State Department will evacuate Americans from cruise ship, first death confirmed in Europe

  • China’s National Health Commission reported an additional 143 deaths nationwide, as well as 2,641 new confirmed cases as of Feb. 14. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 66,492, and number of total deaths at 1,523, the authority said.
  • A Chinese tourist has died of the virus in France, confirming the first coronavirus fatality in Europe.
  • The U.S. State Department will evacuate its citizens and their families who are onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan that has been quarantined for almost two weeks.
  • White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told Fox Business Network on Friday night Eastern time that testing and production of a coronavirus drug could start as soon as late February.

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All times below are in Beijing time.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) issued a notice on Saturday urging banks to strengthen loans to the manufacturing sector at better rates, and to provide improved financial services for businesses making protective gear.

The measures are part of a wider push in the last few weeks to aid small to medium-sized businesses that have been hurt by the coronavirus, which has stalled economic activity in much of the country.

“We are confident that China will emerge stronger from the epidemic. Its pent up consumer demand and growth potential will be quickly unleashed and China will enjoy evermore sound and sustainable economic and social development,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told an audience at the Munich Security Conference.

The minister expressed optimism even as confirmed cases of the disease surge past 66,000 and analysts have warned that the virus could tip China into a technical recession.

Americans infected with the coronavirus won’t be able to leave on a planned charter flight to evacuate U.S. citizens stuck aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, country officials said Saturday.

The plane, arranged by the State Department, will land in Japan on Feb. 16 and take an undisclosed number of Americans back to various air bases in the U.S., where they will be quarantined for a further 14 days. The cruise ship is the biggest cluster of infected people outside China, with some 285 confirmed cases out of 3,500 passengers and crew.


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