The novel coronavirus outbreak that began in December in Wuhan, China, has now spread to more than 25 countries and regions. If you’re just joining us now, here’s what has happened today:
- Cases rise: There are a total of 28,273 confirmed cases and 565 deaths globally, the vast majority of which are in mainland China. Some countries have seen a surge in cases; Japan now has 45 cases, the highest number for a country outside China.
- Youngest patient: Two newborn infants are infected in Wuhan, according to China’s state broadcaster. The youngest baby was diagnosed just 30 hours after being born to a mother who had also been infected. Experts warn it’s unclear how the baby got infected, as there could be various ways it became exposed to the virus.
- Recoveries: There are reports of patients recovering; the first patient in the US was discharged from hospital earlier this week, in Washington state, and the first patient in Taiwan will also be discharged soon.
- Quarantined cruises: More than7,300 people are quarantined on two cruise ships docked in Hong Kong and Japan, after former passengers were confirmed to have the virus. A total of 20 people were found to be infected on the ship in Japan, tests showed today.
Some background: International scientists are developing a treatment and are working to learn more about the coronavirus, but there is still no cure or vaccine.
In the meantime, authorities worldwide are instead responding with emergency measures, travel restrictions, and quarantines to stem the spread of the virus.
But these strict measures have also hit businesses hard. Brands have had to close stores, shipping routes have been disrupted, and airlines have withdrawn flights from Hong Kong after months of declining business.