Coronavirus has spread to countries across Europe with Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Croatia all reporting their first cases after hundreds of people caught the disease in Italy and 11 were killed.
In the UK, schools have closed their doors and warned pupils to self-isolate following their return from trips abroad, and England’s top doctor warned British families may have to be quarantined and transport services cut back in the event of a global pandemic. World Health Organisation official Dr Bruce Aylward urged governments to act “as if the virus is going to show up tomorrow. You’re in an incredibly interconnected world”. The NHS is to begin random testing of flu patients, as it ramps up precautionary measures.
US experts have now warned that “this might be bad”, and that the spread of coronavirus in communities across America was now a question of when, not if. Donald Trump has asked congress for $2.5bn (£1.9bn) to combat the virus. And on Wednesday morning, a confirmed case of coronavirus has been uncovered in Brazil, meaning it was now present on all of Earth’s inhabited continents.
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Iran has accused the US of spreading “propaganda” about the coronavirus, writes Jon Sharman.
President Hassan Rouhani said the disease, which has killed 19 in Iran and infected scores more, should not become an “enemy weapon” that disrupts businesses.
Three new cases of coronavirus have been found in Thailand, bringing the total to 40.
Officials criticised patients for not disclosing their travel history and pleaded with citizens not to travel to affected countries.
Airlines should not lure people in with promotions, health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.
Two of the new patients, all of whom were Thai nationals, had returned from vacation in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and came into contact with the third patient, an 8-year old boy.
Nick Robinson, the BBC broadcaster, is self-isolating at home following a holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia.
The 56-year-old said he had taken the precaution after a “routine precautionary check on doctors’ advice”.
The WHO update appears to be delayed slightly…. Here’s some details on what Heathrow is doing about the virus, in the meantime.
Heathrow bosses are taking anti-coronavirus precautions that go beyond official recommendations in order to reassure passengers, its chief executive has said.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have cancelled their flights between London’s Heathrow and China, but Chinese airlines such as China Eastern continue to operate between the countries.
“We’ve not seen much impact on the number of people travelling,” John Holland-Kaye told the BBC.
Precautions include “deep cleaning across the airport where people might be touching handrails, [and] making sure that we have plentiful supplies of hand sanitiser both for colleagues and for passengers”, he added.
The World Health Organisation is due to hold a press conference in Italy very shortly. We’ll bring you the very latest when we can.
The person who died in France was a 60-year-old French man, the head of the national health service said.
He was the second person to die in France. Jerome Salomon, the health chief, did not provide any details about where he picked up the infection.
Video shows an ambulance arriving at the coronavirus-hit hotel in the Canary Islands.
Humanity is “not great at coronavirus vaccines”, Dr Bruce Aylward has said.
The WHO’s China envoy said last night: “The bottom line is this virus kills people – we’ve seen that.
“It kills vulnerable people. It kills our elderly. What we think of as society is how we care for the vulnerable. Young people do die of this disease and they die in industrial countries.
“We’re not great at coronavirus vaccines. We don’t have the experience we do with flu and other diseases.”
A man who contracted Covid-19 in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is in critical condition, authorities have said.
He was then diagnosed with the new virus and isolated in an intensive care unit before being transported to Dusseldorf’s University Hospital. His wife was also isolated after showing symptoms.
German media reported that the man was in his 40s and had a pre-existing condition.
Mongolia is the latest country to impose internal travel restrictions.
China’s landlocked northern neighbour, will restrict travel from its capital Ulaanbaatar to other provinces until 3 March in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, a minister said on Wednesday.
The country has already stopped flights from Japan, China and South Korea. It has not reported any infections.
Diageo, the drinks company, has said the spread of coronavirus in Asia and the Pacific region could cut its 2020 profits by $260m (£200m) because bars and restaurants are closing their doors.
Brands owned by the London-based company include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness.
Kuwait has announced six more coronavirus cases, for a total of 18. The newly infected patients are all Kuwaitis, but their illness is related to travel to Iran, officials told state media.
The annual Volvo Golf Open in China has been postponed, according to state-run media.
The China Golf Association made the announcement on Wednesday. It was due to be held between 20 and 26 April in Shenzhen.
The Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned despite the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, the Japanese government has insisted, even though prime minister Shinzo Abe announced a two-week suspension on all major sports and cultural events, writes Jack de Menezes.
Japan is under growing pressure to consider postponing or cancelling the 2020 Olympics as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to become a pandemic, having spread from Asia to Europe and the Middle East.
Iran has detected another 44 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a health official has told state media, meaning that overall 139 people have been infected. Another four people have died, taking the total to 19.
The announcement came as Hassan Rouhani said the outbreak should not become an “enemy weapon” with which to beat Iran.
The president said: “Corona should not be turned into a weapon of our enemies for shutting down work and production in the country.”
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf can’t say how many surgical masks are needed
A British tourist stuck in the Tenerife hotel struck by coronavirus has spoken out.
Steve Forrester told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Yesterday morning when everybody found out, most people were around by the pool and the mood wasn’t too bad.
“I think a lot of people were thinking, ‘Well, we may have to spend another two weeks sitting on the sun bed’, but now we’re confined to the rooms I think the mood has changed slightly.
“It would be bad enough if you were kept within the hotel grounds, but being confined to your room is pretty boring.”
A person has died of coronavirus in France, the head of the country’s civil service has announced. There are three new cases bringing the total to 17.
The number of infections in Italy has grown to 322, authorities said on Tuesday night – rising 45 per cent in 24 hours.
Eleven people have died, they added.
A reminder of the Department of Health’s latest, as of 2pm yesterday. (Officials are updating their website at 2pm every day.)
It said: “Four further patients in England have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 13.
If more cases are confirmed in the UK, it will be announced as soon as possible by the Chief Medical Officer of the affected country.
As of 25 February, a total of 6,795 people have been tested, of which 6,782 were confirmed negative and 13 positive. These figures now include the 4 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.”