The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has killed over 1,113 people, eclipsing the death toll from the global outbreak of SARS that started in China almost two decades ago. Across mainland China, there were 2,015 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, bringing the total accumulated number so far to 44,653. The central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 94 deaths, with 72 of them in its provincial capital of Wuhan.
The 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, killed 774 people and sickened almost 8,100 others, in 26 countries, over eight months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Mainland China accounted for about 45% of SARS deaths.
Nearly 44,653 conformed cases have been reported in 27 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins university’s real time tracker of the disease, which has been declared a global health emergency by the WHO.
Here are all the latest updates of deadly coronavirus:
Warm weather may not slow outbreak, says US CDC
It’s too early to know if warm spring weather that typically heralds the end of cold and flu season will also slow the coronavirus, said a top official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Wednesday that she hopes “it will go down as the weather warms up, but it’s premature to assume that.”
Messonnier’s remarks Wednesday run counter to a theory put forward by President Donald Trump that heat would stop the new coronavirus.
“The heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people think that goes away in April as the heat comes in.” At a campaign rally this week, he went further, according to a CNN report on his remarks, saying, “in theory when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away.”
JLR to extend shutdown of China manufacturing
Tata Motors Ltd.‘s Jaguar Land Rover unit has told its vendor network that the shutdown of its manufacturing operations in China would be extended till Feb. 17, ET reported.
China offers online classes as schools postpone start of new semester
Chinese students will be able to attend classes online or study via television as schools postpone the start of the new semester due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, education officials said on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has issued a guideline for universities to organise online classes, with 22 online platforms offering 24,000 courses to students, said Wu Yan with the ministry at a press conference, reported Xinhua news agency.
These courses are of high-quality and were carefully selected over the past several years, Wu said, adding that more platforms will be launched in the future.
A "cloud platform" will also be launched on 17 February to provide students in elementary and secondary schools with education resources covering all major school subjects, said Lyu Yugang with the MOE.
Kerala coronavirus positive patient now tests negative
A male patient who arrived from Wuhan and later tested positive for coronavirus will be discharged on Thursday, after two tests have now turned negative, a health official said.
The patient, who is quarantined at the Alappuzha Medical College, was the second person who turned up positive in the test.
All the three patients -- a female and two males -- who were tested coronavirus positive were studying in Wuhan.
"The patient, now at Alappuzha will be discharged tomorrow (Thursday) as two tests of his turned negative. Likewise when the results of the other two come, the same will be followed," said the official who did not wish to be identified.
According to the figures released on Wednesday night by the Kerala Health officials, 2,455 people are under observation of which 24 are in hospitals and the rest at their homes.
India allows Chinese crew to enter Kolkata port after being quarantined
Nineteen Chinese crew of a vessel coming from Shanghai was allowed to enter Kolkata port after the ship was quarantined at Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas for several hours on Wednesday, port officials said.
The crew members will undergo thermal scanning in the port in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
"A total of 19 Chinese crew on board including Captain Zhou Yingde was quarantined at Sagar Island today. They were cleared by doctors of Kolkata Port Trust there and allowed to enter Kolkata tomorrow," officials said.
Two Russians flee virus quarantine, in dismay at hospitals
One patient jumped out of a hospital window to escape her quarantine and another managed to break out by disabling an electronic lock.
Two Russian women who were kept in isolation for possible inflection by a new virus say they fled from their Russian hospitals this month because of uncooperative doctors, poor conditions and fear they would become infected. Russian health authorities haven't commented on their complaints.
In Russia, only two cases of the disease COVID-19 have been reported.
Many of those quarantined in different Russian hospitals complained about dire conditions of isolation rooms and lack of cooperation from doctors, uncertain about quarantine protocols.
Both women said their hospital ordeals began after returning from Hainan, a tropical region of China popular with Russian tourists.
Two Indian crew on board Japan cruise ship test positive
Two Indian crew on board cruise ship Diamond Princess off Japanese coast test positive for coronavirus, said the Indian mission in Japan.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Japan health ministry said 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan, with one quarantine officer also infected, bringing the total to 175.
The Diamond Princess was placed in quarantine for two weeks on arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.
It is looking like an increasing economic threat for Japan, where manufacturers are reliant on Chinese companies for parts, and shops and hotels dependent on Chinese tourists.
Mobile World Congress may be called off over deadly virus outbreak
Organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will decide on Wednesday whether to cancel the event, two sources said, after several major European telecom companies pulled out due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and BT ditched the event, along with Finnish network equipment maker Nokia, according to sources and official statements, leaving the Barcelona event without some of its main backers.
The GSMA industry association that organises the conference was due to hold a 'virtual' meeting of its board, consisting of 25 industry bosses, at 1300 GMT to discuss its options, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
"They have to cancel," said a source with one exhibitor that has decided to pull out.
Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to deadly virus outbreak
Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the organisers said today.
The FIA and Formula One said in a statement that they had jointly decided to postpone the race, which was scheduled for April 19 at the Shanghai International Circuit.
"As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and Formula 1 have taken these measures," the two bodies said.
Coronavirus outbreak 'just beginning' outside China, says WHO body
The coronavirus epidemic may be peaking in China where it was first detected in the central city of Wuhan but it is just beginning in the rest of the world and likely to spread, a global expert on infectious diseases said on Wednesday.
The Chinese government's senior medical adviser has said the disease is hitting a peak in China and may be over by April. He said he was basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action.
Dale Fisher, chair of the Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network that is coordinated by the World Health Organization, said that predicted "time course" may well be true if the virus is allowed to run free in Wuhan.
"It's fair to say that's really what we are seeing," he told Reuters in an interview. "But it has spread to other places where it's the beginning of the outbreak. In Singapore, we are at the beginning of the outbreak."
Bats for sale at Indonesia's wildlife market despite deadly virus warning
Bats, rats and snakes are still being sold at an Indonesian market known for its wildlife offerings, despite a government request to take them off the menu over fears of a link to the deadly coronavirus.
Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say business is booming and curious tourists keep arriving to check out exotic fare that enrages animal rights activists.
But scientists are debating how the new virus, which has killed more than 1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world, was transmitted to humans.
A wildlife market in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, is thought to be ground zero and there is suspicion it could have originated in bats.
Coronavirus impact puts Thai economy closer to recession
A technical recession is looming in Thailand after a key government official painted a bleak picture of the economy.
Growth could be less than 1% in January through March from a year ago, mainly because of the chilling impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on tourism, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
Expansion in the fourth quarter of last year may be less than 2%, Somkid told reporters in Bangkok today.
“The economy slowed in the fourth quarter and the impact from the coronavirus, especially a sharp fall in Chinese tourists, will hurt it hard in the first quarter,” he said.
Tourism accounts for about a fifth of the Thai economy, which is also grappling with a sapping drought and a currency that officials have said remains too strong.
Singapore’s DBS evacuates 300 employees after staff found infected
DBS Group Holdings Ltd. told employees on Level 43 at its Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 headquarters to work from home after a staff member tested positive for the disease. The case is at least the third to strike the business district, where other firms have been sending workers home and setting up temperature-screening checkpoints to stem any further spreading of the deadly disease.
“During this difficult time, the bank will be providing this employee and his family with every support and guidance,” DBS said in a statement Wednesday. “We are also currently conducting detailed contact tracing with all employees and other parties that the infected employee may have come into contact with.” DBS is deep-cleaning and disinfecting the affected office space.
Coronavirus infections on Japan cruise ship leap to 174
Rising infection cases on board a quarantined cruise ship in Japan -- likely evidence passengers are spreading the virus to one another -- is raising concerns about their safety and sparking anger among the thousands still confined.
There are now 174 infections aboard Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess, the largest infection cluster outside China. The surging numbers are fueling concerns that rather than keeping passengers safe, the quarantine is allowing the virus to spread through the ship. There were 39 new cases announced Wednesday, including 10 members of the crew.
Economists cut China’s growth forecast on coronavirus impact
The outbreak of the coronavirus and China’s efforts to stop the spread mean the economy will grow slower this quarter than first thought, according to economists.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc, UBS Group AG and Macquarie Group Ltd. are among those cutting their growth forecast for both the first quarter and the full year, while others expect material shocks to gross domestic product.
China retreats online to weather coronavirus storm
Virus-phobia has sent hundreds of millions of Chinese flocking to online working options, with schools, businesses, government departments, medical facilities — even museums and zoos — wrapping themselves in the digital cloud for protection.
China remains in crisis mode weeks after the epidemic exploded, with much of the country shut down and the government pushing work-from-home policies to prevent people gathering together.
That has been a boon for telecommuting platforms developed by Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, which have suddenly leap to the ranks of China's most-downloaded apps, leaving them scrambling to cope with the increased demand.
Britain's Native Antigen Company introduces novel coronavirus antigens
British-based The Native Antigen Company said on Wednesday that it had introduced novel antigens to deal with the coronavirus afflicting China.
"The Native Antigen Company, one of the world's leading suppliers of reagents that enables research into vaccines and diagnostics for emerging and endemic infectious diseases, today announced the commercial introduction of its Novel Coronavirus antigens, derived from the emerging Wuhan strain," it said in a statement.
Thailand refuses entry to cruise ship with no coronavirus cases
Thailand has barred passengers from Holland America's cruise ship MS Westerdam from disembarking, its health minister said on Tuesday, the latest country to turn it away amid fears of the coronavirus despite no confirmed infections on board.
The Netherlands-flagged ship was sailing west, 96 km (60 miles) off the southern coast of Vietnam on Tuesday morning, according to data from the Marine Traffic ship tracking website.
Number of new coronavirus cases falling: Chinese medical adviser
China's foremost medical adviser on the outbreak, Zhong Nanshan, said the numbers of new cases were falling in some provinces, and forecast the epidemic would peak this month.
China reported on Wednesday its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since late January, lending weight to a prediction by its senior medical adviser that the outbreak could have ended by April.
Virus hits China’s gold jewelry demand as shoppers stay away
Sales of gold jewelry in China are set to plummet this year as the economic damage from the deadly coronavirus crisis widens.
The death toll from the outbreak has topped 1,100 and shoppers are staying away from public places to avoid infection, while also limiting their spending to basic necessities such as groceries. Jewelry retailers such as Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. are shortening business hours and managing time off for employees in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading.
Gucci owner flags China virus uncertainties after strong Q4
Gucci owner Kering said on Wednesday the coronavirus epidemic in China could heighten uncertainties for the luxury goods market, as the group posted higher-than-expected sales for the fourth quarter of 2019, helped by its star brand Gucci.
The company said the virus outbreak, which has particularly affected its key Chinese market, could have an impact on "consumption trends and tourism flows, and their ability to affect economic growth."
Gucci owner Kering flags China virus uncertainties after strong Q4
'Everyone is guessing' about coronavirus economic impacts, say experts
Most believe China faces a short but sharper economic shock than originally thought, one that will be felt around the world. Expectations of how harsh the impact will be vary widely, however. Health professionals and economists say opaque Chinese data and lack of precedent hinder clear estimates.
China's gross domestic product growth in the first quarter could fall to as low as 4%, Nicholas R. Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimated on Tuesday. That compares to Chinese government estimates of 6% annual growth before the virus emerged.
However, if the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases continues to decline, then adverse effect on annual growth will be much smaller, he added.
Analysts from S&P, meanwhile, estimated Tuesday that the virus could lower China's GDP growth to 5.0% this year, with a peak effect in the first quarter before a rebound begins in the third quarter.
Coronavirus costs Vietnamese airlines $430 million in lost revenue
The coronavirus has cost Vietnamese airlines about 10 trillion dong ($430 million) so far in lost revenues following travel curbs between Vietnam and China, the government said on Wednesday.
Vietnam declared a public health emergency over the epidemic on Feb. 1 and banned all flights to and from China, where more than 1,000 people have died from the virus.
IMF says China can top up stimulus but must focus on reform
China has room to take fiscal stimulus measures if its economy slows further but should not lose sight of structural reforms and steps to address rapid credit growth, a senior International Monetary Fund official said on Wednesday.
Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, said while it was too early to assess the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Asian economies, it added to risks to the region's growth outlook.
"(We) don't want to deny this event definitely increases the downside risk. Especially the downside risk will be large for countries which have close ties with China," he told a news conference in Tokyo.
China supports merger of airlines amid outbreak
China’s Civil Aviation Administration said it will support the restructuring of airlines to ease the impact from the coronavirus outbreak.
The administration will also work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in urging some countries to continue international flights with China.
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted flights to and from China, one of the world’s busiest travel markets, as airlines around the globe halt service.
Airbnb extends beijing suspension
Airbnb Inc. has extended a freeze on all Beijing business by two months, heeding tightened local regulations aimed at curbing the coronavirus epidemic.
It’s suspending check-ins at all of its listings in the Chinese capital until April 30, instead of the end of February, the San Francisco-based company said in a messaged statement. The US startup has offered refunds to those affected or that cancel their bookings.
Early virus data existed weeks before public release
Preliminary genetic sequence data indicating the presence of a SARS-like virus in central China were known about two weeks before key information was publicly released, scientists said.
In a commentary piece published Tuesday in the Lancet medical journal, scientists, including members of the World Health Organization’s emergency committee, said insufficient attention was paid to information doctors had gathered about the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus.
Boeing sees airline profits hit, stagnant air cargo market due to virus
The global air cargo industry is unlikely to grow this year because of the challenges in the China market due to the coronavirus, a senior executive at Boeing Co said on Wednesday.
The world's biggest manufacturer of freighter aircraft had previously forecast air freight would grow by 1% to 2% this year due in part to the United States and China forging an interim trade deal, said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the commercial division of Boeing.
"That is going to see pressure as well," he told reporters at the Singapore Airshow, referring to the US-China deal.