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More coronavirus cases were reported in countries other than China for the first time, the World Health Organization said, a significant development as new cases spread around the globe.
The US urged travellers to reconsider trips to South Korea as the country’s number of cases rose to more than 1,500. New infections were diagnosed in countries from Pakistan to Brazil. Saudi Arabia halted religious visits that include stops in Mecca and Medina.
US health authorities said they’ve identified a first case of coronavirus that doesn’t have ties to a known outbreak. The news came after President Donald Trump assured Americans that they face little risk from the outbreak. Asia stocks retreated with US equity futures.
Phát triển chính
Global deaths at 2,801, with 82,084 cases
China death toll at 2,744, up 29; cases climb to 78,497, up 433
US raises travel alert on South Korea as cases there rise to 1,595
CDC confirms first US case of unknown origin
Trump puts Pence in charge of coronavirus response
Asia stocks, US equity futures fall
Saudi Arabia halts religious visits
China expert sees epidemic contained by end of April
Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease expert advising the Chinese government, is confident the coronavirus outbreak will be largely contained by the end of April, Nanfang Daily reported, citing a briefing on Thursday.
Zhong, who led the research into a treatment for SARS, earlier expected the virus outbreak to peak by mid- to late February.
BOK puts micro response to virus before rate move
Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol provided loan support for coronavirus-hit companies rather than a wider-reaching interest rate move on Thursday, saying it was still too early to gauge the overall economic impact of the outbreak.
The central bank left interest rates unchanged, holding off from a repetition of the rate cut response it took during a virus outbreak in 2015. The decision contrasts with the more aggressive response taken by Asian central banks from Indonesia to Thailand.
Lee said the board judged micro policy measures targeted at vulnerable sectors to be more effective than adjusting policy rates at this stage. The BOK announced an increase in the cap for cheap loans available to companies affected.
The bank also downgraded its growth forecast for the year, and Lee said it was also possible the economy would contract in the first quarter as it took a hit from the outbreak.
AmCham China members see impact from outbreak
The coronavirus epidemic is causing a significant challenge to US businesses in China due to travel disruptions and reduced staff productivity, according to the results of a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce.
Nearly one-third of 169 respondents say they are facing increased costs and significantly reduced revenue, according to the survey released Thursday. Almost half of respondents expect 2020 revenue to decrease if business cannot return to usual before April 30, while close to one-fifth say this year’s revenue will decline more than 50% if the epidemic extends through the end of August, the survey showed.
Respondents in the survey, which was conducted between Feb. 17 and 20, represent large, medium and small sized enterprises, including many with global operations and some with operations in Hubei province and adjacent provinces in China.
China leaders donate own money to virus fight
Chinese President Xi Jinping and six of his top officials have donated money from their own pockets to fight the coronavirus, as the government scrambles to mobilize public support that has wavered over its response to the outbreak.
The personal donations were reported by the official Xinhua news agency, which said the officials sat on the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, the ruling Communist Party’s top echelon. Xinhua didn’t say how much they donated.
Trump says CDC budget cuts won’t hurt virus response
President Donald Trump said his proposed cuts to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the agency leading the government’s response to the coronavirus — wouldn’t affect preparations for an outbreak.
“We can get money and we can increase staff. We know all the good people. Some of the people we’ve cut they haven’t been used in many many years,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House. “I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When you need them you can get them back very quickly. We can build up very very quickly. We already have done that.”
China reports 433 new coronavirus cases
China reported 433 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total case count to 78,497, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.
China’s death toll increase by 29 to 2,744, as Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, reported 26 additional fatalities. Hubei had 409 new confirmed cases. Discharged patients in mainland China rose by 2,750 to 32,495.
The number of cases in China is declining as those elsewhere are climbing. The World Health Organization said Wednesday that more coronavirus cases were reported in countries other than China for the first time since the initial patient was identified on Dec 8.
US raises travel alert on South Korea
The US government is asking Americans to “reconsider” travel to South Korea as the coronavirus spreads in that country.
The State Department issued a Level 3 advisory — 4 being the most severe. “The South Korean government has reported cases of the Covid-19 in the country and has upgraded its response level to ‘grave’, its highest response level,” the department said in the advisory, using the medical abbreviation for the virus.
The warning came as South Korea’s Health Ministry said 334 more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed overnight, bringing the total number of cases to 1,595. The ministry said 307 of the new cases are from Daegu, where the bulk of infections have originated. Daegu confirmed a 13th death in South Korea, and said the city doesn’t have enough hospital beds to treat patients.
Korean authorities thought they had largely contained the illness until they learned that a woman who had been infected attended two services of a secretive religious sect with at least 1,000 other people. Within 24 hours, the nation’s number of confirmed cases started multiplying exponentially.
South Korea said it’s testing between 7,000-10,000 people a day for the coronavirus.
US identifies first case of unknown origin
US health authorities said they’ve identified a first case of coronavirus that doesn’t have ties to a known outbreak, a worrying signal that the virus is already circulating despite reassurances from the Trump administration that it’s been contained.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient doesn’t appear to have travelled to China or been exposed to another known case of the coronavirus. Health authorities have been increasingly concerned about what’s known as community spread, where the virus begins circulating freely among people outside of quarantines or known contacts with other patients.
The CDC said the case was picked up by doctors in California, and that the patient may have been infected by a traveller who brought the disease in. It didn’t give more information on the patient’s status. The new case brings the total of known infections in the US to 15, not counting repatriated Americans.
IMF to decide on Spring meetings in coming days
Senior leaders at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and will decide on the “scale and scope” of the spring meetings in the days ahead, according to an emailed statement.
The annual IMF and World Bank spring meetings that bring together central bank governors, finance ministers and policy makers from around the world are due to take place April 13-19 in Washington, D.C.
Saudi Arabia bans religious visits
Saudi Arabia temporarily halted religious visits that include stops in Mecca and Medina, which draw millions of people a year as the Islamic world’s holiest cities, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus into the country.
Tourism visa-holders from countries with reported coronavirus infections will also be denied entry, the Saudi embassy in Washington said in an emailed statement, without naming any countries. The steps are temporary and subject to continuous evaluation, according to the statement.
The government is acting to block the deadly virus as neighbouring countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates have flagged dozens of cases. No infections had been reported by Saudi Arabian authorities as of Wednesday.
Yellen says virus could throw US economy into recession
Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said depending on how widely the coronavirus spreads, the economic impact could have a significant impact on Europe and veer the US toward a recession.
“We could see a significant impact on Europe, which has been weak to start with, and it’s just conceivable that it could throw the United States into a recession,” Yellen said at an event in Michigan. “If it doesn’t hit in a substantial way in the United States, that’s less likely. We had a pretty solid outlook before this happened — and there is some risk, but basically I think the US outlook looks pretty good.”
The global economy was weak but starting to recover before the virus hit, Yellen said.
Iraq envoy sounds alarm on Iran cases
The Iraqi government is “really concerned” about the spread of the coronavirus from neighbouring Iran, Fareed Yasseen, the Iraqi ambassador to the US, said during an event in Washington.
The movement of people between the two countries is “quite intense” and communal because of religious activities, which could help transmit the virus “more readily,” he said. “This is one of the reasons why they’ve put a stop to travel between Iraq and Iran.”
The Iraqi government has shut all schools and universities for 10 days, closed public venues, tea houses, cinemas and banned citizens from traveling to nine countries, including Iran, Sumaria News reported. Iraq has reported five cases so far, the country’s health ministry reported on Tuesday.
Rejected by two ports, cruise heads to Mexico
A ship operated by MSC Cruises is sailing for Cozumel, Mexico, Wednesday after authorities in two Caribbean ports effectively refused to let passengers disembark over coronavirus fears.
The company said it has received “formal and final authorisation” to call in Cozumel, despite an earlier report to the contrary, and expects to arrive Wednesday evening local time.
MSC Cruises says it doesn’t have any evidence of coronavirus on the ship. The company said its medical records show one case of seasonal flu in a crew member.
Coronavirus has already prompted the industry to dial back exposure in Asia. But the latest incident appeared to signal the potential for a broader disruption in bigger markets, exacerbating the hit to cruise stocks.
US airlines cut flights to South Korea
US airlines, having already suspended flights to China, are starting to pull back from South Korea.
Delta Air Lines Inc said Wednesday it would temporarily reduce service starting Feb 29, citing health concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The Atlanta-based carrier also will postpone the start of new service between South Korea’s Incheon airport and Manila.
Hawaiian Airlines is temporarily halting flights connecting Honolulu with Incheon because of the increase in cases in South Korea and the impact the illness has had on demand for leisure travel.
WHO: Most new cases now outside China
More coronavirus cases were reported in countries other than China in the past 24 hours for the first time since the initial patient was identified on Dec. 8, the World Health Organization said.
The agency said in its daily situation report that there were 459 confirmed cases outside of China in the past 24 hours, compared with 412 new ones in China, where the outbreak began.
Spahn: Germany at beginning of epidemic
New cases of the virus in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Wurttemberg are a sign that Germany is “at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said in Berlin on Wednesday.
“It is questionable whether out current strategy of isolating the infection and capping infection chains will work further,” Spahn said. “The probability that this virus will circumvent Germany won’t be fulfilled”
Pakistan confirms first coronavirus cases
Pakistan’s health minister said the country had identified two cases of coronavirus, the first in the country.
Both cases are being treated and are stable, Pakistan health minister Zafar Mirza said on Twitter. “No need to panic, things are under control,” Mirza said.
Europe health official predicts wider outbreak
“It is likely that Europe will see similar developments like in Italy, varying from country to country,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in an update Wednesday. “The risk of the occurrence of similar clusters, similar to the ones in Italy, associated with Covid-19 in other countries in the EU/EEA and the UK is currently considered to be moderate to high,” ECDC said in its risk-assessment report.
Even though “we are still in the containment phase,” European Union member states should review their “pandemic plans,” the bloc’s health chief, Stella Kyriakides, said in Rome earlier today.
“All Member States need to inform us about their preparedness plans and how they propose to implement them,” Kyriakides said in a press conference, according to a copy of her prepared remarks. “This is the kind of crucial information that we all need to have if the virus spreads further and I urge Member States to share this with us and each other, as this is important for our mutual security.”