The latest: Several nations have begun evacuating citizens from China as the outbreak has grown wider.
- British Airways on Wednesday became the first major international airline to suspend all direct flights to and from mainland China in response to the outbreak.
- The first chartered flight from Wuhan carried two Japanese nationals to be evacuated. They arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday, with four of the 206 passengers showing symptoms of the virus, but no confirmation of a coronavirus, an official from Japan’s government said, per Reuters.
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday the country’s national airline Qantas would evacuate “isolated and vulnerable” Australians at risk from coronavirus in China and quarantine them on Christmas Island, an Australian territory known for its now-closed refugee detention center.
- The U.K. is preparing to evacuate hundreds of its citizens from China, as are other countries in the European Union and New Zealand, the BBC notes.
United states: The U.S. has 5 confirmed cases, the CDC announced Wednesday.
- There’s been an increase in the number of states where there are persons under investigation (PUIs) from 26 to 36. There are a total of 165 PUIs with 92 under investigation.
The Fed: What was going to be a very simple and straightforward policy meeting for the Fed this afternoon has been significantly complicated by the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, fresh geopolitical tensions and an inverted yield curve. (Axios)
The flu: If youre freaking out about coronavirus, but you didnt get a flu shot, youve got it backwards. (Axios)
Diverted: A chartered plane carrying nearly 200 Americans from Wuhan landed in Alaska on Tuesday night and all were screened for symptoms, the Anchorage News first reported. It then left for March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, which was the third proposed final destination.(Axios)
U.S. cases: The CDC confirmed there were 5 cases in the U.S. as of Sunday, all of whom traveled in Wuhan, China and are now in California (2), Arizona, Washington state and Chicago. (Axios)
Lunar New Year: The holiday was extended until Feb. 2, but many celebrations were canceled, the Washington Post reports, in an effort to stop people from traveling and spreading the virus.
Market jitters: Coronavirus fears are taking their toll on the financial market and airlines, but some wonder if the oil market is unnecessarily spooked. It’s also raised concerns about a global shortage of drug supplies and sparked a run on surgical masks.
Teamwork: China is allowing the WHO to send international experts to observe the coronavirus on the ground a move U.S. public health officials say is needed to understand the virus and develop vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. (Axios)
Warning: The U.S. raised its travel advisory for China, with the CDC recommending Americans avoid nonessential trips there.
Transportation limits: Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the semiautonomous city would cut its rail links to mainland China and flights would be reduced, though the measures stopped short of a total closure of the border, per AP.
Scientific breakthrough: Scientists in Melbourne, Australia, have become the first to recreate the Wuhan coronavirus outside of China. Researchers are calling it a “game-changer for diagnosis.” (Axios)
Specialized hospital: Wuhan is quickly building a pre-fabricated 1,000-bed hospital to treat only patients infected with coronavirus, as other hospitals struggle to meet demand and deal with a shortage of supplies, per AP.
Misinformation:Fabricated warnings and false information about the coronavirus are testing governments, tech platforms and health officials as well as a nervous public in both the U.S. and China. (Axios)
Lock-down: The Chinese government locked down the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, collectively home to nearly 20 million people, AP reports.
- Several countries are experiencing cases. The worst-affected nation outside China was Thailand, which confirmed 14 cases Tuesday. Japan, Macao and Singapore each had seven cases.
- On Wednesday, Australia confirmed its sixth case after diagnosing its first on Saturday.