Chinese authorities have ordered the extension of a public holiday in an effort to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
A working group chaired by Premier Li Keqiang to tackle the outbreak decided “to reduce population flows” by extending the Spring Festival holiday which had been scheduled to end on January 30, state news agency Xinhua said.
It was not immediately clear how long the extension is.
“The meeting stressed that the country is at a crucial time in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, urging Party committees and governments at all levels to take more ‘decisive, powerful and orderly, scientific and well-planned’ measures to effective curb the spread,” Xinhua reported.
Fourth case in the US confirmed
Health officials in Los Angeles County have confirmed a fourth United States case of the coronavirus.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Sunday the infected person presented themselves for care once they noticed they were not feeling well and is currently receiving medical attention.
The person is a returning traveller from Wuhan City, China.
US consulate to evacuate staff from epidemic-stricken Wuhan
The US Consulate in the epidemic-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan will evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight Tuesday.
The embassy in Beijing said there would be limited capacity to transport US citizens on the flight which will travel to San Francisco.
It said that in the event there are not enough seats, priority will be given to to individuals “at greater risk from coronavirus”.
Alibaba’s Taobao takes down overpriced face masks
Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace has removed sales of face masks from shops that show “unstable prices or false advertising” as prices for the products surged as Chinese consumers race to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak.
The newly identified coronavirus has created alarm because much about it is still unknown, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.
France to repatriate citizens from Wuhan as virus spreads
France’s government announced it will repatriate hundreds of French citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Those French citizens who want to leave Wuhan will be taken on a direct flight to France in the middle of the week, and then held in quarantine for 14 days, the French health minister announced, after a special government meeting to discuss the spreading virus.
France is joining other countries planning evacuations from Wuhan, which is under lockdown by the Chinese government.
Taiwan offers help to China to help fight coronavirus
Taiwan’s vice president-elect on Sunday offered help to rival China to fight the new coronavirus outbreak, as authorities in the island further tightened restrictions on visitors from China to prevent its spread.
“It is incumbent upon Taiwan to take part, and help China to solve this serious epidemic, so as not to allow it to continue to spread, and that the sick can get appropriate treatment to return to help,” he said.
Taiwan has close economic and cultural links with China and has so far reported four cases of the virus.
Taiwan confirms fourth case
Taiwanese officials on Sunday announced a fourth case of the new coronavirus.
Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang confirmed that a woman in her 50s had been infected with the new coronavirus.
He said the woman had travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and afterwards to Europe.
Tsou Tsung-pei, a physician for the CDC, said the woman’s vital signs were stable and she is currently quarantined at a hospital for further tests.
Canadian patient with China virus showed symptoms on plane
Canadian officials said they are tracking down airline passengers and others who were in close contact with the first person in the country detected with an emerging virus that originated in China.
Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the man, who is in his 50’s, had mild symptoms when he flew from Wuhan to Guangzhou, China, and then on to Toronto.
Tam said officials are locating passengers who were within a 2-meter radius of the man’s seat or anyone who may have served or helped him.
Hong Kong to ban entry of people from Hubei
Hong Kong’s government will ban residents of the Hubei province, where the new coronavirus outbreak was first reported, or those who have visited the province in the past 14 days from entering the city starting Monday.
The rule does not apply to Hong Kong residents, it added in a statement, without providing an end date to the ban.
China scrambles to contain ‘strengthening’ virus
The ability of the new coronavirus to spread is strengthening and infections could continue to rise.
China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said the incubation period for the virus can range from one to 14 days, during which infection can occur, which was not the case with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
SARS was a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.
“According to recent clinical information, the virus’ ability to spread seems to be getting somewhat stronger,” Ma told reporters.
The Lunar New Year holiday, traditionally celebrated by hundreds of millions of Chinese travelling around the country and abroad to see family, began on Friday but has been severely disrupted by the outbreak.
Ma said China would intensify its containment efforts, which have so far included transportation and travel curbs and the cancellation of big events.
Mayor of China’s Wuhan expects another 1,000 cases in the city
The mayor of China’s Wuhan, epicentre of the outbreak, said he expects another 1,000 new patients in the city, highlighting the immense pressure on its infrastructure.
Wuhan’s city government will step up construction of specialised hospitals to deal with infected patients, Mayor Zhou Xianwang told reporters.
The pressure on supplies of medical goods such as protective suits, masks and glasses had largely eased, he said, thanks in part to increased private donations.
Wuhan, a city of about 11 million and capital of Hubei province, has been under virtual lockdown amid intensifying efforts to contain the outbreak.
Hubei Province Governor Wang Xiaodong also told reporters during the briefing he feels “agonised” and responsible for the outbreak.
500 Pakistani students in Wuhan: Pakistan
More than 500 Pakistani students and other community members are living in Wuhan, the Pakistani foreign office said in a press release.
So far, no Pakistani living in China has been reported infected by the coronavirus, the statement said.
“The community has been reassured of full support and requested to follow health protocols issued by the Chinese authorities and stay indoors,” read the press release.
Hong Kong protesters torch planned quarantine building
A group of protesters has set alight the lobby of a newly built residential building in Hong Kong that authorities plan to use as a quarantine facility.
A witness told Reuters news agency that they saw a group of masked protesters, clad in black, rush into the public housing block in Hong Kong’s Fanling district near the border with China and set alight a Molotov cocktail before running out.
Black smoke could be seen pouring from the building to the sound of fire alarms. Windows were smashed.
Sydney to replace Nanjing as host for Women’s Olympic Qualifiers
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has informed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that it is withdrawing as host of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 Asian Qualifiers Final Round – Group B in Nanjing.
The AFC has nominated Sydney, Australia as the replacement host for the group, which involves Australia, China, Taipei and Thailand, an AFC press release said.
The AFC had previously agreed to switch the venue from Wuhan to Nanjing amid concerns over the outbreak.
Thailand holds emergency meeting as 8th case confirmed
Thailand’s health minister called an emergency meeting with the transport and tourism ministries amid rising public discontent over the government’s handling of the outbreak.
“We can control the situation and are confident in our ability to handle the crisis,” Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters.
Eight cases have been reported in Thailand. Anutin added that three of the people infected were being treated and five had recovered and gone home.
Pope Francis praises China’s containment efforts
Pope Francis has praised China’s efforts to contain the outbreak and said he was praying for the dead, the sick and the families of victims.
“I would like also to be close and to pray for the people who are sick because of the virus that has spread through China,” Francis told the tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square for his weekly message and blessing.
“May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort families and sustain the great commitment by the Chinese community that has already been put in place to combat the epidemic,” he said.
‘Either the virus, the hunger or the fear will kill us’: Wuhan resident
Thousands of foreign students and other international residents live in Wuhan, which has been on lockdown for several days.
“In the past week, we’ve not been able to go out and buy anything to eat,” Mashal Jamalzai, a political science student from Afghanistan told AFP news agency.
He said he and his classmates have been living on biscuits and that his embassy had not responded to requests for help.
“We want to be evacuated as soon as possible, because either the virus, the hunger or the fear will kill us,” Jamalzai said.
China: Two provinces, three cities order residents to wear masks
Two Chinese provinces and three cities have ordered citizens to wear face masks in public to help control the spread of the virus.
The measure is required in the provinces of Guangdong in the south and Jiangxi in the centre, plus the eastern city of Nanjing, Ma’anshan city in Anhui province and Xinyang city in Henan, according to local authorities.
Japan confirms fourth case
Japan has confirmed a fourth case of infection by the new coronavirus, public broadcaster NHK said, citing the health ministry.
The case was confirmed in a resident of Wuhan in his 40s who arrived in Japan for a holiday on January 22.
The man was hospitalised in Aichi prefecture, central Japan, and tested positive for the virus, NHK said.
What has China learned from the SARS epidemic?
An outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) killed nearly 800 people worldwide between 2002 and 2003.
China, where the disease originated, was widely criticised for a lack of transparency, which experts say allowed transmission to accelerate.
Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, reporting from Hong Kong, examines how the lessons of SARS are shaping China’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak.
Hubei cities fearful as medical supplies run low
Doctors working in the centre of the new coronavirus outbreak tell Al Jazeera they have resorted to using raincoats and plastic bags as protective suits amid dwindling supplies.
Macau confirms three new cases
Macau, a Chinese gambling hub hugely popular with mainland tourists, has confirmed three new cases of the new coronavirus.
Macau’s Health Bureau (SSM) said the three new cases were detected in women who were residents of Wuhan.
Eleven others are under observation in hospital, the SSM said.
Hong Kong confirms sixth case
Officials from Hong Kong’s health authority and hospital department have confirmed the sixth case of the coronavirus in the semi-autonomous territory.
Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, reporting from Hong Kong, said the officials also told reporters that the number of suspected cases has now gone up by 77, taking it to more than 380.
Brown added that officials announced that a former holiday camp would be converted into a quarantine centre.
Paris cancels Lunar New Year parade
Paris-based Chinese associations have cancelled a Lunar New Year parade, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said.
“I have met with the Chinese community in Paris. They are very emotional and concerned and they have decided to cancel the parade that was scheduled for this afternoon at Place de la Republique,” Hidalgo told Europe 1 radio.
Smaller celebrations went ahead in the French capital on Sunday [Michel Euler/AP Photo]
“They are really not in a mood to party now,” she added