Via Financial Times

Malaysian confirmed cases rise to twelve

Stefania Palma reports from Singapore:

Malaysia has reported two new confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the country’s total to 12. The individuals are both Malaysian nationals who were evacuated from Wuhan.

Malaysia on Tuesday repatriated 107 individuals from the Chinese city. They, together with 26 government officers who facilitated the evacuation, will all be quarantined for 14 days.

Cruise ship off Japan hit by coronavirus outbreak

Naomi Rovnick reports:

Ten passengers on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship moored off of Yokohama in Japan, have tested positive for coronavirus.

There are more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the vessel and all have been asked to self-quarantine in their cabins for a fortnight.

The infected passengers will be taken ashore by the Japanese coastguard and brought to local hospitals, Princess Cruises said in a statement.

Tech supply chain risks set to rise

Naomi Rovnick reports:

Chinese and Taiwanese suppliers to Apple are braced for severe labour shortages as travel restrictions keep workers in the home towns they returned to for the lunar new year holiday, our sister title, the Nikkei Asian Review, reported earlier.

“This is new to everyone…we have to deal with it with pain,” an iPhone supply chain executive told Nikkei.

The new year holiday is a peak travel period in China, with millions of workers leaving cities and manufacturing centres to see their families.

READ ALSO  Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (CLF) CEO Lourenco Goncalves on Q3 2020 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Meanwhile, some large Chinese commercial and industrial hubs, including the cities of Hangzhou and Wenzhou, have imposed curbs on people leaving their homes in attempts to control the spread of coronavirus.

Read more on the potential hit to the iPhone supply chain from the Nikkei Asian Review here.

US airlines suspend Hong Kong flights

Naomi Rovnick reports:

United Airlines said it will suspend services to the Asian financial centre, days after it also cut its mainland China flights. This came just after American Airlines announced a similar step.

Both American and United have halted their services to Hong Kong until February 20.

British carriers that have stopped flying to China, such as British Airways and Virgin, are still selling flights to Hong Kong.

The territory has reported 18 coronavirus cases and one death, which is a tiny fraction of the number of cases in mainland China. But United and American both cited a drop in demand for travel to Hong Kong for their decisions.

News from overnight: China round-up

Naomi Rovnick writes:

China’s 31 provinces reported 3,887 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, according to the latest round-up by the China National Health Commission. The vast proportion of these were reported by Hubei province, which includes Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

This takes the total number of confirmed cases in China to 24,324, with 490 deaths.

The semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau have confirmed 18 and 10 cases respectively, with one death so far in Hong Kong.

READ ALSO  Venezuela’s opposition leader flees the country

Despite the World Health Organization having publicly praised the government of Xi Jinping’s handling of the virus, senior WHO expert John Mackenzie has broken ranks and accused China of not reporting cases quickly enough in the early stages of the outbreak, the FT’s Primrose Riordan and Sue-Lin Wong report here.

Good morning and welcome to the FT’s rolling coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

As the disease continues to spread, US airlines United and American have have suspended flights to Hong Kong, in a blow to the Asian financial centre.

Chinese authorities, meanwhile, are coming under growing pressure over their handling of the virus, with one World Health Organisation expert breaking ranks to criticise the time it took for the country to initially report cases.

We will have the latest developments and reaction as we get them throughout the day, so follow along here.

The FT’s live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak will begin later on Wednesday. You can review all of Tuesday’s developments ‘as they happened’ here.