Latest Updates on Wuhan's Deadly Coronavirus

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 even causing fatalities.

Believed to have spawned from a wild animal wet market in the city, from bats in particular, the nation has placed Wuhan under lockdown, and stricter measures on wet markets have come about. Many of these exotic animals are eaten or used for medicinal purposes in China.

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

The situation in Wuhan, China

Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is a city based in Hubei province in China. The city itself is in lockdown, with public transport at a standstill and minimal operations of trains or planes in and out of the city. 

In an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, over 56 million people in roughly 20 Chinese cities, including Wuhan, are prevented from traveling. Currently, the U.S. has confirmed 12 cases of the coronavirus, although no one has yet died in the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the outbreak is an emergency in China, but that it is still too early to call it a public health emergency of international concern. The WHO has, however, described the global risk as being high.

Globally, there are 78,909 cases of coronavirus infections, with 41,479 in mild condition, and 11,599 in critical condition. 2,468 people have died of infection, and 23,403 have recovered. Keep up to date with the facts here.

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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