Europe Has First Death as Tourist Dies in France: Virus Update


(Bloomberg) – A Chinese tourist has died in France, marking the first death in Europe of the disease caused by the coronavirus, said the French Ministry of Health.

There have been 2,641 new confirmed infections in China, the National Health Commission said on Saturday in a statement, bringing the total to nearly 66,500. In Wuhan, the Chinese city in which the coronavirus epidemic is centered , authorities have further tightened the already strict quarantine imposed on residents.

The State Department will evacuate U.S. citizens and their families aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the largest group of infections outside of China and which is quarantined in Japan.

The virus is also showing no signs of decreasing outside of China. Japan, Thailand and Malaysia confirmed new cases on Saturday.

Key developments

The total number of people affected in China (66,492); deaths in 1,523 Chinese central banks said the epidemic had an impact on price stability, but that it would not cause large-scale inflationary pressures. death 1.457U.S. plans to evacuate Americans aboard Diamond PrincessBeijing cruise ship takes further isolation measures

Click on VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the new coronavirus and here for maps and graphics. For an analysis of the impact of Bloomberg Economics, click here.

Death in France first of a disease in Europe (6.15 p.m. HK)

An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died in France, marking the first death in Europe from the disease caused by the coronavirus, said the French Ministry of Health.

China tests animal vaccines (5 p.m. GMT)

China is testing vaccines against the coronavirus in animals, said Zhang Xinmin, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology, on Saturday. Research on vaccines has been prioritized by the central government and the ministry has coordinated with several departments to find a solution.

Earlier, China said it was administering its centuries-old traditional medicine as well as Western medicines to patients affected by coronavirus disease. Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM as the method is called, has been applied to more than half of the confirmed cases in Hubei. To read the full story, click here.

Why reports of coronavirus drugs are premature: QuickTake

United States to evacuate citizens of Diamond Princess (4:00 p.m. GMT)

The State Department will evacuate its citizens and their families from the virus-infected cruise ship Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined in Japan, said the U.S. Embassy in Japan. The ship is the largest infection group outside of China, with 67 other cases reported on Saturday.

Charter planes will bring American passengers and crew back to the United States, where they will be quarantined for two weeks. There are approximately 380 Americans aboard the cruise ship, Dow Jones reported.

To read the full story, click here.

Isolation in Beijing (3.30 p.m. HK)

The city of more than 21 million people has told people to quarantine themselves at home for two weeks in the latest attempt to prevent the deadly coronavirus from spreading. The new arrivals should stay home for observation for 14 days, as it is sometimes difficult to tell the authorities which provinces they may have visited or passed through, He Qinghua, an official with the Ministry of Public Health, told reporters. He did not specify to whom exactly the quarantine would apply.

To read the full article, click here.

Lunar New Year's travel market plunged (3:15 p.m. HK)

The air, rail and road transportation market was slammed during the peak season of the Lunar New Year because fears about the spread of the coronavirus prompted people to give up traveling.

Passenger travel is expected to drop 45% year-on-year during the 40-day travel season ending February 18, the Department of Transportation said. Between January 25 and February 14, airlines transported an average of 470,000 people a day, just a quarter of last year's volume. Passengers from February 15 to 23 accounted for only one-tenth of the peak period.

Read the full story here.

Money is also quarantined (1:45 p.m. HK)

According to Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, China has halted the transfer and allocation of old bank notes between provinces and between cities most affected by the deadly epidemic. The central bank also stepped up disinfection of old money to reduce the risk of contagion and added 600 billion yuan ($ 85.9 billion) in new cash for Hubei, the epicenter coronavirus, he said.

WHO arrives in Beijing (1:30 p.m. HK)

The World Health Organization and other international experts will arrive in Beijing this weekend. They will visit three provinces and cities to learn more about virus protection and control measures and make suggestions, said the National Health Commission on its website.

PBOC says virus won't cause sharp price increases (11:44 a.m., HK)

The virus epidemic is putting pressure on price stability because production has been delayed, but it will not cause large-scale inflationary pressures, said the central bank of China.

The position of the People's Bank of China is unchanged and it will maintain a prudent monetary policy, said Vice Governor Fan Yifei in Beijing on Saturday. The central bank is confident that the effects of the epidemic can be treated and that the economy can be kept stable, according to a statement released before the briefing.

New Zealand expands travel restrictions (9:45 a.m.KT)

New Zealand said temporary restrictions on travel from China have been extended for an additional eight days, calling it a "precautionary approach" and a public health issue. The country prevents foreign nationals traveling or transiting through mainland China from entering, and the position will be reviewed every 48 hours.

Most critical, according to a Health Commission official (9:15 a.m.KT)

China is entering the most critical juncture in its fight to contain the spreading coronavirus, said Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission, during a TV briefing from Wuhan. Although Wang did not specify the comment, outside of Hubei, the number of new confirmed cases has decreased in the past 10 days, according to Nang expert Liang Wannian. Several other provinces sent 217 medical teams to Wuhan on February 14, said Wang.

Apple to reopen Shanghai store (9:00 a.m.KT)

Apple Inc. would open one of the seven stores it owns in Shanghai from today, according to a company statement. The maker of iPhones had previously announced that it would reopen stores in Beijing, according to an earlier announcement.

Trump says Xi "works very hard" (5 a.m.KT)

President Donald Trump said Chinese leader Xi Jinping was "working very hard" to control the epidemic.

"It is a huge problem. But they are very capable and they will get there, "said Trump at an event in Washington on Friday with border patrol officers, noting that he had spoken with Xi.

Among Americans with the virus, "many of them are improving." Some are already fully recovered. So we are in very good shape, ”he said.

Wuhan tightens residents' lockdown (1 p.m. NY)

Wuhan has tightened up its quarantine on residents and said people will be confined to their quarters, except to seek medical care, work to fight the epidemic or maintain vital services. Wuhan has opened quarantine centers to house thousands of patients and others with symptoms, and Hubei Province, where the city is located, has announced thousands of new cases a day, according to a statement.

Residents of Wuhan will now be allowed to leave the residential complexes only for medical treatment. Other cities that have implemented locks have allowed people to leave every few days to buy food. Neighborhoods will be blocked to prevent people from entering or leaving, and non-residents will not be able to enter neighborhoods that are not their own.

Researchers release new images of the virus (9:54 am NY)

American researchers have released new images of the coronavirus, some of the most detailed visuals of the pathogen to date.

The images were released Thursday by the United States National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. They were produced with scanning and transmission electron microscopes.

To see more images, click here.

– With the help of Pavel Alpeyev, Chelsea Mes, Yinan Zhao and Niu Shuping.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jing Yang in Shanghai at jyang251@bloomberg.net; Dong Lyu in Beijing at dlyu3@bloomberg.net; Emma Court in New York at ecourt1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Anand Krishnamoorthy

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