Daily updates on the emerging novel coronavirus from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
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January 31, 2020 - Afternoon Update

EPI UPDATES The Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering estimates 9,925 confirmed cases and 213 deaths. Official figures from China’s National Health Commission are expected this evening. There are 106 confirmed cases in 19 countries outside of China, according to the WHO situation report published today. Of those 106 cases, seven were detected while asymptomatic.

US ANNOUNCES PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY AND NEW MEASURES [ Editor’s note: Official text was not available as of this writing; details may change as more information becomes available. ] In a press conference this afternoon, Secretary of Health Alex Azar announced a number of new measures: (1) the ongoing 2019-nCoV outbreak has now been declared a public health emergency ; (2) US nationals returning to the United States with travel to Hubei province in the past 14 days will be subject to involuntary quarantine; (3) US nationals returning to the United States with travel to mainland China in the past 14 days will be subject to health examination upon return and will be subject to up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine; (4) all foreign nationals other, than immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China in the past 14 days will be denied entry to the United States. Additionally, all flights returning to the United States from China will be routed through 7 airports: JFK, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, LAX, San Francisco, Honolulu, Washington. These changes go into effect at 5 pm on Sunday February 2.

CDC ISSUES FEDERAL QUARANTINE ORDERS US CDC issued a federal quarantine order to all 195 passengers who were repatriated to the US from Wuhan earlier this week. The quarantine will last 14 days, which is considered the upper end of the incubation period for 2019-nCoV. The CDC has updated its number of patients under investigation to 241 in 36 states.

TRAVEL AND FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS Two large East African airlines , Kenya Air and RwandAir, as well as two US-based airlines , American Airlines and Delta, canceled all flights to and from mainland China. Delta’s new policy will take effect on Feb 6 and will last through April 30. American Airlines ’ policy is effective immediately and will last through March 27. In other news, Iran , The Philippines , Italy , and Russia announced today that they will also restrict air travel to and from China.

MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is the latest pharmaceutical company to announce efforts to develop a vaccine targeting 2019-nCoV. This comes after researchers at Moderna , Inovio Pharma , and the University of Queensland all announced efforts to develop potential vaccines . J&J also announced a donation of the HIV drug Prezcobix to China to facilitate efforts to identify potential treatments. 

Gilead Sciences is working with Chinese and US authorities to assess the potential for an investigational antiviral, remdisivir, to treat patients infected with nCoV. Remdesivir is not licensed or approved for use. This drug has been investigated as a treatment for Ebola

RESPONSE OUTSIDE OF MAINLAND CHINA Italy declared a state of emergency in response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. According to the Washington Post , this declaration is set to last six months will enable new funds for outbreak response and prevention. This declaration came shortly after Italy confirmed their first two cases of nCoV in Rome; both travelers are currently in isolation. In other news, Hong Kong has extended its school closures until the beginning of March. Several universities in the region have followed suit, extending school closures in some cases for the next two weeks.

There are initial reports that the India Commerce Ministry banned the export of all personal protective equipment including specifically N95 masks and other protective clothing. India recently confirmed its first case of n-CoV and is also working to evacuate Indian citizens from Wuhan. Confirmation from India’s Department of Commerce was not available at the time of this writing.

NEW ACADEMIC RESEARCH The New England Journal of Medicine published a report describing the first confirmed case of nCoV in the United States, announced January 21. The patient initially had mild upper respiratory symptoms, but developed atypical pneumonia on hospital day 5. The patient’s condition had improved by day 8, but he remained in the hospital as of January 30. A new paper in the Lancet uses data on exported cases from Wuhan to describe the potential for epidemic growth outside of the current epicenter. Findings suggest that significant transmission is occurring in a number of major Chinese cities. The group expressed concerns over the potential for international spread. Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet have established resource pages dedicated to information on 2019-nCoV. These pages include a variety of articles and links to relevant external resource pages.