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February 4 coronavirus news

What we're covering here

  • The virus: The coronavirus outbreak has killed at least 490 people and infected more than 24,000 globally as it continues to spread beyond China.
  • Global spread: The virus has been confirmed in more than 25 countries and territories. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China.
  • Cruise ship quarantine: Around 3,700 people are being held on a ship in Japan after a passenger who had departed the vessel tested positive for the virus.
  • Race to contain: International researchers are racing to develop a vaccine and halt the virus' spread, with some promising signs.
  • Travel advisories: Some countries, including the UK, are advising their citizens to leave China altogether.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Alissa Eckert/Dan Higgins/CDC

9:21 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has moved here.
7:36 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

World wide death toll passes 490 people

The Huo Shen Shan hospital, built in 10 days for new coronavirus pneumonia patients, seen on Febrary 2, in Wuhan, Hubei,China. TPG via ZUMA Press

The health authority in Hubei province in China says that 65 people died of the coronavirus in the province on Tuesday, raising the Hubei death toll since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak to 479 people.

This brings the global death toll to at least 490 victims. 

Authorities confirmed an additional 3,156 cases of the virus in Hubei, where more than 50 million people live, which brings the total number of cases in the epicenter of the outbreak to 16,678.

 A total of 12,627 patients have been hospitalized in the province, including 771 who are in critical condition, according to the health authority.

The global number of confirmed coronavirus cases is now well over 24,000.

7:03 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Ten people on cruise ship near Tokyo have virus

Ten people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship moored in Yokohama Bay have been confirmed as having the Wuhan coronavirus, according to Japanese Health Ministry.

The 10 confirmed cases were from tests of 31 people. More than 100 samples are still awaiting test results.

Passengers and crew, about 3,700 people, remain on the ship.

6:50 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

FDA authorizes other labs to use CDC-developed test

The US Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it has issued an emergency use authorization to allow qualified labs to use the Wuhan coronavirus test developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, the CDC was the only lab in the United States able to test for the novel coronavirus.

The diagnostic is authorized to be used for patients who meet CDC criteria for testing, and by qualified labs designated by the CDC or certified to perform high-complexity tests.

The test can detect Wuhan coronavirus from nasal or oral swabs. 

As of Monday, the CDC had 260 patients under investigation for the virus -- 11 had tested positive, 167 negative and 82 were still pending.

There are 11 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States. Six cases have been confirmed in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona and two in Illinois. 

Negative results do not preclude infection with the virus, the FDA noted in a press release, adding that negative results must be combined with clinical observations, patient history and epidemiological information.

"Since this outbreak first emerged, we've been working closely with our partners across the US government and around the globe to expedite the development and availability of critical medical products to help end this outbreak as quickly as possible. This continues to be an evolving situation and the ability to distribute this diagnostic test to qualified labs is a critical step forward in protecting the public health," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

The US Department of Health and Human Services on Friday declared the novel coronavirus to be a public health emergency in the United States. 

5:52 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Significant new case in Canada

Dr. Bonnie Henry CTV

British Columbia has a second case of coronavirus, which brings the total number of cases in Canada to five, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Officer for the province, announced at a news conference.

The woman in her 50s had contact with family visitors from Wuhan, Henry said. The patient and the visitors are in isolation at home. The visitors are being "monitored," but Henry declined to say whether they show symptoms.

This is significant, as it seems to confirm human to human transmission in Canada for the first time.

The patient tested positive in provincial testing and the results will be confirmed by national labs shortly, she said.

4:43 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Hyundai suspends production in South Korea because of outbreak

In this 2009 photo, workers work on an assembly line at Hyundai Motor Co. plant in Ulsan, south of Seoul, South Korea. The Hyundai Motor Company is suspending production lines at its plants in South Korea, after its supply of parts was disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Yonhap, Lee Sang-hyun/AP

The Hyundai Motor Company is suspending production lines at its plants in South Korea, after its supply of parts was disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

In a statement, the company said “schedules for suspension will vary by line.”

The statement continued, “the company is reviewing various measures to minimize the disruption of its operations, including seeking alternative suppliers in other regions.”

3:58 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Hong Kong confirms 18th case of the virus

People wearing surgical masks in central district of Hong Kong as a preventative measure following the Coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection confirmed one more coronavirus case Tuesday, bringing its total to 18.

The latest case involves a 25-year-old male resident -- the youngest case in Hong Kong -- according to Hong Kong’s Department of Health.  

The man is now in a stable condition. His wife is asymptomatic, and will be sent to a quarantine center.

The Centre for Health Protection strongly urges the public to maintain at all times strict personal and environmental hygiene “which is key to personal protection against infection and prevention of the spread of the disease in the community.”

4:28 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Asian Champions League fixtures delayed due to virus

Before the announcement today to postpone games involving four Chinese clubs, a staff of Buriram United wearing a mask walks into the stadium during a training session prior to the AFC Champions League Preliminary Round match between Shanghai SIPG and Buriram United at Yuanshen Stadium on January 27, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Shanghai SIPG played Buriram United before an empty stadium due to the spread of the new coronavirus. Yifan Ding/Getty Images

Asian Football Conference (AFC) Champions League soccer games involving four Chinese clubs have been postponed due to the outbreak, the AFC announced Tuesday after an emergency meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The first three match days -- involving Beijing FC, Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG -- will be rescheduled to April and May.

“We came together in difficult circumstances to find solutions to allow us to play football while ensuring we protect the safety and security of all players, officials, stakeholders and fans,” Dato' Windsor John, AFC General Secretary, said in statement.

“We also accept that this coronavirus is a much bigger issue than just football and we wish all those who have been affected a speedy return to health.”

3:12 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

Pompeo hails delivery of "life-saving" supplies to China

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tweeted that "life-saving personal protection equipment and medical and humanitarian relief supplies" have been sent to China.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to protect the health and welfare of US citizens overseas, and will continue to offer life-saving assistance to all those affected by the #coronavirus,” he wrote.

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus also tweeted about the relief supplies: