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    Human-To-Human Coronavirus Transmission In The U.S

    Staff in biohazard suits hold a metal stretcher on Tuesday by the inpatient department of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some people infected with a novel coronavirus are being treated in China. CREDIT: Dake Kang/AP
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first case of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S., after a woman who traveled to China and had already been diagnosed infected her husband. Both patients are being closely monitored, the CDC said.
    The World Health Organization will decide within hours whether to declare the outbreak of coronavirus an international public health emergency. The decision would broaden the world’s response to the Chinese epidemic. As confirmed cases in China have topped 8,000, nations are taking drastic measures to stop the virus’s spread.

    Key Developments:

    • U.S. Has First Human-to-Human Transmission
    • European Airlines Halt China Flights
    • Initial Tests Show No Coronavirus on Italy Ship
    • Russia shuts its 2,600-mile border with China
    • U.S. Plans Another Wuhan Evacuation Flight
    • Hong Kong Warns of Surgical Mask Shortage
    • India, Philippines Report First Virus Cases
    • Chinese Regions Extend Holidays
    • Trump Appoints Coronavirus Task Force
    • Supply-Chain Fears Hit Taiwan Stocks
    • Virus Spread May Prompt WHO Action
    • Three Japanese Evacuated From Wuhan Have Virus
    • China Virus Cases Surge to Over 7,700
    U.S. Has First Human-to-Human Transmission

    A woman in Chicago who had been diagnosed last week with the coronavirus infected her husband, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, the first case of human-to-human transmission to occur in the U.S.
    World Health Organization's leaders convened to discuss new scourge, coronavirus. Image: WHO-Press conference
    Both patients are in their 60s and are doing well while being kept in isolation, CDC officials said on the call. The agency said the virus is not spreading widely and that the risk to the U.S. public remains low. Disease experts are still trying to understand exactly how the virus spreads, and at what point after a person has become infected they become contagious.

    It’s also not clear, said CDC officials, how long a person has to be sick for before they will test positive. Both factors can present a challenge for public health workers who are keeping close tabs on contacts of people considered at risk.The man and the woman had been in close contact, said the CDC, which appears to raise the risk of people becoming infected.

    European Airlines Halt China Flights

    European carriers led by British Airways said they’re temporarily quitting China as the deadly coronavirus spreads, following decisions by U.S. carriers to limit flights to the country. BA took the most dramatic step, saying Thursday it will cease flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 1 after acting on U.K. Foreign Office advice. Iberia, its Spanish sister carrier at IAG SA, is also suspending operations, while Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France and SAS AB said they’ll exit China until Feb. 9.

    In the U.S., President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the decision on canceling flights would be left to U.S. airlines, for now. Almost 11% of flights scheduled to or from China were scrapped between Jan. 23 and Jan. 28, based on research from Cirium, which analyzes air travel.

    Initial Tests Show No Coronavirus on Italy Ship

    Initial tests showed no coronavirus on a Carnival cruise ship that was blocked from leaving an Italian port. A 54-year-old woman from Macau had earlier demonstrated fever and respiratory symptoms. She has since been kept in isolation on board in the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome. Final results are expected later Thursday. Carnival Corp. stock pared declines to about 2% in the U.S.

    Russia Closes China Border as Fears Grow

    The Russian government ordered its vast land border with China shut as the Kremlin moves to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay. The closure affects the movement of people, not goods.
    While it’s still possible to fly to China, the Foreign Ministry warned Russians to refrain from non-essential travel to the country. Russia hasn’t reported any cases of the virus.

    U.S. Plans Another Wuhan Evacuation Flight: Dow Jones.

    The U.S. will provide an additional flight to evacuate private citizens from Wuhan on or about Feb. 3, Dow Jones reports, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. An earlier flight carrying more than 200 Americans arrived at March Air Reserve Base in California, where the passengers are being monitored.

    Hong Kong Warns of Surgical Mask Shortage

    Hong Kong warned it’s struggling to supply enough surgical masks. Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said the government has bought 13 million, but public hospitals are using five or six times as many as normal and Hong Kong is stepping up local production at correctional facilities to keep up with demand. Another 24 million should be available at retail outlets soon, he added. Hong Kong’s population is about 7 million. Chief Executive Carrie Lam will hold a briefing Friday on the government’s latest measures against the spread of the virus, Cheung said.

    India, Philippines Report First Virus Cases

    India and the Philippines reported their first confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as the illness continues its global spread. A student who attended Wuhan University tested positive in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the government said. Meanwhile, a 38-year-old female Chinese patient who arrived from Wuhan via Hong Kong on Jan. 21 has been confirmed as the first case in the Philippines.

    Chinese Regions Extend Holidays

    At least one Chinese city and several provinces have extended the Lunar New Year holiday beyond Feb. 2 in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Shanghai, the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia and provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu have said businesses need not start operations until at least Feb. 10. Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has said the holiday will last until at least Feb. 14. China had already extended the holiday nationwide on Monday. It was originally due to end on Jan. 30, but was stretched to Feb. 2.

    Trump Appoints Coronavirus Task Force

    President Donald Trump appointed a task force to coordinate the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak. The task force will be led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham in a statement. Other figures include Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. The White House also plans to send CDC experts to China to help respond to the outbreak.

    Supply-Chain Fears Hit Taiwan Stocks

    Concern that the virus outbreak will disrupt the global supply chain rippled through Taiwan’s stock market. Taiwan’s Taiex plunged more than 5%, the most since October 2018, as trading reopened following the Lunar New Year break.
    Foxconn’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which assembles the majority of Apple Inc.’s iPhones from China and has minor operations in Wuhan, sank as much as 10%. Hon Hai said all of its facilities will resume full-scale production only from Feb. 10, more than a week later than originally planned.

    Virus Spread May Prompt WHO Action: Expert

    Developments over the past week may push the World Health Organization to issue a global alert over the coronavirus, after the agency last week stopped short of calling it a health emergency, according to a public health specialist. Evidence that the disease can be transmitted before a person shows any signs of illness could make a difference as WHO’s emergency committee meets later Thursday, said Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

    The global spread of the virus could also be a factor, she said. “That brings a more complex issue to disease control,” McIntyre said in a phone interview Thursday. “It becomes much harder to control infection where you have got transmission without symptoms.”

    Three Japanese Evacuated From Wuhan Have Virus

    Three of the 206 people who returned to Japan from Hubei Province on Wednesday tested positive for the new coronavirus, with two not showing any symptoms, Japan Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a parliamentary committee.
    Two other evacuees on the charter plane declined to be tested and were sent home, according to the Health Ministry. Kato said officials did not have the legal power to force them to be tested. A second charter plane carrying 210 more evacuees arrived in Tokyo from Wuhan on Thursday morning.

    China Virus Cases Surge to Over 7,700

    China’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 170 from 132 previously, while the number of cases on the mainland jumped to 7,711, according to the National Health Commission.

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