China confirms 15,152 new cases nationwide


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All times below are in Beijing time.

4:12 pm: China confirms 15,152 new cases, 254 additional deaths

In a Thursday press conference, China said it confirmed 15,152 new cases and 254 additional deaths. Those figures include the ones reported earlier by Hubei province under its new diagnosis methodology. (See 7:55 a.m. and 10:40 a.m. updates).

That brings the country’s total death toll to 1,367 as the number of people infected hit 59,804, according to the government.

A spokeswoman for the Shanghai Health Commission said at a press conference that the methodology for diagnosing coronavirus has not been changed in any Chinese provinces or municipalities except for Hubei.

Health workers in Hubei province began using a new method to diagnose the virus this week.

Previously, infections were only allowed to be confirmed with nucleic acid tests, which can take days to process, but Hubei province is now using CT scans which can diagnose the virus more quickly. — Wang, Cheng, Taylor

3:13 pm: China says no new confirmed cases of foreigners with coronavirus

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there are no new cases of foreigners infected with the virus. It also said another foreign national had been discharged, bringing that total figure to eight cases. — Cheng

3:07 pm: Chinese autos sales plunge in January, industry association says

Reuters reported that preliminary data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers suggests that China’s January auto sales dropped 18%. The news agency noted that local governments began imposing travel restrictions in the last two weeks of the month.

2:57 pm: Hubei province extends work shutdown again

Hubei, the Chinese province hardest hit by the virus, extended shutdowns in the region, telling businesses to not resume work before Feb. 21. Authorities also said that school reopenings have been postponed, but did not specify a date.

1:25 pm: China’s national-level infection and death numbers delayed again

As of 1:25 p.m., China’s National Health Commission had not yet released the death toll and number of infections nationwide.

This is the second day running that the numbers have been delayed. On Wednesday, the data was reported about two hours later than the usual release time of just before 8 a.m. Beijing time.

Figures published on Wednesday showed the nationwide death toll in the country from the coronavirus outbreak topped 1,100 as of Tuesday night.

12:30 pm: 44 new cases on Diamond Princess cruise ship

Another 44 people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Japan’s health ministry. That brings the total to 218 infected among people on the ship.

The ship, currently docked off the coast of Japan and carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew, has been quarantined since early February after a previous guest tested positive for the disease six days after disembarking.

11:35 am: China replaces Hubei chief

A shakeup is occurring among senior ranks in the virus epicenter of Hubei, amid heavy criticism on how officials there have managed the outbreak.

Shanghai’s mayor Ying Yong will replace Jiang Chaoliang as party secretary of Hubei province, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Thursday.

It was a decision made by the central committee of China’s Communist Party, according to the report.

The Party Secretary of Jinan, Wang Zhonglin, is also set to replace Ma Guoqiang, the party secretary of Wuhan municipality.

11:15 am: China’s military sends more medical personnel to Hubei

China’s military is sending 2,600 additional medical personnel to Hubei to help primarily with virus control efforts in Wuhan, state news broadcaster CCTV said Thursday.

The first batch of 1,400 personnel arrived in Wuhan on Thursday, the report said, adding the military has dispatched a total of three batches of more than 4,000 medical personnel. — Cheng

11:00 am: Hong Kong extends school closures for third time

Hong Kong extended a suspension of schools for the third time since the Lunar New Year, with the exact date of resumption still unconfirmed.

Schools will use online learning platforms in the meantime, said Kevin Yeung, Hong Kong’s secretary for education, adding that students should try to stay home, and avoid crowded places.

Hong Kong’s tally of infected cases stands at 50, as of Wednesday. — Kam

10:40 am: Hubei changes method of reporting cases

Health authorities in Hubei province said Thursday that “clinically diagnosed” cases accounted for much of the increase in the “confirmed case” count, resulting in a surge in new confirmed cases for the prior day. (see 7:55 am update)

The change was made so that more patients could receive the same treatment as a confirmed case would, according to a CNBC translation of the official announcement’s Chinese text.

The online release cited a national-level virus response plan issued last week, which expanded the definition of clinically diagnosed cases in Hubei province to include suspected cases for whom CT scans showed indications of the disease. It was not immediately clear why Hubei was implementing the measures this week. — Cheng

9:40 am: United Airlines extends China cancellations until late April

United Airlines on Wednesday said it would extend cancellations of its China service until at least April 24, about a month later than the carrier previously planned, as coronavirus cases continue to climb. United normally operates 12 flights a day from its U.S. hubs to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong and the carrier has more service to China than any other U.S. airline.

The extension follows a similar step American took a day earlier. “We will continue to monitor the situation in China and evaluate our schedule as we remain in close contact with the CDC and other public health experts around the globe,” United said in a statement. — Josephs

9:20 am: Shunned cruise ship finally docks in Cambodia

A cruise ship which was turned away by five countries on fears that someone aboard might be infected, was finally accepted by Cambodia. It landed in the country on Thursday, according to Reuters citing ship tracking data.

The MS Westerdam was rejected by Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Guam, and has spent around two weeks at sea.

The case of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where thousands have been quarantined, had stoked fears. Diamond Princess is currently quarantined off the coast of Japan, and more than 170 people onboard have been found to be infected as of Feb. 12.

8:55 am: 14th coronavirus case in US confirmed

The CDC confirmed a new case in California, taking the total number of cases in the U.S. to 14. The patient is among a group under quarantine after they returned to the U.S. on a chartered flight from Hubei.

7:55 am: Hubei province reports 14,840 new cases

China’s Hubei province reported an additional 242 deaths and 14,840 new cases as of Feb. 12 — a sharp increase from the previous day. The province said it is starting to include “clinically diagnosed” cases in its figures and that 13,332 of the new cases fall under that classification.

The government said that a total of 1,310 people have died in the province and that 48,206 people have been infected in the region.

7:41 am: Singapore cases hit 50, one of the highest outside China

Singapore’s health ministry said as of Feb. 12, noon, the total number of confirmed infection cases hit 50, with three additional ones reported. The city-state has one of the highest number of reported cases of the virus, next to China and Japan, as well as more than 170 cases onboard a cruise ship that’s quarantined off Japan’s coast.

The health ministry said contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing and that test results for 125 suspected cases are pending. Of the confirmed cases, more than half are a result of local transmissions where the affected individuals did not have any travel history or links to China. Singapore in recent days saw a surge in panic buying of groceries and other essential household items. —Roy Choudhury

All times below are in Eastern time.

2:12 pm: Mobile World Congress canceled after major tech companies pull out

Organizers of Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest trade show for the mobile phone industry, have canceled the conference slated to start in Barcelona in less than two weeks. Facebook and other major companies have pulled out of MWC in recent days amid growing fears over the outbreak.

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” GSMA said in a statement. — Browne

12:29 pm: IMF chief says coronavirus ‘clearly more impactful’ on global growth than SARS

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC’s Sara Eisen on Wednesday the new coronavirus that started in China is “clearly more impactful” on the world economy than the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic. “China was different [then], the world was different,” said Georgieva, in an interview with Ivanka Trump from a State Department event on economic empowerment for women.

During the SARS outbreak, China was only 8% of the global economy, Georgieva pointed out. “Today, China manufactures 28%, with possible impact through value chains on other countries.” — Belvedere

11:50 am: CDC prepares for community outbreaks in US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing for the coronavirus, named COVID-19, to “take a foothold in the U.S.,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.

“At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries,” said Messonnier. “This will trigger a change in our response strategy.” — Lovelace

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: Mobile World Congress canceled, CDC prepares for outbreak in US.

— CNBC’s Christine Wang, Chloe Taylor, Vivian Kam, Evelyn Cheng, Leslie Josephs, Saheli Roy Choudhury, and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

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