▶️ As of Thursday morning, there were 8,123 confirmed cases in mainland China alone with 170 deaths in China, according to Chinese state media, and more than 100 cases elsewhere around the world.
▶️ The virus has been confirmed in five people in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday they have 165 people under investigation.
▶️ The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee is due to reconvene on Thursday to decide whether the virus constitutes a global emergency.
▶️ U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the formation of the “president’s coronavirus task force,” which the White House says will lead the U.S. government’s response to the outbreak.
▶️ Almost 7,000 passengers and crew — including 114 American tourists — were stuck on a cruise ship in an Italian port Thursday as a pair of Chinese travelers on board were tested for the deadly coronavirus.
▶️ Russian state media reported on Thursday that the country is closing its 2,600-mile border with China in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
▶️ As of Tuesday night, over 700 private American citizens have requested U.S. government assistance in evacuating Wuhan, according to a U.S. official familiar with the current situation. The Department of State said Thursday it will be providing additional evacuation flights on or about Feb.3.
▶️ Many international airlines have suspended or reduced flights to China, including American Airlines, Delta, United, Air Seoul, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM and Air Canada. Air France — part of Air France – KLM — joined the list of airlines cutting service to China.
▶️ Some villages just outside Beijing had started to physically block themselves off from the capital, using mounds of soil to barricade roads and posting security personnel to stand guard to keep visitors out.
▶️ Carriers of the Wuhan coronavirus may face criminal charges if they spit at others in public, according to the Public Security Department of Hubei province. In a statement on Wednesday morning, the department stated that those who intentionally spread the pathogen to other people by spitting – and therefore pose a threat to public security – could face criminal proceedings in serious cases.
▶️ Arizona State University freshman Taskina Bhuiyan, who is majoring in microbiology, started the petition on Change.org to cancel classes after someone from the university was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, and it had more than 21,000 signatures as of Wednesday evening.
▶️ U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the coronavirus could have a positive impact on the U.S. economy, ″I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America,” he said. “Some to the U.S., some to Mexico as well.”
▶️ India has officially confirmed that at least one case of the coronavirus has reached the country. Meanwhile, Philippine health officials have also confirmed the country’s first case, Reuters reported.
▶️ All 30 IKEA outlets in mainland China were closed until further notice, the Swedish furniture giant said Thursday.
▶️ The coronavirus appears to have inspired renewed interest in movies about global pandemics, judging by the iTunes rental charts. “Contagion” (2010), Steven Soderbergh’s thriller about the spread of a lethal China-born virus, jumped to No. 10 on the list of most-rented movies earlier this week.
▶️ Australia is planning to quarantine hundreds of its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that around 600 Australian citizens will be flown out of Wuhan and neighboring cities in China’s Hubei province and will be isolated for up to 14 days on Christmas Island, about 1,600 miles northwest of Australia.
▶️ Google is temporarily shutting down its offices in China, the company confirmed to CBS News. That includes offices in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
▶️ Tesla Model 3 Production Delayed in China Because of Coronavirus Outbreak
▶️ The South Korean government is sending $5 million worth of emergency humanitarian aid to China, the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday.