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Coronavirus live updates: CDC raises travel warning for South Korea, US airlines waive cancellation fees

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Via CNBC

People wait in a line to buy face masks at a retail store in the southeastern city of Daegu on February 25, 2020.

JUNG YEON-JE | AFP via Getty Images

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Total confirmed cases: More than 80,200
  • Total deaths: At least 2,704

7:43 am: US airlines waive cancellation fees for South Korea flights after CDC issues travel warning

U.S. airlines on Monday said they would waive cancellation and change fees for travelers booked to South Korea as the coronavirus spreads beyond China, prompting a warning from government officials about travel there. Earlier on Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned travelers to avoid non-essential travel to South Korea, where the disease has sickened close to 1,000 people. Delta Air Lines‘ travelers who booked tickets to the South Korean capital of Seoul through April 30 can change flights until May 31 or cancel their trips without paying a fee, the airline said on its website. American Airlines‘ customers booked to Seoul through April 24 can change their flights without paying a date-change fee, or they can cancel the trip altogether. Those travelers can also change the origin or destination of their trips to the Japanese capital of Tokyo, and take another plane to or from South Korea. United Airlines issued a similar waiver for Seoul. — Josephs

6:45 am: Iran’s deputy health minister tests positive for coronavirus

Iran’s deputy health minister has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report from the semi-official ILNA news agency. It comes shortly after a spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s health ministry said 95 people had been infected with the coronavirus, with 16 deaths nationwide. Iran has recorded the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus outside of China. — Meredith

6:30 am: Chinese city announces 14-day quarantine in free hotels for travelers from Japan, South Korea

The eastern city of Weihai has announced that all travelers, both Chinese and foreign nationals, returning from Japan and South Korea will need to stay in hotels for a 14-day quarantine. Accommodation will be free. The move comes amid intensifying concerns on China’s social media platform Weibo over a growing number of coronavirus cases in South Korea. The measures, effective Tuesday, are meant “to minimize the chance of cross-infection” according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese-language announcement. Weihai, located in Shandong province, is about a two-hour flight from Seoul. — Wu

5:55 am: WHO says countries must be prepared for coronavirus ‘literally knocking at the door’

The World Health Organization has warned countries around the world must be ready for the fast-spreading coronavirus to be “literally knocking at the door.” Speaking in Geneva, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier reportedly said that while many countries had so-called “pandemic plans” on standby, the United Nations health agency does not plan to make a “big announcement.” It comes amid intensifying concern about the coronavirus outbreak, with the deadly virus spreading to more than two dozen countries in recent weeks. As of Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission reported 77,658 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,663 deaths nationwide.

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5:35 am: Iran urges people to stay at home as coronavirus death toll climbs to 16

Iran’s health ministry reportedly urged citizens to stay at home on Tuesday, following a sharp uptick of confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide. Kianoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s health ministry, said via state television that 95 people had been infected with the coronavirus, with 16 deaths nationwide. Iran has recorded the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside of China. Several countries have suspended flights to Iran in a bid to prevent the outbreak, while some neighboring countries have closed their borders. — Meredith

A man wears a protective mask while riding a bus in the Iranian capital Tehran on February 24, 2020.

ATTA KENARE | AFP via Getty Images

4:40 am: Canary Islands hotel reportedly under lockdown after tourist tests positive

Hundreds of staff and tourists staying at a hotel in Spain’s Canary Islands were reportedly put under lockdown on Tuesday, El Pais newspaper reported. It comes after one person that had stayed at the establishment was later found to have tested positive for the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the Canary Island’s health department told Reuters on Tuesday that health checks were underway for those who had contact with the patient — thought to be Spain’s third case of COVID-19. As of Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) had identified two cases of the coronavirus in Spain. — Meredith

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Iran’s deputy health minister reportedly tests positive for virus

Reuters and CNBC’s Leslie Josephs, Sam Meredith and Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

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