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Coronavirus latest: More than 30,000 infected in China

February 7, 2020

More than 30,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been reported in China, with over 600 deaths. At least 60 people have tested positive and been quarantined on a cruise ship off Japan's coast.

Coronavirus in Hong Kong
Image: Reuters/H. McKay

— The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in mainland China has risen to 636, with the majority in central Hubei province, where the illness was first detected.

— One of the doctors who raised the alarm on the coronavirus died of the disease early on Friday morning.

— A 36-hour-old baby became the youngest person to be diagnosed with the infection.

— The new virus has infected more than 31,161 people globally, with new cases in Germany, the UK and Italy.

Below are Friday's latest developments.

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

15:19 Singapore raised its coronavirus alert level to orange – the same designation reached during the 2003 SARS and the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreaks. It means the virus is severe and passes easily between persons.

Some 33 people in Singapore have caught the disease.

14:03 Italy is maintaining its block on flights to and from China, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio confirmed.

"The block on flights is a measure that we have taken to immediately deal with an emergency, and we will keep it in place as long as health authorities and therefore the scientific community tell us that we should," Di Maio said.

13:20 The World Health Organization (WHO) said there was currently a chronic shortage of gowns, masks, gloves and other protective equipment worldwide. 

The UN agency has been responsible for sending testing kits, masks, gloves, respirators and gowns to every region.

11:44 Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro signed quarantine orders into law for Brazilians due to arrive from Wuhan on Saturday. All arrivals will be quarantined at a military airbase for 18 days. 

11:13 Hong Kong will use an army of volunteers to force arrivals from mainland China to submit to a 14-day quarantine. The new measure is designed to discourage all cross-border travel while still allowing deliveries of food and goods from China. 

06:42 Organizers canceled one of the world's most prestigious art fairs, Art Basel Hong Kong, "due to the severe outbreak and spread of the new coronavirus." 

"We have no other option but to cancel the fair," said Bernd Stadlwieser, chief executive officer of organizing MCH Group, adding that the decision "was an extremely difficult one." 

The international art show typically draws up to 88,000 people from all over the world.

05:33 China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will launch an investigation into "issues" in connection with 34-year-old whistleblower doctor Dr. Li Wenliang, who died on Thursday after contracting the coronavirus from a patient he was treating. He was one of eight medical professionals in Wuhan who took Chinese social media platform Weibo to warn of the virus when the government did not.

04:30 Thirteen cases of coronavirus have now been reported in Germany. The German Foreign Ministry announced earlier they would repatriate any remaining citizens and their family members from Wuhan as soon as possible.

03:55 Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with US President Donald Trump on the phone about coronavirus, according to Chinese state media. Xi told Trump that China was "fully confident and capable of defeating the epidemic", and that "the long-term trend of China's economic development for the better will not change."

03:00 Japanese car manufacturer Toyota said Friday it would keep its Chinese factories shut.

"After considering various factors including guidelines from local and regional governments ... we've decided to continue our suspension of production at all Toyota plants in China until February 16," spokesman Aaron Fowles told AFP news agency. The economic impact of the coronavirus in China has been widely discussed.

Read more: How will the coronavirus affect the world economy?

01:30 More than two dozen trade fairs and industry conferences in Asia have been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. In Hong Kong a major international art show has been canceled, officials announced. The city saw its first death this week and there are fears that the contagion will spread further.

01:20 A cruise ship off the coast of Japan has been quarantined, after 61 passengers were diagnosed with the virus. The Diamond Princess is moored in the Cruise Terminal in Yokohama.

At 86, Japan has the biggest number of cases outside mainland China. 

Passengers aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess
A woman holds a sign that reads "shortage of medicine" off the Diamond PrincessImage: Reuters/K. Kyung-Hoon

01:00 The number of total confirmed infections in China from the coronavirus epidemic has climbed to 31,161, the government said on Friday.

The number grew after 3,143 new infections were reported, the National Health Commission said in its daily update.

ed/rc (AFP, Reuters)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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