Hundreds of Japanese and Americans airlifted out of city at heart of outbreak in China, with Australia to follow suit. All the latest news, live
- Australian coronavirus evacuees to be quarantined on Christmas Island
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Kazakhstan is suspending all passenger travel to and from neighbouring China, Reuters reports.
The Kazakh government said on Wednesday that buses to and from China have already been halted, passenger trains will stop on Feb. 1 and all flights will be suspended from Feb. 3. The government has also suspended issuance of visas to Chinese citizens.
The UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, just tweeted that British nationals will be “safely isolated” for 14 days.
We are working hard to get British nationals back from Wuhan.
Public safety is the top priority.
Anyone who returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all neccessary medical attention.
Britons returning from coronavirus-hit Wuhan will be placed in quarantine for 14 days, most likely at a facility on a military base, PA Media reports, citing UK government sources.
Here’s a a simple explainer on the coronavirus, answering questions on the symptoms caused by the virus, how is it transmitted from person to person, and at what point should someone see a doctor.
Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care are advising those who have returned from Wuhan in the last 14 days to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people. Travellers who have returned should call NHS 111 to inform them of their recent travel to the city
Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, said:
Isolating yourself from other people, like you would with other flu viruses, is in step with the best scientific and expert advice on how to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
This means taking simple, common sense steps, such as staying at home and avoiding close contact with other people as much as possible.
Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate its flights between Heathrow and Shanghai, the company said. Passengers are able to rebook or obtain a refund free of charge.
The airline said in a statement: “We continue to monitor the situation regarding coronavirus and will always follow guidance as set out by relevant authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all but essential travel to mainland China, excluding Hong Kong.
Here’s a report by Guardian reporter Jessica Murray and Michael Standaert on a British family trapped in the centre of the coronavirus outbreak being split up in coronavirus evacuations.
A Chinese national has been confirmed to have novel coronavirus in Queensland, Australia. The 44 year old Chinese national, who is currently stable, but isolated in the Gold Coast University Hospital, is from the city of Wuhan. The relevant authority will be releasing more information at a press conference tomorrow.
Dr Jeannette Young, the chief health officer in Queensland, has said the authorities are closely with the hotel where the Chinese women’s national football team and their support staff are currently staying. the team were in the city of Wuhan on 22 January.
The Chinese get creative to beat boredom:
As the UK government finalises plans to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, one British man has spoken of his distress at not being able to leave immediately with his Indonesian wife.
Nick House, who lives in the city with his Indonesian wife and two British children, told Sky News: “We would like to be out of here. The man on the other end of the phone said, ‘Yes, you are on the list, but unfortunately your wife probably won’t be able to get on the plane because she doesn’t have a visa at the moment’.
The US, Japan, and Turkey are evacuating their citizens on Wednesday from Wuhan, which is at the epicentre of the new virus outbreak, as health authorities report the number of confirmed cases has jumped to 5,974.
According to a report by AP Media, the Turkish ambassador, Emin Onen, told the broadcaster NTV that Turkey had made the necessary applications to Chinese officials to evacuate 32 citizens, adding that none of them had been diagnosed with the virus.
The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday confirmed the first cases in the Middle East of the new coronavirus. Doctors are treating a family that had just come from a city at the epicentre of the outbreak, AP Media reports.
The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency made the announcement citing the health and prevention ministry, but did not provide details on where the family lived nor where they were receiving treatment.
The UK culture secretary, Baroness Morgan, hopes BA’s decision to suspend all flights to China would give “more impetus” for the government to make plans to evacuate Britons from the region.
Morgan told BBC Breakfast:
The Foreign Office will be working with staff on the ground to identify UK nationals. We will get people home as soon as we can, as soon as we can make arrangements.
Obviously, today’s decision by British Airways provides more impetus to the government to make other plans and communicate those.
The Chinese women’s national football team has been quarantined in Queensland after arriving on Wednesday morning.
The Australian Associated Press reports that the team, who were were in the city of Wuhan on 22 January, will be required to stay at their inner-city hotel until 5 February over fears that members may have the deadly coronavirus.
Britain is finalising plans to evacuate its nationals from the coronavirus-hit Chinese province of Hubei. Flights taking Britons back home could begin as early as Thursday, PA Media reports.
The deadline for those in the city of Wuhan and surrounding areas to contact the British consulate expressing their wish to leave passed at 3am UK time (11am local time).
Morning, I’m Aamna Mohdin taking over the liveblog from my colleague Ben Doherty.
British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China, following travel advice from the Foreign Office that warned against all but essential travel to the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Indonesia has no cases of coronavirus. But, according to its foreign ministry, 243 Indonesian nationals are in Hubei, about 100 of those in Wuhan. Indonesian students in the city have said they want to get out, but can’t.
“The Indonesian government has to take quick and appropriate measures to ensure the evacuation of Indonesian citizens who are currently in Wuhan,” Golkar party parliamentarian Christina Aryani told the Jakarta Post in a statement.
As the UK prepares to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, some of the logistical and bureaucratic challenges of extracting people from a city under lockdown are emerging. One Briton in Wuhan, who did not want to be quoted, told the Guardian:
We have no way to get through roadblocks to the airport. That has to be applied for through London then getting word back for the OK from local government here.
British Airways has suspended bookings on its website for direct flights from London to Beijing and Shanghai until March, after warnings over travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.
BA.com, the airline’s website, shows no direct flights to China are available in January and February.
The sixth coronavirus case in Australia has been confirmed by Victoria’s chief officer, Dr Brett Sutton.
The man in his 60s became unwell on 23 January, having recently travelled to Wuhan. He presented to a doctor and was referred to the Monash Medical Centre, where he was tested for the virus.
After a sell-off on Monday and Tuesday, markets in Asia Pacific have bounced back today. The ASX200 benchmark index in Sydney closed 0.5% higher and the Nikkei in Tokyo wound up 0.71% to the good. South Korea, which was battered on Tuesday, was also higher.
Global stocks continue mid-virus rally w/exception of Hong Kong which tanks 2.5% on return from Lunar New Yr holiday. S&P 500 recovered from worst sell-off in 4mths. Pos sentiment driven by Apple holiday sales which topped forecasts. Bonds unch w/US 10y ylds at 1.65%. Gold $1567. pic.twitter.com/OUGZPmHii9
The flight carrying 240 American citizens from Wuhan has just landed in Anchorage, Alaska, after a journey of nine-and-a-half hours. Those passengers will now fly on to March Air Force Base in California.
Tibet, the last place on China’s mainland that had not recorded a case of coronavirus, has now reported its first suspected case. A 34-year-old man who travelled to Tibet by train from Wuhan has been placed in quarantine.
A sixth case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Australia. A man in his 60s tested positive Wednesday morning in Melbourne. He had recently travelled to Wuhan. Health officials are monitoring his close contacts. The man’s case is the second in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city. The others are in hospitals in Sydney.
Hello, Ben Doherty taking over our rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s early in the UK, but there is news for Britons stuck in Hubei and their families.
The UK is finalising plans to bring back Britons from Hubei province after advising Britons there to ring dedicated 24-hour helplines before 3am UK time on Wednesday to register their desire to be evacuated.
The first case of coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates – and thus the Middle East region – has been confirmed by state media, according to Reuters.
The state-run news agency WAM announced the case earlier today, citing the UAE health ministry.
Education minister Dan Tehan said some schools and states had “gone further” than the official government advice when deciding how to treat children who have returned from China or from overseas.
He said that the official advice, as determined by experts, was still enough and what was recommended.
Health minister Greg Hunt says the government does not intend to use enforcement powers to make people stay at home in quarantine.
He is also asked about the choice of Christmas Island as a quarantine site.
He adds that a surgical mask – not a thicker P2 mask – is fine for the general public.
Surgical masks are “perfectly adequate” even for medical assessment of patients, and P2 masks are only needed for those treating confirmed cases.
Murphy says that Australia’s Health Protection Principal Committee (HPPC) is aware of a case, in Germany, where somebody without symptoms transmitted the disease.
However, he said this was rare.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, has announced that all Australians who have had contact with people with coronavirus, or visited Hubei province, should stay at home and be quarantined for 14 days.
He says this policy is “highly precautionary”.
The Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has said he is in talks with China to evacuate Malaysians from Wuhan, Reuters reports.
There are 78 Malaysians currently in Wuhan, he said.
The mayor of Christmas Island – the Australian territory in the Indian Ocean where evacuated Australians will be quarantined – has said the decision will create “a leper colony”.
Prime minister Scott Morrison announced earlier today that Australia and New Zealand were trying to organise an evacuation of citizens in Wuhan. If successful, the people will be taken to Christmas Island and potentially quarantined for 14 days.
Papua New Guinea has banned all travellers from entering the country from “Asian ports”, according to Agence France-Presse.
In a note to airlines and boat operators, the ministry of immigration said “all citizens originating from the Asian ports will be refused entry to the country effective today”.
The evacuation flight from Wuhan to the United States has been rerouted to land at a US air force base, rather than an airport.
The plane, carrying 240 Americans, left Wuhan this morning. It was scheduled to land at Ontario international airport in southern California, 56km (35 miles) from Los Angeles.
Watch the video below https://t.co/BX8NoJA40D
In Beijing, Reuters reports that a pharmacist has been fined 3 million yuan (US $434,530) for artificially inflating the price of masks sixfold during the coronavirus outbreak.
An administrative penalty notice has been issued to the Beijing Jimin Kangtai Pharmacy for sharply raising the price of N95 masks, the Beijing municipal market regulator said in a statement on its website.
Here’s one of the ambulances carrying a Japanese patient to hospital.
Four Japanese citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan have been taken to hospital with a cough and fever, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government.
Associated Press reports that the patients are a woman in her 50s and three men whose ages range from their 30s to 50s. They were taken to a Tokyo hospital on separate ambulances for treatment and further medical checks.
In South Australia seven people are awaiting coronavirus tests, but the department of health says the likelihood of them having the disease is “low”.
Three people who were previously tested came back with the all-clear.
South Australia coronavirus update 29/1/20.
In Melbourne, our reporter Else Kennedy has just been to a media conference with Australian researchers who have recreated the novel coronavirus in a lab – the first time this has been done outside China.
The team at Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute worked through the night from the early hours of Saturday morning until Monday to grow and sequence the virus.
In finance news, the Hong Kong stock market has slumped off the back of coronavirus fears, but the rest of Asia was up.
As of an hour ago (02.30am GMT), the Hang Seng was down 2.6%, but Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.5%.
Some pictures here of Chinese construction workers building an emergency hospital that is urgently being set up in Wuhan.
The Huoshenshan hospital is scheduled to open on 3 February. Another, the Leishenshan hospital, is being constructed nearby to a similar schedule.
Journalist Rebekah Holt has said she has spoken to the Tamil family from Biloela now detained on Christmas Island.
“They have not been told by staff about centre being used for quarantine purposes. My call was the first they knew of it.”
I have just spoken to Priya. She told me they have not been told by staff about centre being used for quarantine purposes. My call was the first they knew of it.
She is worried about her little girls health as both have already been sick while in detention #auspol #coronavirus https://t.co/Q5ifWsA0pv
In Tokyo, passengers from the evacuation from Wuhan have spoken to media.
Takeo Aoyama, who works for Nippon Steel Corp, and Takayuki Kato, who works for Intec, said they felt relieved but also exhausted, Associated Press reports.
The news that Christmas Island will be used to potentially quarantine Australians with the coronavirus has led to renewed calls for the government to release a family of Tamil asylum seekers from Biloela currently detained there.
Priya and Nadesalingam, and their Australian-born children, Kopika and Tharunicaa had fled the Sri Lankan civil war, and lived in the Queensland town of Biloela since 2014.
Fun fact: Australia has a stockpile of 21.5 million masks; 1 million will now be released to GPs and medical services as the government prepares to evacuate Aussies from Wuhan to Christmas Island quarantine. #auspol #coronavirus #wuhan
Our correspondent Rebecca Ratcliffe has spoken to dual British and American citizen Nick, who is a teacher in Wuhan and who is among up to 200 people waiting to be evacuated.
He called the Foreign and Commonwealth Office crisis line earlier this morning and was asked if he would be prepared to leave his wife behind, because she is Indonesian and doesn’t currently have a UK visa. They have two children, aged nine and 12, also in Wuhan.
AFP reports that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in China reached 5,974 on Wednesday, overtaking the number of people infected in the mainland by the Sars epidemic in 2002-3.
There were 5,327 confirmed cases in mainland China during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic.
To recap, so far today:
Malaysia has confirmed that seven people have the coronovirus, three more than yesterday, according to Reuters.
The three new cases are a 4-year-old girl, a 52-year-old man and the mother of two children confirmed infected earlier, the health ministry said in a statement.
In that press conference, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison also announced that the government would distribute 1 million masks around Australia.
However, the chief medical officer stressed that the masks are only necessary for people travelling through China, and for doctors and nurses.
Our correspondent Michael Standaert in Sichuan, writes that there have been no real updates of an evacuation among British citizens in Wuhan.
This comes amidst the US and Japanese airlifts this morning, and the announcement of an attempted Australian evacuation a few minutes ago.
The prime minister is asked whether he has been briefed on the virus’s potential economic impact on Australia.
“We share a concern, particularly in the wake of the bushfire crisis, of the impact on our tourism industry and related things. And that is obviously of concern to us.
Morrison says that parents should follow the advice of NSW Health and the chief medical officer when it comes to sending kids to school.
“My kids went back to school this week as many other kids have.
Morrison is asked if he can estimate how many people could be evacuated. He says it is too early to know.
“At this stage we are simply saying that we are putting plans in place.”
There are 600 Australians in Hubei province who have reached out either for advice or assistance, foreign minister Marise Payne says.
The focus of the evacuation is on “isolated and vulnerable Australian citizens”, she says.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, is now speaking.
He stresses that “there is no evidence of human to human transmission in Australia”.
The potential evacuation will be conducted in partnership with New Zealand, Morrison says. “I spoke again to Prime Minister Ardern today.”
Qantas has offered to provide the evacuation flight.
Australia has upgraded its travel advice to reconsider all travel to China – and will be providing “assisted departures” to elderly and young Australians in Wuhan and Hubei province.
Prime minister Scott Morrison has described the coronavirus as “a serious and evolving situation” in a press conference in Canberra.
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is now providing an update on the virus, speaking in Canberra.
And more detail on that flight. According to public flight tracker FlightRadar24, the plane left Wuhan at 4:47 in the morning local time, and landed at Tokyo Haneda airport at 8:41 in the morning, Tokyo time – which was roughly one hour ago.
A chartered plane carrying about 200 Japanese nationals evacuated from Wuhan arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday morning, according to Japanese media reports.
The passengers, who were examined by four medical professionals during the flight, will be asked to stay at home for two weeks and be on the lookout for symptoms, Kyodo news agency said.
The death toll in mainland China has now risen to 132 – per official health commission figures.
This morning Australian scientists have become the first in the world, outside of China, to replicate the coronavirus in a lab – in what they hope could lead to a vaccine.
Researchers at Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity recreated the virus from an infected patient.
The death toll in China has now risen to 131 people, according to the updated coronavirus tracker from Tencent News.
There are now also 5515 confirmed cases and 6973 suspected cases.
And, as the US airlift out of Wuhan continues, Japan today has confirmed it too will evacuate 200 of its citizens.
According to the Kyodo news agency, a chartered plane has departed the city early this morning, and is scheduled to arrive at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
Hello and welcome to our continuing coverage of the novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan in China.
This morning, the US has begun its first evacuation of citizens from Wuhan itself, in the Hubei province, where thousands of people have been affected.