Coronavirus Live Updates: Pentagon approves military bases to quarantine 1,000 people as US confirms 8th case

The installations selected by the Defense Department are the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, Fort Carson, Colorado; Travis Air Force Base, California; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California

                            Coronavirus Live Updates: Pentagon approves military bases to quarantine 1,000 people as US confirms 8th case
(AP Photo)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services for the possible use of military facilities to accommodate 1,000 people who may have to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas due to the coronavirus.

A Defense Department statement said HHS officials requested the use of several facilities capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through Feb. 29. HHS would be responsible for all care, transportation and security of the evacuees, according to the statement.

Those returning from Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

The installations selected by the Defense Department are the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, Fort Carson, Colorado; Travis Air Force Base, California; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

Nearly 200 Americans already are quarantined at a military base in Southern California after being evacuated from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

None of the Americans being housed at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside has shown signs of illness, but it can take up to two weeks for someone who is infected to get sick.

WHO urges countries to brace for 'local outbreaks'

World Health Organization official said other governments need to prepare for“domestic outbreak control” if the disease spreads in their countries.

WHO said it was especially concerned that some cases abroad involved human-to-human transmission.

“Countries need to get ready for possible importation in order to identify cases as early as possible and in order to be ready for a domestic outbreak control, if that happens,” Galea told The Associated Press.

A woman wears a mask while carrying a dog in the street on January 22, 2020, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China (Photo by Getty Images)

United, Delta, American airlines suspend US-China flights

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines said Friday they will suspend all flights between the U.S. and China, making them the first U.S.-based airlines to do so and joining several international carriers that have stopped flying to China as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

United Airlines announced that it will suspend flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu but continue flights to Hong Kong.

American said it will stop flying to China starting Friday and running through March 27. Delta plans to wait until Feb. 6 to suspend China operations to help travelers there leave the country, then stop the flights through April 30.

United said its action would run until March 28. On Thursday, United had announced plans to suspend most of its China routes but continue a few.

All three carriers said they were responding to a sharp drop in demand for the flights and Thursday's U.S. State Department advisory telling Americans not to travel to China because of the outbreak. International experts have labeled the coronavirus a global public-health emergency.

Spain confirms first case, total of US individuals diagnosed reaches 7

Spain has now confirmed the country’s first case of coronavirus after a man was diagnosed with the virus. The Guardian reports the man was on the remote island of La Gomera in the Canaries and was part of a group of five under observation on the island. They had come into contact with a German who was diagnosed with the virus and were thus isolated.

Meanwhile, California confirmed the nation's seventh case of coronavirus. An adult male tested positive according to the Santa Clara Public Health Department. The patient who has been isolated at home contracted the virus in Wuhan.

These follow the first human-to-human transmission confirmed in Thailand after a taxi driver was reportedly infected by a traveler. The case brought Friday's count to five in the country with a total of 19. The number of confirmed deaths in China has risen to 258, as authorities in hardest-hit Hubei province reported 45 new fatalities, AFP reports.

US temporarily bars foreigners who visited China, stocks fall with flights suspended

Foreign nationals who have recently traveled to China will not be allowed to the U.S. the Trump administration announced Friday. The temporary suspension of entry restricts all foreign nationals except immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents, according to the New York Times.

Returning U.S. citizens who have been to China's Hubei province in the past 14 days, will be quarantined for 14 days, administration officials said. Those that have visited other parts of China are subject to "proactive entry screening" and two weeks of monitoring and self-quarantine.

All flights from China will be funneled to seven airports starting Sunday. These include Kennedy Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare and San Francisco International Airport. 

Stocks plunged Friday with the S&P 500 marking the steepest decline of the year, the worst daily decline since October. With Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines canceling flights to China, economists seemed certain factory closures compounded with travel shutdown and quarantines would dampen China's economy just as the global economy was beginning to see signs of recovery post the 2019 trade war tensions.

An ambulance responds to a sick person on January 22, 2020, in Wuhan, China (Photo by Getty Images)

US quarantines all 195 American evacuees from China for 2 weeks at California base

U.S. health officials Friday issued a quarantine order for all 195 American evacuees from China. The evacuees will spend two weeks at a military base in California. They were flown on a charter flight earlier this week from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the new virus outbreak.

After a stop in Anchorage for refueling, they landed Wednesday at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California.

Initially, health officials said the evacuees were asked to stay at the base to undergo three days of monitoring and testing. Officials believe it can take up to 14 days for someone who is infected to develop symptoms. As of Thursday, none of the Americans housed at the base had shown symptoms of the virus.

Flight carrying 83 Britons and 27 EU citizens from Wuhan lands in UK

A chartered passenger jet carrying 83 British nationals and 27 EU citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, landed at RAF Brize Norton in Charterton, west London on Friday.

The British nationals will be transported to Arrowe Park hospital in Wirral where they will be kept in quarantine for two weeks, Guardian reported. After all the British nationals have disembarked, the plane will head to Spain, where the home countries of European Union citizens will take responsibility for the remaining passengers.

This development came on the day England reported its first cases of cornavirus, when two members of the same family tested positive for the virus.

Russia confirms first cases as two test positive for virus in Siberia

Russia has reported its first patients diagnosed with the coronavirus, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova confirmed, RT reported. The news comes just a day after Kremlin closed its border with China in the Far East.

The patients were identified as two Chinese citizens in Russia’s Zabaikalsky Krai and Tyumen Oblast in Siberia, Golikova told reporters. They are being subjected to “strict monitoring" and have been put into quarantine, the official added.

UK confirms first cases 

England has reported its first cases of coronavirus, when two members of the same family tested positive for the virus. The development comes just as more than 80 Britons on an evacuation flight from Wuhan were due to land in the UK. The Department of Health declined to say where in England the patients were from.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty in a statement said: "The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus. "The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

"We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.

"We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities."

People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, China. A new infectious coronavirus known as "2019-nCoV" was discovered in Wuhan last week (Photo by Getty Images)

British Airways plane flying in from Hong Kong kept on lockdown at Heathrow

A British Airways plane flying in from Hong Kong was put on lockdown on the runway at Heathrow amid fears that infected people might be on board.The doors were kept locked and passengers were not allowed to leave the aircraft. They were reportedly asked to fill out a form, answering questions regarding their health. A passenger is said to have heard crew members talking about two people complaining of feeling ill - but everyone was cleared to leave the plane, reports The Sun. 

“The captain apologized as passengers waited for 45 minutes on the tarmac for the precautionary checks. They were asked to fill out questionnaires about their health and travel history before being able to disembark,” says The Sun.

It adds, “If they had any symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, a cough, sore throat or runny nose, the travelers had to declare it.” The move comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency. As the number of deaths and infections go up in China, and with over 100 cases detected in at least 18 countries, governments and health officials are on high alert. 

According to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for BA said: “The safety of our customers and crew is at the heart of everything we do, and our highly skilled crews are trained to deal with the full range of medical situations which can occur onboard. ​​We said sorry to our customers for the delay after landing, this was due to precautionary checks by the Port Health authorities before everyone was cleared to go home.”

Beijing declares public health emergency as death toll reaches 213

After the Whole Health Organization declared the new coronavirus outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, Beijing has also declared a public health emergency.

In a statement released on Friday, Beijing officials warned foreign visitors and tourists in the city of the coronavirus outbreak, urging them to take preventative measures and cooperate with authorities.

"Beijing Municipality declared the highest level of public health emergency on January 24th, in response to the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)," says the statement.

It advised visitors to stay updated, take precautions by wearing masks and avoiding crowded places, and seek medical help if required. The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has killed 213 and infected 9,692.

The number of cases spiked more than ten-fold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported on Friday.

Cases in China outnumber SARS infections reported globally

The total number of people infected in China with Wuhan coronavirus has outstripped the number of infections reported globally during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. There are 9,692 confirmed cases in the new coronavirus outbreak, and the death toll now stands at 213 in China.

During the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, the total number of people infected globally with SARS was at least 8,422, says the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the number of people who have died in China in the current outbreak is lower than the overall toll in the SARS epidemic, which killed an estimated 916 worldwide.

Estimates show that 5,327 people were infected in China, and there were 349 deaths in the country during the SARS epidemic. According to an AP report, in the seven days ending at midnight on January 30, the National Health Commission in China reported 596 cases have been "cured and discharged from hospital."

China first informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about cases of the new virus on December 31. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.

US issues 'do not travel to China' advisory

A doctor puts on a protective suit and goggles at a hospital in Wuhan. (Chinatopix via AP)

The US issued a “do not travel to China" advisory on Thursday, its strongest warning over the coronavirus outbreak.

The move comes after the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the latest estimates, China has 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities.

“Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization has determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China,” says the US Department of State on its website.

It further says, “Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential US government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus.”

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had expanded its travel warning to Level 3 — its highest — asking all Americans to avoid non-essential travel to any part of China.

Other countries have followed suit. Germany's foreign ministry has asked its citizens to postpone non-essential travel to China. It has discouraging any travel to Hubei province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus. The Japanese foreign ministry on Friday also asked its citizens not to travel to China because of the possibility of virus transmission. It had previously urged its citizens not to travel to Hubei.

6,000 tourists on Italian cruise ship cleared of virus

Costa Smeralda cruise ship (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Thousands of passengers, including over 100 Americans, who were stuck on an Italian cruise ship for much of Thursday over fears that two Chinese passengers could be carrying the coronavirus, have been okayed by medical experts. The suspected case has been confirmed false. 

“By late Thursday night, all 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew had been given the medical okay to come and go from the Costa Smeralda, officials said,” according to NBC News. 
“It turns out the sickened female guest, a 54-year-old Chinese national, was "diagnosed ... with the common flu," according to a statement Thursday night from Costa Crociere,” reports NBC News.

The Chinese couple reportedly arrived in Italy on January 25 and boarded Costa Crociere company's ship Costa Smeralda in the port of Savona the same day. Samples were taken from the couple for testing after the woman fell ill with a fever, which subsequently came back negative for coronavirus.

British Airways, other airlines suspend flights to and from China 

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

With the Wuhan coronavirus infecting more than 100 people in 20 countries, European, Asian and North American airlines are canceling flights to and from China.

"Following Foreign Office advise against all but essential travel to mainland China we have canceled our flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai with immediate effect, until 29 February," British Airways said in a statement.

Some of the airlines halting or reducing air traffic are Air Canada, Air India, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, Lufthansa, KLM and United Airlines.

Following reports of two coronavirus cases in Italy, the government has also decided to suspend airline services to and from China. “As far as we know, we are the first country in the European Union to adopt such a precautionary measure,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters in Rome.

Recently, the dual-island Caribbean nation Trinidad and Tobago has gone a step further: they have issued a 14-day travel restriction on travelers from China. "Persons who are presently living in China or visiting China regardless of your nationality, will not be allowed entry into Trinidad and Tobago for fourteen (14) days after leaving China," said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, according to a post on his Facebook profile.

With AP inputs

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