A security official stands guard as an ambulance arrives with a patient to the Infectious Disease Centre of Princess Margaret Hospital on January 22, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.
The fatal flu-like coronavirus spreading quickly throughout Asia has now killed at least 26 people and sickened more than 900 worldwide, China state media said Friday.
The majority of the reported cases are in mainland China, where local authorities have quarantined several major cities and canceled Lunar New Year’s events in Beijing and elsewhere. Multiple cases of the virus have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore and Japan, while the United States and Taiwan and have each reported one case.
Travel bans were in effect Friday for at least 10 cities, including Wuhan where the virus was first identified and alerted to local authorities on Dec. 31. China said Thursday it was offering to refund domestic flights and train tickets nationwide.
Medical teams have been dispatched across China, and hospitals are asking for donations of essential items, including face masks, eye protectors, protective uniforms and sanitizer. China’s Finance Ministry said it has allocated 1 billion yuan, or $145 million, to support the Hubei province in its fight to contain the outbreak.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention escalated its travel warning for China to a level 3, “Avoid Nonessential Travel.” U.S. health officials began screening passengers flying from China at major international airports over the weekend, and confirmed the country’s first case on Tuesday. A Washington state man is quarantined with the virus in a hospital outside of Seattle after flying back from Wuhan, U.S. health authorities said.
ABC News reported Thursday that U.S. officials are investigating a suspected case of a Texas A&M student who recently traveled to the city of Wuhan.
The World Health Organization declined for a second day Thursday to formally designate the new virus as a global health emergency, after postponing its decision the day before. Health officials are trying to contain the fast-spreading illness without unnecessarily spooking global trade. WHO physicians said they needed more data before declaring a global emergency, but the virus is now spreading through close human contact and in health-care settings, they said.
909 confirmed cases (according to CNBC’s tally)
Number of confirmed cases:
Mainland China: 891
Hong Kong: 2
South Korea: 2
—CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.