World Health Organization chief travels to Beijing as more than 2,700 cases reported in China. Follow the latest news about the outbreak.
- Coronavirus: 100,000 may already be infected, experts warn
- 100 Australian children stranded in Wuhan as coronavirus spreads
- What is the coronavirus and how worried should we be?
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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $10m (£7.6m) to tackling the virus.
The money will be split between China and countries in Africa.
One supermarket shopper was unfazed by the visit to Wuhan of China’s prime minister Li Keqiang, Keith Zhai from Reuters reports.
While Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivering his speech in a Wuhan super market, this auntie in front can’t stop getting her groceries done. “Nothing can stop me from buying veggies” #coronarvirus video from internet pic.twitter.com/A7CePMfis0
The death toll from the virus has risen to 81, after the southern island province of Hainan in the South China Sea reported its first fatality, an 80-year-old woman whose family arrived from Wuhan on 17 January, AP reports.
Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has accounted for 76 of the deaths reported so far. There have been one each in Shanghai and the provinces of Hebei in the north, Heilongjiang in the northeast and Henan in central China.
#DailyChinaBriefing on Jan. 27:
1. 2,744 cases of new coronavirus pneumonia confirmed in China https://t.co/XHYof90ubw
2. Medical teams across China to aid Hubei’s coronavirus control https://t.co/UvZRnQmlmz
3. China extends Spring Festival holiday https://t.co/aUG3o5NZJf pic.twitter.com/K6XpTz3swG
Officials in Shanghai, a city with a population of more 25 million people, have extended the New Year holiday to 9 February. It has ordered sports stadiums and religious events closed.
Britain’s embassy in Beijing has said it is “working to make available an option” for British nationals to leave the Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus as the UK’s response was contrasted with that of other countries with active evacuation plans.
The announcement on Monday came as the former foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, backed the idea of airlifts for British citizens in China and Public Health England said the first case of the virus was likely to come from somebody already in the UK.
Here’s a map showing how the virus has spread across the world in terms of confirmed cases.
In that appearance on Chinese TV, Wuhan’s mayor, Zhou Zianwang, admitted the authorities were too slow in how they released information about the virus, AFP’s Xinqi Su reports.
….We were not sufficiently in time, and we did not make good use of many helpful information. In terms of not being in time, I hope you can understand, that we are handling an epidemic, and we are bound by the infectious disease act, so we must disclose information according…
…declared this disease a Category B infectious disease subject to Category A control, and local government would be held accountable, after this, I think our work became more active. And in terms of many compulsory measures, we were no longer belated. Instead…
…we were tougher than others, for example, in deciding to lock down Wuhan and suspend subway, buses, ferries and long-haul shuttles. We were decisive. But after that, the city’s functions were changed, so were ordinary people’s daily lives, with which we could not catch up.”
Chinese officials at the centre of the crisis are coming under fire for incompetence and being ridiculed for not properly wearing protective masks, AFP repots
Many Chinese social media users were incensed by what they perceived as a series of errors at a televised press conference Sunday by three local officials at the heart of the new virus outbreak.
Governor of central Hubei province Wang Xiaodong held the press conference without wearing a mask – in violation of the provincial capital Wuhan’s own rules mandating masks in public spaces.
Britons stranded in Wuhan and other Chinese cities are frustrated by the UK government’s response. They have been speaking to Michael Standaert, a Guardian stringer in Beijing.
Matthew Heard, a 31-year-old education consultant from London has been living in Wuhan on and off for more than five years.
“Confusion would be the word to describe what’s going on. There’s a lot of information flying around.”
“There’s posts flying around group chats and no one really knows what’s going on. That’s the main frustration.
“They don’t really seem to be doing too much, you send an email and whether you get a response or not is entirely a guess.”
“The Foreign Office is what people are relying on for information. It is staying relatively quiet, with very tentative statements, thinking about potential action, things like that and it’s not really helping anyone. I think what people want to hear is whether there is a plan, and what the situation for us is, and what we should be doing, because so far their advice has just been to get out of the city which is impossible, because the cities are locked down.”
“This year I pledged to myself at the beginning of 2020 I was gonna read 50 books this year, and I’m making a good bit of progress on that.”
We are still being advised to stay in the house as it’s the safest place and only go out when absolutely necessary. My biggest worry is my grandmother who suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
This city is pretty much a ghost town apart from the odd person walking the streets to get necessities, some cars are out and about.
The head of the World Health Organisation will hold a special meeting with officials in Beijing on Monday to discuss how to contain the coronavirus that has killed 80 people and left more than 400 in a critical condition.
In an effort to reduce chances of infection during what is China’s busiest travel season, officials announced the end of this week’s lunar new year holiday would be postponed until at least 2 February. Authorities have also widened sweeping restrictions on travel across the country.
Spain’s foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez, has said Spanish official are trying to repatriate 20 Spaniards stranded in Wuhan and Hubei.
Buenos días, estamos trabajando con @salvadorilla nuestro consulado en Pekín @EmbEspChina y las autoridades y para repatriar a la veintena de españoles en #wuhan #hubei epicentro del #coronavirus seguiremos informando de avances @MAECgob
A pair of British teachers who have been working in Wuhan say they have not left their apartment for five days, that all transport has been stopped and “there is no place to go” and “so we are pretty much stuck”, PA Media reports.
Jason Neal and Sophie Hunt told BBC Breakfast there has been no reassurance from the British authorities whom they have “struggled” to contact, possibly because of the time difference and them being closed over the weekend. They have about five days of food left and are keeping in touch with colleagues online while the scene outside is now like a “ghost town”.
Neal said: “Even if the news is just to sit tight and nothing is going to change – I think it is just the silence that is disconcerting. We have not heard anything from outside of Wuhan for a week now.”
The Foreign Office has confirmed it is working on making an “option available” for British nationals to leave Wuhan in the Hubei province in China.
British citizens in the region have been told to call the FCO on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600 or (+44) (0)207 008 1500 should they need assistance.
The Australian government does not know how many of its citizens are caught in the vast quarantine lock-down imposed across China, as it and governments around the world scramble to try to evacuate their nationals.
But it appears increasingly unlikely foreign countries will be allowed to simply extricate their citizens in the face of militarily enforced lockdowns. Indonesia has said it “seems to be impossible”, while Australia has said it “needs to abide by the travel restrictions … placed there for precisely the purpose of containing the coronavirus”.
Former foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has joined calls for the UK to organise airlifts for UK citizens in China and warned of the pressure the coronavirus could put on the NHS.
Asked if he supported flying Britons back from Wuhan and elsewhere, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think I would be very sympathetic and I’m sure the Foreign Office would be too.”
“This is a very difficult time of year for the NHS – it is the most difficult time. But, again, my experience is that the NHS does know how to cope with these kinds of emergencies.
“I think the thing that will be difficult is the knock-on impact on other NHS services.
On the global markets, oil prices and shares are selling off as the death toll from the coronavirus rises and more cases are confirmed around the world.
In London, the FTSE 100 index lost more than 110 points in early trading, falling 1.5% to 7472.877. Stock markets in Germany and France were also down 1.5% while France’s CAC index slid 1.7%. Chinese and other Asian markets were closed for the lunar new year holiday but Japan’s Nikkei lost 2%, its biggest one-day fall in five months.
Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, tumbled $1.3 to $59.39, a 2.2% fall. China is the world’s biggest oil importer and if its economic slowdown deepens as the virus spreads, it will need less oil.
The virus outbreak has sparked a flight to safe-haven investments: investors are buying the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc , gold and US Treasury bonds.
More than 50 people have now been tested for coronavirus in the UK, according to the Department of Health although all tests have returned negative, PA reports.
As of Sunday afternoon, some 52 people across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been tested for the deadly flu-like virus.
“What we don’t know is how far it’s going to spread, that really is something we need to plan for all eventualities.
We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage.”
The UK government is coming under pressure to evacuate UK citizens from Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei.
Both the home secretary, Priti Patel, and the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab have said ministers are considering an evacuation plan, but both stopped short of committing to one.
The Associated Press has just published a useful list of the latest figures on coronavirus infections. It says these are up-to-date as of midday on Monday in Beijing:
As I mentioned earlier, China’s premier, Li Keqiang, has been visiting Wuhan. There’s been plenty of video clips on social media of him meeting medical staff. He also visited a store where he had his temperature scanned upon entry.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is visiting a local super market and get his temperature checked. 李克强总理在武汉的超市考察生活用品供应和稳定物价工作 pic.twitter.com/d1vCDjHpGQ
Singapore said on Monday that the coronavirus outbreak will hurt its economy this year. So far it has reported four cases of the virus.
“We certainly expect there to be an impact on our economy, business and consumer confidence this year especially as the situation is expected to persist for some time,” trade minister Chan Chun Sing said.
The head of the World Health Organisation will hold a special meeting with officials in Beijing on Monday to discuss how to contain the coronavirus.
The WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Twitter: “My WHO colleagues and I would like to understand the latest developments and strengthen our partnership with China in providing further protection against the outbreak.”
As I reported earlier, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, has travelled to Wuhan, the centre of the virus outbreak. Li is China’s second most powerful man. According to the government outlet, the Global Times, he told medical staff at Wuhan hospital: “I am here to cheer you up”.
The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has said that Hainan province confirmed on Monday that an 80-year-old woman has died after being infected with the coronavirus, marking the province’s first fatality in the rapidly spreading outbreak.
China’s state media is reporting of the more than 2,700 people infected with coronavirus, 461 are in a critical condition. Eighty people are known to have died in China from the virus.
China’s CGTN state TV channel has launched a live feed of the construction of the 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan. You can see it here:
The BBC’s China correspondent, Stephen McDonell, is reporting that China’s massive film studio, Hengdian studios, has suspended filming because of the virus. The studio’s website says it is the biggest film and TV shooting base in the world.
More on the Australian cases of the virus, and the University of New South Wales, which is in Sydney, has confirmed that one of its students has tested positive for the virus. I am assuming that this is the 21-year-old woman referred to by the health authorities at a press conference in the past hour. The university says the student arrived back in Sydney on 22 January and was not infectious on the flight.
“The student did not attend any classes at the University and stayed on her own in. campus accomodation with no. close contact before she was admitted to hospital,” the university said.
Further on this, @UNSW in Sydney confirms one if its students has tested positive to 2019-nCoV. Has been on campus but in dorm since arriving, did not attend classes #WuhanCoronavirus https://t.co/5eT8SV8Ug6 pic.twitter.com/U1dOB2rahU
So after that flurry of news conferences, I’ll just double back on one of the key points from Australian authorities. That is, they don’t believe there have been any human-to-human transmission of the virus in the country. This is significant for a number of reasons, but particularly as the country’s schools are due to return this week from the long summer break. Medical advice is if children have been in close contact with a CONFIRMED case of the virus, they should not attend school for 14 days.
The New South Wales department of education describes close contact as: “living in the same household, 15 minutes fact-to-face contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus in any setting, or sharing a closed space with a person with confirmed coronavirus for more than 2 hours”.
Payne has also asked anyone who is still in affected Chinese provinces to get in touch with her department. She says the contact line has already had 385 calls. She has given out the two numbers again: ph 1300 555 135 from inside Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from outside the country.
Payne has advised Australians in China not to attend public gatherings: “People will be safer if they continue to follow the advice that has been given by health authorities, both in Australia and in China. That does mean avoiding major gatherings, staying away from crowded areas, as much as possible, and following strict hygiene precautions,” Payne says.
Now we are hearing from Australia’ s foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne.
She says where possible, her government is looking to assist Australians who want to leave Hubei province. A number of countries have been looking at how to get their citizens out of affected Chinese provinces which are affected by coronavirus, particularly Hubei.
Australia’s chief medical officer Prof Brendan Murphy says the majority of people who have been tested in Australia have tested negative for coronavirus. He says there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Australia. Every flight from China is now being met by border security officers, who are giving out information about the virus and are also working to identify potentially infected passengers.
Four adults in Western Australia are also being tested to see if they have contracted the deadly coronavirus.
The WA Department of Health would not confirm any further details about the patients on Monday but said they each met specific travel criteria.
In New South Wales, a 21-year-old woman has been confirmed to have the coronavirus. She is bring treated at Sydney’s Westmead hospital. It brings the number of cases in Australia to five.
There has been concern in Australia over schools returning this week after the summer break. Kerry Chant, the chief health officer for the state of New South Wales, has just given a news conference in which she advised that if children have had contact with people confirmed to have the coronavirus, they should not attend school:
The national approach to this issue is that our advice is that people that have come back from – children that have come back from the Hubei province – we have broadened it slightly from Wuhan with the emerging evidence of transmission from adjacent areas of Wuhan, the city, to the Hubei province more broadly. We are recommending that, if you have symptoms, that you should get immediately checked if you’ve comeback from that area. And also, if you’ve been in contact with any confirmed case, that you should not attend school – close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus, you shouldn’t attend school for the 14 days. Otherwise, we’re just suggesting that people monitor their symptoms. That’s the advice we’ve seen with schools. We’ve just had a national hook-up and there’s been agreement that that is the approach nationally.
The Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, has arrived in Wuhan. Pictures show him carrying out inspections of what look like medical facilities in the city. Li is the head of the government’s coronavirus task force and the second most powerful man in China, after President Xi Jinping.
Chongqing municipality , which borders the province of Hubei, where the coronavirus outbreak began, has banned bus travel between provinces from midday on Monday. The municipality has a population of around 30m people, making it one of the biggest in China. Chongqing city has a population of around 9 million.
The Chongqing Municipal Epidemic Prevention and Control Leading Group has announced that starting from 12:00pm on Mon, Chongqing will suspend inter-provincial road passenger shuttle bus and inter-provincial passenger charter bus operations: press conference #WuhanCoronavirus pic.twitter.com/XJpPfYBXzN
In the UK 50 people have been tested for the virus in Britain and all have returned negative. The current risk to the public is described as low, but England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said there was a “fair chance” cases would emerge in Britain. The UK’s home secretary, Priti Patel, has said the government is “looking at all options” to help Britons leave Wuhan following reports that officials have been asked to examine the logistics for an airlift from the city.
You can read our full coverage here:
An Irish teacher living in Wuhan Ben Kavanagh has made a video for Britain’s Channel 4 news, about his daily life in the locked-down city. You can see it below via YouTube, including all the precautions taken to leave the house.
There are reports that a fourth person has been diagnosed with coronavirus in South Korea.
Breaking – 4th confirmed #CoronaVirus patient in S.Korea.
Just on those figures, the government tabloid, the Global times has recently tweeted figures of cases in provinces across China. The next most infections outside of Hubei (1,423 cases), is in Guangdong, which has 146 cases. Henan and Zhejiang provinces each have 128 cases.
#Update: #Coronavirus cases in provinces of China:
Inner Mongolia: 11
Yunnan: 19 https://t.co/2gUF10gKCd
Given the spread of the virus across China and to at least 10 other countries, I thought it’s worth mentioning that all but four deaths so far have been recorded in Hubei province, where the outbreak started. Of the 80 fatalities reported by the National Health Commission, 76 are were in Hubei (that’s 95% of fatalities).
The total number of cases reported in Hubei is 1,423, according to government figures. This makes up 51.5% of the 2,761 cases reported so far across by the commission across China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
Several of the UK’s newspaper front pages carry stories of the coronavirus spread, including pleas from Britons stranded in Wuhan.
Social media is reporting discontent about the handling of the response to the virus in Hubei province, including the governor of the province apparently stumbling over the number of face masks produced there.
Hubei governor misspoke twice about the province’s annual mask production capacity.He first said it was 10.8 billion, then corrected to say it was 1.8 billion. Finally he had to correct again to say it was 1.08 million. He’s become a symbol of incompetence. The public is furious. https://t.co/AzPx096DKb
Keeping track of the numbers in this coronavirus story is challenging, with things changing all the time. But one figure that caught my attention from the National Health Commission this morning, was the number of people currently under medical observation for the virus. It stands at 30,453. It’s not clear from the statement where or how these people are being observed, but we do know that there’s a huge construction effort going on in Wuhan to build a 1,000-bed hospital for the virus patients. You can read our full story on this 10-day build here, but it’s fair to say the pictures of the construction are pretty incredible.
The Chinese city of Wuhan is suspending customs services for four days until Thursday, according to the government-run Global Times. I assume that this is linked to the transport shutdown in the city. I’ll bring you more information on this when it comes to hand.
#Wuhan is suspending customs entry and exit services in the epidemic-stricken city from Monday to Thursday, Hong Kong and Macao-related services also suspended: local authority pic.twitter.com/6dTzkrN3vz
Japan is to send a chartered plane to Wuhan, possibly on Tuesday, to bring back Japanese citizens who wish to return home, Kyodo news agency said, citing a foreign ministry source.
The government has so far been able to contact about 430 Japanese citizens living or staying in Hubei province, almost all of them in Wuhan, the foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, said on Sunday.
Hong Kong has stepped up efforts to stop the virus’s entry. As of Monday, residents of Hubei will be banned from entering. Anyone who has visited Hubei province in the past 14 days, will also be banned from entry. The rule does not apply to Hong Kong residents. Hong Kong has six confirmed cases of the virus.
With millions of people now subject to travel restrictions in China, as the country shut down transport networks in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, some countries are preparing to help their citizens leave affected areas.
Japan’s foreign minister has confirmed that there are 430 Japanese citizens in Hubei province, mostly in Wuhan. Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters that he had spoken to his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and that Wang understood Tokyo’s desire to repatriate its nationals as soon as possible. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, had said earlier that his government was working with Chinese authorities to make arrangements for all Japanese nationals wishing to return from Wuhan, including with charter flights, but no schedule has been set.
If you or your family are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, this has been one of the Guardian’s best read pieces on the illness, including the virus’s symptoms, information about transmission, where it’s been identified globally and what experts are saying about the virus.
Some more information now on the update from China’s National Health Commission with regards to the number of deaths and infections from coronavirus.
China’s state media, CGTN (formerly CCTV), is reporting that the lunar new year holiday has been extended by three days until 2 February. All universities, schools and kindergartens will postpone the start of their spring term until further notice, it says.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the outbreak of the coronavirus. I’m Alison Rourke and I will be keeping you up to date on developments as they unfold.
The first order of business to report is that the death toll in China has risen to 80, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). This is up from 56 yesterday. The NHC also says there are more than 2,700 infections reported (note that the commission has included Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in this number).