China coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong declares emergency and closes schools – CBS News


Updated 8: 52 AM

Lunar New Year festivities canceled across mainland China

Lunar New Year festivities were canceled across mainland China on Saturday and scaled back in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong as authorities sought to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

Major tourist sites and movie theaters were shuttered in China. Beijing canceled all temple fairs, a popular tradition in northern China with performances, games for children and booths selling snacks and New Year’s-themed souvenirs.

The Forbidden City in Beijing, Shanghai Disneyland and a major safari park are among the tourist destinations that have closed indefinitely.

A fireworks show and four-day carnival were canceled in Hong Kong.

–The Associated Press 


Updated 12: 13 AM

Australia announces first confirmed case of novel coronavirus

Australian officials have announced the country’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. The case occurred in the state of Victoria, and the patient has been hospitalized in a stable condition in a Melbourne suburb. 

The patient was identified as a Chinese national in his 50s. He flew to Australia from Guangzhou, China, on January 19, according to Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

“It is important to stress that there is no cause for alarm to the community,” Mikakos said. “The patient is isolated and is undergoing treatment and we do not have any further suspected cases at this stage.”



Updated 6: 44 PM / January 24, 2020

35 million people on lockdown in China

In response to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, officials took the extraordinary step of restricting travel in 11 cities. That means 35 million people — almost the population of Canada — are on lockdown.

Ramy Inocencio contributed reporting.


Updated 7: 14 PM

China scrambles to build new hospital as supplies dwindle

Chinese officials scramble to build hospital as virus spreads

An army of excavators is in a frantic race to build a hospital in the next 10 days that can house 1,000 patients sickened with the virus. But as patients continue to pack existing hospitals, medical supplies are running low. 

Ramy Inocencio contributed reporting.


Updated 6: 19 PM / January 24, 2020

France confirms third novel coronavirus case

France on Friday announced three confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the first outside Asia and the United States.


Authorities said all three sickened people had traveled to China, and two of them belonged to the same family. They were the first cases registered in Europe.


Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said she expects more cases and that the virus must be battled like a wildfire. She said the likely reason that France has the first European cases is that it quickly developed a test allowing medics to rapidly diagnose the sickened.

The Associated Press



4: 43 PM / January 24, 2020

Americans “shouldn’t be frightened or afraid,” official says

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday that coronavirus posed little risk to Americans but health officials were taking it seriously. “The American public needs to understand the difference: They shouldn’t be frightened or afraid, but don’t think that we’re not taking this very seriously,” he said.

Fauci urged Americans wash their hands frequently, which they should be doing anyway to avoid the flu. “Stay away from crowded places where there are a lot of people that are sneezing and coughing, and just do general healthy measures,” he said.


Updated 4: 53 PM / January 24, 2020

Two coronavirus cases confirmed in France, first in Europe

Two coronavirus cases have been confirmed in France, the first in Europe, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Friday. The first case involved a patient in hospital in the southwestern city of Bordeaux while the other was in Paris, the minister told reporters.

Both had recently travelled to China and have since been placed in isolation.



1: 50 PM / January 24, 2020

State Department orders non-emergency personnel to leave Wuhan

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members to leave Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak and the home to a U.S. Consulate. The department also urged Americans to not travel to Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

Coronavirus fears close Shanghai Disney Resort

Walt Disney’s Shanghai Disney Resort in China is closing until further notice in the face of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. The decision to close comes during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, a time when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home or abroad, and when Shanghai Disney would typically be packed with families and revelers.

The resort will temporarily close starting Saturday, the theme-park operator announced on Friday, saying it was making the move to ensure the health and safety of its customers and employees.


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

63 people being tested for virus in 22 U.S. states

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, of the CDC, said at a news conference in Chicago on Friday that there were now a total of 63 patients under investigation in 22 U.S. states for possible infection with the Novel Coronavirus 2019, which originated in China.

She said there had thus far been 11 negative tests and two positive, including the Chicago woman confirmed to have the disease on Friday and the man in Seattle who was confirmed as a case earlier this week.

Messonnier said there would likely be “many more” suspected cases in the coming days, but stressed the risk to the general U.S. public was still considered low.

She said the CDC was continuing its enhanced screening of passengers arriving from China at five U.S. airports and would continue to evaluate the duration of those measures.


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

Chicago officials confirm 2nd case of new virus in U.S.

A second case of the deadly new coronavirus from China has been confirmed in the United States. Officials said Friday that a woman in her 60s was in stable condition and being treated in the city after returning from Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, on January 13. 

The woman, a Chicago resident, reported symptoms after her return and was placed in isolation, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s Director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who joined Illinois state officials to make the announcement on Friday.

Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, said the woman was stable and “doing well” while being treated under “infection control” measures. 

Arwady said the woman was not symptomatic during her travel back from China, and noted that the concern for transmission of the disease before symptoms are exhibited is low. She said the patient had “limited movement outside her home,” and had not used public transport or been at any large public gathering.

Her close personal contacts and family members were being monitored.


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

Wuhan hospitals ask public to donate protective gear

China Outbreak
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Peng Zhiyong, center, head of the department of critical care medicine, and his colleagues attend to a patient at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, January 24, 2020.

Xiong Qi/Xinhua/AP

At least eight hospitals in Wuhan have issued public calls for donations of masks, goggles, gowns and other protective medical gear, according to notices posted online. Administrators at Wuhan University People’s Hospital set up a group chat on the popular WeChat messaging app to coordinate donations.

The “Fever Control Command Center” of the city of Huanggang also put out a call for donations publicized by the state-run People’s Daily, asking for medical supplies, medicine and disinfection equipment. The notice added that at the moment they wouldn’t accept supplies from foreign countries. 

Associated Press


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

Saudis say they have a MERS case, not the new coronavirus

Saudi Arabia has denied reports of a case of the deadly new coronavirus in the kingdom, saying a male Indian nurse had tested positive for a related illness known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The Saudi Centre for Disease Control and Prevention denied reports from Indian officials Thursday suggesting the nurse, who works at a hospital in Saudi Arabia, had contracted the disease that emerged in central China in December, known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

A separate statement from the Saudi health ministry confirmed the Indian nurse was being treated for an infection with MERS.

“The ministry has taken all the precautionary measures to deal with this global issue and is in close coordination with all concerned entities,” the statement read, referring to the new coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia grappled for about three years with an outbreak of MERS from 2012. Like the new disease from China and the SARS virus that swept across the world years before that, MERS is a coronavirus that causes flu-like symptoms and can prove fatal.

Khaled Wassef and Tucker Reals


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

Infected Wuhan resident says he can’t get treated

A resident in Wuhan, the quarantined metropolis at the heart of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, told CBS News Friday that he waited overnight at one of the city’s overwhelmed hospitals to get treated for the illness but couldn’t access a doctor.

The man asked not to be identified as Chinese authorities struggle to show they’re in control of the outbreak, which has now killed 26 people in China and infected more than 800. He said he was diagnosed with the virus Thursday at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, and that he has passed it to his mother.

He waited from Thursday night into Friday morning at the hospital for an injection he was told he needed to treat the illness, but never managed to see a doctor to have it administered.

The man said he saw patients at the rammed hospital on Thursday falling to the ground “one after another,” but there was no room for more patients to be admitted. Videos posted to social media have shown patients laying on the floor in Wuhan hospitals, some crying out for help. One, which was removed from China’s popular Twitter-like platform Weibo, purportedly showed dead bodies covered with sheets on the floor near other hospital patients.

Huge public hygiene crisis seems to have erupted in #Wuhan. This video clip was once posted on Weibo but now deleted. The lady in the clip says dead bodies were left at hospital aisles untreated whereas doctors are taking care of other patients alongside them. #WuhanPneumonia

— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) January 24, 2020

The man told CBS News he had been told to visit a different hospital, but that it was far from his home and the transport lock-down was making it impossible for him to get there.


Updated 5: 05 PM / January 24, 2020

American in Wuhan worries people still getting out

Coronavirus spreads to 12 possible cases in U.S.

American Scott Allis, an English teacher in Wuhan, told CBS News on Friday that he’s never seen the city of 11 million people so quiet. The government shut his school down, along with all transport in and out of the city, but he’s worried the efforts aren’t enough.

Many businesses were shuttered, public venues were closed, and as CBS News correspondent Ramy Inocencio reports, stores and markets are being picked clean of essential goods as fear mounts.

The city’s hospitals, however, were packed, as worried residents flock to seek help.

Allis said he worried the efforts to lock the city down were insufficient to stop the disease spreading, and he was concerned that could bring it back to friends and family in the U.S.

“It’s locked down but it’s not locked down quite enough,” Allis told CBS News. “That’s the part I’m so concerned about, is people are still finding ways out of the city.” 


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

U.S. testing 12 people for the new coronavirus

As of Friday morning there were 10 patients in California, one in Texas, and one in Tennessee being held in isolation, awaiting test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether they have the disease.

Health officials expect to find out over the weekend whether the patient in Texas, who had traveled to Wuhan, is infected.

Coronavirus: Threats, symptoms, and what precautions you can take

Officials said if the case is confirmed efforts would begin immediately to try and trace all the individuals who the patient came in contact with to monitor them for symptoms.

There has been only one confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the U.S. thus far, a man who travelled back to Washington state from Wuhan. All of the 26 deaths blamed on the disease have been in China.


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

Expert says China locked down Wuhan too late

China’s bid to contain the deadly new coronavirus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking, but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, a public health expert has warned.

“I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention,” said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.

Yi, who returned to Hong Kong from Wuhan just before the lock-down, pointed out that huge numbers of people would have already left ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Friday.

They could have been incubating the virus “on their way out of Wuhan,” he said.


Updated 1: 46 PM / January 24, 2020

10 cities locked down as death toll hits 26

China was in emergency mode on Friday as the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus rose to 830 and the death toll hit 26. On the eve of the country’s biggest holiday, the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down in at least 10 cities, affecting about 33 million people in total.

Wuhan, the metropolis at the center of the outbreak and where the majority of the cases have been reported, was the first to lock down all public transport and prevent people leaving. Nine neighboring cities in the central province of Hubei had followed suit by Friday morning, restricting at least most public transport.

Chinese authorities had also canceled all major public events in the capital Beijing indefinitely, including the massive “temple fairs” that normally stand out among New Year celebrations. Beijing’s famed Forbidden City and Disneyland in the business hub of Shanghai also said they would be closed from Saturday.


Updated 4: 57 PM / January 24, 2020

China building hospital for coronavirus patients

China is racing to build a hospital in only 10 days to treat coronavirus patients in Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak, state media reported Friday. The thousand-bed hospital is expected to be ready by February 3.

Construction got underway amid reports of bed shortages in hospitals dealing with the outbreak.

Employees work at a construction site of a hospital to treat patients during a virus outbreak in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 24, 2020.



Updated 10: 30 PM / January 23, 2020

10 cities in China’s Hubei province cut some public transportation

As the cases of coronavirus exposure increases, officials in 10 cities in China’s central Hubei province have suspended public transportation. Bus service has stopped in the cities of Chibi, Xiantao, Zhijiang, Qianjiang, Xianning, Huangshi and Enshi, according to the Reuters news agency.

Officials have also closed public venues in Zhijiang city, excluding hospitals, supermarkets, farmers’ markets, gas stations and drug stores.


8: 08 PM / January 23, 2020

177 severe cases of coronavirus reported in China as death toll rises

Chinese health officials said 177 of the 830 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection are deemed severe. China’s National Health Commission released new figures early Friday, noting the death toll also has risen to 25.

— Grace Qi contributed to this report. 


Updated 10: 31 PM / January 23, 2020

25 dead and 830 cases confirmed by Chinese health officials

China’s National Health Commission has confirmed early Friday that there are 830 people infected with the coronavirus, while the death toll has risen to 25.

Health officials said the virus has affected 29 provinces in China (autonomous regions and municipalities).

A total of five cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

— Grace Qi contributed to this report.


6: 17 PM / January 23, 2020

Senate to hold briefing on novel coronavirus

The Senate Health Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a briefing for all senators on the novel coronavirus Friday.

“The novel coronavirus is an emerging public health threat,” Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray said in a statement. “Senators will have the opportunity to hear directly from senior government health officials regarding what we know about the virus so far, and how our country is prepared to respond as the situation develops.”


Updated 7: 11 PM / January 23, 2020

Japan confirms 2nd case of novel coronavirus

Officials from Japan’s health ministry have confirmed the country’s second case of the novel coronavirus. The patient was identified as a man in his 40s who traveled to Japan on Sunday from Wuhan, China, where he lives. The patient has been hospitalized.

— Reuters


Updated 10: 30 PM / January 23, 2020

Hebei province confirms first death outside of outbreak’s epicenter

Chinese officials in the Hebei province said a patient infected with the novel coronavirus died on Wednesday, marking the first death outside of the Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan.

The Health Commission of Hebei province said the patient, who was 80 years old, was not confirmed to have been infected with the virus until Thursday.



Updated 12: 18 AM / January 24, 2020

Texas A&M student being tested for the novel coronavirus

A student at Texas A&M University is being tested for the novel coronavirus, officials said Monday. The student traveled to what officials called an “area of concern,” and later developed mild upper respiratory symptoms. The student attended classes before going to the hospital, officials said. 

The student has since been isolated, and a sample has been sent to the CDC in Atlanta for testing. The sample will arrive at the CDC either Thursday night or Friday, and testing will take 24 hours. The university said classes will continue as scheduled. 


Updated 8: 32 PM / January 23, 2020

WHO says virus is not a global health emergency

The World Health Organization said Thursday the viral illness in China is not yet a global health emergency. The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday and canceled major events in Beijing during the Lunar New Year holiday period.

The decision was announced after independent experts spent two days assessing information about the spread of the coronavirus.

WHO defines a global emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response. Previous global emergencies have been declared for the Zika virus in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic, and polio.

A global emergency declaration typically brings greater money and resources, but may also prompt foreign governments to restrict travel and trade to affected countries. Deciding whether an outbreak amounts to an international crisis therefore can also be politically fraught.

— The Associated Press


Updated 7: 24 PM / January 23, 2020

CDC raises travel alert for Wuhan to level 3

CDC issues travel warning over coronavirus

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 3 travel warning for Wuhan, China – its highest level.

The federal agency is urging people to avoid all non-essential travel to the city due to the coronavirus outbreak, and advises anyone who must go there to avoid contact with sick people, animals, animal markets and animal products.

“Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider,” it said.

The CDC is urging people to seek medical care right away if they traveled to Wuhan in the past two weeks and have a fever, cough or trouble breathing.

“Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus,” it said. 


Updated 11: 43 AM / January 23, 2020

Forbidden City in Beijing to close

The Forbidden City in Beijing – a palace complex that attracts millions of visitors every year – announced it will close on Saturday indefinitely as part of push to halt the spread of the virus, The Associated Press reports. 

The complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is about 600 years old. It was long the center of power, and served as the home of Chinese emperors. 


Updated 7: 24 PM / January 23, 2020

Vietnam sees 1st coronavirus cases from Wuhan

A Chinese father and son who were hospitalized on Wednesday with fevers have tested positive with the new coronavirus, Vietnam’s Health Ministry said. 

The ministry on Thursday said Li Ding, 66, from Wuhan, China, arrived in Hanoi on January 13 then traveled south to meet up with his 28-year-old son Li Zichao, who works in Vietnam. The two then went to Ho Chi Minh city.

The father got a fever on January 17 and the son got the same symptoms three days later, according to Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Sang, head of tropical diseases at Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh city. “The son has contracted the virus from his father,” the doctor was quoted as saying.

— The Associated Press


Updated 7: 27 PM / January 23, 2020

Frustration at packed Wuhan hospitals

Residents inside Wuhan have reported long lines at the city’s hospitals, with some patients seeking advice or treatment waiting hours to be seen. Videos posted to social media showed tense scenes as staff tried to maintain order in jam-packed hospital corridors.





— 自由亚洲电台 (@RFA_Chinese) January 22, 2020

At least one hospital in the city at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak was transferring confirmed cases if the disease to other facilities, and not admitting any more patients as of Thursday, one resident whose partner works at the facility told CBS News.

Chinese health officials are grappling to control the fast-spreading virus, which is believed to have first manifested in the human population in late December, after apparently making the jump from an infected animal at a seafood market in Wuhan.   

Frustration among the Chinese appeared to be mounting, along with fear, especially in the city of 11 million people that was put under a virtual quarantine on Wednesday, with all public transport links cut. Two nearby cities have announced similar lock-downs to take effect from Thursday evening. The combined population of the three cities is about 18 million people. 


8: 29 AM / January 23, 2020

Singapore confirms 1st case “imported” from China

Singapore’s government confirmed Thursday that a case of the new coronavirus had been “imported” from China. The Ministry of Health said the 66-year-old male Chinese national had arrived on a flight from Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak, on January 20.

The Ministry said a 53-year-old female Chinese national had also tested “preliminarily positive” for the new virus. Both patients were being treated at a Singapore hospital and were in stable condition, with the male in isolation. 

Cases of the new virus have now been confirmed in China, the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.


Updated 8: 32 PM / January 23, 2020

Virus less aggressive, which is “more worrying”?

The symptoms of the new coronavirus, officially named “2019-nCoV,” are very similar to the flu, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat or runny nose. Most patients experience symptoms that appear to be less aggressive than those of the related SARS virus that spread in 2002 and 2003.

Coronavirus: Threats, symptoms, and what precautions you can take

However, Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, told AFP the fact that the virus seems milder in the majority of people is “paradoxically more worrying,” as it allows many to travel further before their symptoms are detected.

The 17 patients who died were between 48 and 89 years old. Most had underlying health issues including cirrhosis, diabetes, high blood pressure or coronary heart disease, China’s National Health Commission said.



Updated 6: 45 AM / January 23, 2020

Is it a global “public health emergency”?

The World Health Organization (WHO) was holding emergency talks Thursday in Geneva to decide whether the deadly virus outbreak constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern.” The designation is rare and only used for the gravest outbreaks which are considered “serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected”.

The classification would imply that the disease, which has killed 17 people so far and infected more than 500, risks spreading further internationally and requires an international response.

The terms are set out in the International Health Regulations that were adopted following heavy criticism of the way in which the 2003 SARS outbreak was handled.

From left, World Health Organization (WHO) technical consultant Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Professor Didier Houssin, Chair of the Emergency Committee, and Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program Michael Ryan at a press conference following an emergency committee meeting over the new coronavirus spreading in China and other nations, in Geneva, January 22, 2020.


The responsibility of making the determination rests on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and it gives him the power to issue recommendations that countries must act on, such as travel bans.

Once declared, the designation is reviewed every three months by the WHO’s Emergency Committee, a group of international experts.

The WHO panel was expected to hold a news conference at or sometime after 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday to announce its decision, depending on how long its meeting goes. 



Updated 5: 58 AM / January 23, 2020

Hong Kong turns holiday camps into quarantine zones

Hong Kong has turned two holiday camps, including a former military barracks, into quarantine zones for people who may have come into contact with carriers of the Wuhan virus, officials announced Thursday. The international financial hub has been on high alert for the virus, which has killed 17 people since the outbreak started in central China.

The same sites were used as quarantine facilities during the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak 17 years ago.

Workers wearing facemasks watch a van enter the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Hong Kong, which is being used as one of two quarantine centers for people who have been in close proximity with suspected cases of the new SARS-type cornavirus, January 23, 2020.


Nearly 300 people in Hong Kong were killed by SARS, a tragedy that left a profound psychological impact on one of the most densely populated places on earth.

So far, two people in the city have tested positive for the new coronavirus — which is similar to the SARS pathogen. Both had visited Wuhan in recent days and are being treated on isolation wards in hospital.



Updated 7: 19 AM / January 23, 2020

3 Chinese cities face transport restrictions

Chinese authorities have ordered a halt to some public transportation links in a total of three cities, all very near to the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan. 

In addition to Wuhan, trains out of both Huanggang and the neighboring city of Ezhou were ordered to halt operations on Thursday. Bus services were also to be cut in Huanggang.

The unprecedented clamp-down on transport comes at the worst possible time for China. Saturday is the first day of the Lunar New Year, celebrated by Chinese people around the world — a festive period that typically sees the largest mass-movement of people on the planet as Chinese flock back to their hometowns to be with relatives.


Updated 7: 31 PM / January 23, 2020

Transport reportedly cut in 2nd city

The Chinese city of Huanggang, only about 20 miles east of Wuhan, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak, has reportedly followed the example of Wuhan and ordered a halt to all public transport links in and out. 

The Reuters news agency said state-run television in Huanggang had announced the halt to public transport and the shuttering of all public indoor venues like movie theaters and sports complexes, to take effect Thursday evening. 

CBS News correspondent Ramy Inocencio and his team made it out of Wuhan hours before the transportation lock-down was implemented on Wednesday – a quarantine of the city’s 11 million residents.

WATCH: (1/2) Wuhan in an *unprecedented* lockdown to slow the spread of the deadly #coronavirus. @CBSNews flew out just in time! Filmed this at the airport Wednesday night. Everyone had a mask on. Felt I was living through SARS 2003 all over again. @CBSThisMorning @CBSEveningNews

— Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) January 22, 2020

The Associated Press quoted an official with the World Health Organization as saying the effort to “contain a city of 11 million people is new to science.”

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