▶️ China’s National Health Commission reported 648 new confirmed cases, and 97 additional deaths as of Feb. 22. That brings the mainland’s total to 76,936 cases, and 2,442 deaths.
▶️ A Texas-based genetic engineering company is claiming to have a vaccine for the new coronavirus. Greffex Inc. CEO told the Houston Business Journal that his company completed the vaccine this week, and it will now move on to animal testing as required by the U.S. government.
▶️ Hubei’s government on Saturday said a 70-year-old man did not show any symptoms till 27 days later, although he was infected with the coronavirus.
That suggested the incubation period could be longer than 14 days.
▶️ South Korea’s new cases jumped by 123, bringing the country’s total to 556 infected, according to the country’s for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also reported a fourth death.
▶️ Infections in Italy saw a sharp spike, surging to 79 cases by Saturday, with two dead.
▶️ State Department officials say that thousands of Russia-linked social media accounts are spreading disinformation about the coronavirus, including a conspiracy theory that the United States is behind the Covid-19 outbreak. Misinformation about the virus — whether shared purposefully or unwittingly — is so rife that the World Health Organization has called it an “infodemic.”
▶️ WHO officials said the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Iran, where health officials confirmed 18 new cases and 4 deaths in just two days, is “very worrisome.”
▶️ The new strain of coronavirus sweeping across China has been more fatal in men than women, a new study found. Chinese researchers analyzed 72,314 patient records, making it the largest study on the outbreak to date. Elderly people and those with preexisting health conditions were most at risk of contracting a fatal case of COVID-19, researchers noted.
▶️ The U.S. State Department recommends “increased caution” when traveling to Japan or South Korea.
▶️ Chinese state media reported that seven ships brought into the city of Wuhan in Hubei province will be converted into temporary accommodations for medical staff in the city.
▶️ The Health Ministry of Israel said that Israel would likely soon close its borders to non-citizens amid fears of an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, but later appeared to backtrack. At the same time, South Korea protested to Israel over a decision to deny entry to some 200 people aboard a plane from Seoul.
▶️ The White House will soon ask Congress for emergency funds to fight the coronavirus outbreak.The amount could be significantly lower than some public health officials have argued is necessary — potentially as little as $1 billion
▶️ World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met with African officials from Geneva on Saturday morning to urge them to prepare for a potential spread of the coronavirus across Africa.