Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates
LATEST UPDATE: February 24, 2020 - 3:29pm
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4 hours ago

Authorities in Wuhan on Monday reversed a decision that would have allowed some people to leave the quarantined city at the centre of China's deadly virus epidemic, and reprimanded officials who had made the announcement.

The city government said in a statement that the previous announcement had been made by a traffic prevention and control group "without the consent" of the local leadership.

"The announcement is declared invalid. In this regard, we have seriously dealt with the relevant personnel," the city said on its official account on Twitter-like Weibo.

"Wuhan resolutely implements the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions on 'preventing leaks (of the virus)' ... strictly manages the passages leaving from Wuhan, strictly controls personnel, and strictly prevents the epidemic from going out," it said.  — AFP

10 hours ago

Israel confirms its second case of the new coronavirus — a second returned citizen from the stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess.

"Another passenger who returned from the cruise ship in Japan has tested positive," a health ministry statement said.

"The patient is in isolation and under supervision and was not infected in Israel," it said.

The first case was announced on Friday. — AFP

10 hours ago

Iran's confirmed death toll from the new coronavirus rises to eight, the highest outside China, sending neighbouring countries scrambling to contain the outbreak.

Four immediate neighbours of the Islamic republic — Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Armenia — said on Sunday they would close land borders, while three imposed restrictions on air traffic, amid growing regional concerns about the spread of the virus.

Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities have already banned travel to and from Iran.

Lebanon has confirmed its first case — a 45-year-old Lebanese woman who had travelled from Qom in Iran — and Israel on Sunday quarantined at home nearly 200 school pupils who came into contact with South Korean tourists who contracted the virus. — AFP

10 hours ago

Armenia will close its border with Iran and suspend flights, Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian announced Sunday, as fears over a deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in Iran sent neighbouring countries scrambling to contain the outbreak.     

"Iran-Armenia air links and the entry of people into Armenia via the Meghri checkpoint", the only border crossing between the nations, "will be suspended", he said in a post on Twitter, adding that the measure was set to last two weeks. 

A special committee tasked with preventing the spread of the virus in Armenia will meet on Monday to discuss other possible steps in view of the situation in Iran, Pachinian said.

"There is no reason to be overcome by panic," he added. — AFP

10 hours ago

An elderly woman in hospital for cancer who tested positive for the new coronavirushas died, health officials in Italy said on Sunday. 

"She had been hospitalised for a few days," said Giulio Gallera, the health chief of the northern Lombardy region, the centre of a coronavirus outbreak. "She'd been tested and they already knew she had the coronavirus."

If coronavirus is determined to be the cause of death, the woman will be the third person in Italy to have died from the so-called COVID-19 epidemic. — AFP

1 day ago

Nearly 200 Israeli pupils were ordered to begin a two-week quarantine from Sunday after having come into contact with South Korean tourists who contracted the coronavirus, the education ministry said.

South Korean members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus toured Israeli sites between February 8-15 and upon their return home 18 of them were discovered to be infected with the virus.

Israel's health ministry urged people who might have encountered them to self-quarantine, including 180 pupils and 19 staff from three separate schools who it said had close contact with the South Korean visitors.

The pupils and staff, including 18 teachers and a guard, were ordered "to remain home" for 14 days, the education ministry said. — AFP

1 day ago

South Korea is raising its alert level on the new coronavirus to the "highest", President Moon Jae-in said Sunday, in the face of a sudden spike in the number of infections.

"The COVID-19 incident faces a grave turning point. The next few days will be crucial," Moon said following a government meeting on the virus.

"The government will raise the alert level to the highest level according to experts' recommendations," he added.

South Korea has seen a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases in recent days after a cluster of infections emerged from a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu last week.

The national toll of 556 cases is now the highest outside China, apart from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. — AFP

1 day ago


Around 100 more passengers were allowed to disembark from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on Saturday as Japan's health minister apologised after 23 others were allowed to leave without being properly tested.

The news came as a Japanese woman who left the ship on Wednesday tested positive for the virus after returning home to Tochigi Prefecture, Kyodo news agency reported, citing the prefectural government.

She is the first person to have tested positive for the virus among the group of approximately 970 passengers who disembarked earlier this week, it said.

The 100 passengers who left on Saturday had been in close contact with infected people on board, local media said.

They included the last group of Japanese passengers to leave the ship, while some foreign passengers were still waiting on board for their governments to send chartered aircraft. — AFP 

2 days ago

A second person in Italy has died from complications from the new coronavirus, Italian news agency ANSA says on Saturday. 

The death of a woman in the northern region of Lombardy follows that of a 78-year-old man who died on Friday. The new wave of cases in Italy's northern regions have triggered shut-downs of shops, offices and community centers. — AFP

2 days ago

Iran reports one more death among 10 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the Islamic republic to five and infections to 28.

"We have 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour says on state television. "One of the new cases has unfortunately passed away." — AFP

2 days ago

Local media say some 100 passengers who were in close contact with infected people on board began disembarking from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship.

They included the last batch of Japanese passengers to leave the ship while some foreign passengers were still waiting on board for chartered aircraft to be sent by their governments. Around 970 passengers disembarked earlier this week. — AFP

2 days ago

The Department of Health says the repatriation of Filipinos on board M/V Diamond Princess Cruise ship was suspended. 

"This is to allow the Japanese health authorities to complete the laboratory testing of the 400-plus Filipino crew members aboard the ship and comply with the established Japanese quarantine protocols," the DOH says in a statement.

2 days ago

The British government says it had begun repatriating its citizens from a cruise ship quarantined off Tokyo for more than two weeks by Japanese authorities over the coronavirus outbreak.

"We can confirm the evacuation flight from Japan has now departed with 32 British and European passengers on board, as well as British government and medical staff. It is due to arrive in the UK on Saturday morning," the Foreign Office says in a statement. — AFP

2 days ago

The Ministry of Health and Prevention of the United Arab Emirates says a Filipino was among the two new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

Besides the Filipino, a Bangladeshi was also confirmed carrying the deadly virus. Both "had close contact with the recently confirmed cases of the Chinese citizen."
 

2 days ago

Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers postpone training for their army of volunteers due to the coronavirus outbreak but reiterated that there was "no consideration" of cancelling the Games.

In a press release published in the early hours of Saturday morning, Tokyo 2020 says: "As part of efforts to prevent the spread of infection of the novel coronavirus, we have decided to postpone training scheduled from tomorrow (February 22)." — AFP

3 days ago

Iran says two more deaths among 13 new cases of coronavirus.

3 days ago

Chinese wrestlers gunning for a place at this summer's Tokyo Olympics are training in quarantine in Serbia after a qualifying event was moved from China to Kyrgyzstan because of the coronavirus.

The Chinese athletes "are going through an extensive quarantine process" in the Serbian capital Belgrade and will then fly to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for the Asian Olympic qualifier on March 27-29, United World Wrestling (UWW) says. — AFP

3 days ago

Iran has confirmed three new coronavirus cases following the deaths of two elderly men, the health ministry says, as Iraq banned travel to and from its neighbour.

The pair who died were elderly Iranian citizens and residents of the city of Qom. They were the first confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus in the Middle East. — AFP

3 days ago

Health officials say two Australians who have been diagnosed with coronavirus after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship had earlier tested negative in Japan.

Department of health officials say that all 164 Australians who were returned home earlier this week "were tested for COVID-19 in Japan and returned negative results".

Officials stress that the development of some positive cases among cleared evacuees was "not unexpected", given the continued spread of the disease onboard after testing began. — AFP

3 days ago

Two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus, authorities says, raising questions about Japan's policy of allowing evacuees from the ship to move freely after testing negative for the disease. 

"We have two people who are positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those two people have mild illness," says Dianne Stephens, acting chief health officer for the Northern Territories.

Some 164 Australians aboard the Diamond Princess were cleared for transfer from the ship to quarantine in Australia's remote north. — AFP

3 days ago

Dozens of people protested Thursday outside a hospital in central Ukraine and some briefly clashed with police over plans to quarantine evacuees from coronavirus-hit China in the facility, officials said.

The protest took place in the central Poltava region as Kiev repatriated dozens of nationals and foreigners from China and President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his compatriots to show solidarity.

Dozens of protesters blocked a road near a hospital in the town of Novi Sanzhary even before authorities confirmed the site would hold evacuees.

A plane carrying 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreign nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, arrived Thursday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. — AFP

February 20, 2020

A cluster of novel coronavirus infections centred on a sect in the South Korean city of Daegu leaps to 39 cases, with its mayor advising residents to stay indoors as the country's total spiked for the second successive day.

Almost half the country's patients are linked to a 61-year-old woman who is a member of the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, an entity often accused of being a cult. — AFP

February 20, 2020

China's efforts to control the outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus "are working", Foreign Minister Wang Yi insists Thursday, attributing an easing in new cases to his country's "forceful action" against the illness.

"China is not only protecting its own people but also the rest of the world," he tells Southeast Asian counterparts at a summit in Laos. — AFP

February 20, 2020

Media reports say two elderly coronavirus patients from a quarantined cruise ship off Japan have died, citing a government source.

A man and a woman in their 80s who had been infected have died, public broadcaster NHK and other media say.

No immediate confirmation was available from the health ministry. They would be the first fatal cases among more than 600 confirmed on the ship. — AFP

February 20, 2020

China announces biggest drop in new virus cases in almost a month. 

February 20, 2020

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 2,112 on Thursday after 108 more people died in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicentre of the outbreak.

Most of the deaths were in the provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, according to the daily update from the Hubei health commission.

More than 74,500 people have now been infected with the new coronavirus nationwide.

Hubei health officials said there had been 615 new cases in Wuhan and 13 more elsewhere in the province. — AFP

February 19, 2020

The health ministry says an additional 79 cases of coronavirus have been discovered aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, bringing the total to 621.

The new figures come as an initial batch of passengers began disembarking after enduring a 14-day quarantine and then testing negative for the virus. — AFP

February 19, 2020

The first Filipino crew member of Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess, who tested positive for COVID-19, has recovered from the deadly virus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, together with the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, confirmed that the Filipino patient has been successfully treated and will be discharged Wednesday.

A total of 40 other Filipinos infected by the virus remain in medical facilities in and around the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

"The Embassy is in touch with those who have been admitted to the hospitals in order to ensure their well-being and to provide them any assistance they need," the DFA said.

February 19, 2020

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. orders the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo to immediately repatriate Filipino nationals aboard Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess.

"It's our duty to take care [of] our Overseas Filipinos wherever they are. I want them home now!" Locsin tweeted.

 

 

February 19, 2020

An elderly Hong Kong man who contracted the new coronavirus died on Wednesday, authorities announce, the second fatality from the outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.  

"A 70-year-old male patient who was infected with the novel coronavirus deteriorated and succumbed in Princess Margaret Hospital this morning," the Hospital Authority says in a statement.

Officials say the man was taken to hospital on 12 February after a fall at home. He had a fever and tested positive for the virus, dying a week later. — AFP

February 19, 2020

Filipino workers returning to Hong Kong and Macau will be required to sign a declaration stating that they are aware of the risks involved amid the Coronavirus Disease outbreak.

The DFA said newly-hired Filipino workers will also be exempted from the travel ban as long as they sign the form that can be obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

"Aside from the travel ban exemption for OFWs, the recent resolution also allowed permanent residents of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions and Filipinos leaving to study abroad, to travel to Hong Kong and Macau," the DFA said Wednesday.

February 19, 2020

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 2,000 on Wednesday after 136 more people died, with the number of new cases falling for a second straight day, according to the National Health Commission.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,185.

The death toll rose to 2,004, with most of the deaths in central Hubei province, where the virus first emerged in December before spiralling into a nationwide epidemic.

In its daily update, the National Health Commission reported 1,749 new cases of people infected with the virus nationwide, the lowest number of new cases this month. — AFP

February 18, 2020

The health ministry says an additional 88 people have tested positive for coronavirus on a quarantined cruise ship off the Japan coast.

The new cases came from a total of 681 fresh results, the ministry said, taking the total number of positive cases on the Diamond Princess to 542. — AFP

February 18, 2020

AirAsia announces flights between the Philippines and Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan will resume soon with the Philippines' travel ban on Taiwan lifted.

February 18, 2020

 Malacañang says Filipino migrant workers can now return to their jobs in Hong Kong and Macau.

“Those OFWs going back would have to make written declaration that they know the risk of going back to their place of work,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says.

February 18, 2020

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay announces that the travel ban for Filipino workers returning to Hong Kong and Macau has been lifted.

Dulay tweeted that the OFWs returning for work in these areas will be exempted from the outbound travel ban by the Department of Health's Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

 

 

February 18, 2020

Officials have launched Task Force NCov, covering Lamitan City, to enforce measures preventing the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in its barangays.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman and Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay have agreed to cooperate in overseeing the operation of the task force, according to separate statements on Tuesday by their respective offices. — The STAR/John Unson

February 18, 2020

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,800 on Tuesday after 93 more people died in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicentre of the outbreak.

In its daily update, the province's health commission also reported 1,807 new cases, a smaller number of infections compared to those declared on Monday.

The new cases mean more than 72,300 people have now been affected across the country.

Most of the cases are in Hubei, where the virus first emerged in December before spiralling into a nationwide epidemic.

Tuesday's jump in the death toll was also lower than the increase reported Monday, bringing the national number of deaths to 1,863. — AFP

February 17, 2020

Organizers cancel Tokyo marathon for 38,000 amateur runners over virus — AFP

February 17, 2020

An additional 99 people have tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship off the Japan coast, Japanese media said Monday, citing new figures from the health ministry.

That would take the total number of positive cases on the Diamond Princess to 454. The health ministry declined to confirm the reports immediately. — AFP

February 17, 2020

More than a dozen infected Americans from a coronavirus-riddled cruise ship off Japan flew on evacuation flights to the US with other passengers on Monday, as the epidemic claimed more lives in China to take the death toll above 1,700.

The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 70,500 people in its epicentre of China and sparked panic buying, economic jitters and the cancellation of high-profile sporting and cultural events.

With fresh cases emerging daily in Japan, the government has advised citizens to avoid mass gatherings, and on Monday cancelled celebrations for the Emperor's birthday — an annual jamboree that sees thousands of well-wishers descend on central Tokyo.— AFP

February 17, 2020

The Department of Health in a briefing says 453 patients under investigation have since tested negative for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

It also says that 221 of the 280 contacts??—people who may have come into contact with?—the first confirmed COVID-19 cases have completed the 14-day quarantine period.

February 17, 2020

Sixteen more Filipinos onboard Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID-19 as of February 15. This brings the total number of infected Filipinos to 27.

The Japanese Health Ministry is set to tes all crew and passengers aboard the ship Monday so that results will be available by the end of the quarantine period.

"The Embassy is in close coordination with the relevant Philippine and Japanese government agencies, and representatives of the World Health Organization and Princess Cruises to ensure that the needs of the Filipino crew and passengers are met and to facilitate their return to the Philippines," the DFA said.

February 17, 2020

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,700 on Monday after 100 more people died in hard-hit Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

In its daily update, the province's health commission also reported 1,933 new cases.

At least 70,400 people have now been infected nationwide.

Most are in Hubei, where the virus first emerged in December before spiralling into a nationwide epidemic.

The number of new cases in the province had been declining since a large spike last week when officials changed their criteria for counting cases to include people diagnosed through lung imaging.

Monday's figures were around 100 higher than those on Sunday but still sharply down on those from Friday and Saturday. — AFP

February 16, 2020

The number of people infected with the deadly new coronavirus on a quarantined ship off Japan has risen to 355, the country's health minister said Sunday, as the United States, Canada and Hong Kong prepare to repatriate their residents on board.

The figure is a jump of 70 cases from a government tally released Saturday and comes as Katsunobu Kato voiced worries that the rising infection count among the nation's general population could mean the virus's spread has entered a new phase.

"So far, we have conducted tests for 1,219 individuals. Of those, 355 people tested positive," Kato told a roundtable discussion for public broadcaster NHK on conditions aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. — AFP

February 16, 2020

The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,600 on Sunday after 139 more people died in hard-hit Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

In its daily update, the province's health commission also reported 1,843 fresh cases — the third day that reported new infections declined in the province.

At least 1,662 people have now died from the outbreak that first emerged in Hubei's capital, Wuhan, in December and spiralled into a nationwide epidemic.

More than 68,000 people have now been infected, with most deaths occurring in Hubei. — AFP

February 15, 2020

France announces first coronavirus death outside Asia. 

February 15, 2020

Japan's health minister says another 67 people on board a cruise ship quarantined off the country's coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The new cases, from 217 tests, bring the number of people diagnosed on the Diamond Princess to 285, excluding a quarantine officer who also contracted the illness. — AFP

February 15, 2020

Egypt's health ministry announces the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Africa.

The sufferer was not Egyptian, the ministry says in a statement, without specifying the nationality. — AFP

February 15, 2020

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic surged past 1,500 after 143 more people died in the country, according to official data.

The National Health Commission also reports 2,641 new cases of the COVID-19 strain, with the vast majority in hard-hit central Hubei province. — AFP

February 14, 2020

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen thanks the Philippine government for lifting the travel ban on Taiwan.

"The Philippines is one of our closest neighbors," she says in a statement.

"We will continue to promote bilateral exchanges and understanding. In particular, I would like to say to my Filipino friends working, studying and traveling to Taiwan that Taiwan will work hard to stop [the] Wuhan pneumonia," the Taiwanese leader added.

February 14, 2020

Olympic chiefs admit they face a "very big communications job" to soothe concerns over the coronavirus epidemic in the run-up to this summer's Tokyo Games.

The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) coordination commission insists there was no danger of Tokyo 2020 being cancelled or moved, despite fears over the fast-spreading virus which has killed nearly 1,400 and infected around 64,000 -- most of them in China. — AFP

February 14, 2020

The Philippine government announces that it has lifted its travel ban against Taiwan.

February 14, 2020

China says 6 health workers died from virus, 1,716 infected,

February 14, 2020

The new coronavirus outbreak could mean a reduction of $4-5 billion in worldwide airline revenue, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says. 

The UN agency reported that 70 airlines have canceled all international flights in and out of China and 50 others have reduced their operations. — AFP 

February 14, 2020

Passengers on a cruise ship that was turned away from ports around Asia over fears they could be carrying the new coronavirus finally begins disembarking in Cambodia.

Cambodia's strongman premier Hun Sen welcomed around 100 tourists who were handed flowers as they stepped ashore after an uncertain two weeks at sea. — AFP

February 14, 2020

The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic rose to 1,483 on Friday but the number of new infections in hard-hit Hubei province fell after a change in case definitions caused a massive increase the previous day.

The central province's health commission reported 116 more deaths and 4,823 new cases, the majority involving "clinically diagnosed" patients.

The province, the epicentre of the outbreak, had 242 more deaths and over 14,800 new cases on Thursday.

More than 64,600 people have now been infected in the country.

Health officials in Hubei said they started to count clinically diagnosed cases to ensure that patients get treated as early as possible instead of having to wait for laboratory tests to confirm they have the COVID-19 disease.

But the change raised concerns that the crisis may be more serious than Chinese authorities have reported. — AFP

February 13, 2020

Japan announces first death of person infected with COVID-19. 

February 13, 2020

All the 11 Filipinos from Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess who tested positive for COVID-19 are confined in various hospitals in and around the Tokyo area, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

As of Thursday, there are no Filipinos included in the new group of 44 persons who tested positive for the deadly virus.

"The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is in regular communication with the Filipinos in the hospitals and note that they are responding well to treatment," the DFA said.

Filipinos who are in hospital and those who remain onboard the Japanese cruise ship are receiving care packages containing toiletries and non-medical supplies from the Philippine Embassy in coordination with the Japanese government.

February 13, 2020

China has demoted the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the State Council sayw Thursday, following months of pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city. 

Zhang Xiaoming was re-appointed as a deputy director of the office, and will be replaced by Xia Baolong as director, who is secretary-general of China's top political advisory body. — AFP

February 13, 2020

Japan's health minister says another 44 people on board a cruise ship moored off Japan's coast have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato says the 44 new cases were detected from another 221 new tests. They raise the number of infections detected on the Diamond Princess to 218, in addition to a quarantine officer who also tested positive for the virus. — AFP

February 13, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Filipino nation to remain calm and stay vigilant amid the threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19. 

"The government, together with World Health Organization, medical societies and partners in private sector, is addressing the challenge and preparing for any eventuality," Duterte said in a recorded video message.

The president noted that there are only three confirmed cases of the virus in the country, none of whom are Filipino nationals. He also stressed that there is no evidence yet of local transmission in the Philippines.

February 12, 2020

The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed because of the "continued spread" of the deadly coronavirus, motorsport's governing body FIA announces.

FIA says promotors of the Shanghai race had requested a postponement "in view of the continued spread of novel coronavirus," now named COVID-19. — AFP

February 12, 2020

The coronavirus crisis, which has already battered oil prices, threatens to further undercut Gulf economies battling a downturn and struggling to wean themselves from a decades-old energy addiction.

The six Gulf states -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates -- count China as their main trading partner and crude buyer, which soaks up about a fifth of their oil.

But China's energy demand has sagged as authorities lock down millions of people in several cities to prevent the spread of the disease, now named COVID-19, that has killed more than 1,100 people so far. — AFP

February 12, 2020

The Department of Health says in an afternoon briefing on Wednesday, February 12, that it has listed 408 Patients Under Investigation for possible COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 is the new and official World Health Organization name for the novel coronavirus previously referred to as 2019-nCoV.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo says of that the number, 238 have been admitted to hospitals and 165 have been discharged.

February 12, 2020

An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japan coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato says, bringing the total to 174.

"Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive," he tells reporters, adding that a quarantine official had also been infected with the virus.

He adds that: "At this point, we have confirmed that four people, among those who are hospitalised, are in a serious condition, either on a ventilator or in an intensive care unit." — AFP

February 12, 2020

The number of fatalities from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,110 nationwide on Wednesday after hard-hit Hubei province reported 94 new deaths.

In its daily update, Hubei's health commission also confirmed another 1,638 new cases in the central province, where the outbreak emerged in December.

There are now more than 44,200 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.

The new virus is believed to have emerged last year in a market that sells wild animals in Hubei's capital Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak.

The virus was officially named "COVID-19" at a conference in Geneva held by the World Health Organization, where the body's chief said countries had a chance of stopping its global spread. — AFP

February 11, 2020

The World Health Organization warns the novel coronavirus was a "very grave threat" for the world as he opened a conference to combat the epidemic.

"With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says in Geneva. — AFP

February 11, 2020

China tightens restrictions at the locked-down epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, forbidding feverish people in Wuhan from visiting hospitals outside of their home districts.

The measure comes a day after authorities sealed off residential compounds in the central city, where the deadly novel coronavirus is believed to have originated in a market selling wild animals.  

Wuhan has been under effective quarantine since January 23 when the government suspended transport links out of the city in a bid to contain the virus, which has so far killed 1,016 people and infected more than 42,600 across China. — AFP

February 11, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 42,638 nationwide with nearly 2,500 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Tuesday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 108 new deaths from the virus — with 103 in hardest-hit Hubei province — bringing the national toll to 1,016 fatalities. — AFP

February 11, 2020

Employers should consider allowing their workers to work remotely amid the risk posed by the novel coronavirus, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says in a press statement.

"Para sa mga empleyadong pwede namang ‘work from home,’ dapat may ganoong option (There should be an option for employees who can 'work from home' to do so)," Hontiveros says. 

"Kung hindi naman kailangang mag-commute ang empleyado araw-araw, mas mapapangalagaan ang kalusugan nila kapag pwedeng magtrabaho sa bahay," she adds.

(If the employee can avoid commuting every day, they can take care of their health better if they can work from home)

She also calls on employers to provide workers with necessary protective measures in the workplace like access to running water, soap, alcohol and hand sanitizer.

"Lalung-lalo na sa mga empleyadong nasa frontline at nasa maraming tao, kailangang i-provide ng kumpanya ang mga mahahalagang gamit kagaya ng mask at alcohol," she also says.

(Especially for those on the frontline and who work in crowded places, the company should provide essential protective measures like masks and alcohol)

February 11, 2020

The ban on arrivals from China, Hong Kong and Macau now includes Taiwan, the Bureau of Immigration announces late Monday night.

"We have confirmed with the Department of Justice, which is our mother department, that Taiwan is indeed included in the expanded travel ban," Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says in a release.

Arrivals from places included in the ban who are not Filipinos or permanent residents will be turned away. Filipinos and permanent residents are subject to screening by the Bureau of Quarantine.

Filipinos will not be allowed to leave for the places included in the travel ban.

February 10, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, confirms that four other Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Sunday, February 9, media reports say.

They are now undergoing treatment in Japan.

February 10, 2020

The Department of Health advises the public "to avoid attending, participating in, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees" in light of the risk of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

"To further minimize the risk of contracting 2019-nCoV [Acute Respiratory Disease], the public is advised to avoid crowded places and continue to practice self-protection measures," the DOH says in a statement signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

February 10, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 40,171 nationwide with more than 3,000 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Monday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 97 new deaths from the virus -- with 91 in hardest-hit Hubei province -- bringing the national toll to 908. -- AFP

February 10, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 40,171 nationwide with more than 3,000 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Monday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 97 new deaths from the virus -- with 91 in hardest-hit Hubei province -- bringing the national toll to 908. -- AFP

February 10, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 40,171 nationwide with more than 3,000 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Monday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 97 new deaths from the virus -- with 91 in hardest-hit Hubei province -- bringing the national toll to 908. — AFP

February 9, 2020

Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan assures his constituents that he will "not relent in looking after every Capaseños welfare" as Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan are brought to a quarantine site in New Clark City.

New Clark City is in Capas but is under the jurisdiction of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Residents had opposed keeping the repatriates in New Clark City, citing concerns that Capas would be exposed to the risk of infection from the novel coronavirus.

Local officials said they had not been consulted on the decision to have the repatriates stay in Capas.

Catacutan says the town should "heed the call of the bigger picture" and just cooperate with government.

February 9, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 37,198 nationwide with more than 2,600 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Sunday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 89 new deaths from the virus — with 81 in hardest-hit Hubei province, and the rest in other regions -- bringing the national toll to 811. — Agence France-Presse

February 9, 2020

A repatriation flight for Filipinos in Hubei province in China arrived in the Philippines on Sunday morning in a chartered flight.

DFA Philippines?@DFAPHL

Congrats to the repatriation team from DFA (Rowell Casaclang, Richard Delos Santos, Abdul Rahman Pacasum, Mark Anthony Geguera & Sanny Darren Bejarin) and @DOHgov (Dr. Neptali Labasan, Dr. Oliver Ray Macalinao, Rowell Divinagracia, Elmer Collong & Jose Juan)! ????????????

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The returning Filipinos, who will be put under a mandatory 14-day quarantine, were brought back to the Philippines by a team from the Foreign Affairs and Health departments.

They will be housed at the Athletes' Village in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

Those showing symptoms of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease will be brought to hospitals instead of the quarantine area.

February 8, 2020

Anxious Singapore shoppers form long lines at grocery stores and clear the shelves of essential items, after the city-state raised its alert level over China's coronavirus outbreak.

Since emerging late last year, the virus has killed over 700 people and infected more than 34,000 in China, and spread to many other countries.

Singapore, which has reported 33 cases, raised its alert level Friday to "orange" -- the same as during the deadly 2003 SARS outbreak, indicating the virus is severe and passes easily between people. — AFP

February 8, 2020

Health authorities in Abra say three women who travaled from Hong Kong are being probe for novel coronavirus infection.

Abra provincial health officer Dr. Maria Cristina Valera-Cabrera says the three women, considered persons under investigation, showed mild symptoms of nCov.

February 8, 2020

A Filipino tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory or 2019-nCoV ARD disease in the United Arab Emirates, according to government-run media in the Gulf state.

The Emirates News Agency reports two confirmed cases of the virus: one Filipino and one Chinese national, bringing the total number of nCoV cases in the Philippines to seven.

February 8, 2020

A Japanese man with a suspected coronavirus infection has died in hospital in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the Japanese foreign ministry says.

The man in his 60s had been hospitalised due to severe pneumonia and the hospital reported his death to the Japanese embassy in China, the ministry says in a statement. — AFP

February 8, 2020

US citizen dies of coronavirus in Wuhan: embassy

February 8, 2020

US President Donald Trump says that China is doing a "very professional job" in combating the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump says that he discussed the crisis with President Xi Jinping in a "very good" phone call late Thursday.

"We talked about, mostly about the coronavirus. They're working really hard and I think they're doing a very professional job," he tells reporters at the White House.

Trump says the United States and China were "working together" on the issue. "I think that China will do a very good job." — AFP

February 7, 2020

Hong Kong Airlines says it has been forced to slash hundreds of jobs and ask remaining staff to take unpaid leave as the coronavirus outbreak compounds problems at the already-struggling firm.

The announcement by the city's number two carrier comes days after Cathay Pacific said it had asked all its 27,000 workforce to take three weeks leave without salary between March and June because of collapsing demand caused by the health crisis.

The virus, which has infected 24 people, one of whom died, comes just as the city was struggling to recover from months of sometimes violent protests that battered the economy and gutted the key tourism sector. — AFP

February 7, 2020

The Department of Health says the 38-year-old Chinese woman who was the country's first case of 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease is recovering as she tested negative for the virus. 

The agency says there is a need for a second test before the patient can be discharged. 

February 7, 2020

The first Filipina worker quarantined in Hong Kong tested negative for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease (2019-nCoV ARD).

The Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the Filipina domestic worker has been issued a bill of health and has been discharged by the Hong Kong Department of Health.

"She is now resting in her employer's home which has been thoroughly sanitized by the Hong Kong Department of Health," the DFA said Friday.

February 7, 2020

The number of patients under investigation for the novel coronavirus in the Philippines has risen to 215 as of February 7.

The Department of Health 184 are currently admitted and isolated, none refused admission and 17 have been discharged under strict monitoring.

Another patient under investigation died yesterday due to pneumonia but the DOH noted that the patient had an "underlying lung disease".

February 7, 2020

China announces investigation after whistleblower doctor dies. 

February 7, 2020

The White House says US President Donald Trump expressed his "confidence" in China's ability to tackle the novel coronavirus epidemic during talks with his Beijing counterpart Xi Jinping.

Trump "expressed confidence in China's strength and resilience in confronting the challenge of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak," the White House says in a statement.

"The two leaders agreed to continue extensive communication and cooperation between both sides," it says, following reports in Chinese state media that the two had spoken on the phone about the matter. — AFP

February 7, 2020

Japan's health minister says another 41 people on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan have the new coronavirus, confirming more on board will now be tested for the illness. — AFP

February 7, 2020

Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to consider another facility as isolation areas for suspected novel coronavirus patients.

The mayor said the local government was not consulted in the decision of the Department of Health to use the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac as quarantine zone for Filipinos that will be repatriated from China.

"While it is true that I, as a Filipino, am in favor of the repatriation of OFWs from the province of Hubei, China, I feel perturbed by the fact that Department of Health did not at all, in any way, involve the Capas LGU in its last-minute decision for New Clark City Capas to be used as quarantine zone for these Persons under Monitoring," Catacutan said in a statement.

February 7, 2020

The Filipina household worker who died in Dubai died of pneumonia and tested negative for novel coronavirus, the Dubai government's media office said.

"[Dubai Media Office] denies false statements attributed to the Philippine Labour Secretary regarding a Filipina dying in Dubai due to the coronavirus," the Dubai Media office said on Twitter.

February 7, 2020

The number of total confirmed infections in China from the coronavirus epidemic has climbed to 31,161, the government said on Friday.

The number grew after 3,143 new infections were reported, the National Health Commission said in its daily update. — AFP

February 7, 2020

Another 41 people on board a cruise ship off Japan's coast have tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus, local media including national broadcaster NHK said on Friday.

The new cases raise to 61 the number of people on the Diamond Princess so far diagnosed with the new virus, which has killed more than 600 people — most of them in mainland China where the strain emerged. — AFP

February 7, 2020

The number of confirmed deaths in China from the new-coronavirus outbreak rose on Friday to at least 630 after hard-hit Hubei province reported 69 new fatalities.

In its daily update, Hubei's health commission also confirmed another 2,447 new cases in the province, where the epidemic originated. — AFP

February 6, 2020

There are have now been 178 Patients Under Investigation for potential novel coronavirus infection.

Of those, 48 have tested negative, another 127 are pending test results.

Three were positive, one of whom has died.

Another had returned to China before her sample tested positive after a different sample tested negative.

Of the PUIs, 147 are isolated in hospitals10 have refused admission and 16 have been discharged.

February 6, 2020

Part of New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac will be used as a quarantine facility for Filipinos in Hubei province, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says in a press conference.

The government has initially eyed the use of the massive drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija as the quarantine area, and the Palace has announced that this was where the repatriated Filipinos would stay.

February 6, 2020

Workers making iPhones at tech giant Foxconn's plant in central China will be quarantined for up to two weeks, the company says, as cities on the mainland tighten their defenses against the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Also known by its official name Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn is the world's biggest contract electronics maker and assembles Apple's iPhones as well as gadgets for other international brands.

Foxconn's vast network of factories in China, including one of its largest in Zhengzhou in central Henan province which is dubbed "iPhone City" by workers, are set to resume operations on February 10 after an extended Lunar New Year holiday caused by the outbreak. — AFP

February 6, 2020

Panic buyers in Hong Kong have descended on supermarkets to snap up toilet rolls as the government warned that online rumours of shortages were hampering the city's fight against a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Videos obtained by AFP showed long queues of frantic shoppers packing trolleys with multiple packets of toilet rolls, with some arguments breaking out. — AFP

February 6, 2020
China is now doing what it does best when it wants to control narratives. Authorities are now clamping down on news coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak, The New York Times reported.

The move may end the Chinese public's expressions of frustration over their government's handling of the crisis.

February 6, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 28,018 nationwide with 3,694 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Thursday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 73 new deaths from the virus -- most of them in hardest-hit Hubei province, with three in other regions — bringing the national toll to 563. (AFP)

February 6, 2020

The third case of the novel coronavirus—a 60-year-old woman who was discharged and who went back to China—had tested negative for 2019-nCoV and was well when she was discharged from the hospital, the Department of Health says.

Speaking on ANC's "Early Edition", DOH spokesperson Eric Domingo says the woman had stayed in the hospital until January 31.

Her case was discovered when the government-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine set up testing in the Philippines and tested pending patients as well as other samples.

"All of the tests were negative except the January 23rd sample from this patient."

The previous test had been on a sample taken on January 24.

February 5, 2020

Airbus has closed its aircraft production facility in Tianjin outside the Chinese capital Beijing due to the latest coronavirus outbreak, the aviation giant says.

"China domestic and worldwide travel restrictions are posing some logistical challenges. The Tianjin Final Assembly Line facility is currently closed," Airbus says in a statement.

The Tianjin facility, the first of its kind for Airbus outside Europe, is a completion centre for single aisle A320 aircraft and can also handle the larger A330. — AFP

February 5, 2020

The provincial government of Zamboanga Sibugay has canceled activities planned for its founding anniversary to ensure public safety over the threat of the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Wilter Palma issued a memorandum order following an emergency meeting Wednesday with the Provincial Health Board, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and executive committee of the Provincial Development Council that recommended the cancellation of all activities for the anniversary.

The province had slated a long list of activities in weeklong festivities that would have run from February 17 to February 24. The anniversary marks the founding of the province 19 years ago from what used to be the third district of Zamboanga del Sur. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

February 5, 2020

A Filipino is one of the 10 passengers on a cruise ship that Japan quarantined who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

February 5, 2020

The Department of Health confirms third case of novel coronavirus in the Philippines. 

The agency says a sample from a 60-year-old Chinese woman tested postive of the 2019-nCoV. She has returned to China but the DOH has initiated tracing of those she was in contact with.

February 5, 2020

The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 24,324 nationwide with 3,887 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said Wednesday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 65 new deaths from the virus — all in hardest-hit Hubei province, bringing the national toll to 490. — AFP

February 5, 2020

At least 10 passengers on a cruise ship that Japan quarantined tested positive for the new coronavirus, public broadcaster NHK and other Japanese media reported on Wednesday, citing the health ministry.

Japan has quarantined the vessel carrying 3,711 people and was testing those onboard for the virus after a former passenger was diagnosed with the illness in Hong Kong. — AFP

February 4, 2020

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo suspends classes in all levels in the province's public schools from Wednesday to Friday (February 5-7) as a precautionary measure to the nCoV threat.

Private schools, he says, may suspend classes upon the discretion of their school administrators.

February 4, 2020

Hundreds of empty beds lined an exhibition center converted into a makeshift hospital at the epicenter of China's deadly virus epidemic on Tuesday, awaiting coronavirus patients.

Authorities are scrambling to provide facilities, beds and medical treatment for an influx of sick people in Wuhan in central Hubei province, the ground-zero of China's fight against the virus. — AFP

February 4, 2020

A South Korean woman who recently visited Thailand was confirmed Tuesday as having the deadly new virus sweeping China, Seoul's health authorities say.

The virus first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, and has infected more than 20,000 people, killing 425 and spreading to more than two dozen countries.

The latest confirmed case brought South Korea's total number of patients to 16. — AFP

February 4, 2020

The Department of Education is postponing planned national- and regional-level events in light of the risk posed by the novel coronavirus, Education Secretary Leonor Briones says.

"These will be the regional health meets, regional athletic meets, talent contests at the national level, so all the regions will gather in one place," she tells senators, noting that, for the Palarong Pambansa, for example, the DepEd is looking at "30,000 learners and parents and grandparents" whose health may be compromised.

February 4, 2020

Filipinos being repatriated by the Department of Foreign Affairs will arrive through Clark International Airport in Pampanga, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.  says.

"There are protocols for that. They are arriving in Clark and they will be brought to quarantine facilities," he says.

The Bureau of Immigration announced last week that a special team will handle the returning Filipinos, particularly to verify their identities since terrorists may be using the health emergency to infiltrate the country.

Locsin raises the problem faced by Overseas Filipino Workers who will not be allowed to fly back to Hong Kong because of the government's ban on Filipinos going to China, Macau, and Hong Kong.

February 4, 2020

Macau says it will temporarily close down all casinos as the gambling hub battles the deadly coronavirus, cutting off the lifeblood of the city's economy.

The move came as the former Portuguese colony confirmed its tenth confirmed case of the virus, which has killed more than 400 people in China, infected tens of thousands and spread to more than 20 countries.

Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng, a pro-Beijing appointee who took office in December, says the gambling industry would initially shutter for two weeks but he warned the closures could be extended if the virus continued to spread. — AFP 

February 4, 2020

The most significant economic impact of the 2019-nCoV outbreak will likely be centered on the tourism sector, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez says at the Senate hearing, noting the travel and tourism industry is taking a hit globally.

He says tourism to the Philippines dropped 1.3% to 1.9 million arrivals in 2003 from 1.93 million in 2002 due to the SARS outbreak.

But in 2004, tourist arrivals rebounded quickly to 2.3 million, growing steadily until the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 that brought a slight decrease in arrivals.

February 4, 2020

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, World Health Organization country representative, acknowledges that the WHO did not recommend any trade or travel restrictions over the threat posed by the novel coronavirus.

"[H]owever, this recommendation is not binding because countries are sovereign to make decisions based on the travel patterns with the affected country and based on its health system capacity to deal with the possible threat," he says.

He adds the WHO encourages member-states to inform it of travel and trade restrictions to let other countries know about them and minimize the disruption of travel and trade. 

In his opening statement, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go praised President Rodrigo Duterte and pointed out that WHO had not even recommended a travel ban.

February 4, 2020

Who is affected?

  • About 70% of cases are among people above 40
  • 64% of cases have been males
  • About 40% had some underlying pre-existing medical condition (oftentimes diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diease or cancer)

Who dies?

  • Death rate is now at 2%, down from 3%.
  • The death rate is now going down because we are testing more people who are mildly affected, have mild symptoms, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, country representative of the World Health Organization, says at a Senate hearing.
  • 88% are over 60 years of age, with a median age of 75 years. 
  • 76% of cases are among males
  • 70% had pre-existing medical conditions
  • The age range of fatalities is 48-89 years old with a mean age of 75
  • Dr. Abeyasinghe notes the patient who died in the Philippines on Saturday was 44 years old.
February 4, 2020

A 39-year-old man in Hong Kong who was being treated for the novel coronavirus has died, medical authorities confirms, the first fatality connected to the illness in the financial hub and only the second outside of mainland China. 

A spokesman for the Hospital Authority says the victim was a resident of Hong Kong who travelled to the Chinese city of Wuhan -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- on January 21 and who returned to the financial hub two days later. — AFP

February 4, 2020

The Parañaque City government will check on employees of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in its jurisdiction to check for nCov Acute Respiratory Disease symptoms,  Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia says.

Garcia, speaking on CNN Philippines, also says that most cities in Metro Manila have isolation tents for patients suspected of having been infected by the novel coronavirus.

February 4, 2020

The number of total infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has passed 20,400 nationwide with 3,235 new cases confirmed, the National Health Commission said Tuesday.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 64 new deaths from the virus — all in hardest-hit Hubei province, bringing the national toll to 425. — AFP

February 4, 2020

The number of confirmed deaths from China's coronavirus outbreak spikes to 425, after authorities in Hubei province reported 64 new fatalities Tuesday.

In its daily update, figures from the health commission in Hubei, which has been hit hardest by the virus, also showed a sharp increase in confirmed infections with 2,345 new cases.

That puts the national total at 19,550, based on numbers previously issued by the central government. — AFP

February 3, 2020

President Duterte says there is no need to further expand the travel ban to include travelers from other countries affected by the novel coronavirus for now.

Currently, a temporary travel ban is in place, preventing entry of travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau, except Filipino citizens or those holding Philippine permanent resident visas. The move was made to prevent the virus from spreading.

Earlier, a Philippine immigration official said that some 300 Chinese nationals are stranded in the country due to the travel ban.

 

 

Duterte also calls on the public to refrain from blaming the Chinese for the spread of the novel coronavirus.

February 3, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte convenes officials from government agencies on the frontlines of stemming the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.

February 3, 2020

The World Health Organization releases a video explaining the origin, method of transmission, symptoms and prevention, among others, of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

WHO, however, adds that the 2019 nCoV ARD is a new virus and what is known about it now may change in the future.

February 3, 2020

There are six people in isolation at the Jose B. Lingad General Memorial Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga, Central Luzon Television 36 reports.

Quoting Dr. Monserrat Chichioco, hospital director, CLTV36 says the six Persons Under Investigation have been admitted to the hospital's isolation facility "for monitoring of possible symptoms of the 2019-nCoV." 

February 3, 2020

The Department of Health says in a press briefing that there are now 80 patients under investigation for a possible infection of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease.

Of the PUIs, 67 are in isolation in hospitals.

The PUIs include patients found through contact tracing, or the tracing of the people who may have come in contact with the two Chinese nationals from Wuhan who have since been confirmed to have been infected with nCoV ARD. 

February 3, 2020

Filipinos in Hubei, China who want to be repatriated have until today, February 3, to get in touch with the Philippine consular officials in Shanghai, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella says in a Palace briefing.

He adds the repatriation flight, which will likely have a team of DFA and Department of Health quick response team, will leave for China within the week. The DOH has drafted its guidelines for the repatriation effort, he also sayd.

Abella says there have been no Filipinos confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus of more than 295,000 Filipinos in mainland China.

February 3, 2020

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine Director Celia Carlos explains the criteria that health authorities use to determine  if someone is considered a Person Under Investigation for the novel coronavirus:

1. Fever of 38°C or higher
2. Respiratory infection
3. Travel within China and its SARs in the past 14 days
4. History of exposure to a person with nCoV

February 3, 2020

The Philippine National Police's medical personnel as well as its Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) team and equipment are on hand to help with the risk posed by 2019-nCoV, its chief, Police Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, says in a press conference.

He says the personnel can help in the repatriation and quarantine of Filipinos from Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province in China.

"We are waiting for the Department of Health. Deployment of the Philippine National Police will depend on the DOH," he says.

"We're just presenting that we have personnel... this is for chemical warfare, but this can be used," he says of the CBRNE team.

"We also have medical doctors who can help with the repatriation. The [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PNP commit our medicals doctors if need be," he says.

February 3, 2020

The ban on travelers arriving from China, including its Special Admnistrative Regions China and Macau, may be difficult to enforce across the country, Dr. Tony Leachon, a health reform advocate, says. 

"Situation in NAIA may not be replicated in other airports; our borders are porous," he says on ANC's "Headstart".

The Palace announced the ban on Sunday, the same day that a second case of novel coronavirus was confirmed and the death of a Chinese man from Wuhan over the weekend was disclosed to the public.

February 3, 2020

China's death toll from the coronavirus epidemic soared to 360 on Monday, with deepening global concern about the outbreak and governments closing their borders to people from China.

The fresh toll came a day after China imposed a lockdown on a major city far from the epicenter and the first fatality outside the country was reported in the Philippines. 

Authorities in Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 56 new fatalities. That took the toll in China to 360, exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the 2002-3 SARS outbreak.

Struggling to contain the virus, authorities took action in the eastern city of Wenzhou on Sunday, closing roads and confining people to their homes. — AFP

February 3, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with medical experts and top officials today, according to an announcement last week by Sen. Bong Go, his longtime aide and de facto spokesperson.

The Department of Health and World Health Organization on Sunday confirmed a second case of novel coronavirus in the Philippines and the first death outside China from the 2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease.

In a radio interview on dzBB on Monday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says the case is imported, meaning the patient came from Wuhan, China.

He stresses there is no community transmission in the Philippines yet.

February 2, 2020

Cebu Pacific reveals the flights taken by the two Chinese passengers who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Philippines and assures the public that is working closely with health authorities in looking for the people who took the plane last January 21.

"We are in the process of contacting all passengers who were aboard the following flights last January 21, 2020: - 5J 241 (Hong Kong-Cebu) - DG 6519 (Cebu-Dumaguete)," Cebu Pacific says in a statement.

Passengers on the said flights who have not been contacted are requested to contact Cebu Pacific at +632 87020886 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

"We also advise them to seek immediate medical attention if they have flu-like symptoms such as coughing, colds and fever," it adds.

Cebu Pacific also canceled all its flights between the Philippines and mainland China until March 29, 2020 and reduced flights to and from Hong Kong and Macau due to outbreak.

February 2, 2020

As of Sunday noon, February 2, DOH recorded a total of 36 persons under investigation for the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV ARD. Of this number, 23 are still admitted in hospitals while six were already discharged.

The Philippines has two confirmed cases of the disease with the second one resulting in death, the first one recorded outside of China.

DOH

February 2, 2020

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan welcomes the order of President Duterte extending the temporary travel ban to anyone coming from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

The senator adds that he wishes the order came much earlier as "hundreds of possible carriers have been able to enter the country in the last several days."

"... but better late than never," he adds.

"Now we can effectively focus our efforts on tracking all those who are suspected of being carriers and work on quarantine and isolation." 

February 2, 2020

The Department of Health confirms the second case of novel coronavirus in the Philippines.

The 44-year-old male companion of the first confirmed case in the Philippines, a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, also tested positive for the virus. The man passed away on Saturday, February 1.

February 2, 2020

President Duterte orders a temporary ban on travelers coming from mainland China including its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, according to Sen. Bong Go. 

On Sunday, February 2, China's National Health Commission reported that the number of novel coronavirus infections in the country breached the 14,300 mark while the death toll climbed to 304.

— with The STAR/Paolo Romero

February 2, 2020

The number of infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has passed 14,300 nationwide with 2,590 new cases confirmed, the country's National Health Commission says.

In its daily update, the commission said there had been 45 new deaths from the virus — all in hardest-hit Hubei province, bringing the national toll to 304. — AFP

February 1, 2020

Vietnam has suspended all China flights as part of "strengthening measures" against the coronavirus outbreak, its civil aviation authority says in a statement.

The directive applies to all airlines "which have routes between Vietnam and China", it adds. — AFP

February 1, 2020

AirAsia suspends selected flights between the Philippines and China until March 1, 2020 amid the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Cancelled flights include from Manila and Kalibo to mainland China cities (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai), Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR.

February 1, 2020

Smart Communications announces announces its customers in the Philippines may access the website of the Department of Health and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology free of charge amid the novela coronavirus scare and Taal rehabilitation.

February 1, 2020

The Australian government says it would bar non-citizens arriving from China from entering the country under new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says only "Australian citizens, Australian residents, dependents, legal guardians or spouses" would be permitted into the country from China from Saturday.

"The arrangements are being put in place through our border authorities to ensure that that can be actioned," he adds. "Those that do return will be required to go into self isolation for 14 days." — AFP

February 1, 2020

The US says it was declaring a public health emergency and temporarily banning the entry of foreign nationals who had traveled to China over the past two weeks to contain the spread of a deadly new virus.

Sweeping new restrictions will also be imposed on American citizens, with those returning from the province at the disease's epicenter placed in facilities for mandatory 14-day quarantines, says Health Secretary Alex Azar.

US citizens coming from other parts of China will undergo health screening at ports of entry and then be placed under monitored self-quarantine at home. — AFP

February 1, 2020

The Philippine Military Academy says it will shut its gates for tourists for three weeks amid the threats of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease or 2019-nCoV ARD.

PMA Superintendent Vice Admiral Ferdinand Cusi communicated to the Defense department Friday afternoon the decision to close the Academy from the public following consultations and coordination with Baguio City officials, public health and disaster officials on the creation of a task force on nCoV. 

“In line with this and in the interest of the safety of the cadets, I decided to close the PMA to the general public for the next three (3) weeks except for the relatives of the cadets who can visit the cadets only on weekends,” Cusi says.

February 1, 2020

Air carrier Cebu Pacific says it will cancel all flights between the Philippines and mainland China starting February 2 until March 29, 2020 amid the novel coronavirus fears.

February 1, 2020

The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. appeals to the public to stop spreading fake news about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease or 2019-nCoV ARD.

"We encourage the public to stay updated on government health advisories, cooperate with government efforts, be socially responsible by not sharing fake news or other unverified information, avoid expressing racist defamations," says physician Henry Lim Bon Liong, FFCCCII president.

"Spreading fake news and racist, xenophobic messages can be more dangerous than the virus itself due to their negative effects of causing confusion, fears, rancor and instability," he adds.

February 1, 2020

China virus deaths hit 259, infections surge past 11,000, says Chinese government.

January 31, 2020

British health officials say two people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, in the country's first cases since the deadly outbreak emerged in China and spread globally this month.

The announcement came as Britain prepares to receive 87 of its citizens it has evacuated from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the epidemic which has so far killed 213 people.

With a growing number of cases reported in at least 19 other countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) on declares the SARS-like virus' spread an international public health emergency. — AFP

January 31, 2020

The Cultural Center of the Philippines cancels Pasinaya 2020?—its multi-arts festival?—that was originally scheduled for February 7 to 9 to protect public health and safety while health authorities deal with the risk of the novel coronavirus.

"As the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern, we urge the Filipino people not to panic and remain calm," CCP artistic director Chris Millado says in an announcement.

"Let us work together to prevent the virus from spreading. Let us remain vigilant and keep safe."

January 31, 2020

A total of 18 South Korean evacuees who arrived from the Chinese city of Wuhan have been hospitalized after showing symptoms, Seoul's health authorities says, as concerns mount about a wider outbreak of the SARS-like virus.

A chartered plane carrying a total of 368 South Korean citizens arrived in the South from Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have emerged from an animal and seafood market, on Friday morning. 

Among them, 18 evacuees who are showing symptoms have been hospitalised at two medical facilities in Seoul, the country's vice health minister Kim Gang-lip says. — AFP

January 31, 2020

Cebu Pacific has pulled out aircraft used in flights that the patient confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus was on, the airline says in an advisory.

"The cabin crew and pilots on affected flights have also been informed and show no symptoms of illness," it also says, adding it is contacting passengers who were in the vicinity of the patient, a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan in Hubei, China.

Cebu Pacific adds it is implementing protective measures to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew. Among the measures are cleaning and disinfection of aircraft between flights and "wearing of face masks by our employees, frontline personnel and cabin crew while on duty."

January 31, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong calls off the opening parade of Baguio City's famed Panagbenga Festival over fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The city government heeded public calls to cancel the annual parade of flowers, a major street event showcasing local blooms and attracting foreign and local tourists. (2017 file photo by The STAR/Artemio Dumlao)

January 31, 2020

The Chinese government is to send charter planes to bring citizens from virus-hit Hubei province who are overseas back "as soon as possible", the foreign ministry says.

This is in view of "practical difficulties that Hubei citizens, especially those from Wuhan, have faced overseas", says ministry of foreign affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

The ministry's comments come as a number of airlines announced they were halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of a deadly new virus.

China has advised its citizens to postpone trips abroad and cancelled overseas group tours, while several countries including Germany, Britain and the US have urged their citizens to avoid travel to China. — AFP

January 31, 2020

"Upon the recommendation of [Health] Secretary Francisco Duque, the President has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the nCoV originated, as well in other places in China where there is a spread of the disease," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announces in a statement to media.

"It will last until the treat is over given that the safety of our countrymen is foremost in the President’s mind," he also says.

President Rodrigo Duterte is meeting with medical experts and top government officials next week to discuss the Novel Coronavirus.       
 

January 31, 2020

The number of patients under observation for suspected infection with the Novel Coronavirus is now at 56, up from 24 on Thursday. 

Dr. Ferchito Avelino, the Department of Health's epidemiology bureau head, tells CNN Philippines that more cases are being watched.
 

January 31, 2020

Drivers and conductors of public utility vehicles must wear face masks at all time while on duty, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board says in a memorandum circular dated January 30, 2020.

Terminal operators must also "ensure proper sanitation and cleanliness in their premises, provide face masks as well as disinfectant and sanitizer dispensers for free use of passengers." 

January 31, 2020

Following a meeting with the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee in Geneva on Thursday (Friday morning in Manila), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization has declared the Novel Coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern.

It is a formal declaration that means that the novel virus first reported in Wuhan, China is a "public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response."

January 31, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed on a temporary ban on travelers from Wuhan City and the rest of Hubei province in China, his longtime aide and constant companion Sen. Bong Go says in a message to media.

The Palace and the Department of Health have yet to make similar announcements.

January 30, 2020

Russia closes its border with China to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The country says it will stop issuing electronic visas to Chinese nationals. — AFP

January 30, 2020


Calls for a travel ban on people traveling from China mount as Sen. Risa Hontiveros calls for a 30-day ban in light of the first confirmed case in the Philippines—a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan in China.

"Our travel ban must firmly include both air and sea travel to prevent a local outbreak. This includes a temporary ban on all cruise ships from docking at any of our ports," she says.

"I also urge the Bureau of Quarantine to implement mandatory quarantine to all those who have just arrived from China, to remain vigilant and to study the safety measures of our neighboring countries with confirmed cases of nCoV."

Earlier, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also urged a temporary travel ban.

January 30, 2020

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority has ordered the suspension of all chartered flights from Macau and other parts of China to the Cagayan North International Airport in Lal-Lo, Cagayan.

CEZA administrator and CEO Raul Lambino said the suspension of all Macau/China-Lal-Lo flights is meant to prevent the spread of the 2019-nCoV.

The Philippine-registered Royal Air Charter Service Inc. has been operating the Macau-Lal-Lo route since August last year when the CNIA began its international chartered flights, transporting mostly Chinese tourists bound for various resorts destinations in Santa Ana, Cagayan. — The STAR / Victor Martin

January 30, 2020

If the World Health Organisation declares the 2019-nCoV epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, measures to curb the spread of the disease may include travel restrictions, Rabindra Abeyasinghe; WHO country representative in the Philippines, says in a press briefing with Department of Health officials.

He says the specific measures will depend on what member states will agree to, stressing "the aim of the declaration is to prevent the further spread of this disease and to control it as early as possible."

Citing the latest WHO figures of 6,065 cases and 132 deaths, Abeyasinghe says: "If you are looking at mortality, you're talking at less than 3% deaths. This is much lower than previous coronavirus infections."

January 30, 2020

The Department of Health confirms first case of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines.

January 30, 2020

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is calling for a temporary ban on arrivals from China, pointing out that even the Chinese government is limiting travel within its own borders.

"Let us explain to them that we are not permanently closing our doors. This is not a permanent Great Wall. This is only during the duration of the coronavirus crisis," Recto says in a press release.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III have said that closing the Philippines' borders to Chinese nationals would be complicated.

"Mahirap 'yang sabihin mo you suspend everything because they are not also suspending theirs and they continue to respect the freedom, flights that we enjoy in their country," GMA News Online quotes him as saying on Wednesday night.

The president also said "there is no known transmission from human to human from China."

On Thursday morning, the Chinese government said it had confirmed more than 1,000 more cases of nCoV infection. Most of the cases of infection of the disease, which has killed at least 169 people in China, were centered in Wuhan in Hubei province.

January 30, 2020

The whole Cordillera region and Ilocos Norte remain free of the novel coronavirus, local health officials say.

The reported cases in La Trinidad and Baguio City have been assessed by the health department in the Cordillera and found to not fit the criteria to be considered Persons Under Investigation, DOH-Cordillera says.

There are no Persons Under Investigation (PUI) in CAR as of this time, the DOH-Cordillera reiterated, though earlier, it admitted monitoring an individual from China who arrived in CAR on January 19 and two of his house mates for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Dr. Janice Bugtong of DOH–CAR says the individual has no history of travel to Wuhan, China and did not have any known contact with individuals confirmed to have 2019-nCoV.

"Samples from the individual including two of his roommates were already sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for testing. All are well and under quarantine."

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 30, 2020

Almost 200 US citizens evacuated from the Chinese city at the heart of the deadly coronavirus epidemic landed at a military base in California, where officials declared them free of symptoms.

But they will remain isolated in their quarters for a period of up to 72 hours while they are monitored, and have been asked to submit samples to test for the presence of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

A chartered Boeing 747 touched down at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside on Wednesday morning, where it was met on the tarmac by emergency vehicles and three buses, as personnel in biological hazard suits stood by. — AFP

January 30, 2020

Three Japanese citizens among more than 200 on a first evacuation flight from China have tested positive for a new strain of coronavirus, Japan's health minister says.

The three people arrived in Japan on Wednesday, on the first flight to evacuate Japanese citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a deadly outbreak that has killed 170 people and injected thousands.

The three evacuees raise the number of cases in Japan so far to 11, including two people who appear to have contracted the virus without travelling to China.

January 30, 2020

The number of confirmed deaths from China's viral epidemic has risen to 169, the government says on Thursday, as hard-hit Hubei province reported 37 new fatalities.

Hubei, the epicenter of a contagion that is causing mounting global fear, also reported 1,032 new confirmed cases of infection. — AFP

January 29, 2020

British citizens evacuated from Wuhan, the epicenter of a deadly virus outbreak, will be isolated for two weeks with "all necessary medical attention," UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says.

"Anyone who returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention," he writes on Twitter. "Public safety is the top priority." — AFP

January 29, 2020

Japanese automaker Toyota will keep its plants in China closed until at least February 9 over concerns about a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 130 people.

"Given the various factors including the guidelines by the local and regional governments and parts supply situation, as of January 29, we have decided to halt operations in our plants in China until February 9," a Toyota spokesman says.

"We will monitor the situation and make further decisions on operations from February 10." — AFP

January 29, 2020

Indonesia's Lion Air Group, Southeast Asia's biggest carrier by fleet size, is halting all its flights to and from China owing to the deadly coronavirus, a company spokesman says.

"All flights to China will be suspended temporarily starting from February 1st until further notice," Danang Mandala Prihantoro says.

Dozens of flights would be affected on routes to 15 Chinese cities, he adds. — AFP

January 29, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs will arrange special flights from Hubei province to bring Filipinos in Hubei and the rest of the province home if they want to, the department says.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DFA says Filipinos in Wuhan City and other parts of Hubei should contact the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai:

PHILIPPINE CONSULATE GENERAL, SHANGHAI
Suite 301 Metrobank Plaza
1160 West Yan’An Road, Changning District, Shanghai 200052
Tel. No.: (+86-21) 6281-8020
Fax No.: (+86-21) 6281-8023
Hotline No.: (+86) 1391 747-7112
Email: shanghai.pcg@dfa.gov.ph / shanghaipcg@hotmail.com
Website: www.shanghaipcg.dfa.gov.ph

"Upon arrival in the Philippines, Filipino repatriates will be subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine per guidelines of the Department of Health," DFA also says.

"Meanwhile, Filipinos who wish to stay in China should heed advisories from local health authorities, and cooperate with efforts to quell the further spread of 2019-novel Coronavirus," it adds.

January 29, 2020

The number of people confirmed to be infected in China's viral outbreak soared to 5,974 on Wednesday, with the death toll rising by 26, the national health commission said.

The health body said they were also monitoring more than 9,000 suspected cases of the virus. — AFP

January 28, 2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping says the country is waging a serious fight against the "demon" coronavirus outbreak and pledged transparency in the government's efforts to contain the disease.

"The epidemic is a demon, and we cannot let this demon hide," Xi says in a meeting with the head of the World Health Organization, according to state media.

"The Chinese government has always adopted an open, transparent and responsible attitude to timely release of information on the epidemic to domestic and foreign countries." — AFP

January 28, 2020

Officials say a German man who tested positive for the strain of coronavirus currently sweeping China was infected by a work colleague, in what is believed to be the first human transmission in Europe.

The man had not visited China but a Chinese work colleague who was in Germany last week had "started to feel sick on the flight home on January 23", says Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety.

He had attended a training session given by his Chinese colleague on January 21 at the office of a car parts supplier Webasto in Stockdorf in Bavaria and tested positive for the virus on Monday evening. — AFP

January 28, 2020

The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in China has soared to 106 while nearly 1,300 new cases have been confirmed, authorities say. 

The health commission in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, says 24 more people had died from the virus and 1,291 more people were infected, raising the total number of confirmed cases to more than 4,000 nationwide. — AFP

January 28, 2020

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a briefing on Tuesday, January 28, says there are still no confirmed cases on nCoV in the Philippines.

The Department of Health is, however, monitoring 22 possible cases of the novel coronavirus.

January 28, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration has suspended the visa upon arrival (VUA) facility in response to the risk posed by the novel coronavirus (nCoV), the bureau announces on Tuesday morning.

 "The Civil Aeronautics Board has already suspended direct flights from Wuhan province," Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says in a bureau press release.  "We are now temporarily suspending the issuance of VUA for Chinese nationals to slow down the influx of group tours," he also says.

He says Chinese tour groups visiting the Philippines often use the VUA facility.

January 27, 2020

Three Chinese nationals showing signs of flu were admitted to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila and are under observation for the novel coronavirus, media reports citing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III say.

Two of them have travel history from China’s Wuhan City, the epicenter of the outbreak.

January 27, 2020

Germany is considering evacuating its citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Monday. 

"We are considering a possible evacuation of all willing German citizens," Maas tells a Berlin press conference, adding that the embassy in Beijing had sent a team to support Germans in Wuhan.

The number of German citizens currently in the city was estimated to be "in double figures," Maas says. — AFP

January 27, 2020

China on Monday extends its biggest national holiday to buy time in the fight against a viral epidemic, as the death toll spiked to 80 despite unprecedented quarantine measures and travel lockdowns.

In a sign of the mounting official concern, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the ground-zero province of Hubei to oversee containment efforts in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the virus emerged late last year.

The government has sealed off Wuhan and neighboring cities, effectively trapping tens of millions of people, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. — AFP

January 27, 2020

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday is the most senior Chinese leader to visit Wuhan since the city was struck by the outbreak of a deadly virus that has spread across the country and sparked global concern.

The virus toll has spiked to 80 dead despite a huge lockdown of Wuhan and Hubei province, home to the majority of fatalities from a disease that has infected more than 2,700 people nationwide so far.

Wearing a mask and blue plastic scrubs, Li was in Wuhan to "investigate and guide" ongoing efforts to control the virus in the city of 11 million people, which has been placed under an unprecedented quarantine, China's State Council said on its official social media account.

The State Council, China's cabinet, says Li would meet with patients and medical staff on the frontline. -- AFP

January 27, 2020

Government agencies should have been, and should be, more proactive about keeping risks like the novel coronavirus from entering the country, Rep. Lawrence Fortun (Agusan del Norte) says in a press statement.

"Why were we still allowing flights from Wuhan to land in the Philippines in the first place? Why did we have to wait for their announcement of lockdown before deciding to prohibit entry of flights coming from a place already confirmed to be the epicenter of the outbreak of a fatal virus that has turned epidemic?" he says of the entry into the Philippines of passengers from Wuhan in Hubei, China.

"And now, we have to send at least 500 travelers back? And that is not even a decision reached by our authorities, but the airlines?"

He says: "It is the lives and health of our people that are at stake here. We implore our authorities to be more proactive, aggressive and swift in situations like this."

January 27, 2020

A patient at the Metropolitan Hospital in Binondo, Manila rumored to have novel coronavirus had pneumonia and is now "well and does not have fever," Dr. Arnold Pangan, Manila City Health Officer, says in a release from the Manila Public Information Office.

"MHD Surveillance Team, in coordination with DOH surveillance, and as per investigation, patient has fever and cough but negative on history of travel to Wuhan, China, and no history of exposure to a host or positive case," he also says of the Chinese patient.

Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso says the public should avoid sharing unverified information that can increase public anxiety.

January 27, 2020

China's central government said on Monday that the nationwide total of confirmed infections from a deadly respiratory virus had risen to 2,744, with 769 new cases coming to light.

However, it said no new deaths were confirmed outside of Hubei province, which had earlier reported 24 new fatalities to bring the national total to 80 dead. — AFP

January 27, 2020

The head of the World Health Organization headed to China on Sunday to discuss how to contain a virus outbreak that has killed 56 people and infected over 2,000 worldwide.

"I am on my way to Beijing, to meet with the government and health experts supporting the #coronavirus response," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter.

"My WHO colleagues and I would like to understand the latest developments and strengthen our partnership with China in providing further protection against the outbreak."

The WHO also released its latest data showing a total of 2,014 cases — almost all of them in China.

The 29 confirmed cases outside China were in 10 countries. — AFP

January 26, 2020

A patient in California's Orange County was Saturday confirmed as the third person on US soil infected with the new deadly virus that originated in China, health officials say.

The infected person was a traveler from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the outbreak, the Orange County Health Care Agency says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the patient had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, it says.  — AFP 

January 26, 2020

China orders a temporary ban on the trade in wild animals as the country struggles to contain a deadly virus believed to have been spawned in a market that sold wild animals as food.

Raising, transporting or selling all wild animal species is forbidden "from the date of the announcement until the national epidemic situation is over," said a joint directive from three top agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture. — AFP 

January 26, 2020

The United States is arranging a flight to evacuate personnel and American citizens trapped at the epicenter of a deadly virus in central China, the US State Department says Sunday.

The flight will leave on Tuesday from Wuhan and take people to San Francisco, the department said in an email to Americans in China, warning that there would be "limited capacity" for private citizens. — AFP 

January 26, 2020

Hong Kong's Disneyland announced it was shutting its doors on Sunday until further notice over the deadly virus outbreak in central China, a day after city authorities classified the crisis as an emergency.

"As a precautionary measure in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, we are temporarily closing Hong Kong Disneyland park out of consideration for the health and safety of our guests and cast members," the park said in a statement. — AFP 

January 25, 2020

Hong Kong declares the outbreak of a mystery virus as an "emergency" -- the city's highest warning tier -- as authorities ramped up measures aimed at reducing the risk of further infections spreading.

"Today I declare the lifting of the response level to emergency," chief executive Carrie Lam tells reporters. — AFP 

January 25, 2020

China orders nationwide measures to detect virus on flights, trains and buses.

January 25, 2020

Some 56 million people are now affected by transport bans around the epicentre of China's virus outbreak as five more cities announced travel restrictions to contain the disease.

The rules include closing public transport links and access to highways in the cities, local authorities say.

A total of 18 cities now have some sort of travel restrictions in central Hubei province. — AFP

January 25, 2020

State media says China has deployed 450 military medical staff, some with experience combating SARS or Ebola, to a central city stricken by a virus that has killed dozens of people.

The medics, who arrived in Wuhan on military aircraft late Friday, will be dispatched to hospitals with large numbers of infected patients, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The move marks a dramatic escalation in the central government's involvement to contain the virus, which has killed 41 people and infected 1,287 others across the country. — AFP

January 25, 2020

A massive quarantine effort covering 13 cities was in effect in China aims at containing a deadly virus, as the death toll climbed to 26 and the first cases of the disease were reported in Europe and South Asia.

China imposes transport bans in an area covering a staggering 41 million people, as the United States confirmed its second case of the SARS-like virus that has reached almost a dozen countries.

The virus has also spread to densely populated South Asia, where Nepal confirmed one case, and Europe, where two cases were reported in France. — AFP

January 24, 2020

The World Travel and Tourism Council warns the coronavirus outbreak in China could have a "lasting economic impact" on the global tourism sector if panic is allowed to spread,

"Previous cases have shown us that closing airports, cancelling flights and closing borders often has a greater economic impact than the outbreak itself," says WTTC chief Gloria Guevara. 

"Quick, accurate and transparent communication is also crucial in order to contain panic and mitigate negative economic losses." — AFP 

January 24, 2020

China adds four more cities to a transport ban around the epicentre of a deadly virus, bringing the number affected by the shutdown to over 41 million as authorities scramble to control the disease.

Authorities in Xianning, Xiaogan, Enshi and Zhijiang cities -- all located in Hubei province where the virus first emerged -- says public transport services including train stations would be closed. 

Some cities also announce the closure of entertainment venues including theatres and karaoke bars. — AFP

January 24, 2020

Shanghai Disneyland will close until further notice this weekend due to a deadly virus outbreak that has infected hundreds of people in China, the amusement park says.

The move was decided "in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety" of its guests and staff, Shanghai Disney Resort says on its website.

January 24, 2020

China confirms a second death outside the epicentre of a SARS-like virus outbreak that has infected hundreds of people.

The death was in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which borders Russia, the local government says. — AFP

January 24, 2020

Sen. Risa Hontiveros urges the government to impose a 30-day travel ban on people in the Philippines who "came from or have passed through Wuhan, China, in light of the asymptomatic nature and lengthy incubation period of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), as determined by health authorities."

She also says the government should put Wuhan residents under health surveillance as well as those who have traveled through China in the past 14 days.

"I also strongly urge these individuals to self-quarantine and to report to health authorities any sign of sickness for appropriate medical observation and proper treatment," she says.

January 24, 2020

The death toll in China's viral outbreak has risen to 25, with the number of confirmed cases also leaping to 830, the national health commission said on Friday.

The body said authorities also were examining 1,072 suspected cases of the virus. — AFP

January 23, 2020

Authorities say a second central Chinese city is being put on lockdown to help control the spread of a virus epidemic that broke out in neighbouring Wuhan. 

The train station in Huanggang, which has a population of 7.5 million and is 70 kilometres (40 miles) from Wuhan, will be suspended until further notice from midnight -- all vehicles will be checked, and bars and cinemas will be closed, said city authorities.

The railway station in a third nearby city, Ezhou, which has a population of over one million, will also close from tonight, though no other measures were announced. — AFP

January 23, 2020

The Civil Aeronautics Board halts all chartered flights from Wuhan, China to the Philippines amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

January 23, 2020

The Health department says that there is still no confirmed case of novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV in the Philippines. 

"DOH is currently awaiting the results of the confirmatory test," its statement read which is posted on Facebook.

January 23, 2020

Officials announce Hong Kong will turn two holiday camps, including a former military barracks, into quarantine zones for people who may have come into contact with carriers of the Wuhan virus.

The international financial hub has been on high alert for the virus, which has killed 17 people since the outbreak started in central China.

The same sites were used as quarantine facilities during the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak 17 years ago. — AFP

January 23, 2020

The Department of Justice says it is willing to assist the Department of Health in tracking the four family Chinese nationals exposed to the new corona virus who arrived in Manila last Wednesday.

"I'm sure that the DOH Bureau of Quarantine has taken steps to restrict the movements of this family from Wuhan," Guevarra said in a statement.

"But should the DOH need our help, I will direct the (Bureau of Immigration) and the (National Bureau of Investigation) to track down the whereabouts of these Chinese nationals and find the people they have interacted with in our country," he added. 

January 23, 2020

Hong Kong stocks sank at the start of trade Thursday, with investors nervous over the deadly SARS-like virus that has spread from China.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.82 percent, or 231.29 points, to 28,109.75. -- AFP

January 22, 2020

A boxing qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for next month in China's Wuhan will be cancelled over the outbreak of a new virus, Japan's Kyodo news agency says.

Citing organizers, Kyodo says the qualifiers would be rescheduled and moved from Wuhan, where the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus is believed to have begun.

There was no independent confirmation from the organizers, and Japan's boxing federation says it was waiting to hear from the International Olympic Committee on the reported cancellation. — AFP

January 22, 2020

The Chinese city at the centre of a SARS-like virus outbreak has urged people to stay away, cancelling a major Lunar New Year event as it strives to contain a disease that has spread across the country.

The death toll from the virus, which first emerged in the central city of Wuhan, has reached nine while more than 400 people have now been confirmed infected across the country.

The disease is spreading just as hundreds of millions of people are travelling in packed trains, planes and buses across China to gather with friends and family for the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Friday. — AFP

January 22, 2020

China warns that a SARS-like virus could mutate and spread as the death toll rose to nine and the number of cases reached 440 across the country.

The coronavirus is transmitted via the respiratory tract and there "is the possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease", National Health Commission vice minister Li Bin said at a news conference.

The commission announces measures to contain the disease as hundreds of millions of people travel across the country for this week's Lunar New Year holiday, including disinfection and ventilation at airports, train stations and shopping centres. — AFP

January 21, 2020

DOH says symptoms manifested by three Chinese nationals placed under quarantine after arriving at Kalibo airport did not fit the case definition of new coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

Kalibo airport has direct international flights to China.

January 21, 2020

The Department of Health says it is investigating a pneumonia case of a five-year-old who traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China, believed to be the epicenter of an outbreak of a new coronavirus.

January 21, 2020

A man showing symptoms of a SARS-like virus after visiting China is being held in isolation at his Australian home, in the country's first suspected case of the coronavirus, public broadcaster ABC reported Tuesday.

The man had recently returned from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, believed to be the epicentre of an outbreak of coronavirus, which has infected a total of 218 people and caused at least four deaths.

He was recovering from a respiratory illness at his home in the northeastern city of Brisbane, where health authorities were awaiting the results of tests to determine whether he had contracted the new virus. — AFP

January 21, 2020

An 89-year-old man has become the fourth person to die in China from a new virus that has spread across the country, authorities said Tuesday.

The man died on Sunday after experiencing breathing difficulties in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak that has infected more than 200 people, the local health commission said in a statement. — AFP

January 20, 2020

A mysterious SARS-like virus has killed a third person, spread around China and reached a third Asian country, authorities said Monday, fuelling fears of a major outbreak as millions begin travelling for the Lunar New Year in humanity's biggest migration.

The new coronavirus strain, first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. — AFP

January 20, 2020

China on Monday reported a mysterious SARS-like virus had spread across the country, including to Beijing, raising concerns as millions begin trips for the Lunar New Year.

A third person was confirmed to have died, authorities said, as nearly 140 cases were announced.

The new coronavirus strain has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. ?— AFP

January 19, 2020

The true scale of the outbreak of a mysterious SARS-like virus in China is likely far bigger than officially reported, scientists warn, as countries ramp up measures to prevent the disease from spreading.

Fears that the virus will spread are growing ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese move around the country and many others host or visit extended family members living overseas. — AFP

January 18, 2020

Researchers say the number of people infected by a mystery SARS-like virus that has killed two people in China is likely hundreds more than officially reported.

Chinese authorities have said pneumonia linked to the virus has hit at least 41 people in the country, with the outbreak centred around a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan.

But a paper published Friday by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London says the number of those affected in the city was likely to be well over a thousand. — AFP

January 18, 2020

US authorities will begin screening passengers arriving on direct or connecting flights from a Chinese city at the heart of a mysterious SARS-like virus responsible for two deaths.

Travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with the new coronavirus at three airports: San Francisco, New York's JFK and Los Angeles.

China has now reported 45 cases linked to the virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Nancy Messonnier told reporters in a press call, most linked to a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, while two cases have been found in Thailand and one in Japan. — AFP

January 17, 2020

Health officials say Thailand detected its second case of a mysterious SARS-linked virus in a visitor from China, as authorities ramp up airport screenings ahead of an expected surge in arrivals for Chinese New Year.

The 74-year-old Chinese woman is being treated at hospital after presenting with symptoms at Thailand's biggest airport Suvarnabhumi on January 13, according to the health ministry.

She was diagnosed with pneumonia linked to the new coronavirus, which has stirred alarm after killing two in China and hospitalising dozens. It has also been detected in Japan. — AFP

January 17, 2020

Officials say a second person has died in China from a mysterious SARS-linked virus that has stricken dozens and appeared in two other Asian countries.

Local authorities say a 69-year-old man died on Wednesday in Wuhan, the central Chinese city believed to be the epicentre of an outbreak of a coronavirus from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003. — AFP

January 17, 2020

A second person has died in China from a mystery virus that has stricken dozens and appeared in two other Asian countries, officials said.

Local authorities said a 69-year-old man died on Wednesday in Wuhan, the central Chinese city believed to be the epicentre of an outbreak of a coronavirus from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

At least 41 people have been hit with pneumonia linked to the new virus in China. -- AFP

January 16, 2020

Local authorities say a new virus from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen could have been spread between family members in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The outbreak, which has killed one person, has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

One of the 41 patients reported in the city could have been infected by her husband, Wuhan's health commission says in a statement. — AFP

January 13, 2020

The World Health Organization confirms Monday the first case in Thailand of a new virus from the same family as SARS, that is behind a Chinese pneumonia outbreak.

The UN health agency said a person traveling from Wuhan, China, had been hospitalized in Thailand on January 8 after being diagnosed with mild pneumonia.

"Laboratory testing subsequently confirmed that the novel coronavirus was the cause," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic tells AFP in an email, referring to the new virus. — AFP

January 11, 2020

Chinese health authorities report first death from a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has been blamed on a new strain of virus from the same family as SARS.

Out of 41 people diagnosed with the new type of coronavirus in the city of Wuhan where it was first confirmed, one had died, two were discharged from treatment, and seven remained in serious condition, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission says in a statement. — AFP

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

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