Hubei Has Almost 2,000 New Cases; Ship Evacuations to Begin: Virus Update

Hubei, the Chinese province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, reported 1,933 new cases, slightly higher than a day earlier, and 100 additional deaths.

Foreign governments including the U.S. and Canada are evacuating passengers from a cruise ship in Japan, where 355 people have the coronavirus. At least 40 Americans are among those who fell ill.

China willact to cut corporate taxes and government expenses as the virus hurts production. The global infection total is nearing 70,000.

The first death was reported in Taiwan: a taxi driver in his 60s.

Key Developments

  • BREAKING: Hubei adds 1,933 new cases, up from 1,843 a day earlier
  • Hubei deaths rise by 100, bringing total China fatalities to at least 1,765
  • U.S. charter flights won’t include sick passengers
  • Taiwan’s first death is a taxi driver
  • China pledges moreeconomic stimulus
  • Malaysia Bars Westerdam Cruise Passengers From Entry

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U.S. Evacuates Cruise Passengers From Japan (6:42 a.m. HK)

A pair of aircraft chartered by the State Department have taken off from Tokyo to bring back home Americans evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan, according the U.S. embassy’s website.

More than 40 U.S. citizens infected by the virus aboard the Diamond Princess will stay behind in hospitals. A total of 355 people on the Carnival Corp. cruise have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The passengers will be kept in quarantine for 14 days, separate from other travelers who, because they visited China, are isolated at the U.S. bases.

More than 40 U.S. citizens infected by the virus will stay behind in hospitals.

Canada is using a chartered plane to repatriate Canadians from the ship. Hong Kong also plans to send a plane for its nationals.

Virus to Cause ‘Demand Shock’ for Copper (4:30 p.m. NY)

Disruptions from the coronavirus and other “significant” knock-on effects will lead to a full-year demand loss for copper of 300,000 metric tons, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in an analysis that assumes the outbreak is contained to the first quarter.

Disruptions at smelters could reduce production, partially offsetting the impact of declining demand.

Read the full storyhere.

Briton on Ship Feels ‘Forgotten’ (4:15 p.m. NY)

The U.K. is ignoring British citizens trapped on the quarantined Diamond Princess in Japan as other nations charter aircraft for evacuation flights, one passenger said in a video posting.

David Abel, traveling with his wife, Sally, said passengers on the ship docked in Yokohama are aware that the U.S., Canada and Italy are flying their citizens home. Passengers are getting despondent, he said.

“Every country, except the U.K., has become involved and that is really wonderful,” he said in a video message on YouTube. “Can I just tell you, U.K., how this makes me really feel? It feels that we have been forgotten, that you don’t really care about us and that you’re actually not wanting us to come home.”

Abel said the couple is confined to the cabin and wear a mask when they open the door. They’ve been interviewed by British TV during the ordeal. He said fewer than 80 Britons are on the ship.

Separately, Australia is considering plans to bring back its citizens this week, and a decision could be made as soon as Monday, Australian Associated Press said.

The ship, with 355 ill passengers, is the largest infection cluster outside China.

China, Asia Bulk Up Against Virus (3 p.m. NY)

China, Hong Kong and Singapore are pledging extra fiscal stimulus to counter the economic hit from the coronavirus.

China will enact more-efficient stimulus measures, including lower corporate taxes. Hong Kong faces “tsunami-like” shocks that may lead to a record budget deficit. Singapore, which is losing as many as 20,000 tourists a day to travel curbs, will get a “strong” package of budget measures this week.

Read full storyhere.

U.A.E. Reports Ninth Case (12:10 p.m. NY)

A 37-year-old Chinese man in the United Arab Emirates has been confirmed with the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health & Prevention said Sunday, becoming the nation’s ninth case. His condition is stable, the ministry said in a Facebook post.

40 Americans Infected on Japan Liner (10:45 a.m. NY)

Forty U.S. passengers from the Diamond Princess liner are infected and will go to a Japanese hospital rather than take a State Department evacuation flight, a top U.S. health official said.

Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said anybody from the ship, docked in Yokohama, showing symptoms virus will be kept off the flight, which is due to leave Japan early Monday morning.

Fauci said the outbreak that began in China last month and has spread to more than two dozen nations is on the verge of becoming a global pandemic if containment steps fail to show more success.

He dismissed President Donald Trump’s suggestion the virus will diminish in warmer weather, saying on “Face the Nation” on CBS, “we do not know what this particular virus is going to do.” Trump has linked weather and the virus in atweet.

Malaysia Says Westerdam Passengers Negative for Virus (9:42 a.m. NY)

Six passengers who were quarantined after arriving in Malaysia from the Westerdam cruise ship in Cambodia have tested negative for the virus, Malaysia’s health ministry said. The two Americans and four Dutch nationals arrived on a flight with an 83-year-old woman who tested positive for the coronavirus twice after arrival.

Taiwan Victim Worked as Taxi Driver (9:23 a.m. NY)

The deceased was a taxi driver, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control said in a statement late Sunday. He carried three passengers returning to Taiwan from China, Hong Kong and Macau, who later visited doctors for respiratory symptoms. CDC is tracking the three people and all close contacts of the man who died.

Singapore Reports Three New Cases (9 a.m. NY)

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said in a statement it has verified three additional cases of COVID-19 infection. Two are linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God and the other to a previous case.

Hospital Head Says Coronavirus Turning Point Reached (8:45 a.m. NY)

The turning point for the novel coronavirus epidemic has been reached and the number of new outbreaks is declining, the state-run China Central Television reports, citing Wang Xinghuan, head of Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital.

The number of people with a fever has been sliding steadily and has never rebounded, Wang was cited as saying.

Some Positive Economic Signs From Epidemic, Xinhua Says (8:05 a.m. NY)

The novel coronavirus epidemic had some temporary impact on China’s economy but won’t overwhelm it, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary on its website. The Chinese economy is a sea, not a small pond, it said.

U.S. Charter Flights Are Last Chance to Leave for Weeks (7 a.m. NY)

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo told Americans on the Diamond Princess that the charter flights leaving today are the only opportunity to fly to the U.S. until March 4 at the earliest. No symptomatic or infected passengers will be allowed to board. Passengers who remain on the ship until Feb. 19 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine before they can board commercial flights to the U.S.

Taiwan Confirms First Death From Coronavirus (6:13 a.m. NY)

Taiwan reported the first death from coronavirus on Sunday, and added two more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 20, according to a statement from the country’s Centers for Disease Control via text message. The man in his 60s had a history of hepatitis B and diabetes, the CDC said in astatement on its website. He went to the hospital on Feb. 3 with shortness of breath and died from pneumonia and sepsis on Feb. 15.

— With assistance by Abeer Abu Omar, Ryan Beene, Dong Lyu, and Jing Jin

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