to France, where he infected a number of people, before returning the U.K., where he infected more people.

He passed through Geneva, Switzerland, however the Swiss authorities have not confirmed any coronavirus cases in the country. One person Walsh infected in France has since travelled to Spain, where the authorities are scrambling to ensure no more people catch the virus. 

Walsh himself went into quarantine as soon as he found out his fate, and has since fully recovered from the coronavirus.

UPDATE February 12, 10:12 AM EST: Airbnb extends its bookings suspension in Beijing amid coronavirus fears

Online home-sharing platform, Airbnb, has suspended its reservations of accommodation in China's capital, Beijing, from February 7 until April 30

The service stated they would take listings for places to stay in Beijing offline until the end of the suspencion. Refunds will be offered to all affected bookings, even those who decided to cancel their stay in Beijing themselves.

UPDATE February 11, 1:42 PM EST: The Wuhan coronavirus now has an official name: Covid-19

The World Health Organization said the name for the epidemic caused for the virus will be Covid-2019.

"We now have a name for the disease and it's Covid-19," WHO Chief Tedros Adhonom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, according to a BBC report.

This comes after a climactic rise of the death toll to more than 1,000 worldwide. Currently, there are tens of thousands of people infected.

The world "coronavirus" refers to the group of virus strains the coronavirus belongs to, of which it is not the latest strain.

"We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable [sic] and related to the disease," said the WHO chief.

"Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks."

Hopefully, as is the case with many other threats, knowing its name means that the virus is on its way out, rather than at the eve of a catostrophic epidemic.

UPDATE February 11, 12:55 PM EST: More than 5,000 people still stranded on two ships because of coronavirus concerns

Amid global travel advisories, four cruise ships were put in isolation as the world faces concerns of the infections coronavirus, according to a CNN report.

The Diamond Princess, was quarantined in Japan on February 4, with 24 Americans amid the 135 people infected with the novel virus aboard, according to the ship's operator Princess Cruises, and a CNN tally. The ship is also the the largest single localized outbreak of the disease outside of China.

More than 2,000 people are in isolation aboard the Westerdam cruise ship, operated by Holland America after being denied access to its initial port-of-entry in Japan, even though there are no confirmed cases aboard. Since then the shunned ship has tried and failed to seek entry into Taiwan, the Philippines, and, most recently, Thailand's city of Laem Chabang.

More than 3,600 people are on their fifth day of quarantine aboard the World Dream in Hong Kong, as a precautionary measure once three former passengers tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. There have since been no confirmed cases found. However, passengers and crew were cleared to disembark over the weekend.

The Anthem of the Seas was docked in New Jersy for two additional days after four disembaring passengers were moved to the hospital, for coronavirus screening. The four family members, in addition to 23 more passengers, were subsequently cleared of the virus. The ship set sail again, on Monday.

UPDATE February 11, 12:55 PM EST: CDC officials offer to study the infectious coronavirus, says offical

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has submitted names for a World Health Organization team traveling to China, to assist the study of the coronavirus, said Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director at a news conference on Tuesday.

Experts in the U.S. have yet to make the trip to China to study the epidemic, Schuchat said her "understanding is that the latest discussions, that there's been receptivity" to the offer.

"It can be very helpful to have outside experts arrive in the midst of an epidemic like this," said Schuchat, affirming that China does have "great scientists" and public health experts. "Having some fresh eyes, perhaps who have not lost as much sleep over the past month as the individuals in China, can be helpful," she added.

If they make the trip, Schuchat said CDC experts might assist in the understanding of the transmission of the coronavirus, to identify the possible animal origin of the novel epidemic, and evaluate which measures are most prudent to prevent further spread of the infection.

UPDATE February 11, 12:21 PM EST: "There is a realistic chance of stopping" the novel coronavirus, said WHO director-general

The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhonom Ghebreyesus said there is a "realistic chance" of halting the advance of the novel Wuhan coronavirus, according to CNN.

"If we invest now in rational and evidence-based interventions, we have a realistic chance of stopping the COVID19 outbreak," he said while speaking at a news conference on Tuesday.

"We have to invest in preparedness," he added, suggesting that richer countries with the capacity should invest in countries with weaker health care systems. According to Ghebreyesus, the virus could "create havoc" if the epidemic spreads to a country without a fully-functional health system.

"I have a great concern that if this virus makes it to a weaker health system it will create havoc," he said. However, he also warned the world not to assume that just because authorities have so far been able to prevent this, "[i]t doesn't mean it will not happen — it may." 

UPDATE February 11, 12:05 PM EST: China has begun a coronavirus clinical trial, WHO says

Executive Director Michael J. Ryan of the World Health Organization said that "one clinical trial is already on the way," in China, to find a cure to the infectious coronavirus, he said during a Geneva news conference on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Ryan added that the WHO was collaborating with Chinese authorities to implement more clinical trials.

UPDATE February 11, 10:38 AM EST: Deadley Coronavirus has killed 1,018 people

There have been 42,708 diagnosed cases of the novel virus in China, where the death toll has grown beyond 1,017, said Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a news conference on Tuesday.

He added that had been 393 cases outside China spanning 24 countries, with one death. This raises the worldwide total to 1,018 deaths, and 43,101 total cases, according to the WHO.

UPDATE February 11, 10:18 AM EST: The coronavirus could damage the global economy, US fed chair says

The U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday warned Congress that the novel coronavirus could damage the global economy.

"We are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy," said Powell in a prepared testimony, before the House of Financial Services Committee, where he's expected to deliver his semiannual congressional report.

The outbreak, which has now killed more than 1,000 people, has shaken public trust in the stability of the global — and U.S. — economy, echoed in the shuttering of company plants and shifted supply chains, to (hopefully) contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

UPDATE February 11, 7:01 AM EST: The WHO stated no new countries added to the list of infected cases

Keep up to date with the number of new infected cases per country via the WHO's Situation Report. No new countries were added to the list of coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours.

UPDATE February 11, 7:01 AM EST: Scientists fear the coronavirus could be worse in numbers than the flu 

Infectious disease expert Ian Lipkin has voiced his concerns over the coronavirus' evolvement. Lipkin stated that the flu has still currently killed more people than the coronavirus, but because the latter is still relatively unknown it could evolve into something worse as time goes on. 

As Lipkin stated "It’s a new virus. We don’t know much about it, and therefore we’re all concerned to make certain it doesn’t evolve into something even worse."

UPDATE February 11, 7:01 AM EST: Hong Kong evacuates residents in a Tsing Yi housing estate following two confirmed cases in the dense residential block

Hong Kong's notoriously dense living situation means that the easily-spreadable coronavirus can swiftly move around the city's millions of residents. 

Two people living on different floors of one of the territory's typical housing estates, in Tsing Yi have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Following this, the authorities have evacuated some residents in the residential block. 

This brings the number of reported infected people to 42 in Hong Kong, according to the Department of Health.

UPDATE Febrary 10, 6:00 AM EST: Major tech companies are pulling out of the MWC

Big names in tech are joining the collection of companies electing not to attend the world's biggest mobile tradeshow, Mobile World Congress (MWC), reports Gizmodo. Absent companies include AT&T, Sprint, Nokia, and most recently Facebook and Intel havejoined the no-show club.

Scheduled for February 24-27, the show will go on despite fallout from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees won't be attending this year's Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus," said a Facebook spokesperson, in a message worded much like several other company's who won't attend the show. "We will continue to collaborate with the GSMA and our partners and thank them for their efforts."

Clearly, the toll on the global economy is rising.

UPDATE February 10: Cruise ship coronavirus cases rise while China records highest 24-hour death toll

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, has grown to 65 infected. This brings the total number of cases associated with passengers of the ship to 135, according to a report by NHK News.

The shipt, called Diamond Princess, was placed under quarantine after arriving in Japan on Febrary 3, leaving the entire crew and passenger compliment of 3,711 compuslively trapped in their rooms. The ship was first flagged as a potential carrier of the virus when an 80-year-old passenger disembared in Hong Kong, and tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

UPDATE: February 10: All 406 suspected carriers of coronavirus at New Dehli have tested negative.

All 406 people quarantined in an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility tested negative for the deadly coronavirus infection, according to an All India News report.

"A sampling of all returned form China was done. Samples of all 406 people are dound negative of coronavirus," said the ITBP, in a statement.

Seven people who were earlier moved to New Dehli's Safdarjung Hospital have also returned to the ITBP facility, and are currently undergoing periodic checkups per medical protocol.

UPDATE: February 10: China confirms that 27 foreigners in the country have the coronavirus, and two have died from it

China's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that a total of 27 foreign nationals have been infected with the coronavirus in the country, and two have died because of it. 

An American national died on February 6, and a Japanese national died on February 8.

UPDATE February 10: 4 more cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the U.K. 

The U.K. has just confirmed four new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to eight cases in the nation. The overall risk in the U.K. remains "moderate."

Update February 9: 14 American citizens on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan test positive for coronavirus

A total of 64 people were confirmed to have the coronavirus on the quarantined cruise ship. The passengers will be quarantined for 14 days, and according to abc7news, the Japanese government has equipped the quarantined cruise ship with medical professionals and 7,000 protective masks.

Update February 9 : According to Bloomberg, the infected cruise ship in Japan reported six more cases bringing the total to 70.

The ship has now become the biggest center of infection outside of China.

Update February 9: Japanese Health Ministry confirms 41 new cases of the new coronavirus on a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

This brings the total cases up to 61 of about 3,700 passengers and crew.

The ship operated by Carnival’s Princess Cruises is docked at the port of Yokohama.

Update February 9: Redditor makes a website where you can visualize the coronavirus outbreak toll across the world

I made a website to where you can visualise coronavirus outbreak toll across the world [OC] from r/dataisbeautiful

Updated February 9: The coronavirus death toll has surpassed that of SARS

More than 800 people have died in China, surpassing the SARS toll. The coronavirus death toll in China has now risen to 811. According to China’s National Health Commission, the number of confirmed infections rose to 37,198, 89 deaths, and 2,656 new cases were also recorded in the most of them in Hubei Province. 

Update February 7: Hong Kong has confirmed 26 coronavirus cases

One 41-year-old man and another 58-year-old man are the most recent coronavirus cases in Hong Kong. This brings the total to 26 confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. local Hong Kong time on Friday, according to the Department of Health.

At present, the 42-year-old is in stable condition after flying to Hebei Province and Macao before returning to Hong Kong. A friend who lived with him showed symptoms and will be moved to Prince of Wales Hospital, where a quarantine is being readied for his friend, who is, as of yet, asymptomatic.

The 58-year-old man, though, is in critical condition. His information states that he travels to and from work from Macao to his home in Zhuhai while the virus was incubating. he then lived with his friend in Hong Kong. Quarantine has nevertheless being applied to his friend, who so far shows no symptoms of infection.

Update Febrary 7: Both coronavirus patients in Illinois, U.S., have been discharged from hospital

A pair of coronavirus patients under treatment for coronavirus infection in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, were discharged form the hospital, according to a CNN report.

Presently they are under isolation in their home.

The pair are husband and wife and in their 60s. They were permitted to return home under the discretion and observation of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the hospital told CNN.

Update February 7: U.S. President Trump says he isn't worried about China covering up the coronavirus crisis

U.S. President Trump said he has no suspicions that China is censoring the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak, in a report by CNN. He also said he had a "great conversation" with Chinese Presiden Xi Jinping yesterday.

"Are you concerned that China is covering up the full extent of the coronavirus?" a reporter asked Trump while he answered questions on the White House south Lawn today.

"No, China's working very hard. Late last night I had a very good talk with President Xi and mostly we talked about the coronavirus. They're working really hard and I think they're doing a very professional job. They're in touch with [the World Health Organization], CDC also," Trump said.

UPDATE February 7: Chinese citizens outraged by Wuhan police who censored whistleblower Dr. Li, for warning colleagues of coronavirus infection

Chinese citizens are outraged following the death of Li Wenliang, according to Business Insider. Li was a doctor in Wuhan who warned his colleagues to take measures against the novel coronavirus in its most early stages.

The local police subsequently repremanded and censored him, and made him sign a letter confessing to "making false comments."

dr li letter from wuhan police
A screenshot of the letter Wuhan police forced Li to sign on 3 January. It basically tells him not to speak of the virus. His response: "Yes, I understand." Source: Li Wenliang / Weibo

Li was killed by the infection at 2:58 a.m. local time last Friday, in Wuhan Central Hospital, where he was an ophthalmologist.

UPDATE February 7: Passengers from a Royal Carribean cruise ship docked in New Jersey are being screened for coronavirus, four are taken to hospital

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas cruise has docked in New Jersey over fears of the coronavirus. Twenty-three Chinese nationals were screened before being able to leave the ship, and four had to be brought to the University Hospital in Newark.

UPDATE February 7: Hong Kong medical workers on strike to pressure authorities to close all borders with China

Hong Kong sits directly beneath China, with many borders between them. Carrie Lam, the territory's leader, has yet to officially seal all borders between Hong Kong and China. 

Now, medical workers in Hong Kong have taken to the streets on a strike, asking for all borders between the territory and China to be closed off. 

UPDATE February 7: The latest numbers of the coronavirus

The number of infected cases worldwide is now at 31,535, of which 4,826 are in critical condition. The death toll is up to 638 people, and 1,778 people have successfully recovered. 

Keep up to date on the numbers via worldometers' website.

UPDATE February 6: The WHO reports no new countries with reported cases in past 24 hours

The WHO is keeping a watchful eye globally on the coronavirus, and stated that no new countries reported any new coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours. 

You can keep up to date with their daily reports here.

UPDATE February 6: Chinese doctor who was early coronavirus whistleblower dies of infection

A Chinese doctor — targeted by the Chinese police for warning his colleagues of the deadly coronavirus — has died of infection, according to the BBC. Li Wenliang was an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital.

On 30 December, 34-year-old Dr. Li noticed seven cases of a virus resembling SARS — the 2003 global epidemic — and warned his fellow doctors in a chat group that they needed to don protective clothing to prevent infection from the new virus.

One of eight people investigated by police for "spreading rumors," Dr. Li was later killed by severe coronavirus infection.

"I only wanted my university classmates to be careful," he said, before dying.

Local authorities have since apologized to Dr. Li.

UPDATE February 6: 30-hour-old newborn baby becomes the youngest person alive to be infected by the coronavirus

The baby was born in Wuhan to a mother who had tested positive for the coronavirus before the child was delivered. It's still unclear how the virus was transmitted from mother to baby. 

After only 30 hours on Earth, the baby also tested positive for the coronavirus.

UPDATE February 6: Japan's 2020 Olympics preparations could face some issues due to the coronavirus

Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics in just six months' time, over the summer. The Wuhan coronavirus could create some serious impact on the preparations for the international games.

"I am extremely worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games," said Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee. Currently, the 2020 Olympics are going forward as originally planned.

UPDATE February 5: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said anyone who enters from mainland China will be quarantined for 14 days

In response to Japan's quarantine of a 3,700-passenger cruise ship, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said anyone entering from mainland China must submit to quarantine for 14 days, until officials are certain there are no signs of the Wuhan coronavirus.

UPDATE February 5: The WHO daily official reports that there were no new countries reported cases in 24hrs

The WHO is keeping everyone up to date about the cases of coronavirus around the world. In some good news, from February 3 to February 4 there were no new countries that reported cases of the coronavirus. Keep up to date here.

UPDATE February 5: The Worldometer gives live updates of exact coronavirus numbers

As of Wednesday, there are officially 24,642 reported cases, of which 3,223 are in critical condition. There have been 493 deaths, and 990 people have successfully recovered. Keep up to date here.

UPDATE February 5: 10 people aboard a cruise ship docked in Japan are infected

So far, nearly 300 out of the 3,700 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been tested for the coronavirus, of which 10 have been found to test positive. 

The ship is currently docked in the port of Yokohama, in Japan.

UPDATE February 4: Second death outside China confirmed

The second confirmed death from coronavirus outside of mainland China is confirmed, according to CNN.

The Wuhan coronavirus' reach has now surpassed the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. The number of confirmed deaths is at 427, with more than 20,000 cases of infection worldwide.

UPDATE February 4: China bans trade in wild animals and tightens grip on wet markets

It's widely believed the Wuhan coronavirus stemmed from a wet market that sells wild animals such as bats and snakes. Kept in poor conditions, the exotic animals that locals ate or used as medicine infected them with the deadly virus. 

As a response, China's Politburo Standing Committee has banned the sale and trade of wild animals and is tightening its grip on wet markets, albeit temporarily.

UPDATE February 4: Thai doctors have discovered a concoction of flu and HIV drugs that alleviates the coronavirus symptoms

Doctors from the Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok have used a mixture of flu and HIV medication to treat severely infected coronavirus patients, and the results are promising. After just 48 hours patients' conditions show vast improvement.

"This is not the cure [...]. From testing positive for 10 days under our care, after applying this combination of medicine the test result became negative within 48 hours," said Dr. Kriangska Atipornwanich, a lung specialist at Rajavithi.

UPDATE February 3: Number of deaths up to 362, and 17,388 confirmed cases

The coronavirus keeps rapidly spreading, with the confirmed number of fatalities reaching 362, with the majority of deaths occurring in China. The number of confirmed cases around the world has grown to 17,388 across 23 countries.

UPDATE February 3: Australia bars non-citizens arriving from mainland China from entering the country

As of Saturday, only "Australian citizens, Australian residents, dependents, legal guardians or spouses," arriving from China are allowed to enter Australia.

Exceptions will be made for airline crew, following appropriate personal protective equipment usage.

UPDATE February 3: Japan succeeds in isolating the coronavirus in step toward a vaccine

Finally a bit of good news. Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases announced on Friday that it had been successful in cultivating and isolating the coronavirus. Now, the Institute will start working on a vaccine against the virus, as well as a kit able to detect the virus rapidly. 

UPDATE January 31: Two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.K.

Two members of the same family in the U.K. have been confirmed as having the coronavirus, making them the first known people infected in the nation. 

The U.K. also evacuated 83 nationals out of Wuhan and have placed them in quarantine.

UPDATE January 31: Alibaba CEO, Jack Ma, pledges $ 14.5 million to fight the coronavirus

Tech billionaire, Jack Ma, will donate $14.5 million (100 million Yuan) through his charitable foundation to "support the development of a coronavirus vaccine" to help fight the outbreak. 

Others are joining the donation forces too: Bill and Melinda Gates have offered assistance, as well as other Chinese firm CEOs.

UPDATE January 31: Death toll rises to over 200 on Friday, with over 9,500 confirmed cases

The coronavirus keeps spreading with 213 confirmed deaths in China, and more than 9,600 infected cases around the world. The WHO has now declared the outbreak a "global health emergency."

WHO general director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated he "left in absolutely no doubt about China's commitment to transparency, and to protecting the world's people."

UPDATE January 30: The U.S. has five reported cases and starts evacuating nationals

The U.S. has deported 201 nationals out of Wuhan on a chartered flight. The flight first flew into Anchorage, Alaska, for a health screening test and refueling of the aircraft. All passengers passed the health test and traveled on to Southern California.

Five reported cases of the coronavirus have affected U.S. citizens. 

An interesting graphic on Reddit is showing just how quickly the virus is spreading.

UPDATE January 30: China expert says the outbreak has yet to reach its peak

Respiratory expert, Zhong Nanshan, who is in charge of China's team of experts for the control and prevention of the virus, said the outbreak would probably peak in seven to 10 days. 

Zhong stated that larger numbers of cases will arise in the coming weeks, and stated "There are two keys to tackling the epidemic; early detection and early isolation. They are the most primitive and most effective methods."

UPDATE January 29: 17 countries outside of China have cases of infected patients

Currently, 17 countries outside of China have cases of infected patients, calling governments to act on the matter. 

In China alone, the death toll rose by 26 in just one day, and the total number of infected people rose to 5,974 as of Wednesday.

UPDATE January 29: Kazakhstan to halt air and train travel with China

The Central Asian nation will suspend air and rail traffic with neighboring China as of February 1 and 3, respectively. The country will also "suspend the issuance of visas for Chinese citizens as of February 3 amid the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan."

No cases of the coronavirus have yet been reported in Kazakhstan. 

UPDATE January 29: Chinese women's football team in solitary confinement in Australian hotel

China's national women's football team that was traveling to Australia has been isolated in a Queensland hotel. The team had been traveling from Wuhan to Australia on January 22, all team members are said to be in good health. 

UPDATE January 29: International airlines suspending flights to China

Indonesia's Lion Air group, Malaysia's Malindo Air and Air Asia, British Airways from the U.K., the U.S.' United Airlines, South Korea's Air Seoul, Taiwan's China Airlines and Eva Airways, Air Canada, Lufthansa from Germany, and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific, have suspended their flights, or are considering doing so, either to and from Wuhan, or other Chinese cities. 

UPDATE January 29: Every region in China has been "hit" by the coronavirus

Up until Thursday, the only region that had withstood being plagued by the coronavirus was Tibet, however, now that it has confirmed an infected case that means every region in the nation has been "hit."

UPDATE January 28: Apple is bracing itself for impact to its business

The company relies on factories in China that make their iPhones and AirPods, as well as suppliers located near Wuhan. Apple is bracing itself for massive uncertainties and challenges regarding the production of its products. 

UPDATE January 27: The WHO is considering calling the virus a global public health emergency

As of Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) had not yet confirmed the virus as a global public health emergency. However, with human-to-human transmissions increasing worldwide, the agency is thinking about reconsidering this.

UPDATE January 27: Governments issuing travel advice to China

The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued travel advice regarding travel to China, and especially Hubei province, where the outbreak started. "All but essential travel" to China is advised.

Read more here about further international updates on the coronavirus outbreak, or join the conversation on Reddit.

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