Coronavirus: New death toll close to 500 — live updates


The Hubei province has reported 65 more fatalities, the biggest single-day tally since fatalities emerged almost a month ago. Japan has reported ten cases from people onboard a ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama.

– The number of confirmed deaths in China stands at 490, after authorities reported 65 new fatalities in Hubei province.

– Passengers aboard two cruise ships are stranded off the coast of Japan and Hong Kong after passengers tested positive for coronavirus.

– With 33 cases, Japan has the highest number of infections outside China.

– Germany has the highest number of infections in Europe with 12.

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

10:17 DW spoke to two international students trapped in Wuhan from Nigeria and Pakistan. Their governments have not yet announced plans to evacuate them.

Adam, a student from Nigeria spoke of growing uncertainty among the Nigerian population in the city.

“We can get by right now, but who knows what could happen in one, two or three weeks,” said Adam. “We just want our government to get in touch with us because at least then we feel that our government is listening to our concerns. Currently, people just feel abandoned,” he added.

09:11 Hong Kong will close two cruise terminals and will put anyone crossing from mainland China into compulsory quarantine for 14 days, said the territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The announcement follows three days of strikes by medical staff demanding the border be fully shut off to mainland China and came shortly after it was announced that passengers on cruise liner World Dream would be quarantined at one of its ports.

No information was provided on how the measure would be implemented but details are expected to be announced in the coming days. The measure will be implemented from Saturday. “The measure is harsh. But I believe after we say all arrivals have to be quarantined for 14 days from February 8 the number of arrivals will reduce,” Lam said.

09:00 The UK Foreign Office will fly out any British nationals still stranded in Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, on a final evacuation flight scheduled for Sunday. “I encourage all British nationals in Hubei to register with our teams if they want to leave on this flight,” said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Britain has advised all its nationals in China to leave.

08:26  Hong Kong airlines Cathay Pacific asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave as the company massively reduces its flights in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus. “I am hoping all of you will participate, from our front-line employees to our senior leaders, and to share in our current challenges,” said Augustus Tang, Cathay Airlines CEO, on Wednesday. On Tuesday the airline announced that it would reduce its flight schedule by 30%  internationally and by 90% inside mainland China.

07:15 Evacuation flights are continuing from Wuhan on Wednesday. A flight carrying New Zealanders from Wuhan will land in Auckland on Wednesday evening. The passengers include 98 people from New Zealand, 35 from Australia, and others from Pacific nations including Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Samoa.

The plan is to take most of the passengers by bus to a military facility where they will be quarantined for two weeks.

Russia also evacuated a further 80 of its citizens on Wednesday. The flight was bound for the Tyumen region in western Siberia, where the evacuees were going to be placed temporarily in a medical facility, according to TASS news agency.

06:25 A second cruise ship with 1,800 passengers on board will be quarantined in Hong Kong’s Kai Tak cruise terminal. The ship was turned away from Kaohsiung port in Taiwan on Tuesday after three passengers on an earlier journey were diagnosed with coronavirus. More than 30 crew members who reported symptoms are being examined and will undergo tests.

A further 3,700 passengers are also stranded aboard cruise ship Diamond Princess off the coast of Japan after one crew member and nine passengers were found to have the virus.

06:18 According to Reuters news agency, Uzbekistan Airways said in a statement that it evacuated 84 people from Wuhan. They will be placed in quarantine on arrival in the capital of Tashkent, said the nation’s state airline on Wednesday.

06:10  Organizers of the 2020 Olympic Games are “extremely worried” about the possible effects of coronavirus on the sporting event. “We are extremely worried in the sense that the spread of the infectious virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games,” said Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer of the Tokyo Olympics, on Wednesday before a meeting with the International Paralympic Committee.

He added that organizers plan to coordinate with the International Olympic Committee, the IPC, the Japanese government and the city of Tokyo to tackle the disease and minimize its impact on the Games.

05:45: Hong Kong health officials are striking for the third day in a row, demanding that the border between Hong Kong and mainland China be completely closed in a bid to halt the virus. The first death in the semi-autonomous territory from the virus occurred on Tuesday. It has confirmed 18 cases, including four cases known to have been transmitted locally.

The virus has revived memories of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in the territory in 2003 when nearly 300 people died. Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, has closed many crossings with the mainland but has chosen to leave some open.

04:29 Japan’s foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said a fourth chartered flight on Thursday would be en route to Wuhan to bring back around 200 people. The passengers could include the Chinese spouses of Japanese citizens, Motegi said.

04:04 Thailand, Singapore and South Korea follow Japan in the total number of coronavirus infections with 25, 24 and 18 cases respectively. A total of 13 people have been infected in Australia while the highest number of cases outside of Asia and Oceania is in Germany, with 12 instances reported so far.

03:56 Japan has overtaken Thailand for the greatest number of infections outside of China following confirmation of infection among 10 passengers on the quarantined cruise ship in Yokohama. Japan has reported 33 cases, while Thailand has 25.

03:33 China has quickly constructed hospitals to deal with the crisis, as well as converting a gymnasium, exhibition hall and cultural center in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei and epicenter of the outbreak.

Patients are being transferred into a new, 1,000-bed hospital with prefabricated wards and isolation rooms. A 1,500-bed hospital also specially built will open in the coming days, authorities have confirmed.

03:05 China’s Embassy in Berlin said it has seen increased hostility toward Chinese citizens living in Germany as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak. “Recent incidents of hostility and xenophobic statements in individual media have increased after the coronavirus outbreak, and they are alarming,” the embassy told German news agency dpa.

Read more: Opinion: Drop the corona-racism against Chinese people

02:03 American Airlines announced it has suspended flights to Hong Kong through February 20 due to a lack of interest from potential customers.

United Airlines said it too would suspend Hong Kong flights from Saturday until the same date due to waning demand.

The companies have already announced a suspension of flights to and from mainland China following a US government travel advisory.

01:42 As a reminder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 176 cases of coronavirus infection reported in 24 countries and regions outside of mainland China, excluding the cruise ship cases described below. Two individuals have died from the illness outside of China, one in Hong Kong on Tuesday and one in the Philippines last week. Both had spent time in Wuhan, the city at the heart of the viral outbreak.

Read more: Wuhan medic: ‘Many more infections than official numbers show’

00:31 US sports manufacturer Nike is preparing its shareholders for losses due to the epidemic. Nike said significant effects were to be expected. “In the short term, we expect the situation to have a material impact on our operations in Greater China,” it said.

Nike has already stopped operations in roughly half of its own stores in China.

Read more: How will the coronavirus affect the world economy?

00:26 The death toll in mainland China has risen to 490 after Hubei province confirmed 65 more individuals had died from the virus. This is the biggest single-day jump since the first fatalities were reported last month.

The number of confirmed infections nationwide has reached 24,324 with 3,887 fresh cases reported, the National Health Commission said.

00:01 At least ten passengers on a cruise ship that Japan quarantined on Tuesday have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Japanese health minister said. The ship was carrying around 3,700 people, including crew, when in arrived in Yokohama Port. The process of screening passengers began after a person who had disembarked the vessel in Hong Kong was later diagnosed with the virus.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said tests had been carried out on more than 200 passengers. “From around 7:30 a.m. [2230 GMT Tuesday], we had them [the 10 who tested positive] get off the vessel, and with cooperation with the coastguard we are sending them to medical organizations,” he said.



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