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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Feb. 23 to Feb. 29, Dow sheds 12% for the week

British man dies after being infected on cruise ship in Japan

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, New York.   © Reuters

The Nikkei Asian Review is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

China's National Health Commission raised the total number of cases on the mainland to 79,251 as of the end of Friday, an increase of 427 from the previous day. The official mainland death toll is 2,835.

Cases also have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Algeria, Nigeria, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Italy, Germany, France, the U.K., Russia, Georgia, Finland, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Netherlands, North Macedonia and Romania.

To see how the disease has spread, click this interactive virus tracker:

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):



Saturday, February 29

10:20 a.m. South Korea confirmed 594 new cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 2,931.

9:40 a.m. Mainland China had 427 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Friday, the country's National Health Commission said on Saturday. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far is 79,251. The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,835, up by 47.

6:55 a.m. New York stocks extended their losing streak Friday to finish their worst weekly sell-off since the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 12% for the week, a level comparable to the 14% decline right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001 and the 13% fall after the Black Monday crash of October 1987.

6:12 a.m. Teachers and students in Japan are in an unprecedented scramble to finish the academic year after the government called on schools to close from Monday.

5:40 a.m. As countries around the world impose quarantines, Mongolia's president and other senior officials will isolate themselves for 14-days after visiting China.

4:07 a.m. China and Japan are showing a united front against the coronavirus, with "no change in plans" for Xi Jinping to visit in April.

2:55 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "We know containment is possible, but the window of opportunity is narrowing."

12:30 a.m. The World Health Organization raised its risk assessment for COVID-19 to "very high" at the global level.

12:15 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial average dropped more than 1,000 points in early trading as Wall Street entered another torrid sell-off.

Friday, February 28

11:55 p.m. United Airlines said it was cancelling flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore and Seoul on coronavirus fears, which threaten financial jeopardy for Asian airlines.

10:00 p.m. A British man has died after becoming infected with the coronavirus on the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan, NHK reports.

The cruise ship Diamond Princess is seen docked at Yokohama on Feb. 10.    © Kyodo

7:30 p.m. At least two dogs in Hong Kong were sent for coronavirus-related inspection after their owners were infected. One dog tested "weak positive" for the virus, but local officials said it was too early to determine whether the virus can be passed between dogs and humans.

6:50 p.m. Philippine Airlines announced it was laying off 300 ground personnel to streamline the company, after sustaining losses in 2019 which have been made worse by the coronavirus outbreak and consequent travel restrictions.

6:40 p.m. Meanwhile, Vietnam plans to quarantine all arrivals from South Korea, home of Samsung Electronics, one of the Southeast Asian country's biggest foreign investors. 

6:06 p.m. Hokkaido Gov. Naomichi Suzuki declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus and asked residents to stay home this weekend. Another 12 infections were confirmed on Japan's northernmost main island on Friday, raising the total to 66, the highest number in the country.

6:00 p.m. Sharp will start making surgical masks in Japan next month, responding to a government call for increased supplies, Nikkei has learned.

5:04 p.m. South Korea confirmed 315 more cases, after adding 256 infections earlier the day. This raises the total number to 2,337 infections with 13 deaths. 

1:52 p.m. New Zealand has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus in a person in their 60s who recently returned from Iran.

12:55 p.m. Hyundai Motor is suspending production at a factory in the South Korean city of Ulsan, where a worker has tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to Reuters.

11:40 a.m. Tokyo Disney Resort to close from Feb. 29 to March 15 to slow coronavirus, operator Oriental Land says.

11:09 a.m. The Nigerian Health Ministry has announced the country's first coronavirus infection, an Italian national who works in Lagos and returned from Milan on Feb. 25.

10:14 a.m. South Korea confirmed 256 new cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 2,022. The death toll stood at 13, unchanged from the previous day.

9:29 a.m. The Nikkei Stock Average plunged more than 700 points in the opening minutes of trading, reflecting continued fears over the coronavirus.

9:05 a.m. Mainland China had 327 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday, down from 433 cases a day earlier, the country's National Health Commission said on Friday. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far is 78,824. The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,788, up by 44.

People wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus wait in line to buy masks at a department store in Seoul on Feb. 27.   © Reuters

7:15 a.m. California's governor said that 33 patients tested positive in the state, while more than 8,400 others continue to be monitored for symptoms. Five of the patients have since moved out of California.

6:58 a.m. Saudi Arabia suspended tourist visas for visitors from seven countries, including China, South Korea, Japan and Italy.

6:17 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1,190 points to close at 25,766 in the biggest single-day decline ever as investors anxiety deepened over the outbreak.

5:54 a.m. WHO says no country will be spared from the coronavirus as the Netherlands reported its first confirmed case of infection. "No country should assume it won't get cases," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

4:11 a.m. China's central bank will provide $70 billion in funding to smaller businesses that are struggling to restart operations after temporary shutdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak.

2:21 a.m. Chinese city governments are asking people returning from virus hot spots such as South Korea and Japan to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

12:15 a.m. U.S stock prices opened sharply lower Thursday morning in New York on coronavirus fears, extending this week's steep slide.

Thursday, February 27

7:50 p.m. An Iranian Health Ministry spokesman said the death toll in the country had risen to 26 and the number of infected people stood at 245. The government has extended its closure of cinemas and its suspension of cultural events and conferences for one more week, he said.

6:30 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he will request all elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide to close temporarily, starting March 2.

6 p.m. South Korea confirmed 171 more new cases on Thursday after adding 334 infections earlier the day. The country now added 505 cases on the day, more than the 433 cases reported in mainland China.

4:30 p.m. Cambodia's labor ministry said some 200 factories employing 160,000 workers could be forced to suspend operations if raw materials do not arrive from China by the end of March. A ministry spokesman told Nikkei that affected factories in the coming weeks will likely begin applying for permission to suspend work.

2:35 p.m. Crew members aboard the virus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined in Yokohama since Feb. 3, have started disembarking, the Japanese government said. About 240 crew members who tested negative are expected to disembark within several days and will be asked to stay at a nearby facility for further monitoring.

1:30 p.m. A confirmed coronavirus patient in California has no record of traveling outside the U.S. or being exposed to another known case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, suggesting the country has its first instance of community transmission. U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier on Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence will lead the nation's response to the new virus.

1:15 p.m. Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended entry visas for religious pilgrims in the hope of curbing the spread of the virus, according to multiple media reports. Last year, the kingdom issued about 7.2 million umrah visas for Muslims bound for holy sites, including many visitors from Southeast Asia.

12:40 p.m. South Korea's central bank chief said Thursday that the country's economy could contract in the first quarter because of the escalating spread of the new coronavirus.

Last August, Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque at the end of their Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.   © Reuters

11:20 a.m. Mainland China reported 433 new infections as of the end of Wednesday, the National Health Commission said on Thursday, up from 406 the previous day.

10:40 a.m. Tokyo stocks opened sharply lower again as virus concerns swirl, with the Nikkei index falling more than 400 points from the previous day's close in early trading.

10:07 a.m. South Korea confirmed 334 more cases on Thursday, raising the total to 1,595. Seoul has decided to postpone the country's joint military drills with the U.S. indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

9:09 a.m. Japan's MUFG Bank, a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, said in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, has tested positive for the new coronavirus. It is the first case reported by one of the country's major banks.

7 a.m. Newly confirmed coronavirus infections outside China have overtaken the number of new cases inside the country for the first time. The World Health Organization said China reported 412 new cases on Tuesday, while there were 459 in 37 other countries.

5:15 a.m. Norway has confirmed its first case of the virus, according to the country's public health agency. The patient had returned from China last week. Georgia and North Macedonia confirmed their first cases as well.

4:13 a.m. Israeli citizens should reconsider foreign travel, the health ministry said, citing the spread of the outbreak.

3:32 a.m. South Korea passed legislation to help combat the outbreak, including a provision that threatens prison time for suspected patients who break quarantine.

2:57 a.m. Germany's health minister warned that the country is at the start of an epidemic, with new cases that can no longer be traced to China.

2:18 a.m. Pakistan has confirmed its first two cases of the virus, according to Health Minister Zafar Mirza. Both patients recently traveled to Iran.

1:21 a.m. Air China will suspend flights between Beijing and Vienna, Reuters reports, citing a Vienna Airport spokesman. There will be no direct service between Austria and China as a result.

12:48 a.m. The U.S. State Department raised travel advisory warnings for Italy, Mongolia and Iran, citing the outbreak. The Iran advisory already cites the risk of kidnapping and detention.

Wednesday, February 26

10:43 p.m. Brazil became the first to confirm a case of the virus in Latin America, a 61-year-old man in Sao Paulo who recently traveled to northern Italy. The country's carnival holiday is underway, when millions of revelers stream into major cities. Greece confirmed its first case, a 38-year-old woman who also recently returned from Italy.

Brazil confirmed its first case of the virus just as the country's carnival holiday kicks off.   © Reuters

8:58 p.m. Suggestions by a senior International Olympic Committee member that the Tokyo Games could be canceled if the coronavirus outbreak is not contained by May drew a swift reaction from Japanese officials. Seiko Hashimoto, Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, said at the House of Representatives on Wednesday that such remarks "are not an official announcement by the IOC."

8:29 p.m. India's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that an Indian Air Force special flight carrying around 15 tons of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment departed for Wuhan, China, on Wednesday. The flight will also bring back some Indian and foreign nationals from neighboring countries who have sought assistance in traveling to India.

6:22 p.m. Thailand announced three new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, taking its total infections to 40, health ministry officials said. Two of the patients had returned from vacation in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, Reuters reported.

5:07 p.m. South Korea confirmed 115 more cases, raising its total number to 1,261, with 12 deaths.

3:11 p.m. An elderly coronavirus patient on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido died on Tuesday, the local government announced.

1:06 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has requested that major sports and cultural events be canceled, postponed or scaled down across the country for the next two weeks.

12:20 p.m. The education board of Hokkaido will ask local authorities to close all 1,600 public elementary and junior high schools to contain a coronavirus cluster on Japan's northernmost main island.

11:03 a.m. Mainland China had 406 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission said on Wednesday, down from 508 cases a day earlier. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 78,064. The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,715 as of the end of Tuesday, up by 52 from the previous day.

Mask-wearing sumo wrestlers arrive at Shin-Osaka station, Osaka, on Feb. 23 ahead of the grand tournament due to start on March 8 but could be cancelled or held without audiences.   © Kyodo

10:40 a.m. The Nikkei Stock Average was down more than 400 points, or over 1.79%, in early trading, following a nearly 2,000-point plunge in U.S. stocks over the last two days.

10:05 a.m. South Korea confirms 169 more cases, including a 23-year-old U.S. soldier stationed there, raising the total number to 1,146 with 11 deaths.

7:24 a.m. Algeria has confirmed its first case of the virus, Reuters reported, citing the country's health minister. The infected man, an Italian, reportedly arrived on Feb. 17.

6:56 a.m. A senior member of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound, said the organizers are more likely to cancel Tokyo Olympics altogether than to postpone or move the games, if the coronavirus danger is deemed too great, AP reported.

4:08 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 800 points at one point in Tuesday afternoon trading on heightened concern over the coronavirus outbreak. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to a record low.

3:30 a.m. A top WHO official on Tuesday warned countries to prepare immediately for coronavirus outbreaks. U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar, meanwhile, told a Senate subcommittee that there would likely be more domestic cases and asked for $2.5 billion to fight the disease. He previously proposed budget cuts to his department.

2:04 a.m. Goldman Sachs has restricted all business travel to South Korea and portions of Northern Italy in the wake of the coronavirus spread, Reuters reports.

1:57 a.m. Iran's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, has caught the coronavirus, according to local media. This makes him the world's first senior government official known to be infected.

Wall St. saw a second straight day of steep losses on Tuesday.   © Reuters

Tuesday, February 25

11:31 p.m. Austria confirmed on Tuesday its first two coronavirus cases. The patients live in a province that borders Italy.

8:02 p.m. Singapore said it will bar visitors who have traveled to Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, effective from 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 26 local time. The restriction only applies to travelers who spent time in the cities within the last 14 days. Authorities also said they could extend restrictions to cover the entire country should infections spread beyond Daegu and Cheongdo.

6 p.m. Japan's J-League announced all 94 of its domestic soccer games scheduled through March 15 will be postponed due to concerns of the coronavirus spreading at crowded stadiums. It is unclear when the games will be played.

5:10 p.m. South Korea added 84 more cases, raising the total number to 977. The death toll rose to 10. Meanwhile, the government is preparing a stimulus package to help the economy withstand the epidemic.

3 p.m. Hong Kong authorities said schools will remain closed until at least April 20 to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Classes at Hong Kong kindergartens as well as at primary and secondary schools will remain suspended until after the break around Easter Sunday, April 12.

1 p.m. Japan adopted a basic policy to fight the virus that calls on hospitals to give priority to patients with serious symptoms as a way to make the best of the country's limited capacity.

11:40 a.m. A fourth passenger from the cruise ship Diamond Princess has died from the coronavirus, according to Japanese government sources.

10:20 a.m. The U.S. and South Korea are considering scaling back joint military training now that 13 South Korean troops have tested positive for the virus. In the overall population, Seoul reported another 60 cases as of the end of Monday, bringing the total to 893.

9:53 a.m. Mainland China had 508 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Monday, the country's National Health Commission said on Tuesday, up from 409 cases a day earlier. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 77,658. The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,663 as of the end of Monday, up by 71 from the previous day.

9:08 a.m. The Nikkei Stock Average sharply dropped more than 1,000 points, over 4%, in the opening minutes of trading amid persistent fears over the coronavirus outbreak. It was the first time since Dec. 25, 2018, for Tokyo's main gauge to drop more than 1,000 points.

6:15 a.m. U.S. stocks logged their biggest declines in two years on escalating worries that the coronavirus outbreak will slow global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,030 points, or 3.6%, to 27,963, the S&P 500 lost 112 points, or 3.4%, to 3,226 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 355 points, or 3.7%, to 9,221.

4:25 a.m. The seventh Italian died in Europe's largest coronavirus outbreak and new cases in the country climbed above 220. Authorities in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, the industrial and financial heartlands of Italy, shut schools, universities, museums and cinemas for at least a week, and banned public gatherings including the famed Venice carnival.

3:23 a.m. South Korea is closing down its parliament and courts in an attempt to curb the outbreak and prevent widespread societal turmoil as the number of cases surged to 833.

1:55 a.m. The World Health Organization said that the novel coronavirus outbreak was not out of control globally nor causing large-scale deaths and it was "too early" to speak of a pandemic. "Using the word pandemic does not fit the facts," said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding: "We must focus on containment while preparing for a potential pandemic."

Workers in protective suits are seen outside a medical observation site for those under quarantine in Wuhan, Hubei province, China on Feb. 24, 2020.   © Reuters

12:47 a.m. Toyota Motor restarted its fourth and final Chinese assembly plant following a nearly monthlong shutdown sparked by the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

12:35 a.m. The Trump administration is considering asking lawmakers for emergency funding to ramp up its response to the fast-spreading coronavirus, a White House spokesman said. "We need some funding here to make sure that we ... protect all Americans, that we keep us safe," Hogan Gidley said on Fox News.

Monday, February 24

11:40 p.m. Oman's Health Ministry reported the first two cases of coronavirus infections, Oman TV said.

11:35 p.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 900 points within minutes of the market opening as a surge in coronavirus cases outside China stoked fears of a bigger impact to global growth.

11:15 p.m. Hong Kong said it will ban the entry of nonresidents traveling from South Korea. The territory will also send evacuation flights to bring back Hong Kong residents trapped in Hubei Province.

7:19 p.m. Indonesia has sent a navy ship to bring back 188 of its nationals working as crew aboard the World Dream cruise liner amid coronavirus concerns, a minister and a health ministry official both said on Monday. The World Dream was denied entry in Taiwan but finally docked in Hong Kong earlier this month. Its 1,800 passengers disembarked there but a similar number of crew stayed onboard.

7:04 p.m. Mongolia's National Emergency Commission has halted all flights from South Korea and will refuse entry to South Koreans until March 2 as it steps up efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it said on Monday. Although Mongolia has not yet reported any cases, it has closed its borders to Chinese arrivals.

7:03 p.m. South Korea reported 231 new coronavirus cases, taking total infections to 833, health authorities said on Monday. It also reported the seventh and eighth deaths from the disease in the country.

Iranian women wear protective masks to prevent contracting a coronavirus, as they walk at Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 20, 2020.   © Reuters

6:14 p.m. Iranian media said 50 people have died of coronavirus in the city of Qom, just hours after officials announced a death toll of 12. An official from Qom, Ahmad Amiriabadi Farahani, was quoted by ILNA news agency as saying that the 50 deaths date back to Feb. 13. Iran, however, first reported cases of the virus and deaths on Feb. 19, AP reported.

4:47 p.m. China's foreign ministry said on Monday that Beijing was not considering issuing travel advisories for South Korea and Japan, which are reporting an increase in coronavirus cases. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks during a press briefing in Beijing.

4:43 p.m. Afghanistan's minister of public health said on Monday the country had identified its first coronavirus case. Ferozuddin Feroz, the minister of public health, told a news conference in Kabul that one of three suspected cases had been confirmed in the Western province of Herat.

4:37 p.m. An announcement that the Chinese city of Wuhan would relax some of its travel restrictions and allow some people to leave was made without authorization and has been revoked, the local government said on Monday. It will continue to impose strict controls over its borders to prevent the virus from spreading further. The local government said it had reprimanded those responsible for the earlier announcement that healthy people would be allowed to leave if they had vital business.

3:34 p.m. Kuwait said on Monday that three people, including a Saudi national, who returned from Iran were infected with the coronavirus, state news agency KUNA reported. The three cases, the first in the Gulf state, were among the 700 people evacuated from the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad last week, KUNA said.

3:32 p.m. South Korea's Kospi closed down 3.87% at 2,079.04 as coronavirus infections soar, marking the sharpest one-day fall since early October 2018. The index has fallen for three sessions in a row and ended at its lowest since Dec. 5, 2019.

An employee from a disinfection service company sanitizes the floor of a traditional market in Seoul on Feb. 24, 2020.   © Reuters

3:19 p.m. The first coronavirus case was detected in Bahrain, the state news agency said on Monday, citing the health ministry. The ministry added that it was a Bahraini citizen arriving from Iran.

12:18 p.m. Mainland China had 409 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 648 reported a day earlier. The number of new deaths, however, rose to 150 from 97 over the same period, it said in a statement. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the mainland is now 77,150, and 2,592 have died from the outbreak, the commission said.

10:52 a.m. Four Chinese provinces -- Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi and Guizhou -- on Monday lowered their coronavirus emergency response measures, local health commissions said. Yunnan and Guizhou cut their emergency response measures from level I to level III, while Guangdong and Shanxi lowered their measures to level II. China has a four-tier response system for public health emergencies that determines what measures it will implement, with level I being the most serious.

10:32 a.m. South Korea reported 161 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected patients in the country to 763, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday. The death toll was up at 7.

8:20 a.m. Austria suspended train services over the Alps to Italy for about four hours late on Sunday before restarting them after two travelers tested negative for coronavirus. A train carrying about 300 passengers from Venice, Italy, to Munich, Germany, was halted on the Italian side of Brenner Pass before being allowed to continue its journey after the two tested negative, authorities said.

7:33 a.m. The slow recovery of Chinese industrial activity from the coronavirus outbreak has prolonged a seasonal drop in coal usage by power companies, contributing to an unexpected return of blue skies in such polluted cities as Shanghai and Guangzhou.

5 a.m. French Health Minister Olivier Veran said in a Sunday news conference that he would talk with his European counterparts soon to discuss how best to cope with a possible epidemic in Europe as Italy battles with an explosion in coronavirus cases.

4:31 a.m. Sovereign bond yields are falling worldwide as investors and governments fret about the risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak to the global economy. Several emerging markets lowered policy rates this month as the virus spread. Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil are among the 12 countries that have implemented cuts so far, and long-term bond yields in Thailand are close to falling below 1% for the first time.

4:02 a.m. Finance chiefs of the world's top 20 economies vowed to monitor the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on global growth and act if needed, as they said loose monetary policy and easing trade tensions would prompt a pickup in 2020 and 2021.

1:44 a.m. A third person infected with the coronavirus has died in Italy, a regional official said on Sunday, as the government struggles to contain an outbreak in the north of the country, with more than 130 cases reported since Friday.

1:30 a.m. Four passengers tested positive for coronavirus in England on Sunday after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in a statement on Twitter.

12:40 a.m. South Korea raised its infectious disease alert to its highest level on Sunday as confirmed coronavirus cases in the country jumped to 602 and the death toll rose to six.

Sunday, February 23

11:42 p.m. Turkey has closed its border with Iran and halted incoming flights as a precaution to stop the potential spread of coronavirus after the neighboring country reported 43 cases of the disease, Turkey's health minister said on Sunday. All highways and railways were closed as of 5 p.m. (14:00 GMT) and flights from Iran suspended, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters. Flights from Turkey to Iran are still allowed.

8:37 p.m. A cruise ship passenger who had been hospitalized after testing positive for the virus died on Sunday, the third fatality from the Diamond Princess, Japan's health ministry said. The ministry also announced 57 more cases of infections from the ship, including 55 crew members still on board and two passengers who had infected roommates and are in a prolonged quarantine at a government facility. With the new cases, 691 people have been infected on the ship, or nearly one-fifth of the vessel's original population of 3,711.

6:30 p.m. The number of cases of the coronavirus in Italy's Lombardy region has risen to 89, regional governor Attilio Fontana said on Sunday. That brings the total number of cases in the country to more than 100, Fontana said, speaking on Sky TV.

6:12 p.m. Iranian media reported on Sunday that an Iranian infected with the coronavirus died in the country, bringing the number of deaths in there to seven.

3:38 p.m. Japanese Emperor Naruhito said on Sunday that he was concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed three in Japan and is slowly spreading across the country.

Barbed wire is seen on an entrance to a residential compound in Wuhan, Hubei province, China on Feb. 22, 2020.   © Reuters

11:20 a.m. China's National Health Commission said the number of new cases in the mainland rose to 648 as of Saturday, from 397 the previous day, bringing the total number to 76,936. The number of new cases outside of Hubei stood at 18, the lowest since the commission started publishing nationwide data a month ago. The nationwide death toll rose by 97 to 2,442, but only one new death was outside of Hubei.

10:58 a.m. The U.S. State Department on Saturday called for "increased caution" when traveling to Japan, escalating the alert to level 2 on the four-level advisory scale, amid reports that the coronavirus is spreading in Japanese communities via unknown infection routes.

4:44 a.m. The International Monetary Fund reported on Saturday that the 2020 growth forecast of China to be 5.6%, down 0.4 percentage point from its earlier estimate in January and the slowest growth since 1990, during a meeting of finance chiefs from Group of 20 major economies.

1:54 a.m. South Korea's health authorities on Saturday evening confirmed 87 new coronavirus infections, in addition to the 142 cases reported in the morning, which had already marked the country's largest single-day jump. The nation of 51 million now has 433 confirmed infections.

Saturday, February 22

10:15 p.m. A passenger who got off the Diamond Princess after completing the cruise ship's quarantine this past week tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday, becoming the first known case of infection among those released at the end of the ship's containment period, Japanese officials said.

9:55 p.m. Japan's health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said Saturday that 23 passengers had been released from the Diamond Princess at the end of the quarantine without being tested for the virus due to procedural mistakes, another sign of sloppiness in the quarantine of the ship, where more than 600 people were infected. He said the 23 were tested before the quarantine began Feb. 5, but were allowed to leave the ship on Wednesday and Thursday without being tested again. Kato said officials have tracked all 23 passengers down and asked them to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

6:50 p.m. Samsung Electronics said in a news release that one coronavirus case had been confirmed at its mobile device factory complex in the southeastern South Korean city of Gumi, causing a shutdown of the entire facility there until Monday morning.

To catch up on earlier developments, see last week's latest updates.

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