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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: How the outbreak unfolded from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1

As cases surpassed 10,000, countries rushed to fly citizens out of China

A doctor puts on protective goggles before entering the isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan, China.   © Reuters

The Nikkei Asian Review continues to track the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Follow the latest updates here.

Last week, Chinese health authorities raised the death toll into the hundreds, while confirmed cases exceeded 10,000. The virus also appeared far from China, with infections reported in two dozen countries. Governments rushed to arrange evacuation flights for their nationals stuck in the locked-down Wuhan area, while imposing entry restrictions on travelers who had been in China recently. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, issued a "do not travel" warning for China.

For more on the spread of the virus and measures being taken to prevent further infections, see our list of the six things you must know about the coronavirus.

Here is what happened last week (Tokyo time):



Saturday, February 1

9:48 a.m. The total number of deaths from the outbreak had reached 259 by the end of Friday, an increase of 46, according to a state broadcaster CCTV, citing numbers from the country's National Health Commission.

9:30 a.m. The northern Chinese city of Tianjin has ordered schools and nonessential companies to remain closed until further notice to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to a local government-run newspaper.

8:02 a.m. Hubei Province, at the center of the coronavirus epidemic, reported 45 new deaths from the outbreak and confirmed 1,347 new cases of infection on Friday, according to the local health commission.

7:30 a.m. Spain confirmed its first case of coronavirus late Friday, with the Health Ministry identifying a man diagnosed on a remote island in the Canaries.

5:40 a.m. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declares the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency in the country and says Washington will deny the entry of foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the past 14 days. Immediate family members of U.S. citizens will be exempt.

5:35 a.m. Germany confirmed a seventh case of coronavirus, identifying the victim as a man who works at a company in Bavaria where five other workers had earlier tested positive.

5:30 a.m. U.S. equities lost ground as investors grew concerned about the coronavirus outbreak's impact on the global economy, sending the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 600 points in afternoon trading.

4:20 a.m. Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan will be quarantined for 14 days at a U.S. military base to prevent any spread of the coronavirus, federal health authorities said. This marks the first federal quarantine order in over 50 years.

3:10 a.m. United Airlines said it will suspend all flights to China from Feb. 6, following similar moves by peers.

1:45 a.m. Delta Air Lines and American Airlines announced that they are suspending all China flights.

1:30 a.m. Thailand confirmed its first case of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus. The country also decided on relief measures for the tourism industry in light of an anticipated 80% decrease in Chinese travelers through April.

12:35 a.m. China's foreign ministry said on its website that the U.S. decision to raise its China travel warning to the "Do Not Travel" level is "not in line with the facts and is inappropriate." The WHO has urged countries to avoid travel restrictions, but the U.S. State Department has now raised its warning on travel to China to the same level as for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friday, January 31

8:14 p.m. A Chinese health expert warned the public that patients who have recovered from the virus could become susceptible again. Zhan Qingyuan, head of the pneumonia control and prevention team at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, said at the National Health Commission's news conference on Friday that getting the disease once cannot guarantee immunity.

8:03 p.m. The Indian army said it has set up a facility near Manesar in Haryana state to quarantine the roughly 300 Indian students arriving from Wuhan. A special Air India flight is scheduled to bring them back around 2:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, airline spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar told the Nikkei Asian Review. Returnees will be kept at quarantine centers for 14 days.

Tourists wearing protective face masks pose for photos at the Merlion Park in Singapore. Singapore on Friday placed travel restrictions on all Chinese people traveling to the city.   © Reuters

7:43 p.m. Singapore placed restrictions on all Chinese people traveling to the city. Effectively, all Chinese passport holders except long-term residents will not be allowed to enter the country. In addition, anyone, regardless of nationality, who traveled to China in the last 14 days will not be allowed entry, or to transit through Singapore.

7:24 p.m. Standard Chartered is suspending 18 branch services in Hong Kong, and HSBC is temporarily closing 20 branches and four business centers.

7:13 p.m. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said a chartered plane will depart on Saturday morning to pick up Thais stranded in Wuhan -- 64 are there. The plane has been provided by AirAsia.

7:00 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that foreigners who have been to Hubei province in the past 14 days will be refused entry to Japan for the time being.

6:55 p.m. Turkish Airlines announced it had suspended flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Xian until Feb. 9. The country also dispatched a military cargo plane to evacuate 34 Turkish, 7 Azeri, 7 Georgian, and 1 Albanian citizen from Wuhan.

6:40 p.m. Thailand's Department of Disease Control revealed five more patients have contracted the virus. Four are Chinese from Hubei province, one is a Thai taxi driver -- the first person-to-person transmission in the country. The kingdom now has 19 confirmed cases.

6:32 p.m. At least 12 Vietnamese universities in Hanoi said they will reopen after the Tet holiday on Feb 10, a week later than planned.

6:28 p.m. The U.K. government said it has confirmed two cases in England -- the first in the country.

6:20 p.m. Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged Hong Kong residents not to travel to the mainland. She also said schools will remain closed until at least March 2.

6:03 p.m. The coronavirus raging through China reveals both the authorities' failure to take prompt action to contain the epidemic and the huge social distortions masked by the country's rapid economic development, Nikkei senior writer Tadanori Yoshida reports.

3:25 p.m. South Korea has confirmed four more cases, raising its total to 11.

3:08 p.m. Sydney-based AMP Capital expects a 2-3% fall in China's gross domestic product in the quarter through March, due to disruptions to consumption, travel and business. For comparison, the investment firm said China's GDP declined by 2% in the quarter through June 2003, during the SARS outbreak.

3:00 p.m. Over 65 million Chinese are watching a CCTV livestream of the construction of two makeshift hospitals for virus patients in Wuhan.

2:50 p.m. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross thinks the coronavirus in China could help "accelerate the return of jobs in North America" -- some to the U.S. and "probably" some to Mexico. "Every Americans' heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus, so I don't want to talk about a victory lap," he told Fox Business. "But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain."

2:42 p.m. An Air India plane with capacity for 423 people will leave Delhi for Wuhan at 12:30 p.m. local time, or 4:30 p.m. Japan time, airline spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar told the Nikkei Asian Review. "If everything goes as per schedule, the flight will return to India with [evacuees] by 2 a.m. local time on Saturday."

1:40 p.m. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, a gauge of stocks across the region, is on course for its biggest weekly fall in nine months. After the U.S. elevated its travel warning for China, markets from Tokyo to Hong Kong gave up today's early gains. Crude oil was up 2%, though safe-haven assets stalled, with gold down 0.8% and headed for its first fall in three days. All eyes will soon shift to China's markets, which are scheduled to open on Monday after an extended Lunar New Year closure.

1:30 p.m. Rubber glove manufacturers in Malaysia -- the world's largest supplier -- have pledged to donate 18 million gloves to hospitals in Wuhan. Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok told reporters that natural rubber and nitrile gloves will be sent in batches, with the first shipment already on its way.

1:16 p.m. China's foreign ministry says that because citizens from Hubei, and especially the Wuhan area, are "experiencing trouble overseas," it is considering flying them back to Wuhan as soon as possible using chartered civilian flights.

12:45 p.m. Asian shares bounced back somewhat on Friday morning. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average ended the morning session up 1.26%, while Taiwan's Taiex weighted index was up 1.2% at one point before falling back slightly. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was trading up around 0.5%. The modest recoveries follow a brutal Thursday, in which South Korea's Kospi sank 1.7%, the Hang Seng fell 2.6%, and the Nikkei average dropped below 23,000 for the first time in three months.

12:01 p.m. Facebook says it will limit misinformation on the virus. The social network said in a statement that it would "start to remove content with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities."

11:54 a.m. The outbreak has rattled the commodities market: The IHS Markit Materials Price Index fell 1.0% in the week from Jan. 20. William May, an IHS Markit senior economist, said in a note that there was "active selling tied to growing fears around the impact of the coronavirus on Chinese demand."

11:38 a.m. The U.S. Department of State has issued a "Level 4: Do not travel" warning for China. The department warned that visitors to China "should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice," and that travelers now in China "should consider departing using commercial means."

11:33 a.m. With the Philippines' first case now confirmed and public pressure mounting, President Rodrigo Duterte said his government would temporarily ban "Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei Province of China where the [virus] originated," as well as "other places in China where there is a spread of the disease."

11:29 a.m. Italy has confirmed the country's first two cases, Reuters reported. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the patients were Chinese tourists, and declared that air traffic to and from China was being suspended.

11:20 a.m. China's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, responding to criticism that human-to-human transmission began far earlier than reported, said the details of the 425 cases analyzed in the study had been made public before the paper was published. The CDC said it learned of the infection of health care workers only after an expert on China's Health Commission revealed it on Jan. 20, and that the study authors conducted a "retrospective analysis" to determine the virus was moving between people in December.

10:53 a.m. A Korean Air charter flight from Wuhan arrived in Seoul this morning carrying 368 evacuees. The passengers will stay in government facilities in Chungcheong Province -- a two-hour drive south of Seoul -- for two weeks despite opposition from local residents. Separately, South Korea confirmed its eighth case.

10:40 a.m. Hubei Province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, suffered its deadliest day on Thursday, losing 42 lives and adding 1,220 new infections, local authorities said.

10:20 a.m. A plane carrying another 149 Japanese nationals from Wuhan landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. This is Japan's third evacuation flight, bringing the total number of people extracted to 565.

5:54 a.m. Air France suspends routes to China on demands from its flight crew union.

4:44 a.m. The World Health Organization declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern.

4:27 a.m. Person-to-person transmission began as early as mid-December, nearly a month before China officially confirmed such transmission, according to a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

3:17 a.m. America's CDC announced the first confirmed instance of human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in the U.S. The husband of an Illinois woman who traveled to China is said to have been infected by the virus.

2:58 a.m. Israel will no longer allow flights from China to land at its airports and flag carrier El Al has suspended routes to Beijing, Reuters reports.

12:13 a.m. The world's No. 1 glove maker, Malaysia's Top Glove, is seeing a surge in orders due to demand from China and elsewhere. It now expects to surpass its already rosy forecast for the fiscal year.

Thursday, January 30

9:05 p.m. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the closure of the country's border with China in the Far East, Moscow's TASS state news agency reported. Mishustin informed the cabinet that work to implement the order is "already in progress."

8:50 p.m. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for an "immediate evacuation" of his country's citizens from Hubei Province. There are 243 Indonesians known to be in Hubei, around 100 of whom are in Wuhan. The foreign ministry said preparations are being made to shuttle individuals scattered around the province to the airport in Wuhan and fly them out "in the near future."

8:30 p.m. Turkish Airlines plans to decrease its flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xian from Feb. 5 to Feb. 29, due to a significant decrease in demand, the company's press adviser Yahya Ustun tweeted.

7:30 p.m. Tensions are running high in Chinese hospitals as the virus death toll rises. Two medical professionals in Wuhan were beaten up late on Wednesday by bereaved family members of a patient they failed to save, according to a report published on Thursday by Chinese media outlet Caixin. The report said the doctors were exposed to the virus during the fight and have been quarantined.

7:00 p.m. Three Vietnamese citizens have tested positive for the coronavirus -- two in Hanoi, the capital, and one in the province of Thanh Hoa. All three recently returned from Wuhan. This brings Vietnam's total confirmed infections to five.

6:50 p.m. Taiwan now has one additional confirmed case, raising its total to nine as of Thursday afternoon, according to a government announcement. In the latest case, a woman is believed to have caught the virus from her husband, who works in Wuhan and had only minimal symptoms when he returned to Taiwan.

6:05 p.m. Finland has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare announced. The patient is "a tourist from the city of Wuhan in China," according to the institute.

5:45 p.m. India on Thursday confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus in the southern state of Kerala. The patient is a female student studying at Wuhan University, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The statement said that the patient "is in isolation in the hospital," and is in stable condition.

5:30 p.m. The Thai baht on Thursday fell to 31.28 against the U.S. dollar, the lowest level since June 2019. The government's weaker economic outlook due to the adverse impact of the new coronavirus on the tourism sector triggered the sell-off. At the end of last year, the baht surged to 29.75 against the dollar, but the current level is 5% cheaper. Thai baht was Asia's best-performing currency in 2019, rising 8% against the U.S. dollar.

5:28 p.m. The Philippines on Thursday reported its first case of the new coronavirus. The patient is a 38-year-old Chinese woman, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a briefing. The woman came from Wuhan and traveled to the Philippines via Hong Kong.

4:20 p.m. Vietnam is checking manufacturers with Chinese workers across the nation in order to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation said it will not allow Chinese workers to come back from their Lunar New Year break before Feb. 15. Ha Tinh Province in northern Vietnam has installed thermal scanners and checkpoints to inspect all Chinese workers coming back to the industrial park in the region.

2:28 p.m. 92 Singaporeans evacuated from Wuhan and arrived in Singapore on Thursday via a Scoot flight. According to Singapore's foreign ministry, after medical screening at the Changi Airport, those with fever or respiratory symptoms will be taken to hospitals, while the remaining passengers will be quarantined for 14 days. Scoot, a budget carrier subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, currently suspends Wuhan flights but flew to the Chinese city on Wednesday to send Wuhan residents who had been stranded in Singapore.

2:05 p.m. Asian stocks tumbled on mounting fears of the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak. A slew of businesses including Apple, Starbucks, H&M and Uniqlo have closed stores in China and airlines have suspended flights to the mainland. A regional equities gauge, the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index dropped to a seven-week low. Benchmark indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea all dropped over 1.5%. Taiwan, which resumed trading after the Lunar New Year holidays, slumped 5.4% in afternoon trade. Crude oil fell 1%. Investors switched to haven assets with gold pushing up 0.5% and sovereign bonds from Australia to U.S. treasuries rallying.

1:25 p.m. Singapore Airlines on Thursday decided to stop the overnight stays of pilots and crews for flights to China. "Singapore Airlines ceased layovers for the crew on flights to Beijing and Shanghai with effect from Jan. 30 2020. These will instead operate as turnaround flights. This is a precautionary measure for the safety of our crew," the company's spokesperson said.

12:50 p.m. Chinese media reported that the Chongqing government on Thursday has banned restaurants in the city from hosting group dining. The ban is effective until Feb. 14. Some public health experts expected the megacity in southwestern China, which has a border with Hubei province, to suffer from the epidemics due to its large population of 30 million and intense traffic to and from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

12:01 p.m. The Chinese Football Association on Thursday announced that it has postponed all matches in the country in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. The organization did not specify when the games would resume.

11:32 a.m. Hong Kong authorities late Wednesday said that two more people in the city had tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the city to 10. The two latest cases are a couple -- a 72-year-old man and a 73-year-old woman -- from Wuhan, where the coronavirus is thought to be originated. The couple arrived in Hong Kong on a Cathay Dragon flight from Wuhan on Jan. 22, and stayed at two hotels in Hong Kong before being sent to the hospital with symptoms on Jan. 28.

11:00 a.m. The novel coronavirus outbreak forced Starbucks to shut down more than half of its stores in China since late January, the company said in its financial report released on Wednesday. The closure is expected to "be temporary," the company said. Its sales in China contributed to roughly 10% of its total revenue in the past fiscal quarter.

9:55 a.m. China's National Health Commission said the total death relating to the coronavirus has risen to 170, with 7,711 confirmed cases. There are 12,167 suspected cases.

9:50 a.m. Japan's Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare said three citizens who returned from Wuhan to Tokyo on the country's first evacuation flight on Wednesday were infected with the coronavirus. Two of them did not have any symptoms.

6:18 a.m. Google parent Alphabet said it will temporarily shut down all its offices in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China.

3:55 a.m. Nearly 20% of China's domestic flights are being canceled as disruptions from the new coronavirus outbreak spread beyond its epicenter into major transportation hubs like Beijing and Shanghai.

3:38 a.m. A U.S. evacuation flight from Wuhan arrived in California Wednesday morning local time with 201 Americans on board. Passengers received health screenings prior to boarding in Wuhan, during a refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska, and following their arrival at a military base in Riverside, California. The flight initially was scheduled to land at San Francisco International, then at an airport near Los Angeles, before being sent to the military base.

2:40 a.m. China has demanded an apology from a Danish newspaper for publishing a satirical cartoon of the new coronavirus, but the paper is standing by its decision. The cartoon replaced the yellow stars in China's national flag with yellow virus particles.

1:20 a.m. A day after a Japanese bus driver was diagnosed with the new Chinese coronavirus after carrying tourists from Wuhan, a female tour guide on the same bus was confirmed to have the illness Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 29

11:50 p.m. India has made a request to the Chinese government to operate two flights to bring back its nationals from Hubei Province. The Indian embassy in Beijing is "in touch with Chinese authorities on the ground to work out necessary logistics," an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson tweeted Wednesday evening.

9:30 p.m. The People's Daily, China's Communist party's official newspaper, tweeted on Wednesday that the total number of confirmed cases in China has crossed 6,000. The post read "Latest on the #WuhanPneumonia in China as of 18:00 Wednesday local time - 6,078 confirmed - 132 deaths - 115 discharged from hospitals after recovery."

8:50 p.m. Italy's foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the government has prepared an aircraft scheduled to leave Wuhan on Thursday for evacuating its citizens stranded in the city most affected by the coronavirus.

8:00 p.m. Kazakhstan's government on Wednesday announced in a statement that it has decided to suspend all modes of transport services connecting with China, starting with the suspension of bus services from Wednesday. It will also cease train services from Feb. 1 and commercial air services from Feb. 3. Visa issuance to Chinese citizens has already been suspended. The central Asian country has not yet confirmed any cases of the coronavirus.

6:20 p.m. Thailand's Finance Ministry has lowered its GDP growth outlook for 2020 from 3.3% to 2.8% due to the impact of the coronavirus on tourism. The ministry also cited the trade war and Brexit as reasons for the downgrade.

5:02 p.m. Turkey has started official procedures to evacuate 32 of its citizens from Wuhan, the country's ambassador to China told Turkish TV station NTV. The ambassador said no Turkish citizens are known to have been infected but added that certain quarantine conditions will be applied to those returning from the Chinese city.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia are also planning evacuations, while the U.S. and Japan have already begun bringing their nationals home.

4:35 p.m. British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China after the U.K. government warned against all but essential travel to the country.

4:21 p.m. Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng says anyone spreading false information about the virus on social media should face legal action. So far Cambodia has reported only one case of the virus but authorities are concerned about online rumors fueling unrest.

The health minister's call comes as Singapore recently invoked its controversial "fake news" law after a website reported incorrectly that a man in the city-state had died from the virus.

3:48 p.m. Taiwanese authorities have ordered all 2,000 people coming back from Wuhan to wear electronic monitoring devices and stay in their own home to prevent the spread of the disease. Police will know immediately if anyone leaves home and place them in enforced quarantine, authorities said.

The move comes after a man was fined $10,000 for failing to report his symptoms after traveling to Wuhan.

3:26 p.m. Indonesia is "finalizing" evacuation plans for Indonesians in China's Hubei Province, a foreign ministry spokesperson said. According to the ministry, there are 243 Indonesians in Hubei, with 100 in Wuhan alone.

3:21 p.m. Tibet has reported its first suspected case of coronavirus, according to Chinese health authorities.

3:18 p.m. Malaysia has confirmed three more cases of the coronavirus, involving Chinese nationals including a 4-year-old girl. All three patients are being quarantined at government health care facilities, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad confirmed on Wednesday.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia to seven, though one is still pending lab results.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday that Malaysia is in talks with the Chinese government to evacuate some 78 Malaysians from Wuhan. Mahathir said a special aircraft will be prepared to bring them back in case Beijing agrees to allow them to leave the city, which is under lockdown.

2:45 p.m. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wuhan has increased sharply in the past few days, from 80 new cases on Jan. 26 to 892 new cases on Jan. 27, reports state-owned CCTV citing local government officials.

Wuhan authorities attribute the surge to its improved diagnosis capability. Previously, Wuhan had to send samples to Beijing for lab testing, but now the government said it is able to test the samples locally and make diagnoses more quickly. Authorities in Wuhan said its medical supply-demand is in a "tight balance," according to the CCTV report.

Wuhan officials also said they are working on a plan for the return of residents who left the city for the Lunar New Year holiday, but no details were disclosed. The government said there is also a possibility of extending the holiday further, depending on the state of the outbreak.

2:16 p.m. The United Arab Emirates has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, according to local media citing an announcement from the health ministry.

12:40 p.m. Chinese health authorities have confirmed 5,974 cases of the coronavirus -- more than the total confirmed cases of SARS in the country in 2002-2003. Deaths from the new virus have risen to 132, with suspected cases in the country totaling 9,239.

12:15 p.m. Hong Kong stocks opened weaker after the Lunar New Year holidays, catching up with global declines that have wiped $1.5 trillion off stock markets worldwide since Jan. 20. The city's benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 2.6% in midmorning trade. China has extended its Lunar New Year holiday and markets there are currently set to reopen on Feb. 3.

In signs of a return of some risk appetite, other major markets in the region, including Japan, Australia and South Korea, climbed, as did oil. The FTSE China A50 futures rose over 1%, notching its first gain this week. Among safe-haven assets, the yen was trading little changed against the greenback while gold slipped.

11:35 a.m. Fears over the coronavirus are stirring antipathy toward Chinese travelers. More than 570,000 South Koreans have filed a petition to the Blue House, the presidential office, calling for a ban on Chinese citizens entering the country during the Chinese New Year holidays. South Korea so far has four confirmed cases of the infection. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said on Tuesday that the government has no plan to enact such a ban, saying it is more efficient to quarantine people based on symptoms, not nationality.

11:25 a.m. Australia has joined the U.S., Japan and other countries in preparing to evacuate its nationals from Hubei Province. Canberra plans to provide "assisted departures for isolated and vulnerable Australians," Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced. Evacuees will be quarantined on Christmas Island for up to 14 days. Meanwhile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will not travel to China as originally planned, the Financial Times reported.

5:45 a.m. Three more people in southern Germany have contracted the coronavirus, the Bavarian region's health ministry said. They are employees of the same company where a man became the first person in Germany to become infected with the virus.

4:10 a.m. China's biggest tech companies, such as Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group Holding and Baidu, have ordered employees to work from home, looking to limit the spread of the new coronavirus as many staffers return from Lunar New Year holiday travel.

3:45 a.m. Honda Motor has extended a holiday shutdown at two motorcycle factories in China. The plants in northern China's Tianjin and the eastern city of Taicang, near Shanghai, will reopen Feb. 9 instead of earlier that month.

2:40 a.m. The U.S. has expanded coronavirus screening to 20 airports that handle almost all incoming passengers from China, U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar told a news conference. "Americans should know that this is a potentially very serious public health threat, but at this point Americans should not worry for their own safety," he said.

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan. 28.   © Reuters

2:30 a.m. Japan's Fast Retailing has temporarily closed more than 10% of its Uniqlo fast-fashion stores in China as retailers grapple with the country's fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

2:20 a.m. A charter flight carrying about 200 Japanese nationals is set to leave Wuhan early Wednesday morning as Tokyo moves to evacuate citizens from the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak.

2:00 a.m. The WHO says it can reconvene its emergency committee on the coronavirus on very short notice if needed, Reuters says.

Tuesday, January 28

8:50 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping assured the visiting chief of the World Health Organization on Tuesday that he was confident of winning the battle against the "devil" coronavirus that has killed 106 people and spread across the world. "The virus is a devil and we cannot let the devil hide," state television quoted Xi as saying. Both sides agreed that the WHO will send international experts to China to deepen understanding of the outbreak to guide global response efforts.

8:49 p.m. India and Bangladesh said on Tuesday they are trying to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan. National flag carrier Air India was on standby to airlift out an estimated 250 Indians from the city, local media reported earlier. In Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Abdul Momen said talks were underway to bring back its citizens.

7:55 p.m. Goldman Sachs instructed staff who have visited mainland China to work from home or stay out of the office for 14 days since last visiting the country, according to an internal notice, Reuters reported.

7:52 p.m. The United Arab Emirates is still free from the Wuhan coronavirus. UAE Minister of Health Abdul Rahman Al Owais, said, "The UAE is ready to provide all support to China and cooperate with the international community to tackle this virus. All Gulf countries are using thermal screening at airports." There are no reported cases in Saudi Arabia, either.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam wears a mask, following the outbreak of a new coronavirus, during a news conference, China January 28, 2020.    © Reuters

7:40 p.m. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced plans on Tuesday to suspend high-speed rail and ferry links with mainland China as the city scrambles to limit the spread of the virus. Lam defended her decision not to close the entire border, saying such a move would prevent Hong Kongers from returning home, some of whom commute to the mainland daily.

6:50 p.m. Singapore will deny entry or transit to short-term visitors who are holders of Chinese passports issued in Hubei Province, and also to those who have traveled to the province within the last 14 days. The restriction goes into effect on Jan. 29 at noon.

5:46 p.m. Japan sees first coronavirus case not linked to recent travel to China. The first case of a new coronavirus infection not linked to a person recently arrived from China has been confirmed in Japan, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said Tuesday. The infected person is a tour bus driver in his 60s in the city of Nara.

5:24 p.m. There is growing concern that the rapid spread of the coronavirus will further impact Art Basel Hong Kong, one of the world's biggest art fairs, which has already been affected by months of political unrest that have rocked the city. Three galleries have pulled out of the March 19-21 show.

5:15 p.m. Prices of crude oil and other commodities have fallen sharply since last week due to the deadly coronavirus, with observers are bracing for a repeat of the 2003 "SARS shock," when an epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China rocked world markets.

5:10 p.m. World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who met with Chinese authorities in Beijing on Tuesday, is confident China can control and contain the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement posted on China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

4:00 p.m. At least 10 flights scheduled to arrive on Tuesday at Cambodia's international airport in Sihanoukville are now listed as canceled. Sinn Chanserey Vutha, an official at Cambodia's State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said no new restrictions were in place, but the spreading coronavirus was impacting passengers' preference to travel.

3:25 p.m. Most Asian currencies fell against the dollar on Tuesday, with the South Korean won slipping as much as 0.8% to its lowest level in nearly three weeks, as the coronavirus batters investor confidence across the region.

3:04 p.m. Opinion: Individuals are giving money to Wuhan hospitals to help combat the coronavirus. But donations are no substitute for proper funding, says Zeyi Yang. "It is Chinese government's job."

2:53 p.m. Thai health officials have confirmed a further six cases of coronavirus infection among visitors from China, bringing the country's total to 14 cases. Five of the new cases, aged 6 to 70 years, came from Hubei province and are part of the same family.

2:37 p.m. Amid mounting concern within China over the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, Chinese officials have confirmed the first death in the capital, Beijing. All but six of the 106 recorded fatalities occurred in the city of Wuhan. No fatalities have been reported outside China.

2:29 p.m. The Philippines' gaming regulator PAGCOR has ordered the country's online casino companies, which employ hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers, to "exercise extreme caution in selecting employees to be sent to the Philippines." Online gaming companies have also been ordered to "impose a 10-day quarantine on all newly-hired and returning employees from countries with reported new coronavirus cases."

2:05 p.m. Singapore shares have so far lost 3% on Tuesday, their biggest intraday drop in more than eight months, as doubts emerge as to whether China can contain the virus that has so far spread to more than 10 countries.

1:50 p.m. Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is also preparing to evacuate and assist Thais living in Wuhan if the need arises. Thailand has so far been the worst hit by coronavirus outside of China with eight patients and 39 others quarantined preemptively.

1:45 p.m. The Philippines' Bureau of Immigration has temporarily suspended its visa-upon-arrival scheme for Chinese tourists amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus. The decision is expected to slow the influx of Chinese tour groups, potentially hurting the country's tourism industry.

1:30 p.m. Exclusive: Apple's Asian suppliers have warned that the coronavirus could affect the company's production targets.

1:00 p.m. Equities in Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea fell in morning trade on Tuesday amid mounting worries over the impact of the coronavirus. Singapore Airlines fell 3.5%, Korean Air Lines and Malaysia Airports Holdings plummeted at least 7% each, while DBS Bank, Singapore's largest listed company by market value, shed 2.4%. Casino operator Genting Singapore lost 4%.

12:46 p.m. The coronavirus outbreak is hitting China's manufacturing nerve centers, with the extended Lunar New Year holiday lengthening plant shutdowns in industrial centers. Shanghai has ordered all but certain essential companies, including utilities and supermarkets, not to resume business before Feb. 9.

12:31 p.m. Sri Lanka has also confirmed its first case, a Chinese tourist in her 40s who arrived in the country on Jan. 19

12:25 p.m. Germany announces first confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus in Starnberg southwest of Munich.

12:17 p.m. The U.S. to evacuate all diplomats and American citizens stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan. They will be taken to California via Alaska on a chartered flight tomorrow. South Korea is also preparing to extract its citizens, joining Japan in expanding its evacuation drive.

11:55 a.m. Chinese media has reported that the death toll from the new virus had reached 106, with 4,516 confirmed cases, as Japan on Tuesday classified pneumonia caused by a new deadly coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as a "designated infectious disease" legally allowing compulsory hospitalization.

07:00 a.m. The World Health Organization has corrected what it called an error in its situation report on the coronavirus outbreak. Risk at the global level was restated as "high," up from an earlier statement of "moderate."

05:15 a.m. The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for China to its second-highest level of 3 ("reconsider travel") from level 2 ("exercise increased caution"), citing the coronavirus outbreak. The advisory for the epicenter of Hubei Province was raised to the highest level of 4 ("do not travel") on Jan. 23.

01:10 a.m. Beijing reported its first death from the virus, according to the Municipal Health Commission.

A tourist wearing a mask visits Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Jan. 22. China's capital has reported its first death caused by the new coronavirus.   © Reuters

00:20 a.m. New York stocks plunged as markets opened Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by as much as 549 points. Fears that the Wuhan coronavirus will have a negative impact on global business prompted investors to flee risk assets. China-related stocks, such as Caterpillar and Dow, sold off, as did travel and leisure shares American Airlines and Booking Holdings, the operator of online travel site

Monday, January 27

11:59 p.m. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that his administration is "in very close communication with China concerning the virus."

"We have offered China and President Xi any help that is necessary," Trump said.

Separately, Ontario's health minister confirmed the Canadian province's second coronavirus case -- the wife of the first patient.

10:50 p.m. Cambodia reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus. Health Minister Mam Bunheng told a news conference that the patient is a 60-year-old Chinese man who arrived from Wuhan last Thursday, according to wire reports.

8:50 p.m. China will ensure there are ample supplies in Wuhan's markets and that prices remain stable, Premier Li Keqiang said during a visit to Wuhan, according to state television channel CCTV. Li is in Wuhan to inspect and direct efforts in the prevention and control of coronavirus.

6:30 p.m. Malaysia imposed a temporary ban on Chinese nationals arriving from the city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei Province to stem the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by the prime minister's office.

6:11 p.m. Cambodia's Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said there had been no cases of the coronavirus reported in the country so far. Three patients suspected to have contracted the respiratory virus had been cleared by tests, according to reports. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Facebook that authorities have stepped up screening at airports and border crossings.

4:22 p.m. Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, told reporters in Tokyo he was concerned the coronavirus "could affect" Chinese President Xi Jinping's scheduled visit to Japan in the spring.

4:17 p.m. China's finance ministry and National Health Commission have earmarked 60.33 billion yuan ($8.70 billion) to contain the spreading virus, according to a statement on the ministry's website.

3:16 p.m. Mongolia closed its border with China, shutting down crossings for vehicle and pedestrian traffic, according to the Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.

2:55 p.m. China's Hainan Province on Monday said that an 80-year-old woman died from the coronavirus, marking the first fatality there, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

2:53 p.m. Singapore's health ministry on Monday invoked the city-state's 'fake news' law for the first time in relation to the coronavirus, issuing a corrective directive to a website that falsely reported a 66-year-old man died in the city.

2:12 p.m. Stocks across Asia fell on fears over the rising impact of the coronavirus, with the Nikkei 225 down nearly 2% on the day and the Shanghai Composite dropping about 2.75%. China's ban on outbound tours prompted big falls in tourism-related shares such as Airports of Thailand.

12:59 p.m. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the country's No. 2 official, visited Wuhan on Monday, the government said in a statement. He spoke with patients and medical staff there.

12:18 p.m. The Philippines is investigating 11 suspected cases of the new coronavirus, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

12:01 p.m. New Delhi's embassy in Beijing is in close contact with Indian citizens in Wuhan and elsewhere in Hubei Province, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

11:46 a.m. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government is considering measures to curb the impact of the coronavirus on Japan's domestic tourism sector.

10:40 a.m. Japanese retailer Aeon said it will bring most of its 12 Japanese employees stationed in Wuhan home. Tokyo Electron will also evacuate 30 staffers in Wuhan on a government charter flight.

10:36 a.m. The mayor of Wuhan told reporters late Sunday that the number of cases in the city could increase by about 1,000.

10:36 a.m. The Chinese government has extended the Spring Festival holiday until Feb. 2, while Chinese gaming giant Tencent Holdings has asked staff to work from home until Feb. 7.

06:14 a.m. The outbreak is hurting Japan's tourism. Hotels have been hit by a flurry of cancellations by Chinese visitors, and more travelers are likely to scrap trips now that Beijing has banned group tours overseas.

05:17 a.m. Residents of Hubei Province, where the coronavirus was first reported, will be banned from entering Hong Kong. Taiwan earlier said that it would block the entry of Chinese visitors from the province, and that it is planning to bring back about 300 Taiwanese in Wuhan by charter flight.

03:17 a.m. Concerned residents in Wuhan are snapping up food in supermarkets, while people seeking medical attention are being turned away at hospitals. The central government in Beijing has said it will build a 1,000-bed hospital in the city in 10 days.

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