A health worker measures the body temperature of a person during the heavy snowfall amid coronavirus fears. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed more than 1,500 people in China and infected more than 66,000 people.
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All times below are in U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
Chinese officials on Saturday reported 2,641 new coronavirus cases and 143 additional deaths in the last 24 hours.
4:20 pm: Two Chicago patients released from home isolation
Two people in Chicago who were infected with the virus were released from home isolation on Friday, following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
The woman, a Chicago resident in her 60s who had visited Wuhan, China, was the first confirmed Illinois case of the virus on Jan. 24. Her husband, also in his 60s, was the second confirmed Illinois case and first human-to-human transmission in the U.S. on Jan. 30.
“We believe both patients can now safely return to their regular activities, including work, without restrictions,” said the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Dr. Allison Arwady. “They have now had multiple rounds of negative testing for the virus and are clinically well. They do not need to wear masks, and neither does anyone interacting with them. They have been cleared.”
4:15 pm: Toyota will resume output at three auto plants in China
Toyota will resume production at three of its four primary auto plants in China on Monday. The company had initially planned to restart production on Feb.3, but was delayed because of the virus outbreak.
2:00 pm: Cruise ship confirms 67 new coronavirus cases as US evacuates citizens
The Diamond Princess cruise ship that is in quarantine in Japan confirmed 67 new cases of the virus on board. The ship was put under quarantine last week in Yokohama with about 3,700 people on board.
American passengers aboard the ship will be evacuated on Sunday with chartered aircraft, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. There are 400 U.S. citizens on board and at least 40 Americans who were infected have been taken off the ship for treatment. Those who are evacuated will undergo 14 days of quarantine once they reach the U.S.
1:30 pm: Xi started fighting virus earlier than previously known, newly published speech shows
Chinese President Xi Jinping issued internal orders regarding the virus outbreak roughly two weeks before his first public statements on the epidemic, according to a newly published speech on Saturday in the Qiushi Journal, the Communist Party’s top publication.
The speech indicates that Xi started giving orders about the outbreak as early as Jan. 7. His first public instructions on the epidemic was Jan. 20, in which he provided brief instructions on the virus.
China’s release of the speech is an apparent effort to mitigate public anger over the handling of the outbreak, and show that Xi has led the battle against the epidemic — including quarantining millions of people in Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak.
Xi gave the speech on Feb 3, about the time when the virus was becoming a national crisis.
10:30 am: WHO calls on global leaders to ‘stop stigma and hate’ surrounding virus
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged global leaders on Saturday to stop stigma and hate amid the virus outbreak. His comments follow reports that people of Asian descent have faced discrimination amid fears of the virus.
“It’s easy to blame, it’s easy to politicize, it’s harder to tackle a problem together and find solutions together,” Ghebreyesus said during an address at the Munich Security Conference. “We will all learn lessons from this outbreak, but now is not the time for reclamations or politicization.”
7:12 am: China announces policies to support businesses impacted by virus
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) released a notice on Saturday that encouraged banks to strengthen loans to the manufacturing sector at better rates, and give better financial services for businesses producing protective gear to combat the virus.
5:00 am: First coronavirus death confirmed in Europe
An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died of the virus in France, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Saturday. The man was from the Chinese province of Hubei, the center of the outbreak, and arrived in France on Jan. 16. He was hospitalized since Jan. 25.
The man’s daughter also has the virus and was also hospitalized in Paris, but will be discharged soon, the health minister said.
It’s the first death that’s been confirmed in Europe and the fourth from the virus outside of mainland China. France has 11 confirmed cases of the virus.