• The U.S. declares public health emergency
• 7th case confirmed in the U.S.
• Confirmed cases in China grow to 11,791 with 259 deaths
• Qantas becomes the latest airline to suspend flights to mainland China
Qantas to suspend flights to mainland China amid outbreak
Australian airline Qantas says that it will suspend its two direct flights to mainland China later this month amid a coronavirus outbreak in the country that has sickened thousands and killed nearly 260 people.
The services are between Sydney and Beijing and Shanghai, both of which are far from the city of Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Both will be suspended on Feb. 9, Qantas said in a statement. The airline cited entry restrictions imposed by the U.S. and other countries which would impact the movement of crew.
Service to Hong Kong will not be affected, according to the airline, because Hong Kong is exempt from travel restrictions. The Sydney-Beijing service had already been planned to end on Feb. 23 for commercial reasons, but will now end on Feb. 9, Qantas said.
“In selecting a date to suspend services Qantas is working to balance high passenger numbers in both directions — including Australian residents wanting to return home from China — with the various travel restrictions being applied,” Qantas said in a statement. The dates could change, depending on the circumstances. — Phil Helsel
The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in China grew to 11,791 with 259 deaths as of the end of the day Friday local time, China’s national health commission said on its website.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
That’s an increase in the national number from 9,692 confirmed cases and 213 deaths in China reported as of the end of the day Thursday.
Earlier Friday, Hubei province’s local health commission reported 11,067 confirmed cases and 258 deaths, and the national numbers show larger total figures. The epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak is the city of Wuhan, which is in Hubei province.
The 46 new deaths were mostly in Hubei province, with 45 there, the national health commission said. The other new death was in the city of Chongqing, which is southwest of Hubei. There are also nearly 18,000 suspected cases in China.
All of the deaths have been in China and the vast majority of confirmed cases are also in the country, although there are also confirmed cases in other countries, including the United States, where there are seven confirmed cases of the virus, also known as 2019-nCoV, health officials there have said. — NBC Beijing
An adult male returning from China has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in California, the Santa Clara county public health department said Friday. The Bay area public health department was notified by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that the resident was confirmed to have the respiratory disease, Dr. Sara Cody, director of the County of Santa Clara health department said during a press briefing Friday.
It’s the seventh confirmed case in the U.S. and the third case in California.
The patient had been in Wuhan, China and Shanghai and returned to California on Jan. 24 through the San Jose airport. He became ill upon his return, Cody said.
“Since his return, he has only been at home. He came into contact with a very few individuals after returning home.” Cody said. “His only travel has been to seek care.”
The patient has not been very ill and has not required hospitalization. He has been self-isolating in his home. “He will be followed closely at home until he’s no longer infectious,” Cody said.
As part of the investigation, the Santa Clara county health officials are working with the CDC to find anyone who may have been exposed to the patient, including individuals at the health care facilities or other passengers during his air travel, Cody said.
Cody sought to calm concerns about the risks of the disease’s spread in the community, noting that health officials had been preparing for weeks for the possibility of a case.
“We don’t have evidence to suggest that the coronavirus is circulating in the Bay area, Santa Clara county or northern California,” she said during the briefing. “This one case does not change the risk to the general public.” The CDC confirmed the 7th case in California. — Jane Weaver
Starting Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, all passengers on flights to the United States who have been in Hubei province in China in the last 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of quarantine. The city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, is located in Hubei.
Any U.S. citizen who has been in the rest of mainland China will be actively screened at one of seven airports for risk and evidence of symptoms. If no symptoms are detected, the individuals will be allowed to complete their travel home and will be monitored by local health departments in isolation at home.
At the same time, the White House announced that it will not allow anyone who has been in China recently to enter the U.S. because they may pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled to China within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter the U.S. during this time.
The seven airports are in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. — Erika Edwards