Caixin
Feb 15, 2020 11:35 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Coronavirus Latest (Feb. 1 - 15): Cases Surge Past 66,500 as France Reports First Death

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China is grappling with an outbreak of infections from a new coronavirus that began in December. Caixin Global will continue covering this story as it develops. Please check back regularly for updates.

Virus charts update15

Saturday, Feb. 15, 9:00 p.m.

Today, Europe recorded its first coronavirus-related death and Africa its first case.

A Chinese tourist died in a Paris hospital, while a visitor in Egypt was diagnosed with the disease.

The U.S. confirmed reports it would evacuate American citizens and their families by chartered aircraft from the Diamond Prince cruise ship, which has been quarantined off of Yokohama, Japan.

The ship is the largest infection cluster outside China, with 67 additional cases reported there on Saturday, according to Bloomberg. There are thought to be around 380 Americans on board.

Medical worker becomes Thailand’s 34th coronavirus case

Thailand recorded a new case of coronavirus — in a 35-year-old medical worker who caught it while treating a patient, the Bangkok Post reported.

Authorities said the patient who passed the virus onto the medical worker was not known to have Covid-19 when the infection occurred. Twenty-four of the medical worker’s colleagues at the private hospital where she works reportedly tested negative for the virus and have no symptoms.

The first case of a health worker being infected in Thailand brought the Southeast Asian country’s total to 34, the third-highest outside of China.

The Thai economy relies heavily on Chinese holidaymakers. While the nation has stepped up checkpoint health screenings and is quarantining travelers with fever, it is one of the few in the region not to close its borders to visitors from the Chinese mainland.

 Read more
Coronavirus Latest (Jan. 15 - Feb. 1): China Infections Reach 14,411, Apple Closes All Mainland Stores

In other virus news

• China's central bank has been cleaning cash. People's Bank of China (PBOC) Deputy Governor Fan Yifei said Saturday (link in Chinese) that it was sanitizing bank notes as well as blocking their movement between cities in regions most affected by the outbreak in order to limit the transmission of the virus.

• New Zealand has extended its ban on visitors who have been in China over the past 14 days. New Zealand's immigration authorities said the ban had been extended for an additional eight days, but would be reviewed every 48 hours. The nation has temporarily shuttered its visa office in Beijing.

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:20 p.m. 

France reports first coronavirus death

A Hubei man has died of Covid-19 in France, in Europe's first death from the disease and the first outside Asia.

French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said the 80-year-old tourist had arrived in the country on Jan. 16, and had been hospitalized in Paris since Jan. 25, according to the New York Times. The man died on Friday. 

It is the third reported death from the disease outside of China.

Saturday, Feb. 15, 11:00 a.m.

Egypt has reported its first case of coronavirus, the first in Africa, as the disease once concentrated around a seafood market in Wuhan spread to a fifth continent. South America and Antarctica are now the only two continents with no confirmed cases.

In China, 2644 cases were added overnight, according to the nation’s top health body. Most of the new cases were in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, and 849 of the new cases were severe. They brought China’s official diagnosis count to 66,576.

The death toll climbed by 143 to 1,524.

Elsewhere, researchers cautioned against vaccine “hype,” Vietnam became the latest country to turn away a cruise ship, and a struggling car plant in Serbia showed how the contagion was spreading to global supply chains.

• The U.S. State Department will evacuate Americans and their families from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, which has been quarantined in Yokohama, the Wall Street Journal reported citing an official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• A Fiat Chrysler assembly plant in Serbia was poised to become the first European carmaker to halt operations as a result of the coronavirus's impact on supply chains, Bloomberg reports. The factory has been unable to source the Chinese parts needed to make the Fiat 500L.

• Despite an abundance of capital and resources flowing into the research and production of a vaccine for the new coronavirus, researchers have told Caixin of the limitations surrounding the science and cautioned against hyperbolic claims. We should not bet on seeing a vaccine up and running anytime soon, they said. Read the story.

• Wuhan authorities have further tightened the quarantine restrictions confining all residents to their neighborhoods unless they are seeking medical care, directly fighting the outbreak or running essential services, according to a notice (link in Chinese) from the local government.

• Concerns are mounting about the true state of the situation in North Korea, which has not reported any coronavirus cases, after the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies issued an urgent call (link in Chinese) for personal protective gear and testing kits to prepare for a possible outbreak there this week.

• Hong Kong Disneyland has agreed to lend vacant land to the region's government to build coronavirus quarantine facilities, the South China Morning Post reports.

• An AIDA Cruises Ltd. ship with more than 1,100 passengers canceled plans to visit Vietnam after a provincial government enforced a directive barring those on cruise liners that were in China recently from disembarking there, according to Bloomberg.

•As people have begun to head back to Beijing after an extended Lunar New Year break, city authorities have ordered all returnees to remain at home in self-isolation for 14 days. Those who fail to do so could be punished, a notice from the municipality’s coronavirus crisis group said (link in Chinese).

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

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Friday, Feb. 14, 9:00 p.m.

Today there was some much-needed transparency as China released figures on the number of frontline health care workers who have been infected while fighting the new coronavirus Covid-19. The bad news is the numbers are bleak.

The outbreak is continuing to wreak havoc on China’s economy too, with small and midsized businesses, the backbone of the nation’s private sector, emerging as some of the hardest hit.

In other virus related news

• From Jan. 24 to Jan. 30, the Chinese box office took in less than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million). It had expected to earn 6.9 billion. China’s services sector has taken a battering from the coronavirus. Now it’s pulling out all stops to survive.

• Singapore’s total number of coronavirus cases grew to 67, after nine new cases were confirmed today. Six of those were linked to the Grace Assembly of God church, which has suspended services for two weeks after it emerged as a major cluster of coronavirus infections in the city state, according to The Straits Times.

• An intensive care doctor dispatched to Wuhan as part of a medical relief team has told Caixin of scenes of devastation at a hospital on the brink of collapse.

• Major cruise lines are dodging Asia entirely for the remainder of the season, putting the brakes on one of the region’s fastest-growing tourism sectors, as more ports in the region shut their doors to cruise ships amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

• The Beijing-based American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a WeChat post that its member companies had donated at least 360 million yuan ($51.5 million) in cash and materials to the coronavirus relief effort in Wuhan.

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

Friday, Feb. 14, 4:30 p.m.

1,700 medical workers infected with Covid-19

More than 1,700 medical workers on the frontlines of China’s battle against Covid-19 have fallen ill from the disease, with almost 90% of those in the epicenter of Hubei. Six have died.

The figures were disclosed by Chinese National Health Commission deputy head Zeng Yixin at a press conference in Beijing on Friday. It’s the first time China has released an official count of the number of infections among medical workers.

Among the dead are Li Wenliang, the hero doctor who sounded an early alarm about the human spread of the new virus before the information was made public, and was punished by authorities for doing so.

Aside from demonstrating the impact of the disease on frontline staff, such information is considered important by infectious disease researchers because it provides insights into a disease’s transmissibility and spread.

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

Friday, Feb. 14, 11:00 am

China’s total recorded Covid-19 cases increased by 5,093 overnight, and an additional 121 deaths were recorded, according to the latest figures from China’s top health body.

That brought the total to 63,932 confirmed cases, 10,204 of which were severe. There had been 1,381 deaths overall in China, and a total of 6,728 cases were recorded as cured. In addition, 1,043 previously confirmed cases were removed from the count, with no reason given.

116 of the new deaths were in Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, where authorities said 108 double-counted deaths had also been removed from official statistics.

Hubei health authorities added 4,823 new cases on Thursday, with 3,095 diagnosed by “clinical methods,” or chest X-rays, as opposed to standard lab tests. Caixin reported on Thursday that the inclusion of X-ray-diagnosed viral pneumonia cases in Hubei’s count — intended to catch more cases of the disease for early treatment — caused a massive spike in China’s figures yesterday and rattled markets. But experts generally see it as a positive move.

In other virus related news

• A Feb. 10 report from the official Xinhua news agency shows Beijing’s Ditan Hospital was treating coronavirus patients as early as Jan. 12, more than a week before the city's first cases were publicly announced at another hospital in the Daxing district, and Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan confirmed the disease was being transmitted from person-to-person.

• This year's Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to coronavirus fears. The FIA and Formula One said in a joint statement they had decided to postpone the race, which was to take place on April 19 in Shanghai, after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

• Research teams from Guangdong and Zhejiang have isolated the live virus in stool samples of patients diagnosed with the disease as part of ongoing work to explain how it is transmitted. The presence of live viruses in the stool raises prospects it may be spread via the oral-fecal route, such as in water contaminated by sewage.

• In a study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the experimental Gilead Sciences drug remdesivir successfully prevented monkeys infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from falling ill, raising hopes it will benefit patients suffering from the related disease Covid-19. Early human trials of the drug in China are ongoing.

• More than a third of Australian companies in China are reviewing their strategies as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a poll of 100 member companies of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai released Friday. Almost all respondents said the coronavirus would negatively impact their business, with more than half predicting first quarter revenue would drop more than 20%.

The Chamber’s CEO and Executive Director Jack Brady said, “unfortunately the outbreak is not only having profound health impacts, but also impacts to local and foreign business in China. Australian organizations here are far from exempt from that.”

•  “If your relationship is strong, every day is a good day.” That's the Valentine's Day message coming from the Xuecheng District Civil Affairs Bureau in Zaozhuang, Shandong province, which has asked marriage-minded couples to postpone registering their unions in order to curb the virus’ spread. “The virus is ruthless, but there is love in the world,” the bureau said in a public notice.

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

Friday, Feb. 14, 4 a.m.

U.S. health officials confirmed the country’s 15th case of coronavirus in a person who was evacuated from China on a government flight.

The patient is among a group of people under quarantine at a military base in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. It was the first time a person among the quarantined group developed symptoms and tested positive for the virus, the CDC said.

Vietnam locked down a village with more than 10,000 residents for coronavirus control. The village, Son Loi in northern Vietnam, is about 40 kilometers northwest of Hanoi.

Son Loi will be sealed off for 20 days after a recent confirmed infection case suggested that human-to-human transmission is taking place in the area, according to local officials. More than 90 other people at Son Loi were under close monitoring as of Wednesday.

It was the first country outside China to lock down a village to contain the virus. Vietnam confirmed 16 cases as of Wednesday.

In China, there is still no agreed estimate of how many people could have been infected by the virus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. A preprint research paper posted at medical research archive medRxiv suggested that the number of infection as of Feb. 9 could have totaled 54,000 to 90,000 in the city of 11 million. Outside Wuhan, about 21,00 people have been infected by the virus in the rest of Hubei province, according to the paper.

The paper was written by Zhou Yongdao, a statistics professor at Nankai University, and Jianghu Dong, an assistant professor at the Department of Biostatistics & Division of Nephrology of the University of Nebraska.

The paper’s estimate of the number of infected patients in Wuhan was based on the overall infection rate calculated with a sampling survey of infections in Wenzhou city, which has a better data collection system, and different samples of Wuhan tourists to Singapore.

Based on the estimates, the paper said additional medical capacity is still needed to care for the rising number of patients.

In other coronavirus-related news

• Oil demand this year will record the slowest rate of growth since 2011, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, the International Energy Agency said. The organization cut its 2020 growth forecast to 825,000 barrels a day from the previous forecast of 1.2 million as the outbreak weighs on Chinese consumption and the global economy.

• There haven’t been “dramatic increases” in coronavirus cases outside China, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The comment came as global markets were shaken after China reported a surge of confirmed cases.

Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, said the increase reported Thursday reflected older cases and doesn’t represent a sudden surge in new infections.

• Airbnb Inc. has extended a suspension on all Beijing business by two months. The U.S. home-sharing giant is now suspending check-ins at all of its listings in the Chinese capital until April 30, instead of the end of February. Customers who had reservations in Beijing during the period will be refunded, said Airbnb.

Compiled by Han Wei

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Thursday, Feb.13, 8 p.m.

Japan reports first death

Japan’s top health authority reported the country’s first death from the coronavirus on Thursday, according to (link in Japanese) Japanese broadcaster NHK.

The authority confirmed an additional 44 infections aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The myth of data

Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, reported nearly 15,000 new confirmed cases within a single day, bringing its total to more than 48,000 as of Wednesday.

The surge comes about one week after the National Health Commission required (link in Chinese) Hubei to put suspected cases whose CT scans show symptoms in a new category — clinically diagnosed cases — and then confirm whether they test positive for the virus as soon as possible and treat them in a timely manner. This category applies only to the central province. Caixin has previously reported that some nucleic acid tests have yielded false negatives, potentially resulting in data underrepresenting the real number of infections.

Hubei’s provincial health body said (link in Chinese) that it has included all clinically diagnosed cases — which totaled over 13,000 as of Wednesday — in the confirmed case category of its data releases, putting its classification categories in line with other regions in China.

It is widely believed that many, if not most, of the clinically diagnosed cases are coronavirus infections. Among the 1,310 total deaths from the virus in Hubei as of Wednesday, over 10% had been classified as clinically diagnosed cases, according to official data (link in Chinese). A commentary (link in Chinese) by a Caixin editor calls official death toll counts to include those who should have been counted as infections but were put into other categories.

Provincial and city heads removed

China has removed Hubei’s and Wuhan’s Communist Party chiefs from office, and dispatched two senior officials from Shanghai and the eastern province of Shandong to take over their positions. The moves come days after two senior Hubei health officials were discharged from their posts.

When they have no idea what consequences they will face for flawed epidemic control, local officials may struggle to come up with the best solutions, the Caixin editor said (link in Chinese), suggesting that the replacement officials may bring more transparency and efficiency to efforts to contain the virus.

The day in numbers

• Total confirmed cases globally exceeded 60,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

• Confirmed cases in China, including clinically diagnosed cases in Hubei, climbed to 59,901. The official death toll remained unchanged at 1,368.

• Confirmed cases in 24 other countries rose to 501, including two deaths.

In other coronavirus-related news

• Singapore confirmed eight new cases, bringing its total to 58.

• Vietnam reported (link in Vietnamese) one additional infection, bringing its total to 16.

• The U.K. confirmed its ninth case of infection on Wednesday.

• Australia has extended its travel ban due to expire on Saturday for people who have traveled through China by another week, the Guardian reported, citing Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Thursday, Feb. 13, 11:20 a.m.

Jiang Chaoliang, party chief of Hubei province at the outbreak's epicenter, has been removed and replaced by Ying Yong, mayor and deputy party chief of Shanghai, state media said. The move followed a huge surge of total confirmed infections in China on Wednesday, most of those in Hubei.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 9 a.m.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, jumped by 13,436 on Wednesday as the nation’s health authority has implemented a new way to diagnose and confirm the virus, according to official data (link in Chinese).

The rise is well above the city’s daily increases of infections between 1,000 and 2,000 during the past week. On Wednesday, the local death toll from the virus surged 216 to 1,036.

The new diagnosis criteria, released on Feb. 5, allows for the use of CT scans, in addition to nucleic acid tests, in the confirmation process in Hubei province. There had been criticism that earlier diagnostic criteria for the coronavirus were too stringent, and experts had called for the inclusion of CT scanning as a key basis for diagnosis.

An additional 14,840 cases of infection were confirmed in Hubei, the province around Wuhan, on Wednesday, bringing the provincial total to 48,206, which is higher than the entire national figure for the previous day. The death toll in Hubei rose by 242 to 1,310.

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Compiled by Guo Yingzhe

Thursday, Feb.13, 5 a.m.

A bullet train cleaning staff member tested positive for the new coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, fueling fears that the virus might have been spread to passengers on more than a dozen trains.

The worker, surnamed Tao, had a fever Feb. 8 while at work and was sent to a hospital. Tao later tested positive for the virus, the Xuzhou city health authority in Jiangsu province said Thursday at a briefing.

Tao worked aboard 15 high-speed trains between Jan. 20 and Feb. 8 that traveled through cities including Beijing, Nanjing, Ningbo, Hangzhou and Yancheng, according to the Xuzhou health commission. The commission has started tracing people who potentially had contact with Tao.

Train crews have been among the riskier groups exposed to the virus. Since the outbreak, several infection cases have been reported involving railway staff, including a cluster infection case in Tianjin in which 15 people were infected and more than 400 were quarantined.

Amid fears of the spreading disease, a cruise ship that was turned away by several countries and regions finally found a port to land. The Westerdam luxury cruise liner is sailing to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, to disembark more than 2,200 passengers and crew.

The Westerdam, operated by Holland America Line, began its cruise in Singapore last month. Its last stop was in Hong Kong Feb. 1. Since then, the ship was refused entry by Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand and faced risks of low food supply.

The operator of the ship said there’s no reason to believe there are any coronavirus cases aboard. However, fears on the disease have heightened since Japan's health ministry confirmed at least 174 cases aboard another cruise ship that is quarantined in Yokohama, Japan.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Warm weather may not slow the outbreak of the new coronavirus as many expected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although it is expected that the epidemic will ease as the weather warms up, “it’s premature to assume that,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

• The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix motor racing event, scheduled for April 17-19, joined a list of global events being canceled or postponed because of the epidemic. The organizer, Formula One, said it is considering potential alternative dates if the situation improves.

• MWC Barcelona, the wireless industry’s top annual event, is facing great uncertainties after some of the biggest telecom companies withdrew amid concerns about the outbreak.

The event is scheduled to run Feb. 24-27, drawing around 100,000 people. However, several major exhibitors including Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone Group Plc, Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB and Sony Corp. pulled out. The organizer is deliberating on whether to cancel the event, Bloomberg reported.

Compiled by Han Wei

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Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said Wednesday it had confirmed three more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number there up to 50. None of the three cases, all of whom are men aged between 34 and 62, have a recent history of travel to China, the ministry said.

The news came as a major Singaporean bank, DBS, evacuated around 300 employees from its office at the city’s Marina Bay Financial Center after a member of staff was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus.

Japan, the country outside China hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, will bar entry to travelers from East China’s Zhejiang province from Thursday, according to the Kyodo news agency. The move extends an initial prohibition on travelers from Central China’s Hubei province, whose capital Wuhan is the epicenter of the epidemic.

As of Wednesday morning, Japan had reported 203 coronavirus cases, including 174 aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship currently moored at the port of Yokohama. Zhejiang, meanwhile, had confirmed 1,131 cases of the virus, also known as Covid-19, the fourth most of any Chinese province after Hubei, Guangdong and Henan.

On Tuesday night, authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou evacuated a residential housing block and put its residents under medical observation after three households in the building were confirmed to have the coronavirus. The successive infections recalled the Amoy Gardens apartment complex in Hong Kong, where 321 people fell sick during the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic after that virus spread through the plumbing system.

Meanwhile, reports from the stricken city of Wuhan continue to raise questions about the work and living conditions of medical workers. Two migrant hospital workers said they spent two nights on the streets earlier this week after showing signs of illness. Chen Cuilan, 48, was confirmed Sunday to have contracted the coronavirus. Her colleague, 52-year-old Zhang Lan, is suspected to have the disease but is awaiting confirmation.

Both Chen and Zhang live and work on the campus of the Central Hospital of Wuhan. However, hospital bosses ordered them to leave the premises for public health reasons after they reported coronavirus-like symptoms, they told Caixin (link in Chinese). With nowhere else to go, they slept in the communal area of a nearby apartment block.

Below is our roundup of some of today’s other coronavirus-related developments. Finally, if you want to check whether a major international event is affected by the epidemic, there’s a good chance it’ll be listed here.

1. Standard Chartered revised down (link in Chinese) its 2020 economic growth forecast for China to 5.8% from 6.1%, citing the “black swan” event of the epidemic. The British bank also tweaked its global growth prediction fractionally downward to 3.2% from 3.3%.

2. A number of home renters in the eastern city of Hangzhou told Caixin they have been prevented from living in their apartments after some residential compounds barred entry to residents who didn’t own their homes.

3. An article published Monday in the government-backed China Society News triggered widespread concern that charitable donations aimed at supporting epidemic relief efforts in Wuhan ended up flowing into state coffers. The article claimed that the Wuhan Charity Federation had received more than 3 billion yuan ($430.5 million) in public donations toward epidemic control efforts, of which 2.7 billion yuan had already been transferred to the city finance bureau.

On Tuesday, the Wuhan Charity Federation sought to clarify the situation. In a post on its WeChat account, the federation said that under local authorities’ guidance, all the unrestricted funds it receives needs to be transferred to a designated bank account overseen by the finance bureau. Some of the 2.7 billion yuan has been spent on creating isolation wards and supplying treatment facilities and medicines to hospitals, it added.

Compiled by Matthew Walsh

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 11:00 a.m.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China had risen to 44,742 as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, while 24 other countries had reported a combined 441 infections.

Another 97 people died (link in Chinese) from coronavirus infections in China on Tuesday, according to the National Health Commission (NHC), bringing the country’s death toll to 1,114.

A total of 2,015 more cases were confirmed on the Chinese mainland yesterday, the NHC said. Authorities also noted a further 3,342 suspected cases, bringing that figure to 16,067.

Some 746 people in China left hospital yesterday after recovering sufficiently from the illness, bringing the total number of recoveries to 4,742.

Hubei, the province at the center of the epidemic, said (link in Chinese) it added 1,638 new cases on Tuesday, 1,104 of which were in the provincial capital of Wuhan where the virus is thought to have originated. The province also reported 94 new deaths, 72 of those in Wuhan.

Hubei is by far the Chinese province hit hardest by the outbreak. Of the more than 44,000 cases confirmed so far in China, around 33,000 are in Hubei. The province has also witnessed 1,068 deaths from the virus, or 96% of the nation’s total.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Japan’s health ministry said (link in Japanese) that 39 more people on board the Diamond Princess cruise liner have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected people aboard the ship to 174.

• The United States on Tuesday permitted nonessential staff at its consulate in Hong Kong to leave the city if they wished to do so, according to the South China Morning Post. Hong Kong confirmed seven new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing its total to 49.

• Nearly 200 Americans who had been evacuated from Wuhan on a government-chartered flight were released from a two-week federal quarantine in California, CBS News reported.

Compiled by Matthew Walsh

Wednesday, Feb. 12 4:00 a.m.

Shortages of oxygen (link in Chinese) and other medical gear are still major constraints at the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, medical workers said. China has dispatched 12,000 medical workers from across the country to support Hubei.

Hospitals in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei where the disease first broke out, are in desperate need of oxygen cylinders for severe patients, according to doctors in the city. Patients with lung infections caused by the coronavirus often require additional oxygen.

In large hospitals such as Wuhan Tongji Hospital, where a large number of severe patients are hospitalized, the daily shortage could amount 100 oxygen cylinders. In addition, many Wuhan hospitals also face a shortage of ventilators.

The situation remains severe in Huanggang, one of Hubei’s hardest-hit cities in the epidemic, its party boss said (link in Chinese) Tuesday.

Huanggang, a city of 7.5 million, reported 2,332 confirmed infections, including 204 severe cases, as of late Monday. The death toll reached 52, the second-highest total after Wuhan. An additional 8,437 people are under observation. The city faces shortages of medical supplies including masks, goggles and protective suits.

As of Sunday, Huanggang completed virus tests for cases previously recorded as suspicious and screened 13,000 people with fevers. Ten institutions in the city now have the capacity to test 900 samples a day.

In other coronavirus-related news

• The World Health Organization Tuesday officially gave the new disease the name COVID-19. The name consists of CO for coronavirus, VI for virus and D for disease; 19 stands for the year 2019, the United Nations health organization said.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the name was carefully chosen to avoid stigma and inaccuracy.

“We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal or an individual or group of people,” he said.

• Several institutions in China started animal tests (link in Chinese) of vaccines for the novel coronavirus. Caixin learned that the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai Tongji University and Siwei (Shanghai) Biotechnology Co. initiated animal tests Sunday of a jointly development vaccine. But animal testing is only an early step in the long journey of vaccine development, experts said.

More than a dozen research institutions and biotech companies in China have also reportedly launched vaccine development.

• Blood transmission of the new coronavirus is possible, an expert said (link in Chinese). Although there is yet to be clear evidence that the virus can be passed through blood, people with potential contact with the virus should stop making blood donations for four weeks, according to a circular issued by the National Health Commission (NHC).

The NHC confirmed that the virus can be transmitted by respiratory droplets and direct contact. A virus expert said that theoretically any virus that infects the bloodstream can be transmitted through blood.

Compiled by Han Wei

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Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m.

Two senior Hubei health officials have been discharged from their posts (link in Chinese) — the Health Commission of Hubei Province’s Communist Party chief Zhang Jin, and its Director Liu Yingzi. Their positions have been filled by Wang Hesheng, a vice minister of the National Health Commission.

China’s coronavirus epidemic may peak in mid-to-late February, Zhong Nanshan, a leading respiratory expert noted for his role in the fight against SARS, said in Guangzhou on Tuesday. However, it is still hard to forecast a turning point, he said.

As the economic and social shockwaves from the coronavirus outbreak continue to spread across China, the country’s small and midsize enterprises are particularly vulnerable. Several local branches of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission have instructed banks to loosen up standards (link in Chinese) for recognizing companies’ nonperforming loans.

Additionally, some factories and offices resumed work Monday. The National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planner, said (link in Chinese) Tuesday in a briefing that in regions where the epidemic is relatively mild, full resumption of work should be carried out as soon as possible with reasonable protections in place. Otherwise, the supply of medical supplies would be affected in the short term, and in the long run, all kinds of daily necessities might also face the risk of shortage, the agency said.

In other coronavirus-related news

• Total confirmed cases around the world rose to 43,142 as of Tuesday afternoon, as those in China climbed to 42,744. The official death toll in the country remained unchanged at 1,017.

• A total of 24 other countries have confirmed a combined 398 infections.

• Hong Kong’s government urgently evacuated people in a residential building unit after two infected patients were found to live in the same building — but 10 floors apart.

• Thailand will not allow the Westerdam cruise ship to let passengers disembark at the Laem Chabang port, the Bangkok Post reported. The ship has been turned away from Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and the U.S. territory of Guam due to a suspected coronavirus infection onboard.

British Airways has canceled all its flights to the Chinese mainland until the end of March, Reuters reported.

• Some of China’s major internet companies, including Tencent, ByteDance, Baidu and Didi, have further pushed back the date for their employees to return to their offices to Feb. 17 or Feb. 24, though work has resumed remotely.

• The Baibuting neighborhood in Wuhan has again made headlines for its lack of information transparency. The neighborhood has not yet disclosed information of confirmed and suspected cases, leaving residents anxious, several told Caixin.

Despite signs that the virus was already spreading in the broader Wuhan area, the local government lent its support to a massive Lunar New Year event in the neighborhood on Jan. 18 similar to a Western potluck, where about 40,000 families brought meals to share with one another.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 9:30 a.m.

• As of the end of Monday, China had reported 42,708 infections, this number includes 1,017 deaths and around 4,000 recoveries, official data show (link in Chinese).

• An additional 108 new deaths were confirmed on Monday, the largest daily death increase so far, continuing a general upward trend in daily fatalities that began since the first death (link in Chinese) from the coronavirus was reported in January.

• On Monday, a total of 2,484 new cases of infection were reported in China — with 2,097 of them being reported in Hubei, the province at the center of the epidemic — down from 3,073 new cases the day earlier.

• As of the end of Monday, the number of suspected cases on the Chinese mainland stood at 21,675, marking the second straight day of falling figures.

• Hong Kong had reported 42 cases, with one death, as of the end of Monday. Macao had reported 10 infections with one recovery. Taiwan had reported 18 cases and one recovery.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 3:30 a.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (link in Chinese) made a public appearance Monday on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, visiting a Beijing hospital treating infected patients and a local disease-control office, according to state-run media Xinhua. Beijing so far has 337 confirmed cases and two deaths.

As some factories and offices across China resumed work Monday following an extended Lunar New Year holiday, Apple iPhone maker Foxconn (link in Chinese) is planning to keep its mainland factories stay shut for another week and to delay a complete reopening until the beginning of March, according to employees.

Workers at a Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory, which makes tablets and cell phones, were originally scheduled to resume work Monday, but they received notice Sunday night that production would remain suspended, the employees told Caixin.

Medical updates

• Amid growing fears that nucleic acid tests (NATs) used to identify the coronavirus are failing to catch large numbers of people with the disease, California-based diagnostics company Cepheid said Monday it is developing an automated molecular test, which is expected to deliver results in about 30 minutes.

Once the product is finalized, Cepheid intends to use the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization pathway for regulatory approval and make the test available globally. But the company didn’t say when the new test would be available.

International measures

Kazakhstan is sending two more planes to evacuate citizens from China, CNN reported Monday, citing an official in the Embassy of Kazakhstan in London. The planes, operated by Air Astana, will depart from Kazakhstan for Beijing Monday and Wednesday. This is the second evacuation effort carried out by Kazakhstan, with the first taking place last Monday.

Mongolia will suspend deliveries of coal across its southern border into China until March 2, Reuters reported Monday, citing the country’s National Emergency Commission. The commission also recommending that the country suspend its Lunar New Year celebrations later this month. Mongolia has not yet reported any cases of the coronavirus.

Taiwan will ban most people traveling from Hong Kong and Macao starting Tuesday, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said Monday.

• Meanwhile, South Korea said Monday that it will temporarily suspend entry to any cruise ships after more than 130 people on a cruise ship stuck in Japan were confirmed with coronavirus.

Business impact

• More than 300 Chinese companies including smartphone-maker Xiaomi and China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing are seeking bank loans totaling at least $8.2 billion to ease the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, Reuters reported, citing two banking sources.

Xiaomi, the world’s fourth-biggest smartphone maker, is requesting $716.24 million in loans to produce and sell medical equipment including masks and thermometers, according to documents sent to banks, according to the report.

• Office-sharing startup WeWork temporarily closed 100 buildings in China because of the outbreak, WeWork Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure told CNBC Monday.

• Tech giants Amazon and Sony are the latest to pull out of the Mobile World Congress, one of the world’s biggest annual business meetings, citing the coronavirus outbreak. The withdrawals follow the exit of Ericsson and LG electronics, which said last week they also wouldn’t attend the event.

The organizers of the conference, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain, said Monday that the event will go ahead as planned and that they would ban access to all travelers from Hubei province.

Compiled by Denise Jia

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Monday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m.

Worldwide infections

• Confirmed cases in China rose to 40,261 on Monday afternoon. The official death toll remained unchanged at 909.

• Infections in 24 other countries climbed to 389, as Japan and the U.K. confirmed more cases.

Cruise ships

Diamond Princess: A total of 136 people on board the cruise ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, U.S.-based operator Princess Cruises Inc. told Caixin.

Japan’s health ministry confirmed six additional cases Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases onboard the Diamond Princess to 70. By Monday afternoon, this tally had jumped again by another 66.

This brings Japan’s total number of cases to 162 individuals.

According to the ministry, those with confirmed infections have been transported to medical facilities onshore, and screening for infections will continue. This contradicts previous remarks made by Princess Cruises that Japanese health officials were concluding their tests.

Princess Cruises said in a statement that despite the new cases, the ship’s quarantine is still slated to end on Feb. 19.

World Dream: The Hong Kong government announced Sunday that its health department had finished screening the crew of the World Dream cruise. All samples tested negative for 2019-nCoV, and all individuals onboard were permitted to disembark and passengers could proceed to immigration.

Westerdam: Holland America Line, the U.S.-based operator of the Westerdam, said Monday that the ship, which has been turned away from Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and the U.S. territory of Guam due to a suspected coronavirus infection onboard, was granted permission to dock in Bangkok, Thailand.

The company said that it had no reason to believe there were any cases of the new coronavirus onboard.

For an explainer of all ships affected by 2019-nCoV, click here.

Medical updates

• Despite the fanfare and record speed at which Wuhan’s two new makeshift hospitals were built, they appear to be operating far below capacity.

Huoshenshan Hospital, which began admitting patients on Feb. 3 and touts accommodation for more than 1,000 patients, had only 286 beds in use and zero vacancies as of Saturday, according to data released Sunday by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.

Leishenshan Hospital, which touted at least 1,500 beds, opened Saturday with just 30, according to the data.

• New research based on data gathered from 1,099 2019-nCoV patients from 552 hospitals in 31 provincial-level regions in China found that the incubation period of the new coronavirus was as long as 24 days, though the median was three days.

The median age of patients was 47 years and 58.1% were men, according the findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, posted Sunday on medical research archive medRxiv. Only 1.18% of patients had been in direct contact with wildlife, whereas 31.3% had been to Wuhan and 71.8% had been in contact with someone from Wuhan.

The study was co-authored by at least three dozen researchers from Chinese hospitals and medical universities.

The outbreak in Wuhan will peak in mid-to-late-February, according to another study by scientists affiliated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The non-peer-reviewed findings were posted Friday on repository hosting service Github.

• The disinfection of the seafood market believed to be the origin of the deadly coronavirus outbreak means it will be virtually impossible to trace the source of the pathogen, a renowned epidemiologist has said.

In an interview with Caixin, American epidemiologist and “virus hunter” Walter Ian Lipkin said that based on conversations he had with experts who visited the South China Seafood Market in Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak, he believes that the area’s subsequent decontamination had destroyed any remaining potential samples.

International measures

• North Korea, which has yet to report a single case of the novel coronavirus, has expanded epidemic prevention measures (link in Chinese), according to the country’s state media. Instead of focusing on its borders and individuals with an overseas travel history, it is now screening individuals across the country.

The country has set up disease prevention stations in cities, on roads, railways and other major transport routes.

• China may not be the only country delaying classes. Australian universities are offering deferred starts or refunds to students affected by the epidemic and are trying to keep accommodation available for students that may be able to travel later on.

About 106,600 Chinese students set to attend higher education in Australia have had plans derailed due to travel restrictions placed by both Chinese and Australian governments, The Straits Times reported.

Economic impact

• Rising food prices helped to fuel a 5.4% year-on-year jump in consumer prices in January, 0.9 percentage points higher than the previous month and the highest since October 2011, as China’s economy began to feel the pain of the novel coronavirus outbreak, official data showed.

• BHP Group Ltd., the world’s top miner, is in talks with Chinese customers to delay shipments of copper concentrates as the nation extended factory shutdowns to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter.

• ByteDance appears to be a beneficiary of the coronavirus outbreak, with three of its apps making it onto App Annie’s top 5 list of non-game apps by downloads on Apple’s App Store in China in January.

• Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, Apple’s main iPhone production partner, said its factories worldwide are coordinating with authorities in carrying out virus protection and are preparing safety measures with the approval of local governments.

Compiled by Dave Yin

Monday, Feb. 10, 10:00 a.m.

• As of late Sunday, China had reported 40,235 infections, 909 deaths, almost 24,000 suspected cases, and 3,283 recoveries, the latest data (link in Chinese) from the country’s top health commission show.

• That represents an increase of 97 deaths from the day before, the highest daily increase so far, continuing a general upward trend that began since deaths were first reported.

• With the exception of six deaths spread across Anhui, Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, Hainan and Gansu provinces, all other new fatalities took place in Hubei province, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV epidemic.

• Regions outside of Hubei reported 455 new cases as of late Sunday, marking the sixth consecutive day of declines in new confirmed cases.

• As of late Sunday, Hong Kong had reported 36 infections including one death, Macao had reported 10 cases and one recovery, while Taiwan had reported 18 cases and one recovery.

• By Saturday night, the death toll from the new strain of coronavirus in China alone exceeded that of the SARS epidemic globally in 2003, which resulted in 774 deaths worldwide.

Compiled by Dave Yin

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday, Feb. 9, 6:00 p.m.

Since the coronavirus epidemic began in December, it has disrupted China’s entire economy, suspending business across sectors, rattling financial markets and turning bustling megacities into virtual ghost towns.

But now, after an over a week of extra holiday for the Lunar New Year, most of the country is finally set to go back to work (link in Chinese).

However it’s unlikely to be business as usual as the fragile economy gets moving again. A special group formed by the central government to tackle the crisis said in a Thursday meeting that businesses outside the worst-province of Hubei should resume work in an “orderly” fashion. While emphasizing the need for “scientific control” of the disease, this is the first time the group has called for the country to return to work since its formation on Jan. 25.

To prevent the disease from spreading further as millions return to their workplaces, local governments have been put on high alert. For example, Beijing’s residential communities were told to ramp up their examination of people returning to the capital. 

A race against time

With the total death toll from the coronavirus now exceeding that of the SARS epidemic in 2003, doctors in China are racing to prevent further fatalities.

By the end of Saturday, among the 37,198 confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland, 6,188 remained in a critical condition¸ mostly in Hubei.

Although the coronavirus fatality rate is generally thought to be low, the chance of a patient deteriorating into a critical condition may be as high as 20%, even with medical intervention, according to Caixin’s latest cover story (link in Chinese), which cites numerous doctors on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus.

In Wuhan, critical patients are being treated in designated hospitals, which have been under huge strain due to a lack of available beds. On Saturday, a rare bit of good news came when a second new quarantine center, called Thunder God Hospital, opened (link in Chinese), providing an additional 1,500 beds for critical patients.

More news from Hubei

• Jiang Chaoliang, Hubei Communist party secretary, said on Saturday that the government would aim to have every person suspected of having the virus tested by Monday (link in Chinese). About 4,000 more suspected cases were reported on Saturday, more than half in Hubei.

• On Sunday, the Hubei government gave official coronavirus fatality rates for the first time. Unexpectedly, Wuhan, with a rate of 4.06%, came in second (link in Chinese) and was topped by Tianmen, a nearby city, with a death rate of 5.08%.

• Since Feb. 5, Huanggang has been overtaken (link in Chinese) as the second most hard-hit city after Wuhan. As of end of Saturday, Xiaogan, a city with a population of 4.92 million to the west of Wuhan, reported 2,436 confirmed cases. That compares to the 2,141 cases found among the 7.5 million-strong population of Huanggang, a city to Wuhan’s east.

Other coronavirus-related news

• Aerosol transmission of the coronavirus can only happen under “certain special situations,” (link in Chinese) a health expert said in National Health Commission media briefing Sunday. This is an apparent attempt to calm the public after warnings from Shanghai’s health experts on Saturday that aerosol transmission of the novel coronavirus could be a risk, fueling public fears of infection.

Aerosol transmission happens when people inhale small particles of a virus which are suspended in the air.

The researcher, Feng Luzhao, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that aerosol transmission was more likely in a clinical context, for example when a doctor applies a breathing tube to a patient’s trachea. Feng said the most common transition channel is through droplets on a surface. This can be combated through good hand hygiene and wearing face masks.

• The U.S.-based Royal Caribbean Cruises, the world’s second largest cruise operator, said on Friday that it has banned Chinese citizens from its cruises (link in Chinese) regardless of when they were last in the country. On the same day, Norwegian Cruise Lines, the world’s third-largest cruise line, announced a similar move.

Another six passengers on a Princess Cruises ship quarantined in Japan have been diagnosed with the disease, bringing the total number of infections on the Diamond Princess to 70, Bloomberg reported, citing a statement by the cruise operator.

• As of Sunday, at least 307 infections, with at least one death, have been reported outside China, from a total of 24 countries.

Compiled by Mo Yelin

Sunday, Feb. 9, 10:00 a.m.

• As of the end of Saturday, the total death toll in China reached 812, according to the latest data (link in Chinese) from the country’s top health ministry. That means the death toll from the coronavirus in China alone now exceeds that of the SARS epidemic globally in 2003, which resulted in 774 deaths worldwide.

An additional 89 new deaths were confirmed on Saturday, the largest daily increase so far. The official number of people dying each day from the coronavirus has risen this week, climbing past 60 for the first time on Monday, past 70 on Wednesday and past 80 on Friday.

• By the end of Saturday, total infections in China rose to 37,251, including 2,657 new cases reported on Saturday.

• On the Chinese mainland, regions outside Hubei — the stricken province of which Wuhan is capital — recorded 509 new cases on Saturday, marking the fifth consecutive day that figure has declined.

• The number of suspected cases on the Chinese mainland rose to 28,942 after 3,916 new suspected cases were reported on Saturday; A total of 2,649 people have officially recovered.

• Hong Kong has reported 26 cases, with one death. Macao has reported 10 infections, and Taiwan 17.

• As of 10 a.m. Sunday, 301 confirmed cases, with one death, were reported outside China in a total of 24 countries.

Compiled by Mo Yelin

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saturday, Feb. 8, 7:00 p.m.

A tough fight

It’s now more than two weeks since the government locked down the 11 million-strong city of Wuhan in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly new coronavirus. Across the country, the situation on the frontline of the epidemic remains serious.

An emerging need is to improve diagnostic accuracy after public health experts said commonly used coronavirus tests were returning worrying numbers of false negatives, fueling concerns that the virus may have spread far further than reported. Some people with symptoms have undergone CT scans showing viral infection in the lungs, but not been diagnosed with the coronavirus as so-called nucleic acid tests perhaps inaccurately returned negative results.

Shortages of medical staff and supplies persist, especially in lower-profile cities in Hubei, the stricken province where Wuhan is located. The mayor of Suizhou, Ke Ke, said (link in Chinese) Thursday that the city only has three days’ worth of medical supplies, and the government of a region it administers published a letter (link in Chinese) online pleading for emergency support. As of Friday, Suizhou had confirmed 953 (link in Chinese) cases of infection, the fourth-highest out of all cities in Hubei.

Across the province, cities outside Wuhan now account for over 50% of total cases. Xiaogan and Huanggang are the worst hit cities, with both reporting more than 2,000 infections.

Aerosol transmission has again fueled public fears of infection. The novel coronavirus can be transmitted through aerosols, a Shanghai official cited health experts (link in Chinese) as saying at a press briefing on Saturday. That means a person can get infected by viruses through inhalation of the mix of the air and infected patients’ droplets.

Multiple studies have found that viruses such as the SARS and H5N1 bird flu viruses can be transmitted through aerosols, which can remain suspended in the air.

 Read more 
In Depth: How Wuhan Lost the Fight to Contain the Coronavirus

The day in numbers

• Total confirmed cases around the world rose to 34,915 as of Saturday afternoon, as those in China climbed to 34,664. The official death toll in the country edged up to 724. Experts say it remains unclear when the epidemic will see a turning point, which some interpret as continuous declines in daily new infections or deaths.

• A total of 24 other countries have confirmed a combined 291 infections.

Other coronavirus-related news

• A U.S. citizen aged around 60 died from the coronavirus in Wuhan on Thursday, the New York Times reported, citing the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

• The U.S. government is prepared to spend up to $100 million to assist China and other impacted countries in an effort to combat the coronavirus, the U.S. State Department said Friday, adding that it had this week facilitated the transportation of nearly 18 tons of donated medical supplies to China, including masks and gowns.

• It’s too early to get excited about American biotech company Gilead Sciences Inc.’s coronavirus drug, experts say.

• Following the death of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang on Friday, a Caixin editorial has urged China’s government not to repeat the same mistakes it made during the SARS epidemic 17 years ago, which infected thousands across the country and resulted in 774 deaths worldwide. At the time, “large numbers of medical staff were among the thousands infected in China,” the piece said. “It was one of the most tragic chapters in China’s medical history.”

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Saturday, Feb. 8, 11:30 a.m.

New appointment

A senior Chinese health official has assumed a key position at the top policymaking organ in the central province of Hubei, the region worst affected by the epidemic.

Wang Hesheng, a vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), has been appointed as a senior member of the Communist Party’s Hubei provincial committee, according to a local party-backed media outlet (link in Chinese). The move was rubberstamped by the party’s central committee, which is led by President Xi Jinping.

Wang, 58, is a member of the task force dispatched to Hubei by the central committee to supervise and guide epidemic control.

In 2016, he became a vice minister of the NHC’s predecessor organization following more than a decade working in Tianjin, a port city bordering Beijing. While there, he served in multiple party and government positions, including a more than six-year stint as chief of the municipal health bureau.

Wang has a robust health background, having graduated from a medical college in Tianjin in the 1980s.

As of Friday, Hubei had reported nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of infection by the new coronavirus, over 70% of the national total, according to government data (link in Chinese). The death toll in the province rose to 699 on Friday, accounting for nearly 97% of the country’s total deaths.

Numbers on the rise

• Confirmed cases in China rose to 34,621 on Saturday morning, including 723 deaths.

• A total of 24 other countries have confirmed a combined 278 infections, as Japan (link in Japanese) and the United Arab Emirates respectively reported three and two additional cases.

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Saturday, Feb. 8, 10:00 a.m.

• China recorded 86 more deaths from the new coronavirus on Friday, the largest daily increase so far, according to the latest data (link in Chinese) from the country’s top health body. That brings the total death toll to 723.

Numbers of daily deaths have risen this week, climbing past 60 for the first time on Monday and past 70 on Wednesday.

• By the end of Friday, Chinese authorities had confirmed 34,598 infections, including around 3,400 new cases reported on the day. From Monday through Friday, more than 3,000 new cases were confirmed each day.

• On the Chinese mainland, 2,050 patients had been recorded as having recovered and been discharged from hospital as of Friday.

• Suspected cases climbed further to more than 27,600 on the mainland at the end of Friday.

• Mainland authorities said that they had tracked over 345,000 close contacts of infected people, nearly 55% of whom were under medical observation.

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Saturday, Feb. 8, 3:30 a.m.

As Hubei faces a severe shortage of medical workers and supplies, the National Health Commission established a nationwide support system Friday. Under the plan, 16 provinces will commit to providing targeted medical support to 16 Hubei cities that have been hit the hardest by the epidemic. It isn’t clear whether this means some of the patients in Hubei will be transferred to the designated provinces.

Wuhan is converting four universities and a Communist Party training school into hospitals to accept patients confirmed with coronavirus infection but with minor symptoms. The schools will provide 5,400 beds, Wuhan Vice Mayor Hu Yabo said Friday at a daily press briefing. In addition, the 1,600-bed Leishenshan makeshift hospital will be ready Saturday to accept patients with severe conditions.

The Wuhan government found that the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor and one of the whistleblowers punished by police for trying to warn others of the new coronavirus, was work-related injury, making his family eligible for 820,000 yuan ($117,000) of benefits. Li died Friday after being infected with the virus earlier this month.

A doctor in Ma’anshan, central China’s Anhui province, faces a criminal charge of endangering public safety for concealing symptoms of the deadly coronavirus while working.

The doctor surnamed Jiang, a thoracic surgeon at a large public hospital in Ma’anshan, continued receiving patients for days while experiencing fever and flu-like symptoms, until some of his family members were confirmed with coronavirus infection, local police said Friday in a statement (link in Chinese). The doctor tested positive for the infection in a primary test, the police said.

In response to a media report that China is considering delaying the annual meeting of its top legislative body scheduled for March, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (link in Chinese) said Thursday she has not heard anything on the matter. Reuters reported the possible postponement, citing five people familiar with the matter.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Hospital workers in Hong Kong ended a five-day strike after a vote by the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance Friday fell short of enough support to extend the strike until next Wednesday. The union started its strike Monday to protest the government’s decision not to fully close its border with mainland China.

Taiwan is suspending numerous flights to and from mainland China starting Monday, the island’s Central Epidemic Command Center said Friday in a statement. The suspension is expected to remain in place until April 29, longer than most other government-imposed flight restrictions. Routes to several major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu, will remain exempt from the suspension.

Compiled by Denise Jia

Friday, Feb. 7, 6:00 p.m.

Graft buster steps in

As grief and anger have spread across China after whistleblower Li Wenliang died of the coronavirus, the country’s top graft buster has decided (link in Chinese) to dispatch a task force to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak where Dr. Li worked, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into what happened to him. Last month, Li was criticized by police for trying to warn others of the virus.

“I believe there should be more than one voice in a healthy society,” Li said in an interview with Caixin last month. “I don’t agree with the use of public power to overly interfere.”

“Whistleblowers in China should be better protected,” a Caixin editor said in a commentary. “We must make sure they won’t be punished, or bear excessive, harsh consequences because of their words.”

 Read more 
Q&A: Whistleblower Doctor Who Died Fighting Coronavirus Only Wanted People to ‘Know the Truth’

Supply shortages remain

On the frontlines of the fight against the disease, shortages of medical supplies and daily necessities remain a tough issue despite efforts at home and abroad.

A number of Chinese manufacturers, including Apple Inc. manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd. and several carmakers, have decided to refit their production lines to produce medical supplies such as face masks.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, said (link in Chinese) Friday that it is set to transfer 2,000 tons of frozen pork from elsewhere in the country to Wuhan, which has been locked down for over two weeks.

In addition, the commission asked (link in Chinese) more than 100 logistics firms to set up fast tracks for transporting medical supplies to Wuhan and other cities hit by the epidemic. It has also designated state-owned China Post Group Co. Ltd. to transfer overseas donations to Wuhan after they arrive in China. Multiple countries, including the U.S. and Japan, have sent medical supplies to the epicenter in an effort to stop the disease.

Xi, Trump talk

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his American counterpart, Donald Trump, that he hopes the U.S. government can calmly assess the epidemic, and properly design and adjust its countermeasures. The remarks were made in a phone conversation on Friday morning, the official Xinhua News Agency reported (link in Chinese). Earlier this month, the U.S. suspended the entry into the country of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Trump said that the U.S. will view the epidemic and take corresponding actions with a calm attitude, and is willing to help, including by sending experts to China.

Singapore reports more infections

Singapore had confirmed three additional infections as of 2 p.m., bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 33. So far, no links have been found to previous cases reported in the country or travel history to China, its health ministry said.

The country moved its disease outbreak response up a level to Orange in response to the virus spread.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Confirmed cases of infection by the virus have climbed to 31,257 in China, while the official death toll remained unchanged at 637. Infections in 24 other countries have risen to 272.

• Multiple regulators have required all types of financial institutions to give a helping hand to businesses, especially those impacted by the epidemic, and those who make or sell urgently needed medical supplies and daily necessities, central bank Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng said (link in Chinese) at a press briefing on Friday morning.

• A Caixin in-depth report said that the previously slow process for diagnosing coronavirus, due chiefly to stringent diagnostic criteria, stymied disease control efforts in the early days of the outbreak.

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Friday, Feb. 7, 5:30 p.m.

Dig into data

While Hubei, the province around Wuhan, has drawn much attention and received donations from across the globe, other parts of the country are also facing a grim situation.

Hubei chart1

Outside the central province, China reported over 9,000 confirmed cases of infection as of Thursday, nearly 30% of its total. That said, infections in other Chinese regions have climbed at a slower clip than those in Hubei.

In Hubei, the fatality rate stood at around 2.8% as of Thursday. The gauge measures how many people who catch the disease actually die from it. The province had reported 618 deaths from the virus by the day, accounting for 97% of the national total.

Hubei chart2

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Friday, Feb. 7, 2:30 p.m.

More details on cruise ship

Among the most recent batch of people onboard the Diamond Princess cruise revealed to have tested positive for the new coronavirus Friday, 21 are from Japan, eight are from the U.S., five are from Canada, five are from Australia, one is from the U.K., and one is from Argentina.

Princess Cruises, the operator of the ship quarantined off of Yokohama, Japan, confirmed the figures to Caixin in a written statement. The U.S.-based company said that the Japanese health ministry confirmed that this was the last batch to be tested and that the quarantine of the cruise ship is expected to end Feb. 19, “unless there are any other unforeseen developments.”

Travel restrictions

The transportation department of southern tech hub Shenzhen has rebutted (link in Chinese) rumors that the city and Guangdong province, where it is located, will undergo a lockdown, calling such reports “false.”

Rather than close roads, as some have speculated, some provincial roads will have “disease prevention stations,” and individuals entering Shenzhen will have to register their information, including their body temperature.

Health measures

The Wuhan government announced (link in Chinese) Thursday evening that it would begin daily monitoring of the body temperatures of all of its roughly 11 million residents, through a combination of self-reporting and door-to-door checks by Communist Party members, district police, property managers and volunteers.

Those with elevated temperatures will be brought to local health centers, tested, and quarantined if necessary. Residents have been notified via SMS among other mediums.

Medical research

The pangolin, a scaly mammalian anteater, is the latest animal to be identified as an intermediate host of the novel coronavirus.

On Friday, scientists at the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, Guangdong, announced (link in Chinese) the results of their research, which they conducted jointly with the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science in Beijing, and the research department of the Guangdong Zoo.

According to local media reports, analysis of genome sequences of viruses isolated from pangolins were a 99% match with those of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus.

Compiled by Dave Yin

Friday, Feb. 7, 10:00 a.m.

Twenty-four countries outside China have now reported a combined 266 infections.

• The worst-hit countries are Japan (86 cases), Singapore (30), Thailand (25), and South Korea (24).

• Australia, Germany, and the U.S. have respectively confirmed 15, 13, and 12 cases.

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Friday, Feb. 7, 9:00 a.m.

Virus spreads further in China

• As of the end of Thursday, Chinese authorities had confirmed 31,211 cases of infection by the new coronavirus, of which more than 4,800 were severe, according to the latest daily data (link in Chinese) from the country’s top health body. That included over 3,150 new cases reported on the day.

Seventy-three additional deaths were recorded on Thursday, including 69 in Hubei, the central province surrounding Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the outbreak. That brings the official death toll to 637.

• On the Chinese mainland, 387 additional patients were recorded as having recovered and been discharged from hospital, bringing the number of such patients to a total of 1,540.

• The number of suspected cases rose to over 26,300 on the mainland, up from around 24,700 a day earlier.

• Mainland authorities said that they had tracked more than 314,000 close contacts of infected people, nearly 60% of which were under medical observation.

Japan confirms more infections

Japan’s top health authority confirmed (link in Japanese) Friday morning that 41 of 171 additional people screened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Combined with previously confirmed cases, infections on the ship had reached 61.

That brings the total infections in Japan to 86, the highest tally for any country outside China so far.

Compiled by Lin Jinbing

Friday, Feb. 7, 4:30 a.m.

The Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about coronavirus died Friday after he was infected with the virus.

Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in Wuhan, was one of the whistleblowers on the coronavirus outbreak who were punished by local police. After he was later vindicated by the Supreme People’s Court, Li returned to the front lines and continued fighting the virus. He disclosed on his social media account Feb. 1 that he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

More than 10,000 doctors from across China have been dispatched to Hubei province, but the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic still faces a gap of 2,250 medical workers, a senior provincial official said.

Nine cities in the province are requesting medical team support, and local retired medical workers are being encouraged to return to work, Hubei Vice Governor Yang Yunyan said Thursday at a press conference.

The head of the Wuhan health commission said the city has an inventory of 109,000 coronavirus test kits and can test 4,000-5,000 patients a day. But the city lacks testing facilities, protection supplies and testing staff.

The government of Guangshui, a county-level city in northeastern Hubei province, is requesting emergency support as the city with a population of 950,000 has confirmed 219 coronavirus cases. In a letter posted online Thursday, the city said it’s in urgent need of medical supplies, doctors and policy support and is requesting help from the public.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Singapore’s health ministry confirmed two more cases Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 30. One of the two new patients did not travel to China recently and does not seem to be linked to previous cases.

Yum China Holdings Inc., which runs more than 9,000 KFCs, Pizza Huts and other restaurants in China, said its same-store sales plummeted 40% to 50% since the Lunar New Year holiday from a year earlier, reflecting shorter opening hours, reduced traffic and other factors. Yum China, which temporarily closed about a third of its restaurants in the country, warned it could report an operating loss in the first quarter.

• Several more U.S. government-chartered evacuation flights were expected to depart Wuhan Thursday. The U.S has evacuated about 350 people in two planes.

• The World Health Organization (WHO) is inviting scientists from around the globe for a two-day international research forum starting Feb. 11. “There’s still a lot we don’t know,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We don’t know the source of the outbreak. We don’t know what its natural reservoir is and we don’t properly understand its transmissibility or severity.”

• U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration doesn’t think the coronavirus outbreak will hamper the implementation of the phase-one trade deal with China.

• Toyota Motor said it is looking for alternatives to auto parts suppliers in China because of the coronavirus. The automaker has halted production at its China plants through Sunday but may extend the shutdown if the situation worsens.

Compiled by Denise Jia

Thursday, Feb. 6, 6 p.m.

When it comes to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus, all eyes are now on the local authorities in Wuhan, and how they are stepping up efforts to deal with an awkward situation they’ve struggled with from the beginning: a lack of medical resources.

In a late night CCTV interview Wednesday, Wang Chen, a well-known respiratory specialist and dean of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said the city still faced a “grim” situation as a large number of infected were unable to be hospitalized.

Building makeshift hospitals has been one major solution to bridging the gap between supply and demand for medical treatment. After converting three public venues into medical facilities on Monday, Wuhan authorities now plan to convert eight more, including gymnasiums, exhibition centers and sports centers, as well as a provincial Chinese Communist Party school (link in Chinese), according to a report by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Wuhan health officials revealed that 28 hospitals designated to treat coronavirus patients have 8,245 beds (link in Chinese) in total. The two newly built quarantine hospitals have more than 2,000 beds. And the makeshift hospitals, mainly used to accept confirmed patients suffering mild symptoms, will have 4,400 beds. Putting those patients under quarantine and treating them according to their symptoms could be effective at controlling the virus.

Meanwhile, a war over masks (link in Chinese) has been fought between two southwestern areas of China. Local authorities in the popular tourist destination of Dali, Yunnan province, confiscated an unknown number of masks bound for Chongqing, a nearby municipality. Chongqing had purchased the masks from vendors in Dali and planned to have them shipped via express delivery services. The Yunnan provincial government reprimanded Dali officials for the “expropriation” of the masks. As of Thursday, Chongqing had confirmed 389 cases of the new coronavirus, while Dali had eight.

As of Thursday, authorities had arrested 294 people (link in Chinese) related to 1,116 fraud cases involving the coronavirus epidemic, recovering property worth about 6.6 million yuan ($941 million), according to China’s Ministry of Public Security.

In other coronavirus news:

• Confirmed cases of infection have risen to 28,130 in China, while the official death toll remained unchanged at 564. A total of 24 other countries have reported at least 218 infections, including one death.

• China is stepping up efforts to offer incentives to firms (link in Chinese) that are directly involved in the fight against the virus. According to a post by China’s State Council on Wednesday, the measures proposed include cutting the value-added tax and encouraging banks to offer loans with interest rates below 1.6% to companies in certain industries, such as those that make everyday necessities.

Four more infections were reported Wednesday in Singapore, including the case of a 6-month-old who is the child of an infected couple. The baby is the youngest coronavirus patient confirmed so far in the Southeast Asian country.

• One Malaysian and two South Koreans who attended a conference at Singapore tested positive for the coronavirus, Malaysian and South Korean authorities said Wednesday. These cases indicate that the virus is now being transmitted via human-to-human contact outside of China. The World Health Organization is investigating (link in Chinese).

• Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed coronavirus infections among at least 20 passengers on the cruise ship Diamond Princess. Combined with what the ministry classifies as 21 confirmed cases with symptoms and four “asymptomatic pathogen carriers,” total infections in the country have risen to 45, by far the highest tally of any country outside of China.

Another cruise ship, the World Dream, which has 1,800 crew members and more than 1,800 passengers, has also been quarantined. As of Wednesday night, health officials have ruled out 2019-nCoV infections among 32 of 33 crew members they have tested. Those crew members had reported symptoms akin to those of an upper respiratory tract infection. Nevertheless, three crew members who had developed fevers had been sent to the hospital.

• Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would not be canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported.

1. Starting from Friday, Taiwan’s government would suspend most visa applications from residents of Hong Kong and Macao, as part of efforts to control the spread of the virus, Reuters reported.

2. The government of Tajikistan said it would evacuate 58 people from Wuhan as early as Thursday, Reuters reported, citing the head of the Central Asian country’s emergency committee.

3. Saudi Arabia has said it would ban citizens and residents from traveling to China, the Associate Press reported, citing the kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports.

Compiled by Mo Yelin

Thursday, Feb. 6, 10:00 a.m.

• By the end of Wednesday, Chinese authorities had confirmed a total of 28,060 infections, including 3,697 new cases reported on Wednesday.

• An additional 73 new deaths were confirmed, bringing the total death toll to 564.

• At the end of Wednesday, suspected cases on the Chinese mainland rose to 24,702 after 5,328 new suspected cases were reported on Wednesday; A total of 1,153 people had recovered, including 261 who were categorized as having officially recovered yesterday.

• Hong Kong had reported 21 cases, with one death. Macao has reported 10 infections, and Taiwan 11.  

• Local authorities in Ningbo say they have footage of the moment they believe a person with coronavirus was infected. The 56-year-old man from Ningbo, Zhejiang province, who was diagnosed with the virus Tuesday, was caught in a surveillance video visiting a local vegetable market late last month. He is seen standing alongside another person, who has since been confirmed to have had the disease at the time, at the same booth for about 15 seconds. Neither were wearing masks.

• Wang Chen, a respiratory physician and dean of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said in a CCTV interview on Wednesday Wuhan still lacks medial resources to deal with the increase of infections even as two new hospitals were built and had already started accepting patients.

• Chinese president Xi Jinping met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Beijing on Wednesday, the official People’s Daily reported. Sen was quoted as saying he came to China at this special time to express his support for the Chinese government and Chinese people in their fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

• Yum China has warned its sales and profit this year could take a hit due to the coronavirus, which has forced it to shut more than 30% of its stores, Reuters reported. The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in China also warned it could shut more stores depending on the situation.

Similarly, Disney has also warned it could lose $175 million in the current quarter from the closures of its two parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong due to the coronavirus.

Compiled by Mo Yelin

Thursday, Feb. 6, 3:00 a.m.

Coronavirus patients with severe conditions increase in Hubei

The testing process to confirm coronavirus infection is speeding up in Hubei province, leading to a drop in the number of suspected cases in recent days but a marked increase in the number of confirmed patients with severe conditions, an expert said Wednesday.

The number of patients with severe conditions increased by more than 400 cases each day for the past two days, most of them in Hubei province, data from the National Health Commission shows.

These patients’ conditions usually worsen in the ninth to 12 days of their illness, said Li Xingwang (link in Chinese), an infectious disease expert with Beijing Ditan Hospital at a daily press briefing on the epidemic.

The National Health Commission eased (link in Chinese) the diagnosis criteria for coronavirus, designating patients with either fever or respiratory symptoms for diagnosis as suspected cases. The previous criteria also included pulmonary imaging showing infection symptoms.

Li said removing the pulmonary imaging requirement aims to increase the diagnosis ability of lower-tier hospitals that do not have CT imaging equipment. The revision means the number of suspected cases might further expand but will also help to control the spread of infection.

A Chinese infant was diagnosed with coronavirus just 30 hours after birth Sunday in Wuhan to a woman who had tested positive for the deadly disease, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Doctors at the Wuhan Children’s Hospital cited the case Wednesday as evidence that pregnant women infected with the virus may be able to pass it to unborn children, CCTV reported.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Singapore’s health ministry confirmed four more coronavirus cases, including a six-month-old baby. Both parents of the infant, a Singapore citizen, have also been infected, the ministry said. On Tuesday, Singapore reported its first cases of patients who had contracted the virus without recent travel to China.

• The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it will spend as much as $100 million to improve detection, isolation and treatment efforts for the new coronavirus. The world’s largest private charitable foundation said it also hopes to accelerate the development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics.

• The World Health Organization (WHO) played down reports of a drug breakthrough against the coronavirus. “There are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV and WHO recommends enrollment into a randomized controlled trial to test efficacy and safety,” the United National health agency said Wednesday.

The international community has launched a $675 million preparedness and response plan covering the months of February through to April 2020, the WHO announced Wednesday. The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for the new coronavirus lays out activities and resources needed by international health organizations globally, including WHO, to implement priority public health measures in support of countries to prepare and respond to the outbreak.

• Almost 2,000 tourists are being held on a cruise ship in Hong Kong and being tested for the coronavirus after several crew members reported symptoms. The ship World Dream, operated by Genting’s Dream Cruises, arrived in Hong Kong from Taiwan Wednesday with 1,871 passengers aboard, most of them from Hong Kong.

Compiled by Denise Jia

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6 p.m.

Cruise ships are the big story of the day, as Japan confirmed 10 infections among more than 3,700 passengers on board one of the floating resorts. At least four infections have been reported among the about 4,000 passengers on a cruise ship that traveled from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to Vietnam in January, the Guangdong province government said.

The ship, which arrived in Hong Kong Wednesday with a new batch of passengers but the same crew has been placed into quarantine, according to media reports.

Airlines are also taking significant measures amid the outbreak. Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. asked all of its nearly 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave as the outbreak continues to take a toll on its business. The Hong Kong airline plans to cut 90% of flights to the Chinese mainland.

As for the economy, the impact of the epidemic on China will be felt mainly in the first quarter, when GDP growth could be 1 to 1.5 percentage points lower than under a scenario without the outbreak, said Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin Insight Group. 

However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it has confidence in the resilience of China’s economy amid fears that the coronavirus outbreak will harm the world’s second-largest economy.

Domestically, China on Tuesday recorded the highest single-day rise in deaths and new infections. China’s death toll hit 493, while the total number of infections reached 24,421.

Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is scrambling to set up makeshift hospitals. So far, a stadium, a local exhibition center and a cultural complex have been converted into temporary medical facilities capable of holding 3,400 beds in total. See the photos here.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Internationally, Japan suffered a surge in infections as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, with total infections at 34, mainly due to its new confirmed cases on the cruise ship. Outside China, the total number of infections reached 195.

• Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a two-week quarantine for all visitors crossing the border from the mainland, including foreigners and Hong Kong residents.

• Hong Kong’s securities watchdog and the city’s stock exchange said in a joint statement that if listed companies face difficulties in publishing preliminary results or audited financial statements, they should contact the stock exchange to discuss the situation. If an issuer is unable to obtain a sign-off from its auditors but is otherwise able to publish its preliminary results, it should publish such results.

• Key public health measures to respond to the coronavirus outbreak will cost an estimated $675.7 million through April, the WHO said in a draft plan, Bloomberg reported.

• Hong Kong’s first death reveals that young people may be more vulnerable than previously thought. A 39-year-old man who died Tuesday was one of the youngest victims so far reported in the epidemic, as most fatalities have been among elderly people.

• Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., which makes the vast majority of the world’s iPhones in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, cut its 2020 revenue growth outlook. It is now projecting a sales increase of 1% to 3% this year, down from a Jan. 22 forecast of 3% to 5%.

• Schools in Shanghai will remain closed until the end of February.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 10:00 a.m.

• By the end of Tuesday, Chinese authorities had confirmed 24,363 infections, including over 3,800 new cases reported on Tuesday, representing the highest one-day rise in new reported infections.

• The official death toll in China also saw its highest one-day rise on Tuesday, with 66 new deaths bringing the total to 491.

• On the Chinese mainland, suspected cases rose to 23,260, and 892 patients had recovered from the virus, as of the end of Tuesday.

• Hong Kong had reported 18 cases, with one death. Macao has reported 10 infections, and Taiwan 11.

• Ho Iat Seng, chief executive of Macau, said Tuesday that the government will suspend operations (link in Chinese) in gambling and other related entertainment industries for about two weeks, after he consulted with Zhong Nanshan, China’s leading respiratory expert and a hero of the fight against SARS.

• The Baibuting neighborhood in Wuhan has reported many fever cases and has listed 57 buildings as “fever buildings,” Caixin has found (link in Chinese). Despite earlier signs that the virus was spreading in the broader Wuhan area, the local government gave its support to a massive Lunar New Year event in the neighborhood on Jan. 18 similar to a Western potluck, where about 40,000 families brought nearly 14,000 meals to share with one another.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

Wednesday, Feb. 5 4:00 a.m.

As the viral coronavirus continued spreading globally, the central China province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan remained the hardest-hit as a top health official cited shortages of medical supplies and hospital beds.

As of Tuesday, 74% of the 425 deaths caused by the virus in China were in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The city, which has been under quarantine since Jan. 23, has recorded a fatality rate among those sickened by the fast-spreading disease of 4.9%, according to Jiao Yahui, an official with the National Health Commission. The broader Hubei region accounted for 97% of the national death toll with a fatality rate of 3.1%.

Nationwide, the death rate for the viral pneumonia is 2.1%. Excluding Hubei, the fatality rate of the disease in the rest of China was 0.16%, Jiao said Tuesday at a press briefing (link in Chinese). China has confirmed 20,522 infections of the new coronavirus and an additional 23,214 suspected cases as of Tuesday evening,

Wuhan’s lack of hospital beds and shortages of medical supplies in the face of surging numbers of patients were the main factors behind the city’s high fatality rate, Jiao said. Elderly people, especially men or those with chronic diseases, are most vulnerable to the virus, he said.

There has yet to be clear data on recovery rates, although China reported that 632 patients recovered. The average hospital stay for those discharged ranges from five to 20 days.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• The British government asked its citizens to leave China amid the epidemic. In a statement, the Foreign Office told all Britons “who are able to leave China to do so.” The government is advising against “all but essential” travel to the mainland.

An estimated 30,000 British citizens remained in China, according to Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

• Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. plans to cut 90% of flights to mainland as the city reported its first death from the coronavirus.

The move is part of Cathay Pacific’s plan to slash 30% of its capacity over the next two months as its business struggles in the face of the viral disease.

By Caixin’s count, 59 airlines from 44 countries and regions as of Tuesday said they were suspending some or all flights to the mainland.

• Vietnam said it will quarantine anyone who entered the country from China over the past two weeks. The country has confirmed 10 infection cases of the virus as of Tuesday.

• The World Health Organization said Tuesday that the deadly coronavirus outbreak does not yet constitute a "pandemic” — the worldwide spread of an epidemic. The strategy is still to extinguish transmission, and the UN health organization will be able to provide a better estimate of the severity of the disease in coming days, the WHO’s Sylvie Briand said at a briefing in Geneva.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned Monday that the viral disease is likely to become a pandemic.

Compiled by Han Wei

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 8:15 p.m.

The economic impact of China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak continued to be felt Tuesday despite no repeat of the vertiginous near-9% slump that greeted yesterday’s reopening of the country’s stock markets.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed up 1.34% on Tuesday, while its Shenzhen-based equivalent ended the day’s trading up 3.17%.

Those heartening figures came despite the largest single-day rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus-related deaths so far, with 64 people in China reportedly succumbing to the disease on Monday. On Tuesday, a 39-year-old Hong Kong man became the second person outside the Chinese mainland to die from coronavirus infection.

The total number of infections worldwide now exceeds 20,000. On Tuesday, Singapore confirmed six new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s confirmed total to 24, according to The Straits Times. In Thailand, six new cases were reported, including four Thai citizens, Reuters reported. The country now has 25 confirmed cases.

The epidemic is still sending ripples through the global economy. Experts from OPEC and its allies are meeting today and tomorrow in Vienna to discuss supply cuts in order to prop up sliding oil prices. Brent crude was selling for a mere $54.17 per barrel on Monday, its lowest price in more than a year.

Domestically, too, businesses continue to feel the outbreak’s unpredictable repercussions. Casino operators in Macau will be asked to shutter their businesses for two weeks to help control the outbreak, Reuters reported. The former Portuguese colony, which is the world’s largest gambling center, currently has 10 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, the nearby Guangdong province city of Zhuhai has required bars, cafes, barbecue joints, teahouses, and farms in some areas to suspend business indefinitely (link in Chinese), while other food and beverage sellers are restricted to providing takeout services. The move, which has been echoed by other cities in the province, came as many restaurateurs there said revenues during the Lunar New Year period fell by more than half compared with last year’s holiday, prompting them to consider staff cuts.

Elsewhere, an estimated 2,700 medical personnel, including hundreds of doctors and nurses, went on strike in Hong Kong to protest the government’s handling of the outbreak, according to the South China Morning Post. The mass walkout went ahead despite the semiautonomous territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor announcing an expanded, but not total, closure of the border with the Chinese mainland. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said the strike “seriously affected” a number of important services.

In other coronavirus-related news:

• Belgium said (link in French) a person who returned to the country Sunday on a repatriation flight from Wuhan tested positive for the virus, making them the nation’s first case. 

• Malaysia confirmed two new cases, one of whom is the first Malaysian citizen to test positive, according to The Straits Times. The country’s other nine cases are all Chinese nationals. 

• South Korea also added one new case, bringing the total number of infections there to 16, according to the Yonhap News Agency. A further case was confirmed in Vietnam, marking the 10th coronavirus diagnosis in the country, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said.

• Taiwan said that from Feb. 7 it will bar entry to most nonlocal residents who have visited or resided on the Chinese mainland in the past 14 days, Reuters reported.

• Authorities in Hubei reprimanded three high-ranking members of the provincial Red Cross Society for mismanaging relief work tied to the outbreak. Zhang Qin, the deputy head of the humanitarian organization’s Hubei arm and a member of an affiliated Communist Party leading group, was dismissed from his position and subjected to internal party discipline. Two further Red Cross officials held onto their jobs but didn’t escape a slap on the wrist from their party comrades.

The Hubei Red Cross came under fire Sunday after it was revealed that donations of critical medical supplies from across the country had failed to arrive at the overburdened hospitals at the center of the outbreak.

Compiled by Matthew Walsh

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1 p.m.

The death toll in China from the virus logged its highest one-day rise on Monday, with 64 new deaths bringing the total to 425. The number of confirmed infections also passed (link in Chinese) the 20,000 mark, the National Health Commission said. The top health authority also confirmed that 157 more people have recovered from the virus.

All of Monday’s deaths as well as 2,345 of the new diagnoses occurred in Hubei, the province at the center of the epidemic. Nationwide, 492 of the new cases are considered serious, with 442 of them in Hubei. 

Hong Kong reported Tuesday its first coronavirus-related death when a 39-year-old man succumbed to the pneumonia-causing pathogen, according to Hong Kong Cable TV (link in Cantonese). The semiautonomous territory has closed all but three border crossings with the Chinese mainland on the orders of Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

• A rapidly built makeshift quarantine hospital in Wuhan designed to treat people with coronavirus began admitting its first patients on Tuesday morning, state-owned broadcaster CGTN reported.

• The Bavarian health ministry said (link in German) another man in the southern state had tested positive for the virus, bringing Germany’s total number of confirmed cases to 12.

Japan on Monday quarantined a cruise ship containing some 3,700 people at a port in the city of Yokohama after a former passenger was diagnosed with the virus upon leaving the vessel in Hong Kong late last month, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

China’s foreign ministry once again told the United States not to overreact to the coronavirus outbreak. Hua Chunying, a ministry spokeswoman, also said Beijing hopes Washington will soon send aid to help control the epidemic, Reuters reported.

Chinese stock markets clawed back some of the losses sustained during Monday’s dismal 8% drop, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 1.21% as of 2:45 p.m.

China’s civil aviation administration said its affiliated carriers had delivered more than 4,600 tons of epidemic control supplies (link in Chinese) as of Sunday, including a combined 600,000 facial masks, prevention suits, and containers of sterilization fluid. Around 1,200 tons of supplies went to Hubei, the authority said.

Compiled by Matthew Walsh

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 5 a.m.

As markets and businesses gradually resume after the extended Lunar New Year holiday, the impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus on all aspects of the economy are starting to show as experts evaluate how profound and lasting the damage could be.

China’s financial regulators took a series of measures to bolster confidence, including lowering interest rates on reverse repurchase agreements and injecting liquidity.

Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund, offered backing for the Chinese economy.

“We support China’s efforts to respond, including recent fiscal, monetary and financial actions,” Georgieva wrote Monday on Twitter. “We are confident that China’s economy remains resilient.”

But the deadly epidemic will take a toll on China’s already slowing economy. Bloomberg Economics reckons growth could dip to 4.5% in the current quarter, the lowest since quarterly data began in 1992. Chinese officials are considering whether the annual economic growth target should be lowered, Bloomberg reported. The annual growth target is typically unveiled at the national legislative session in early March, but this year’s meeting could be delayed because of the epidemic, the report said.

• The epidemic caused a sharp slump in holiday travel in China during the Lunar New Year holiday, hitting industries including transport, accommodations, catering and tourism. Chinese people made 190 million trips during the holiday, a 73% plunge from last year, according to China’s Ministry of Transport.

The number of people who went by train dropped 67% to 31 million; air passengers slid 57% to 8 million; and road transport fell more than 70% to 150 million and water, more than 70% to 3 million.

• Travel agencies and hotel operators felt the pain (link in Chinese) from the business interruption. The state tourism regulator ordered travel agencies to suspend selling domestic and overseas trips starting in late January and authorized customers to obtain refunds on reservations. Several travel agencies told Caixin that their capital chains are under pressure. Hotel operators including Huazhu Group closed some outlets for loss control.

• China’s aviation market, the world’s second-largest, is experiencing an unprecedented shakeup because of the outbreak. More than 25,000 flights to, from and within China will be canceled this week as more than two dozen airlines suspend service to the country, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd. International capacity will fall by 4.4 million seats a week, with Lion Air, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Turkish Airlines cutting flights to China. The loss in seats in the international market is equivalent to the entire Indian market, OAG said Monday.

• China’s solar industry is calling for government support to offset impacts from the coronavirus. Liu Yiyang, deputy secretary of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, said the group is seeking a delay in tariff cuts for solar power as virus containment measures such as the extended holiday and traffic controls have disrupted businesses. The group is also seeking subsidies or interest-free loans for manufacturers to help ease cash flow pressures, Liu said.

• The Hong Kong economy contracted for the first time in 10 years under the shadow of social unrest and the epidemic. The city booked a GDP decline of 2.9% in the fourth quarter, resulting in a full-year contraction of 1.2%, the first annual drop in economic output since 2009.

Hong Kong’s economy may face greater downward risks this year as the coronavirus outbreak further hits the city’s catering, retail and tourism businesses, said Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po Monday in a blog post.

• Oil fell below $50 a barrel for the first time in more than a year amid concerns over weakening China demand amid the virus outbreak.

• Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the country will evacuate more than 300 citizens from Wuhan as soon as China gives permission to land a plane and will quarantine them at a military base upon their arrival.

Compiled by Han Wei

* * * * * * * *

Monday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m.

It was carnage today on mainland financial markets on their first day trading since the extended Lunar New Year break. Commodity prices crumbled for everything from metals to energy and agricultural futures, iron ore, copper, crude and palm oil, with investors baulking at the impact the new virus will have on demand in the world's biggest raw materials consumer.

Russia mulled deporting people with the coronavirus, and the number of new cases in China and around the world showed no sign of slowing. A worrying cluster was identified in the cardiology wing of a Beijing hospital. But there was also news Chinese authorities had fast-tracked human trials of a potential new treatment.

Coronavirus cluster identified at Beijing hospital

A cluster of nine coronavirus cases has been identified and linked to a cardiology unit at Beijing Fuxing Hospital, in the city’s central west. Four patients and five medical staff were infected. Contact tracing is ongoing.

As of late Sunday, there were a total of 212 confirmed coronavirus cases in Beijing. Figures from local health authorities suggest the disease could be continuing to spread within the capital. Northwest Beijing’s university district of Haidian has the largest number of cases, with 42, followed by Chaoyang with 31 cases.

Human trials of coronavirus drug begin

Chinese authorities have fast tracked a clinical trial by pharmaceutical giant Gilead of a drug to treat the novel coronavirus.

Antiviral drug remdesivir, a failed Ebola treatment, will be tested by a medical team from Beijing's China-Japan Friendship Hospital to treat coronavirus patients, Bloomberg reported, as well as in Wuhan. In all, 270 patients will participate in the randomized double-blinded placebo controlled study. Gilead rival AbbVie's HIV medicine Kaletra has also been recommended by China's health regulator for ad-hoc treatment of the new virus, for which there is as yet no approved drug treatment.

Full development and commercialization of a coronavirus vaccine could be years away.

* * * * * * * *

• Hong Kong's embattled chief executive Carrie Lam announced this afternoon that the city would close all but two border crossings with mainland China to shut out the coronavirus, the SCMP reported, even as she insisted she was not caving to pressure from medical personal who went on strike today calling for all connections to the mainland to be shut. Air links will remain open.

• Russia was weighing deporting foreign nationals who have coronavirus, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced Monday, according to CNN. Mishustin reportedly said Russia had stopped issuing work and group tourist visas to Chinese nationals.

• Sixty Italians evacuated by plane from Wuhan landed at a military base near Rome today, the Guardian reports.

• The Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention say they found traces of the new coronavirus on the door handle of the home of a person with the disease, the Hubei Daily reports (link in Chinese). They cautioned the public that the disease could be spread through indirect contact, including by touching mobile phone screens, keyboards, faucets and so on.

• In a regular press briefing, China's foreign affairs ministry put out an urgent call for international donations of medical supplies such as medical masks, protective clothing and goggles (link in Chinese).

• China may ship only 62 million smartphones for the first quarter of 2020, down from 89 million last year, according to new research. And that's assuming the novel coronavirus which is eroding consumption and eating away at supply chains is contained by February or March. Read our full report.

• Caixin's editors have taken aim at authorities' delayed disclosure of key information about the epidemic, such as whether human transmission was occuring. "Transparency does not cause panic; the only source of panic is an absence of truth," they say in an editorial. Read it here.

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

Monday, Feb. 3, noon

All eyes are on Chinese financial markets, which fell off a cliff this morning after opening for the first time since the extended Lunar New Year break.

The Shanghai and Shenzhen composite indexes both tumbled nearly 9% in the first few minutes of trade but recovered slightly, narrowly avoiding the 10% threshold which triggers an automatic trading halt for the day.

The official coronavirus death toll hit 361, passing the number of deaths on the Chinese mainland from SARS, which killed 349, according to the World Health Organization. A further 299 people died of SARS in Hong Kong.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 17,238, while the number of people suspected of having the disease hit 21,558, according to the latest figures from China’s top health body.

The outbreak has now spread to 23 other countries.

Hong Kong authorities ordered schools and kindergartens in the city to stay shut until March 2, while 20% to 30% of bank branches in the Asian financial hub had suspended operations to prevent contagion.

That came as medical workers in the city planned a five-day strike after the government refused to shut entry points from mainland China.

Canada released more details of a plan to evacuate citizens from Wuhan by plane, but said it was still waiting for authorization from the Chinese government to land there. Canadian government officials and army doctors will also be dispatched if they are granted visas, Canada's foreign affairs ministry said.

Chinese smartphone shipments could drop 30% (link in Chinese) year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020 as the coronavirus sees brick-and-mortar retailers close and corrodes the supply chain, new research suggests (link in Chinese).

• Japan’s Honda Motor said it is going to restart car production at the Wuhan factory it owns with China’s Dongfeng Motor on Feb. 14, according to a Reuters report Sunday that cited a company statement.

Indonesia, India and New Zealand joined the growing list of countries closing their borders to Chinese passport holders and people who have a recent China travel history.

• The U.S. reported an additional coronavirus case, bringing the total there to 9.

Compiled by Flynn Murphy

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday, Feb. 2, 6:00 p.m.

The number of infections and death toll continue to rise. Confirmed cases totaled more than 14,000 in China and the death toll passed 300. Meanwhile, the first death outside China was recorded in the Philippines.

Japan has confirmed 20 cases. A 37-year-old Japanese officer handling evacuation of Japanese from Wuhan killed himself (link in Chinese) on February 1. The exact circumstances and possible reasons surrounding the death are not clear yet. But there has been domestic criticism in Japan on the handling of evacuated Japanese citizens, including criticism that preventative and quarantine measures employed in the transportation and accommodation were considered insufficient.

The focus in China, however, is on the cases in the epicenter that are not included in the official numbers, these are suspected cases that have not been tested and therefore are not officially confirmed. These suspected patients have little chance to access the medical resources that are already stretched thin. In Huanggang, a mega city near Wuhan, the problem is thought to be even more severe both in terms of stretched resources and unreported numbers. More than three hundred city officials have been sacked.

As if the coronavirus is not bad enough. China has reported an H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Hunan (link in Chinese) province and culled 18,000 chicken.

A big boost to medical resources, and public confidence, is the completion of the quarantine hospital in Wuhan. The construction took nine days and it should accommodate more than 1,000 patients.

The local Red Cross has been under scrutiny for the last few days due to their position of having an effective monopoly over the management of donated resources coupled with a lack of efficiency and transparency.

• One of the two newly built quarantine centers in Wuhan, Fire God Hospital, was completed today and will start to admit patients from tomorrow.

The hospital will accommodate more than 1,000 patients. And 1,400 military medical staff will work there. Construction started on December 25, and was completed in nine days.

Another quarantine center, called Thunder God Hospital, will be completed in three days time with 1,600 beds.

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• Huanggang, a city near Wuhan and the second most populated city in the virus-hit province of Hubei, has had a total of 337 party officials punished for their poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Located east of Wuhan, Huanggang has about 7.5 million residents and the second-most confirmed cases of coronavirus infections. As of Feb. 2, it has reported 1,002 confirmed cases, Wuhan which has 4,109. But our reporter discovered that Huanggang is in the midst of severe shortages of medical supplies and qualified professionals.

To stop the transmission, Huanggang government stipulated that each household can send only one person every two days for grocery shopping (link in Chinese). Other family members can’t leave their homes unless for emergency or medical reasons.

• The local Red Cross is under fire. It has been designated by the government as the only qualified organization to accept donations, but it has been slow and problematic in terms of its book-keeping and handing out critical resources.

Caixin reporter visited the temporary storage facility for Wuhan Red Cross. On the one hand the reporter saw non-stop shipping of donations to the storage center. On the other hand, they also witnessed medical staff waiting for hours to get limited, allocated supplies. In the middle were mountains of donated masks, hazmat suits, goggles that would have filled up two stadiums.

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Calls are high, asking the government to trust civil society with the management of donations. Wuhan Red Cross decided to allow a private distributor to help move donations to hospitals.

• Virus was discovered in stool of coronavirus patients in Wuhan and the U.S. raised concern that there might be a hidden risk of spreading the virus. Experts said the finding confirms that virus can infect the digestive system, but can’t confirm digestive tract transmission at this moment.

Saturday, Feb. 2, 10:00 a.m.

• By the end of Saturday, Chinese authorities had confirmed 14,380 infections, including around 2,590 new cases reported on Friday.

• The official death toll in China reached 304, up by 45 from a day earlier.

• On the Chinese mainland, suspected cases rose to nearly 19,544 on Saturday. As of Friday, 328 patients had recovered from the virus.

• Hong Kong had reported 14 cases, one more from Saturday. Macao has reported seven, and Taiwan 10.

Canada started a limited departure of diplomatic staff and dependents who have existing medical conditions or fall into other vulnerable categories. Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said last week that there is no need to change their plans after the WHO declares global emergency, indicating the country would not impose a border control similar to the one the US put in place.

• U.S. confirmed its eighth case in Massachusetts.

• The first person outside China dies in Philippines. It’s a 44-year-old man travelling from Wuhan to Philippines.

Compiled by Li Xin

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Saturday, Feb. 1, 6 p.m.

Australia and the U.S. increased border restrictions on Saturday, bringing the total number of countries that control the entry of Chinese citizens to 63. Spain, Sweden, Russia and the U.K. reported their first cases of coronavirus over the past two days.

Domestically, the number of confirmed cases passed 11,000. A shortage of medical supples and other resources on the front line was met with a chronic problem — the lack of efficiency and transparency of official philanthropy organizations. The Red Cross Society of China’s branches in Hubei and Wuhan were questioned about their monopoly in gathering and distributing medical supplies (link in Chinese). Meanwhile, cities near Wuhan are now at risk of becoming new epicenters.

The effects on the economy have started to show, first in the transportation and hospitality industries. China’s railway saw a sharp decline in daily passenger volumes.

China’s stock market is set to open on Monday. The country’s financial regulators aim to boost confidence in the market and offer some support measures, shelving part of the country’s long-running deleveraging campaign.

Meanwhile, panic buying is not limited to protective masks. The Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily published a piece overnight saying a common herbal cough drop, called Shuang Huanglian (双黄连), has been identified by health authorities in Wuhan and Shanghai as inhibiting the virus. Shelves of this herbal medicine were immediately emptied both online and offline. The hasty conclusion was ridiculed by both experts and netizens. People’s Daily published (link in Chinese) a story hours later asking for caution and discouraging panic buying.

• By noon, Beijing confirmed 168 infection cases, up from 156 at the end of Friday.

• The Australian government on Saturday increased border restrictions for travelers from the Chinese mainland, following similar travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. the previous day.

• Vietnam confirmed its sixth coronavirus case on Saturday. The latest person infected, a 25-year-old, is a hotel receptionist in central Khanh Hoa province on the coast.

• Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the central bank will inject sufficient liquidity into financial markets after they reopen on Monday.

• Apple is closing all its offices, stores and contact centers across the Chinese mainland through Feb. 9, Reuters reported. Many worry that the outbreak would impact the supply chain if employees at Foxconn and other component manufacturing hubs in China are restricted.

• Jia Guolong, chairman of Xibei Youmiancun — a major restaurant chain in China — said in an interview (link in Chinese) with China Venture that the company has temporarily suspended businesses across China due to the outbreak and that it’s getting harder to pay its 20,000 employees. Judging from the company’s current cash flow, it would be hard for it to last for another three months even if it applies for loans to pay staff, according to Jia.

• Panic buying has spread to traditional Chinese medicine. Citing a joint study, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday (link in Chinese) that Shuang Huanglian oral liquid — a common herbal treatment for fevers and coughs — could inhibit the new coronavirus. Though met with harsh skepticism online from medical experts, the finding quickly triggered a wave of panic buying and many online marketplaces have run out of the remedy.

• Central China’s Hubei province announced (link in Chinese) Friday that it will indefinitely suspend marriage registrations across the province starting from Monday.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

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Saturday, Feb. 1, noon

• Chinese authorities have confirmed at least 11,823 infections. The official death toll remained unchanged at 259.

• Hubei province reported the most cases of infection: 7,153. The provinces of Zhejiang, Guangdong and Henan were the worst hit areas besides Hubei, recording 599, 520 and 422 confirmed cases, respectively.

• Confirmed overseas cases reached 129 by 10 a.m. Beijing time, as more countries reported first infections. Spain, Sweden, Russia and the U.K. reported their first cases of coronavirus on Friday. Spain and Sweden each had one, and Russia and U.K. each had two.

• Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Australia have been hit the hardest, with each reporting more than 10 infections. Thailand has confirmed at least 19 infection cases.

• The New England Journal of Medicine, a U.S. medical journal, published a study Friday on the first coronavirus infection in the U.S. The case highlights an experimental drug remdesivir developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. It was given to the first U.S. case whose clinical condition improved the next day, the study showed. The report also stressed the importance of close coordination between clinicians and public health authorities at all levels of government, as well as the need for rapid dissemination of clinical information related to the care of patients with this emerging infection.

China’s public continues to question alleged wrongdoing (link in Chinese) by the Red Cross Society of China’s branches in Hubei and its capital Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, over their distribution of medical supplies as some local hospitals are still suffering shortages. Wuhan city official Li Qiang said Friday that the need for medical supplies has outstripped the supply, and that the Red Cross branches need time to allocate donations with different types and standards. He also reflected on inefficient distribution.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

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Saturday, Feb. 1, 09:30 a.m.

• By the end of Friday, the official death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China had reached 259, up from 213 a day earlier, according to the latest daily data (link in Chinese) released by the country’s top health body.

• Chinese authorities had confirmed 11,821 infections, including around 2,100 new cases reported on Friday.

• On the Chinese mainland, suspected cases rose to nearly 18,000 on Friday from over 15,200 a day earlier. As of Friday, 243 patients had recovered from the virus.

• Hong Kong had reported 13 cases, Macao seven, and Taiwan 10.

Compiled by Timmy Shen

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TREND

Saturday, Feb. 1, 7:00 a.m.

The U.S. confirmed a seventh case and imposed a travel ban

The U.S. confirmed its seventh case of coronavirus Friday. An adult male in California tested positive, according to the Santa Clara Public Health Department.

The U.S. government Friday imposed a ban on foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days from entering the country, effective at 5 p.m. ET Sunday.

U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei province in the past 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine upon return to the U.S.

• Countries controlling entry of Chinese citizens reach 62

China’s Foreign Ministry reminded Chinese citizens to make reasonable travel arrangements according to their own health conditions and be aware of entry regulations of their destination countries.

El Salvador posted blanket restrictions on people who have recently been in China.

Costa Rican officials said they will monitor transit points such as airports but for now will allow Chinese travelers to enter the country.

• Singapore confirms three new cases

The country’s Ministry of Health confirmed three new cases of coronavirus Friday, bringing the total to 16. All three of the new patients recently traveled to Wuhan.

Singapore Airlines will reduce capacity on some of its routes to mainland China in February, including flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xiamen and Chongqing, the carrier said.

• Major American airlines suspend flights to China

Delta, American and United will temporarily cancel all mainland China flights in response to the coronavirus outbreak, under pressure from unions representing airline employees and new warnings from public health officials, the carriers said.

• Coronavirus costs China’s service sector $144 Billion in a week

China’s coronavirus outbreak cost more than 1 trillion yuan ($144 billion) in losses to the restaurant, tourism and movie industries in seven days of the Lunar New Year holiday, economists estimated.

In the worst-case scenario, assuming the epidemic lasts longer than expected, 2020 growth could slow to 5% from 6.1% in 2019, estimated Ren Zeping, chief economist and director of the Evergrande Think Tank.

Compiled by Denise Jia

Read the virus update from Jan. 15 to Jan. 31

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