The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted flights to and from China, one of the world’s busiest travel markets (REUTERS)
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted flights to and from China, one of the world’s busiest travel markets (REUTERS)

Coronavirus update: Passenger suspected of virus quarantined at Delhi airport, says SpiceJet

  • A cruise ship turned away by four Asian and Pacific governments due to virus fears anchored Thursday off Cambodia for health checks
  • Indonesia: One of Asia’s most-populous countries says it has no confirmed cases -- and some public health experts aren’t really buying it

The death toll in China's Hubei province from a coronavirus outbreak leapt by a record 242 on Thursday to 1,310, with a sharp rise in confirmed cases after the adoption of new methodology for diagnosis, health officials said.

The rise in the toll more than doubled the prior provincial daily record of 103 set on Monday, while the number of new cases soared by 14,840 - also a daily record - to a total of 48,206 cases.

Here are all the latest updates of deadly coronavirus:

SpiceJet says passenger suspected of coronavirus quarantined at Delhi airport

A passenger travelling on SpiceJet Ltd's Bangkok-Delhi flight on Thursday was suspected of coronavirus infection (Covid-19) and has been quarantined at Delhi airport after landing.

“On February 13, 2020, a passenger travelling on SpiceJet flight SG-88 operating between Bangkok and Delhi was suspected of coronavirus infection. He was seated on seat no. 31F and was the only passenger in that row. The said passenger was quarantined by Airport Health Organisation (APHO) after landing in Delhi," a SpiceJet spokesperson told

Coronavirus could send Italy into recession, official warns

Italy is in danger of missing its already unambitious growth targets for 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a senior government official.

“The impact of the coronavirus risks being significantly negative on the global economy and also on Italy," Deputy Finance Minister Antonio Misiani said in an interview in Rome on Tuesday. “It’s become more complicated now to reach the government target of 0.6% growth in the budget."

Xiaomi CEO urges China's smartphone industry to return to work as soon as possible

Xiaomi Corp CEO Lei Jun urged China's smartphone industry to return to work as soon as possible, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to disrupt economic activity across the country.

He made the comments at a livestreamed product launch on Monday for the company's new flagship Mi 10 phone series.

At the start of the event, Lei, a native of Hubei province where the virus broke out, donned a face mask to show support for effort to combat the health crisis.

Australia extends virus ban on arrivals from mainland China

Australia will maintain an entry ban on foreign nationals from mainland China for another week as it looks to limit exposure to its citizens from the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.

Vietnam Airlines says losing $10.8 million in revenue a week due to virus

Vietnam Airlines said on Thursday it was losing up to 250 billion dong ($10.8 million) per week in revenue due to travel curbs resulting from the coronavirus.

The country's flag carrier is reducing operations and trying to cut costs to ride out the impact of the epidemic and "achieve a positive financial result" for this year, it said in an emailed statement.

It has suspended all flights to and from mainland China since the end of January, directly affecting 70,000 visitors per month between the two countries, it said.

Interest in private jets surges as coronavirus keeps airlines away from China

A drop in airline flights from China and Hong Kong due to the coronavirus is increasing demand for private jets as wealthy passengers try to get out, executives say, but travel bans and nervous crew have kept that from translating to more business.

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 1,300 people in China, has led premium Asian airlines like Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd to drastically cuts their flight schedules.

Taiwan plans $2 billion package to soften coronavirus hit to economy

Taiwan plans to spend T$60 billion ($2 billion) to help cushion the impact on the export-reliant economy from the new coronavirus, offering loans to small businesses and even vouchers to spend on food at night markets.

Taiwan, whose largest trading partner is China, lowered its 2020 economic growth estimate on Wednesday, as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to hit its economy, which is a key part of the global electronics supply chain.

Tokyo Olympics boss blasts 'irresponsible rumours' over virus shutdown

Tokyo Olympic organisers stressed Thursday they are not considering scrapping the Games due to the coronavirus and blasted "irresponsible rumours" to the contrary.

With only 162 days to go until the opening ceremony, concerns have been raised about Japan's hosting of the Games with the virus spreading throughout Asia.

But Tokyo 2020 CEO Yoshiro Mori slapped down such concerns at a meeting with top International Olympic Committee officials.

Hong Kong schools won’t reopen before march 16 at the earliest

Hong Kong will extend school closures at least to March 16 amid ongoing concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said in a briefing Thursday.

“We are continuing to listen to medical professionals," Yeung said. “We will announce the date to resume school when all conditions are satisfied."

Cruise ship turned away in other ports anchors off Cambodia

A cruise ship turned away by four Asian and Pacific governments due to virus fears anchored Thursday off Cambodia for health checks on its 2,200 passengers and crew.

The Westerdam was unwelcome elsewhere even though operator Holland America Line said no cases of the COVID-19 viral illness have been confirmed among the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members on board.

The ship is anchored a kilometer (.6 miles) from the main Sihanoukville port and a team of health officials will board to conduct health checks and determine the disembarkation process, Preah Sihanoukville Gov. Kouch Chamrouen told The Associated Press.

Indonesia says it has no virus cases. Experts are skeptical

As the deadly new coronavirus spreads rapidly around the world, one of Asia’s most-populous countries says it has no confirmed cases -- and some public health experts aren’t really buying it.

Indonesia, which last month suspended direct flights to the Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus originated, still hasn’t reported any confirmed cases. Officials maintain their monitoring meets the standards of the World Health Organization, which has endorsed the country’s approach.

Warm weather may not slow outbreak, says US CDC

It’s too early to know if warm spring weather that typically heralds the end of cold and flu season will also slow the coronavirus, said a top official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Wednesday that she hopes “it will go down as the weather warms up, but it’s premature to assume that."

Messonnier’s remarks Wednesday run counter to a theory put forward by President Donald Trump that heat would stop the new coronavirus.

“The heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus," Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people think that goes away in April as the heat comes in." At a campaign rally this week, he went further, according to a CNN report on his remarks, saying, “in theory when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away."

JLR to extend shutdown of China manufacturing

Tata Motors Ltd.‘s Jaguar Land Rover unit has told its vendor network that the shutdown of its manufacturing operations in China would be extended till Feb. 17, ET reported.

China offers online classes as schools postpone start of new semester

Chinese students will be able to attend classes online or study via television as schools postpone the start of the new semester due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, education officials said on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has issued a guideline for universities to organise online classes, with 22 online platforms offering 24,000 courses to students, said Wu Yan with the ministry at a press conference, reported Xinhua news agency.

These courses are of high-quality and were carefully selected over the past several years, Wu said, adding that more platforms will be launched in the future.

A "cloud platform" will also be launched on 17 February to provide students in elementary and secondary schools with education resources covering all major school subjects, said Lyu Yugang with the MOE.

Kerala coronavirus positive patient now tests negative

A male patient who arrived from Wuhan and later tested positive for coronavirus will be discharged on Thursday, after two tests have now turned negative, a health official said.

The patient, who is quarantined at the Alappuzha Medical College, was the second person who turned up positive in the test.

All the three patients -- a female and two males -- who were tested coronavirus positive were studying in Wuhan.

"The patient, now at Alappuzha will be discharged tomorrow (Thursday) as two tests of his turned negative. Likewise when the results of the other two come, the same will be followed," said the official who did not wish to be identified.

According to the figures released on Wednesday night by the Kerala Health officials, 2,455 people are under observation of which 24 are in hospitals and the rest at their homes.

India allows Chinese crew to enter Kolkata port after being quarantined

Nineteen Chinese crew of a vessel coming from Shanghai was allowed to enter Kolkata port after the ship was quarantined at Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas for several hours on Wednesday, port officials said.

The crew members will undergo thermal scanning in the port in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

"A total of 19 Chinese crew on board including Captain Zhou Yingde was quarantined at Sagar Island today. They were cleared by doctors of Kolkata Port Trust there and allowed to enter Kolkata tomorrow," officials said.

Two Russians flee virus quarantine, in dismay at hospitals

One patient jumped out of a hospital window to escape her quarantine and another managed to break out by disabling an electronic lock.

Two Russian women who were kept in isolation for possible inflection by a new virus say they fled from their Russian hospitals this month because of uncooperative doctors, poor conditions and fear they would become infected. Russian health authorities haven't commented on their complaints.

In Russia, only two cases of the disease COVID-19 have been reported.

Many of those quarantined in different Russian hospitals complained about dire conditions of isolation rooms and lack of cooperation from doctors, uncertain about quarantine protocols.

Both women said their hospital ordeals began after returning from Hainan, a tropical region of China popular with Russian tourists.

Two Indian crew on board Japan cruise ship test positive

Two Indian crew on board cruise ship Diamond Princess off Japanese coast test positive for coronavirus, said the Indian mission in Japan.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Japan health ministry said 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan, with one quarantine officer also infected, bringing the total to 175.

Passengers look out from a deck of the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo
Passengers look out from a deck of the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo (Photo: Reuters)

The Diamond Princess was placed in quarantine for two weeks on arriving in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.

It is looking like an increasing economic threat for Japan, where manufacturers are reliant on Chinese companies for parts, and shops and hotels dependent on Chinese tourists.

Mobile World Congress may be called off over deadly virus outbreak

Organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will decide on Wednesday whether to cancel the event, two sources said, after several major European telecom companies pulled out due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and BT ditched the event, along with Finnish network equipment maker Nokia, according to sources and official statements, leaving the Barcelona event without some of its main backers.

An employee places a banner with information of MWC 20 in Barcelona, Spain
An employee places a banner with information of MWC 20 in Barcelona, Spain (Photo: Reuters)

The GSMA industry association that organises the conference was due to hold a 'virtual' meeting of its board, consisting of 25 industry bosses, at 1300 GMT to discuss its options, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

"They have to cancel," said a source with one exhibitor that has decided to pull out.

Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to deadly virus outbreak

Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the organisers said today.

The FIA and Formula One said in a statement that they had jointly decided to postpone the race, which was scheduled for April 19 at the Shanghai International Circuit.

"As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and Formula 1 have taken these measures," the two bodies said.

Coronavirus outbreak 'just beginning' outside China, says WHO body

The coronavirus epidemic may be peaking in China where it was first detected in the central city of Wuhan but it is just beginning in the rest of the world and likely to spread, a global expert on infectious diseases said on Wednesday.

The Chinese government's senior medical adviser has said the disease is hitting a peak in China and may be over by April. He said he was basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action.

Dale Fisher, chair of the Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network that is coordinated by the World Health Organization, said that predicted "time course" may well be true if the virus is allowed to run free in Wuhan.

"It's fair to say that's really what we are seeing," he told Reuters in an interview. "But it has spread to other places where it's the beginning of the outbreak. In Singapore, we are at the beginning of the outbreak."

Bats for sale at Indonesia's wildlife market despite deadly virus warning

Bats, rats and snakes are still being sold at an Indonesian market known for its wildlife offerings, despite a government request to take them off the menu over fears of a link to the deadly coronavirus.

Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say business is booming and curious tourists keep arriving to check out exotic fare that enrages animal rights activists.

The virus hasn't affected sales. My customers still keep coming, says a vendor
The virus hasn't affected sales. My customers still keep coming, says a vendor

But scientists are debating how the new virus, which has killed more than 1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world, was transmitted to humans.

A wildlife market in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, is thought to be ground zero and there is suspicion it could have originated in bats.

Coronavirus impact puts Thai economy closer to recession

A technical recession is looming in Thailand after a key government official painted a bleak picture of the economy.

Growth could be less than 1% in January through March from a year ago, mainly because of the chilling impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on tourism, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

Expansion in the fourth quarter of last year may be less than 2%, Somkid told reporters in Bangkok today.

“The economy slowed in the fourth quarter and the impact from the coronavirus, especially a sharp fall in Chinese tourists, will hurt it hard in the first quarter," he said.

Tourism accounts for about a fifth of the Thai economy, which is also grappling with a sapping drought and a currency that officials have said remains too strong.

Singapore’s DBS evacuates 300 employees after staff found infected

The coronavirus outbreak rocked Singapore’s financial district after an infection at the country’s biggest bank prompted it to evacuate 300 workers.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd. told employees on Level 43 at its Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 headquarters to work from home after a staff member tested positive for the disease. The case is at least the third to strike the business district, where other firms have been sending workers home and setting up temperature-screening checkpoints to stem any further spreading of the deadly disease.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

“During this difficult time, the bank will be providing this employee and his family with every support and guidance," DBS said in a statement Wednesday. “We are also currently conducting detailed contact tracing with all employees and other parties that the infected employee may have come into contact with." DBS is deep-cleaning and disinfecting the affected office space.

Coronavirus infections on Japan cruise ship leap to 174

Rising infection cases on board a quarantined cruise ship in Japan -- likely evidence passengers are spreading the virus to one another -- is raising concerns about their safety and sparking anger among the thousands still confined.

There are now 174 infections aboard Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess, the largest infection cluster outside China. The surging numbers are fueling concerns that rather than keeping passengers safe, the quarantine is allowing the virus to spread through the ship. There were 39 new cases announced Wednesday, including 10 members of the crew.

Economists cut China’s growth forecast on coronavirus impact

The outbreak of the coronavirus and China’s efforts to stop the spread mean the economy will grow slower this quarter than first thought, according to economists.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, UBS Group AG and Macquarie Group Ltd. are among those cutting their growth forecast for both the first quarter and the full year, while others expect material shocks to gross domestic product.

China retreats online to weather coronavirus storm

Virus-phobia has sent hundreds of millions of Chinese flocking to online working options, with schools, businesses, government departments, medical facilities — even museums and zoos — wrapping themselves in the digital cloud for protection.

China remains in crisis mode weeks after the epidemic exploded, with much of the country shut down and the government pushing work-from-home policies to prevent people gathering together.

That has been a boon for telecommuting platforms developed by Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, which have suddenly leap to the ranks of China's most-downloaded apps, leaving them scrambling to cope with the increased demand.

Britain's Native Antigen Company introduces novel coronavirus antigens

British-based The Native Antigen Company said on Wednesday that it had introduced novel antigens to deal with the coronavirus afflicting China.

"The Native Antigen Company, one of the world's leading suppliers of reagents that enables research into vaccines and diagnostics for emerging and endemic infectious diseases, today announced the commercial introduction of its Novel Coronavirus antigens, derived from the emerging Wuhan strain," it said in a statement.

'Everyone is guessing' about coronavirus economic impacts, say experts

Most believe China faces a short but sharper economic shock than originally thought, one that will be felt around the world. Expectations of how harsh the impact will be vary widely, however. Health professionals and economists say opaque Chinese data and lack of precedent hinder clear estimates.

China's gross domestic product growth in the first quarter could fall to as low as 4%, Nicholas R. Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, estimated on Tuesday. That compares to Chinese government estimates of 6% annual growth before the virus emerged.

However, if the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases continues to decline, then adverse effect on annual growth will be much smaller, he added.

Analysts from S&P, meanwhile, estimated Tuesday that the virus could lower China's GDP growth to 5.0% this year, with a peak effect in the first quarter before a rebound begins in the third quarter.

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