56 people have died from an outbreak of a coronavirus strain that originated in Wuhan, China, according to the Chinese National Health Commission.
The latest: Health officials confirmed in a statement Saturday the first case in Canada after a patient presented with symptoms in Toronto. The respiratory illness has also made its way to Europe, with France confirming three cases, Reuters reports.
- France's Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said Friday two patients are hospitalized in Paris. The other case is in the southwestern city of Bordeaux. They had returned from a trip that had a stop in Wuhan.
- Both Australia and Malaysia confirmed their first cases of the virus on Saturday, and Japan confirmed its third.
Impact in the U.S.: Two people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness — one in Washington and one in Illinois — the CDC announced on Friday. The agency said that it still considers the infection risk for people in the U.S. to be quite low.
- Illinois health department officials were notified of a Chicago woman in her 60s returning from Wuhan on Jan. 13. She did not have symptoms while traveling, but later was admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation.
By the numbers: Health officials confirmed earlier this week that the virus, which causes fever and respiratory symptoms, can be passed from person-to-person. The CDC began screening passengers at airports in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.
- Over 2,000 people on about 200 flights have been screened at the five airports to date — and no cases have been found.
- 63 patients from 22 states are being investigated for possible infection, including the two positive cases and 11 that have been determined to be negative.
What's happening: The number of confirmed cases in China has increased to nearly 1,975, according to the country's National Health Commission.
- Hong Kong has closed all of its schools for two weeks, and Wuhan banned the use of cars in downtown areas, per AP.
- The country is quickly building a pre-fabricated 1,000-bed hospital to treat only patients infected with coronavirus, as other hospitals struggle to meet demand and deal with a shortage of supplies.
- Major cities in China, including Beijing, have canceled large public gatherings for the Lunar New Year holiday, the most important in the country, to help contain the outbreak, according to the Washington Post.
- The Chinese government this past week locked down the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, collectively home to nearly 20 million people, AP reports.
The big picture: Several countries in the region are also experiencing cases, and North Korea is temporarily banning foreign tourists in response to the outbreak, according to Reuters.
What they're saying: The World Health Organization decided Thursday that it's "too early" to declare an international health emergency.
- "Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China, but it is not yet a global health emergency," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.
- "People's lives and health should be given top priority and the spread of the outbreak should be resolutely curbed," Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday, according to Reuters.
What's next: A possible live animal source is still being investigated in China. There is no specific treatment for the virus, though several antivirals and experimental vaccines are under investigation.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more recent developments.