Coronavirus News: Live Coverage and Updates

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The Dalai Lama has canceled all upcoming public events indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a schedule posted on his website.

“As a precautionary measure, in view of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, all engagements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama remain indefinitely postponed,” a statement says.

On March 9, the Dalai Lama was scheduled to appear at a teaching event in Dharamsala, India.

No other events appear on the schedule.

The Dalai Lama’s office has also issued an appeal, urging Tibetans across the world to “collectively pray for the speedy resolution to the crisis and the well-being of humanity.”

On trial runs in some states, the kits produced results that were “inconclusive,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

There have been 13 confirmed cases of the infection in patients in the United States so far.

London is experiencing its first case of coronavirus, the British authorities said on Wednesday.

The patient, who is the United Kingdom’s ninth case, contracted the virus in China and is being treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Britain has confirmed nine cases of coronavirus infections, with five believed to be linked to a British businessman who may have contracted the virus in Singapore. The man, Steve Walsh, is believed to be the cause of five additional cases in France.

On Wednesday, Mr. Walsh released a statement saying he has been released from the hospital and returned home, even as public health officials continue to try to trace the contacts of some of the people he is believed to have infected.

The strategic incident director of Britain’s National Health Service, Prof. Keith Willett, said Mr. Walsh had developed only “mild” symptoms of the virus and had made a full recovery.

Credit…Via FTI Consulting

“He is no longer contagious and poses no risk to the public,” Professor Willett said in a statement. “He is keen to return to his normal life and spend time with his family out of the media spotlight.”

The Chinese authorities have approved a broad strategy for trying to bring the coronavirus outbreak under control while restarting economic production, state news outlets reported Wednesday evening.

President Xi Jinping ordered that tax cuts be drafted and put into effect.

Premier Li Keqiang, the country’s No. 2 official, and the country’s cabinet called for major construction projects to begin across the country as soon as possible.

State-owned enterprises were told to cut rents. Banks were ordered to keep interest rates low.

City governments were told to make sure that workers who went home for the Lunar New Year holiday could reach their jobs.

The two most powerful political bodies in China — the Standing Committee of the Communist Party Politburo and the government’s cabinet of ministers — each issued similar orders. Both groups produced hints of the fairly broad stimulus program that many economists expect soon.

None of the announcements directly addressed the difficult balancing act that China now faces: how to put more than 700 million workers back on the job without creating conditions that could allow the virus to spread.

The coronavirus has jumped from ship to shore, officials in Japan said on Wednesday, after an employee of the country’s Health Ministry who had surveyed passengers on a quarantined cruise ship tested positive for the virus.

In addition, 39 new confirmed cases were announced among the more than 3,600 crew and passengers on the ship, bringing the total number of infected people to 175.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry asked the Japanese authorities to allow 15 Israelis to disembark the ship, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that it was examining other options for them to complete their 14-day quarantine.

Barring unforeseen developments, the ship’s quarantine is supposed to end on Feb. 19.

The cruise line has been providing internet and telephone service to allow the passengers to stay in touch with their families back home, and the Israelis have been airing their frustrations in the Israeli news media.

“We came on the cruise to celebrate a birthday,” Shimon Dahan, 69, told the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. “We were enjoying every moment, then it turned into a nightmare.”

The Foreign Ministry said the Israeli Embassy in Japan was supplying the Israeli citizens with medicines and kosher food.

“Westerdam is now sailing for Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where the current cruise will end,” according to a statement from the company. “We are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support,” the statement added.

The cruise ship had been on a 14-day voyage after departing from Hong Kong on Feb. 1.

On Wednesday, Holland America said, “All guests on board are healthy, and despite erroneous reports, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been.”

The death toll from the coronavirus in China reached a new high on Wednesday, at least 1,114, even as Chinese officials said that the rate of new infections showed signs of slowing.

Nationwide, 98 new deaths and more than 2,015 new cases have emerged since Tuesday, according to data from the Chinese health authorities and from the World Health Organization.

The newly reported infections on Tuesday represented the lowest in China in a single day since Jan. 30, when there were 1,982 new confirmed cases.

The total number of confirmed cases rose to 44,730. Most of the newly reported deaths occurred in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak.

There are 441 cases of the new coronavirus disease outside China, in 24 countries. Of the 48 new cases confirmed outside China yesterday, 40 were on board the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama, Japan.

The Ministry of Education in China instructed schools on Wednesday to find ways to keep the country’s 190 million primary and secondary students busy during the suspension of the school year, but it discouraged any significant efforts to provide classes online.

In a notice posted on its website, the ministry urged provincial school administrators to draw up detailed study plans for students who, like everyone else, are largely confined to their homes.

The ministry encouraged reading and physical exercises and, if possible, online tutoring, though it also warned that primary-school students especially should not spend too much time online. It also announced that special programing on China’s national education television channel, CETV 4, would begin next week; the network had a similar role during the SARS epidemic in 2003.

The coronavirus epidemic that began in Wuhan has now thrown the country’s schools and universities into chaos. Some provinces, including Liaoning and Sichuan, plan to reopen primary and secondary schools on Feb. 17, at least for now, while others have already postponed the school year until at least March, including Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong.

The delays could have the greatest impact on those students preparing for the major national exams for high school and college held at the end of spring.

Hong Kong has 50 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death. The State Department’s travel advisory for the city is at Level 2, the second-lowest of four levels, and recommends that visitors to Hong Kong “exercise increased caution” because of the outbreak.

This month, the warning for mainland China was raised to 4, the highest level.

“Do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus,” it said.

Formula One’s governing body said on Wednesday that it would postpone the Shanghai Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place on April 19. It was the latest sporting event to be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The International Automobile Federation said it had taken the measure “to ensure the health and safety of the traveling staff, championship participants and fans.” The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a global health emergency.

The federation said it was studying alternative dates later in the year in case the situation improved.

The Hong Kong marathon, which was scheduled for Sunday, has also been canceled, as well as the Chinese Formula-E Grand Prix, which was scheduled for March 23 on the southern island of Hainan.

China has also suspended its soccer league, and the players of its national women’s team found themselves in quarantine upon arriving in Australia for an Olympic qualifying event.

The coronavirus outbreak in China has generated economic waves that are rocking commodities markets and disrupting the supply networks that act as the backbone of the global economy.

In Australia, after hauling hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore to China, returning freighters can face a 14-day quarantine.

One of the world’s largest copper mining companies, BHP, has been in talks to possibly delay shipments to Chinese ports.

And China is turning back deliveries of liquefied natural gas, potentially disrupting shipments from Qatar to Indonesia.

“We’re seeing a rippling out,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York. “And we don’t see it stopping.”

Prices for key industrial raw materials such as copper, iron ore, nickel, aluminum and liquid natural gas have plummeted since the virus emerged.

And manufacturers, mining companies and commodity producers of all stripes are weighing whether they will be forced to cut back on production for fear of adding to a growing inventory glut.

The company had continued to accept reservations throughout China during the busy travel season before and after the Lunar New Year holiday, even as the government started to lock down cities and impose road restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.

The company also said it would set aside $10 million “to support hosts in the next few years, during the recovery period of the local tourism industry.”

Reporting and research was contributed by Amber Wang, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Amy Qin, Sui-Lee Wee, Steven Lee Myers, Keith Bradsher, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Matt Phillips, Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Megan Specia, Heather Murphy, Iliana Magra and Ceylan Yeginsu.

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