Japan braces for hundreds of fresh cases and restricts access to Tokyo Marathon. Follow live news and latest updates
Here’s some more information on the possible delay of China’s annual meetings set for March.
The meetings of the parliament, or National People’s Congress (NPC), and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were both due to begin early next month. But both China’s parliament and its top political consultative body are both considering delaying annual meetings set for March, state media said on Monday.
The gatherings see more than 5,000 delegates descend on Beijing, the capital, from all over China, for at least 10 days, to pass legislation and unveil the year’s key economic targets.
A postponement would be the first since China adopted the current March schedule in 1995 for the meeting of parliament.
Japan is bracing for the possibility of hundreds of additional cases of the coronavirus onboard the stricken Princess Diamond, after health officials said on Monday that a further 99 people on the ship had tested positive.
The passengers already evacuated from the ship face further uncertainty too, with the US and Australian citizens set for a further two weeks of quarantine after arriving home. Hundreds of American passengers have flown back to the US and Australia said it would follow suit on Wednesday.
The US state department announced later that 14 of the 340 American evacuees were confirmed to have the virus in tests given before they boarded the planes. They were taken to the US because they did not have symptoms and were being isolated from other passengers on the planes, it said. It was not immediately clear whether the 14 were among the 99 new cases.
Onboard the Diamond Princess, 454 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 out of an original total of about 3,600 passengers and crew. Japan’s health ministry said it had tested 1,723 people on the vessel.
Forty American passengers who were diagnosed with the virus on Sunday have been transferred to hospitals in Japan. Most of the people on the ship, which has the largest number of cases outside China, have yet to be tested.
The health ministry will continue to test passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess, whose 14-day quarantine was due to end on Wednesday.
Japanese public health experts advising the government defended the decision to isolate passengers and crew on the ship, even as the number of cases increased again on Monday.
“Many people are testing positive on the ship, but that is because we are testing everyone onboard, regardless of their medical condition,” said Shigeru Omi, the chief director of the Japan Community Health Care Organisation. “And 70% of those testing positive are not showing any symptoms at all.”
Omi said any disruption to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics – including the Games’ cancellation – would depend on how and if the virus mutates in the coming months, as well as the effectiveness of the international community’s attempts to contain the outbreak.
“Whether the virus is under control by the time of the Olympics is anyone’s guess,” he said at a media briefing in Tokyo.
Omi conceded that tracing the chain of domestic transmissions not related to the Diamond Princes was proving difficult, but denied Japan, which has confirmed 65 cases on land, was becoming a second major infection cluster.
“Our focus now is on community-based preventative action to lower the speed of the transmission of the virus,” he said. “It is true that there have been silent transmissions, but Japan is certainly not in a state of pandemic.”
A Russian woman who was onboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner docked in Yokohama, Japan, has tested positive for coronavirus, the Russian embassy in Japan said on Monday.
Reuters reports the woman will be taken to a hospital and treated, citing a post by the embassy on Facebook.
Japanese officials have confirmed a further 99 people have been infected by the new coronavirus aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 454, the health ministry said on Monday.
The ministry has been carrying out tests on passengers and crew on the ship, docked in Yokohama, a port city near Tokyo. The 14-day quarantine for those on the ship was due to end Wednesday.
Outside China, the ship has had the largest number of cases of the Covid-19 illness caused by the virus that emerged in China late last year.
Japan will close next month’s Tokyo Marathon to all but elite professional runners.
Organisers of the Tokyo Marathon said the 38,000 general participants who signed up for the race on 1 March will not be allowed to compete, a person with knowledge of the issue told Reuters.
China has it may postpone its annual congress in March, its biggest political meeting of the year.
The standing committee for the National People’s Congress said it believes it is necessary to postpone the gathering to give top priority to people’s lives, safety and health, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
I want to hear your news, experiences and questions about the coronavirus outbreak. You can email me at email@example.com or tweet me at @aamnamohdin
I’m particularly keen to hear from those who have booked a holiday to China, but are currently in limbo.
Morning, it’s Aamna Mohdin taking over the liveblog from my colleague Alison Rourke.
Of the 300 US citizens and family members evacuated by plane from a quarantined ship in Japan, 14 have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the US state department said on Monday.
During the flights, these individuals will continue to be isolated from the other passengers. These flights departed Japan at approximately 4:30pm eastern time on February 16 and will arrive in the United States later this morning.
All passengers are being closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the flight, and any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialised containment area, where they will be treated.
Here are the latest developments:
The Covid-19 outbreak has officially had no negative impact on the country’s stock markets. After a huge 8% fall on the first day of trading after the lunar new year break, indices have fattened up again and are buoyed by the promise of stimulus from the central bank (see below).
The Shanghai Composite was up 2.19% in afternoon trading while the Shenzhen Composite rose 2.84%.
Even by the ludicrous standards of Chinese equity markets, this is quite something. Stocks have basically erased their entire coronavirus-related decline. pic.twitter.com/foZZBykrdS
Stimulus > #coronavirus
We’re seeing a news conference now from the Australian city of Darwin, where authorities are talking about the 209 Australians being brought home from the stricken Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan. Those returning will be quarantined for 14 days near the northern city of Darwin.
“We are not entirely convinced that the quarantine procedures on that ship were 100% effective,” said Prof Dianne Stephens, deputy chief health officer for the Northern Territory (NT).
The Global Times – the tabloid mouth piece of the Chinese government – is reporting that the county of Xinxian in Henan province, south of Beijing, is extending the quarantine period for travellers returning from Wuhan to 21 days. This follows two unusual cases of Covid-19, which you can read about in the tweet below. This could obviously be very significant if this is replicated elsewhere.
One of the new cases was diagnosed 34 days after returning from Wuhan, and another 94 days after coming in contact with a Wuhan resident. Both infection sources are unknown. https://t.co/WsbUAzEHxt
The Economist’s correspondent in Shanghai, Simon Rabinovitch, has published a graph showing the infections in China outside Hubei.
There were just 118 new reported cases of covid-19 infections in China outside Hubei yesterday, the lowest since prior to the Wuhan quarantine.
Yes, this is official data, so the real situation is probably worse. But more on that in a second. (1/X) pic.twitter.com/JHgZNaTKXx
Just breaking down that flurry of speakers at the press conference in Australia … one of the most significant things to come out of it for me was that the chief medical officer saying they are not sure why the infections on the Diamond Princess cruise liner are continuing to spread, despite the quarantine measures in place.
Shares in China have posted strong gains after the country’s central bank cut the interest rate on its medium-term lending from 3.25% to 3.15% to try to cushion businesses from the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. The bank also injected another 200bn yuan of liquidity into the system.
The move is expected to pave the way for a reduction in the country’s benchmark loan prime rate on Thursday, Reuters reports, to lower borrowing costs and ease financial strains on companies hit by the epidemic.
China CSI 300 erases Covid-19 slump.
* Short selling ban (in China this means the Gulag!)
* Funds need gov’t approval to sell (prove an outflow)
* Record repo injections by the PBoC, rate cuts
* Xi – will cut taxes and record fiscal stimulus
Rally means all is good, right? pic.twitter.com/hCRUaEiHdZ
#PBOC injects 200 bn yuan liquidity via 1-year medium-term lending facility (MLF).
PBOC cut the rate on MLF to 3.15%, from 3.25% in the previous operation. https://t.co/EXAEiLHayq
A reporter is asking about Australians onboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship that docked in Cambodia last Thursday. An American passenger on that ship was subsequently diagnosed with Covid-19, after testing in Malaysia. The foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne answers:
There were some Australians on the vessel Westerdam. 39 of those have remained in Phnom Penh after the ship finally docked. They have been provided with hotel accommodation in the capital.
Scott Morrison made very clear that the decision has been made by the national security committee that:
Any person who was onboard that ship, regardless of their nationality, if they seek to enter Australia within the next 14 days, they will not be granted entry to Australia.
Brendan Murphy’s, Australia’s chief health officer, has the microphone now. He says he is not sure why there have continued to be further infections onboard the Diamond Princess ship.
We are not quite sure why there have been ongoing infections, but given there has been recent cases, we cannot be absolutely sure that any of the currently well people on the ship who are coming home onWednesday are not carrying the virus. We cannot be sure. And if we cannot be sure we have to take precautions. And that is why we are going to take them to the HowardSprings facility in Darwin, which minister Hunt and I have visited, it is a very good quality accommodation facility and I can assure the families of those coming that it is a much nicer place to be for two weeks than a cabin.
The Australian health minister, Greg Hunt, is talking now. He confirms Australia still only has 15 cases of Covid-19, eight of which have now recovered.
He says the 242 passengers who were airlifted out of Wuhan on the first Australian evacuation flight out of that city, will leave Christmas Island today, where they have been staying for 2 weeks.
Payne reiterates the decision to bring citizens home from Japan is based on medical advice.
We’re now hearing from Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne. She thanks the government of Japan for its co-operation during this process of getting Australia’s citizens home from the ship, currently docked south of Tokyo.
She also thanks Japan for the care they are giving to the 20 or so Australians in hospital in Japan who have tested positive for Covid-19.
Morrison says they are contacting all the passengers on the ship and that New Zealand citizens on the ship will also be offered seats on the Qantas flight.
The Australian PM, Scott Morrison, has announced Qantas will fly home Australian citizens stuck on the stricken Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan this Wednesday.
There are more than 200 Australians on the ship. They will face a further 14 days in quarantine at the Howard Springs facility near the Australian city of Darwin.
In Hong Kong armed robbers have stolen hundreds of toilet rolls, amid panic buying from stores as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.
Toilet rolls have become hot property in the business hub, despite government assurances that supplies remain unaffected by the virus outbreak.
Agence France-Presse has rounded up where the coronavirus cases are globally.
While we are on the economic impact of the coronavirus, New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on Monday that the country’s GDP is expected to slow to around 2% to 2.5% this year, due to the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.
Ardern said the forecasts were from the treasury which had previously predicted a GDP growth of 2.2% to 2.8%. She said the impact will be seen in the first two quarters of the year.
Japan’s NKH has reported new figures from the government that show GDP shrank in the final quarter of 2019 by 6.3% (on an annualised basis for October-December).
NHK says it was the first contraction in five quarters. It was also the biggest fall since the consumption tax was last raised in 2014. Given that it’s from last year, it’s unlikely to be related to the coronavirus. But the figures show that the economy is already under pressure while it’s trying to absorb the impact of the virus.
Registered Chinese runners who defer entry will have their fees for next year’s race waived. pic.twitter.com/H4LXnvRP33
Just a bit more on the new measures in the city of Xiaogan, that confine residents to their homes … on Friday, the state media outlet, Xinhua, reported that all residents in the city would not be allowed to exit and re-enter their communities or residential areas. Today’s announcement appears to be a further escalation of this.
Xinhua reported that “community committees” would deliver daily necessities to residents and that buying services would be provided for urgently-needed goods. This is something we have also seen in Wuhan, with community workers delivering items to residents.
Deutsche Welle’s East Asia correspondent William Yang says the new restrictions in Xiaogan will begin on Monday.
#Wuhan’s Xiaogan City announced that starting February 17, all residents in the city can’t leave their house and no cars can be driving on the road. All unnecessary public spaces should be closed. Anyone violating the rule will be put into the list for untrustworthy individuals. pic.twitter.com/aSpbR1q8eM
Huanggang City in #Hubei province encourage citizens with symptoms to report their own cases. Those with fever and coughing should report their case to the community right away and they would be awarded with 500 RMB and be sent for treatment right away. pic.twitter.com/tvEVj2uvcc
Chinese state media is reporting another city in Hubei province has banned residents from leaving their homes. In Xiaogan, population 4.8 million, in central Hubei, people who violate the order will be detained “for a maximum of 10 days”, the Global Times says:
The levelled-up measure in Xiaogan asks all urban residents to stay indoors and rural villagers are prohibited from loitering, visiting or gathering. Those who involved in the prevention and control of the epidemic should travel in accordance with the designated time and route. Those who violate the order will be detained for no more than 10 days.
All vehicles including motorcycles, electric bikes, bicycles and tricycles are prohibited from driving on the road. Only vehicles for special purposes, such as ambulances, fire trucks or vehicles transporting daily necessities, can be seen out of the road.
The economics research firm Capital Economics, has published some very interesting graphs which appear to show just how substantially activity in China has reduced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The first graph shows road congestion across 100 Chinese cities in the weeks before and after the lunar new year, comparing figures from the four years to 2020.
A fifth evacuation flight of Japanese citizens from Wuhan has landed in Tokyo.
It landed at Haneda airport shortly before 7.00am on Monday, the Japanese broadcaster NHK said, carrying 36 Japanese nationals and 29 Chinese nationals, including spouses of Japanese.
Singapore has cut its 2020 growth and exports forecasts due to an expected economic blow from the new coronavirus outbreak, flagging the chance of a recession this year, Reuters reports.
The country has reported 75 cases of the virus to date, one of the highest tallies outside China.
The Australian government is working on a plan to evacuate its citizens off the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship – the largest site for Covid-19 infections outside of mainland China.
The ship, carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew, is docked at Yokohama port south of Tokyo. 355 people have tested positive for coronavirus, including 16 Australians.
There’s been a lot of discussion about how the figures are trending over the past few days, particularly as there was a big spike in the number of recorded cases of infections in Hubei province last Wednesday, when it changed the way it was recording cases to include people who had been clinically diagnosed with Covid-19, as well as those who had tested positive on a Covid-19 test.
First let’s look at the trend for infections inside China but outside of Hubei, since they changed the way they were counting cases.
The daily national figures for China have been announced. It says the total number of confirmed cases have by 2,048 to 70,548.
Total deaths now stand at 1,770, after 105 more deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.
China’s ambassador in Australia, Chen Jingye, is giving an interview on Sky News Australia about the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is controllable. This is curable,” he says. “So we have every confidence and capacities to win against the epidemic.”
Chinese state media is reporting that penalties up to life imprisonment can be handed out to people who sell face masks or goggles which don’t meet national standards.
Penalties up to life imprisonment can be given to those who produce or sell medical supplies including surgical #masks and #goggles that failed to meet national standards: authority #China #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/jTVWe2x6dM
Hubei province is tightening its restrictions on movement further, in an effort to combat the virus. About 56 million people are effectively under quarantine, including in Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have started.
New measures include broad instructions that residential compounds and villages be “sealed off” from unnecessary visitors, with tenants’ outings “strictly managed”.
The World Health Organization says international experts in a WHO-led joint mission had arrived in Beijing and had had their first meeting with their Chinese counterparts.
“We look forward to this vitally important collaboration contributing to global knowledge about the COVID19 outbreak,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter.
In our fractured & divided , health is one of the few areas which offers the opportunity for countries to work together for a common cause.
This is a time for facts, not fear.
This is a time for rationality, not rumours.
This is a time for solidarity, not stigma. #MSC2020
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
The epicentre of the outbreak – Hubei province – has reported 100 new deaths in its daily update of figures on Monday, with 1,933 new infections.
Link : Coronavirus: 99 more cases confirmed on cruise ship – live news