The number of China's novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases surged well past 11,000 overnight, as the United States reported two more cases and Spain confirmed its first.
In other developments, Australia joined the United States in temporarily banning Chinese residents from entering the country.
More than 2,000 new cases
China reported 2,102 new cases and 46 more deaths, boosting the overall totals to 11,791 cases, 259 of them fatal, according to the latest daily update from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).
Health officials reported 268 more severe cases, raising that total to 1,795. They do not specify how they classify a case as "severe."
The World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its daily situation report that Hubei province is the hardest-hit area, accounting for 60.5% of all cases since the outbreak began. It said Zhejiang province has recorded the second most, with 599 cases so far. Guangdong province is third, with 520 infections.
In other China developments, the country's central bank announced it would take steps to support companies affected by the outbreak, such as lowering interest rates, Reuters reported today. The bank also said the impact of the outbreak on China's economy will probably be temporary.
Also, China's finance ministry announced it would exempt taxes on imported products related to the outbreak, as well as on donations such as ambulances and disinfectants, according to a separate Reuters report.
Australia bars travelers from China
Australia's prime minister today announced aggressive new control steps in response to the spread of 2019-nCoV, including a temporary ban on non-citizens from entering the country, similar to steps announced by the United States yesterday, News Corp Australia reported.
The ban applies to foreigners who have been in mainland China in the past 14 days. Australians returning from China will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
The WHO in its public health emergency declaration on Jan 30 advised against barriers to travel and trade, based on the current information about the outbreak.
Australia today also reported 3 new 2019-nCoV cases, 2 in South Australia state and 1 in Victoria state, raising the country's total to 12.
New cases in California, Massachusetts
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last night confirmed another 2019-nCoV case, the nation's seventh. It said the patient recently returned from Wuhan.
A statement from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) last night said the individual is from Santa Clara County. Of the eight US cases, three have now been reported from California; the other California cases are in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
And today the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) reported the nation's eighth case, involving a man in his 20s who had recently returned from Wuhan. The MDPH said he sought medical care as soon as he returned to Massachusetts and has been isolated since then. His few close contacts are under monitoring.
Spain has first case; more in other nations
Spain's health ministry last night reported the country's first case, in a person who is part of a 5-person traveling group in La Gomera in the Canary Islands and who is a contact of one of Germany's confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, officials said in a statement posted on Twitter.
With Spain's new report, eight European countries have now reported cases.
Elsewhere in Europe, France reported one more case, which apparently involves local transmission, according to Public Health France. The latest case-patient, confirmed on Jan 30, is a doctor who treated two Chinese tourists on Jan 23 when they were considered probable cases. The case is France's sixth.
In addition to the first instance of a health worker infected outside of China, the WHO in its update today flagged other notable transmission developments, including the first instance of third-generation spread outside of China, which is related to the cluster of German cases. It also said the first exported case from a country outside of China has been reported, which involves a patient in South Korea who was exposed to the virus in Japan.
In other developments:
- Japan reported two more cases, both in people who returned by charter flights from Wuhan, according to a health ministry statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news message board. One of the patients initially tested negative. Japan now has 15 2019-nCoV cases.
- Vietnam reported one more case, which also appears to involve local transmission. The patient is a Vietnamese citizen who is a receptionist and was considered a close contact of a Chinese father and son whose illnesses were detected earlier as the country's first instance of local spread, according to a health ministry statement today.
So far, 132 cases in 23 countries have been reported outside of China, the WHO said its update today.
Feb 1 China CDC statement
Feb 1 WHO daily situation report
Feb 1 Reuters story
Feb 1 Reuters story on tax exemptions
Feb 1 News Corp Australia report
Jan 31 CDC statement
Jan 31 CDPH statement
Feb 1 MDPH statement
Jan 31 Spanish health ministry statement
Jan 31 Public Health France update
Feb 1 AFD post
Feb 1 Vietnam health ministry statement