BEIJING – The Latest on the new virus from China that has sickened thousands of people and killed dozens(all times local):
U.S. health officials say they have no evidence that the new virus from China is spreading in the U.S. and they believe the risk to Americans remains low.
As of Monday, five Americans have been diagnosed with the virus and all had traveled to central China. Health officials are investigating who they’ve been in contact with. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say at least 32 people who were thought to be possible cases have been ruled out.
The virus has sickened thousands of people, mostly in China, and caused dozens of deaths. The outbreak was first identified in the city of Wuhan in central China.
The first U.S. patient diagnosed with the new virus remains in satisfactory condition in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center near Seattle. Health officials are discussing when to discharge the patient. He is a man in his 30s who was admitted Jan. 20.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 300 points around midday as U.S. stocks tumble following a sell-off in markets in Europe and Japan as investors worry that the outbreak of a new virus from China could hurt the global economy.
The declines for the Dow and the S&P 500 wiped out a significant portion of their gains for January. Airlines, resorts and other companies that rely on travel and tourism suffered steep losses. Apparel and technology companies that get a significant amount of revenue from China also declined.
Gold prices rose as did bonds as investors headed for safer holdings. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to its lowest level since October.
Most markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, but Japan’s Nikkei suffered its biggest decline in five months. European markets also slumped. Germany’s DAX dove 2.6%.
France’s government may evacuate other European residents from the virus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan on a special flight for French citizens seeking to leave.
The director of France’s public health agency, Jerome Salomon, told reporters Monday “that’s a discussion we’re having now with other European countries.”
He said it’s too early to say how many non-French people could be taken on the flight, which is expected later this week. He said the flight will be free for French citizens, but didn’t say whether the government would charge foreign passengers.
France has some 800 citizens in Wuhan and the French government has offered to repatriate any who want to leave. Upon arrival in France, they will be put in quarantine under medical supervision for 14 days. Those with symptoms of the new virus will be held separately from those without, he said.
France has three confirmed cases of the new virus, the first such cases in Europe.
Sri Lankan health authorities have reported that the country has its first confirmed case of a person infected with the the new virus from China.
The chief epidemiologist for the island nation's health ministry said Monday that the patient is a Chinese tourist who arrived in Sri Lanka last week.
The women in her 40s flew to Sri Lanka from China's Hubei province. She was admitted on Saturday to a state-run hospital for treatment of people suffering from potentially deadly infectious diseases.
Sri Lanka became a major travel destination for Chinese tourists in recent years. Many Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka work on Chinese-funded infrastructure projects.