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World Coronavirus live updates: WHO raises global risk from 'high' to 'very high'

23:40  28 february  2020
23:40  28 february  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Stocks give up earlier gains as coronavirus fears linger

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The latest global figures are at 83,700 people infected, with more than 2,800 dead. All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT). 16:16 White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says the number of additional coronavirus cases in the US is likely to increase but that does not mean they

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) has upgraded the global risk of the coronavirus outbreak to " very high " - its top level of risk assessment. This is more than six times higher than the official government figure. At a press conference in Geneva, Dr Tedros said that most cases could still be

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station, in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020. \ © Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station, in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020. \

 3:24 p.m. ET -- Amazon tells employees not to travel

 Amazon halted all non-essential employee travel, including trips within the United States, due to novel coronavirus Friday.

"We're asking employees to defer non-essential travel during this time," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News.

In January, the company, which has 798,000 full- and part-time employees, restricted employee travel to China as the outbreak escalated there.

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The risk of coronavirus is now ' very high ' worldwide, the World Health Organization ( WHO ) declared on Friday. Even 'quite sophisticated countries are Officials warned global citizens who are over 65 or have underlying health conditions that they are at risk for COVID-19, and even suggested they

WHO officials said they are increasing the risk assessment of the coronavirus to " very high " across the world. CNBC's Meg Tirrell breaks down the latest.

2:51 p.m. ET -- New COVID-19 case confirmed in Solano County, California

Solano County health officials confirmed a new case of COVID-19 Friday in a person who was under quarantine at Travis Air Force Base. Jayleen Richards, the county's public health administrator, told ABC News that the individual was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and then immediately transferred to a separate health care facility. The patient is at home under self-quarantine because they are asymptotic, according to Richards.

Richards could not offer more information on the case, citing HIPAA constraints, only adding that the individual had no contact with the public other than interacting with health care workers.

1:19 p.m. ET -- Local health departments to have diagnostic tests by next week

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WHO ’s decision to raise the global risk from “ high ” to “ very high ” was made due to an increase in the number of cases, as well as countries reporting Ghebreyesus said the risk level was raised due to the spread and impact of coronavirus , and that it’s not intended to scare or alarm people, but to get

Live statistics and coronavirus news tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients, and The Zhejiang province, where Wenzhou is located, has the highest number of confirmed cases outside WHO Risk Assessment: Global Emergency. See full details: WHO coronavirus updates .

The CDC is continuing to investigate the case of COVID-19 in a patient in Northern California. This person does not appear to be connected to anyone known to be infected with the novel coronavirus or has travelled to countries where there has been an outbreak.

"It's possible that this could be the first instance of community spread," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Friday at a news conference.

The case marks the third instance of human-to-human transmission in the United States. Further investigation may show that the patient had an interaction with a traveler who was infected, or it may mark the first transmission of the disease in a community in the U.S.

a group of people walking down the street: The intelligent distribution robot is sending packages 'contactlessly' during the COVID-19 outbreak in Guiyang, Guizhou, China on Feb. 26, 2020. © PG via ZUMA Press The intelligent distribution robot is sending packages 'contactlessly' during the COVID-19 outbreak in Guiyang, Guizhou, China on Feb. 26, 2020.

Messonnier said that the CDC expects that there will be additional cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among people who had contact with the sickened individual, such as family members and health care workers.

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Among those who died is a Chinese doctor, Li Wenliang, who was silenced by authorities when he None of them tested positive for the virus in that time, officials said, and they pose no health risk to New York Times: " Coronavirus Live Updates ." Eurpoean Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In addition to the case in California, two new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the total number of cases in the United States to 63. Of those 63 cases, 16 were diagnosed by the U.S. health care system and 47 were among people who were repatriated to the U.S. on charter flights from Wuhan, China and the Diamond Princess.

Messonnier acknowledged that testing for COVID-19 in local health departments "has not gone as smoothly as we would’ve liked." Problems with the testing kits that were rolled out to states several weeks ago has meant that the CDC continues to do the bulk of COVID-19 testing in Atlanta.

"Our goal is to have every state and local health department online and doing their own testing by next week,” Messonnier said.

12:15 p.m. ET -- United Airlines cuts service to Asia

United Airlines is further reducing flights to Japan, the airline company announced Friday. United, which offers the most flights to Asia of any U.S. carrier, is suspending flights between Tokyo and Los Angeles and Houston until late April and between Tokyo and Chicago until late March. The airline is also reducing flights to Osaka, Singapore and Seoul, the company said in a statement.

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Noon ET -- Stock markets continue to plunge

U.S. equities continued their slide on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its worst week since the financial crash of 2008, down more than 3,500 points since Monday.

At midday, the Dow had fallen more than 10% for the week, as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq similarly tumbled.

11:49 a.m. ET -- Gov. Cuomo: Positive test in New York 'virtually inevitable'

It's "virtually inevitable" that someone in the New York state will test positive for novel coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Friday news conference.

There's currently one individual in New York City who recently traveled to Italy and whose COVID-19 test is pending.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station, in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020. \ © Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station, in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020. \

"Tens of thousands of people have already tested positive in different countries," he said. "I don’t give a darn about anybody’s politics, we have to be ready."

Cuomo has assured Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the United States' coronavirus response, that New York is capable of conducting its own coronavirus testing. Currently the state is sending its diagnostic tests to the CDC in Atlanta to be processed.

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11:18 a.m. ET -- WHO raises global risk from 'high' to 'very high'

The World Health Organization upgraded its global risk assessment of the novel coronavirus' potential for spread and impact from "high" to "very high," WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced at a Friday news conference in Geneva.

While the designation is the WHO's highest possible alert level, Dr. Tedros specifically did not call the virus a pandemic, noting that "we do not see evidence yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities."

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program warned that calling COVID-19 a pandemic prematurely would be "essentially accepting that every human on the planet will be exposed to the virus." If countries take the containment measures necessary to break the virus' transmission, "that does not need to be the history of this event," Ryan said.

a group of people wearing costumes: Two women leave Tokyo Disneyland on the day it announced it will close until March 15th because of concerns over the COVID-19 virus, on Feb. 28, 2020 in Japan. © Carl Court/Getty Images Two women leave Tokyo Disneyland on the day it announced it will close until March 15th because of concerns over the COVID-19 virus, on Feb. 28, 2020 in Japan.

Dr. Tedros urged people around the world to follow steps to avoid disease transmission, like hand washing, avoiding traveling while sick and seeking care immediately upon feeling ill. Those over 60 years old, or who have underlying health issues, may wish to take added precautions, like avoiding crowded spaces and not interacting with people who are sick.

There is no treatment for COVID-10, but there are more than 20 vaccines being developed in countries around the world and several therapeutics in clinical trials. While a potential vaccine is more than a year away from being available, the WHO expects to see results from clinical trials for treatments in the next few weeks.

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9:45 a.m. ET -- Two more Diamond Princess cruise ship deaths

Two more patients who had been passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship died, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported Friday. The individuals, a British man and a Japanese woman, are the fifth and sixth passengers to die from COVID-19 after being aboard the quarantined cruise ship.

Earlier

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it has been alerted to the first manufacturing shortage of an unnamed drug due to the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak that began in China and has now reached the U.S..

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the agency has been "closely monitoring" the medical product supply chain "with the expectation" that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus would "likely" have an impact.

"A manufacturer has alerted us to a shortage of a human drug that was recently added to the drug shortages list," Hahn said in a statement Thursday night. "The manufacturer just notified us that this shortage is related to a site affected by coronavirus. The shortage is due to an issue with manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug."

"It is important to note that there are other alternatives that can be used by patients," he added. "We are working with the manufacturer as well as other manufacturers to mitigate the shortage. We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage."

Hahn said the issue continues to be "an evolving and very dynamic" one.

a person standing in front of a store: People line up at a pharmacy to purchase N95 face masks in advance of the potential coronavirus outbreak in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, Feb. 27, 2020. © Carlo Allegri/Reuters People line up at a pharmacy to purchase N95 face masks in advance of the potential coronavirus outbreak in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, Feb. 27, 2020.

The newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December and has since spread overseas to at least 46 other nations, with South Korea, Italy and Iran seeing recent surges in case numbers.

Coronavirus testing centre operating in Sydney office building

  Coronavirus testing centre operating in Sydney office building A coronavirus testing facility in Sydney's north has been shut down after it was revealed to be operating in a public office building. A 2BG listener blew the whistle on the Laverty Pathology testing lab in Bella Vista phone call with Ben Fordham."We found out today after spending a few moments in a lift with an old man with a mask on that they have opened a coronavirus blood testing lab, or collection lab, on floor one of our building," the caller who gave his name as Peter said. © Supplied Coronavirus testing lab in Sydney's north.

The World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency and said the virus has "pandemic potential," recorded more than 82,000 confirmed infections globally by Thursday. More than 95% of those cases were in China.

At least 2,804 people have died from the virus, according to the latest data from the WHO.

This photo taken on Feb. 22, 2020, shows a nurse preparing equipment in an intensive care unit treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province. © Str/AFP via Getty Images This photo taken on Feb. 22, 2020, shows a nurse preparing equipment in an intensive care unit treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province.

South Korea has the second-highest national total of coronavirus cases behind China. Of the more than 81,000 people tested in the country, 2,337 had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon -- up 571 from the same time the previous day. More than 30,000 others were awaiting test results, according to South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is hard to say, at this point, when the outbreak will reach its peak here,” the agency's vice director, Kwon Jun-wook, said at a press briefing Friday.

A majority of the cases in South Korea have been linked to a secretive religious sect in the city of Daegu. More confirmed cases are expected this weekend among members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

Japan has the third-highest national total, when including the hundreds of confirmed cases related to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The cruise ship has been quarantined at Yokohama port since Feb. 5 and at least 705 people who were on board have tested positive for COVID-19. Six passengers have died, including a British man whose death was confirmed Friday, according to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

All those who have been infected were brought ashore for treatment, while the rest were confined to their rooms until the quarantine period ends. Passengers who have tested negative for the virus disembarked the ship last week.

Beyond the cruise ship, an additional 186 cases have been confirmed in Japan, according to the WHO.

a man preparing food in a kitchen: Disinfection professionals wearing protective gear spray anti-septic solution against the novel coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 28, 2020. © Chung Sung-jun/Getty Images Disinfection professionals wearing protective gear spray anti-septic solution against the novel coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 28, 2020.

So far in the United States, 60 people have been diagnosed with the disease. The majority of the cases are Americans who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was placed under quarantine in Japanese waters as hundreds of passengers became infected with the new coronavirus.

The newest case is being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as possibly the first instance of "community spread" on American soil.

The patient, who is a resident of California's Solano County, had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual, according to the California Department of Public Health. The individual was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento on Wednesday, the hospital confirmed.

It's the first COVID-19 case of unknown origin in the U.S., indicating there could be "community spread," which means the virus is circulating among the local community and infecting people, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected, according to the CDC.

The CDC said it would continue to investigate the source of the infection.

It's "possible" that the individual "may have been exposed to a returned traveller who was infected," an agency official said in a statement Wednesday.

a group of people walking on a tiled floor: A man wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, stands at the Shinagawa station in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 28, 2020. © Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters A man wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, stands at the Shinagawa station in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 28, 2020.

The Chinese government has imposed severe restrictions on virus-hit areas, including a lockdown on the city of Wuhan. The United States, among many other nations, has put in place strict travel restrictions on people who have recently visited China.

The FDA said Thursday that it is "not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging."

COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.

a group of people walking down a street: A man wearing a face mask rides on a bicycle at a shopping complex in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in China's Hubei province, Feb. 26, 2020. © Stringer/Reuters A man wearing a face mask rides on a bicycle at a shopping complex in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in China's Hubei province, Feb. 26, 2020.

Meanwhile, a whistleblower within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has filed a complaint alleging that more than a dozen workers were sent to receive the first Americans repatriated from Wuhan, China, without proper training or protective gear for coronavirus infection control.

The complaint, filed to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, was first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.

ABC News has not reviewed the complaint and lawyers representing the whistleblower have refused to provide it.

Ari Wilkenfeld, one of the whistleblower's attorneys, told ABC News that The Washington Post article accurately describes the allegations laid out in the complaint.

"We are hopeful that Congress and the OSC will investigate this case in a timely and comprehensive manner," Wilkenfeld told ABC News in a statement.

"This matter concerns HHS's response to the coronavirus, and its failure to protect its employees and potentially the public. The retaliatory efforts to intimidate and silence our client must be opposed."

Moreover, a spokesperson for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel confirmed to ABC News that it has received the whistleblower's complaint as described in The Washington Post and that the case has been assigned.

When asked for comment, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Caitlin Oakley told ABC News: "We take all whistleblower complaints very seriously and are providing the complainant with all appropriate protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act. We are evaluating the complaint and have nothing further to add at this time."

ABC News' Joohee Cho, Katherine Faulders, Kate Hakyung Lee, Alexander Mallin, Catherine Thorbecke, William Carr and Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.

Pictures: -Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak

At Microsoft News Australia we've partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for UNICEF: Donate now and help health workers in the battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronavirus Health Information Line call 1800 020 080 if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates Monday–Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturdays from 8am to 5pm, and Sundays from 9am to 5pm.

Coronavirus testing centre operating in Sydney office building .
A coronavirus testing facility in Sydney's north has been shut down after it was revealed to be operating in a public office building. A 2BG listener blew the whistle on the Laverty Pathology testing lab in Bella Vista phone call with Ben Fordham."We found out today after spending a few moments in a lift with an old man with a mask on that they have opened a coronavirus blood testing lab, or collection lab, on floor one of our building," the caller who gave his name as Peter said. © Supplied Coronavirus testing lab in Sydney's north.

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