Coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 1,000 in China
• Deaths in mainland China rise to 1,016 as confirmed cases reach more than 42,000
• Thailand bars cruise passengers from disembarking
• 195 U.S. evacuees from Wuhan prepare to end 14-day quarantine
• Hong Kong leader tells residents to stay at home “as much as possible”
• China’s leader appears in public wearing a mask
• 13th confirmed case of the coronavirus recorded in the United States
Coronavirus gets official name: COVID-19
The new coronavirus that’s sickened more than 42,000 people in China finally has an official name: COVID-19. It stands for the coronavirus disease that was discovered in 2019.
The World Health Organization announced the official name Tuesday, saying it was careful to find a name without stigma.
“We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, or an individual or group of people,” WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a call with reporters. — Erika Edwards
Number of coronavirus deaths exceeds 1,000 in mainland China
The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus outbreak in China rose by more than 100 on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths across the country’s 31 provinces to 1,016, officials said.
The number of deaths is well beyond the toll of the 2002-03 outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which was caused by a virus related to the current pathogen and claimed the lives of almost 800 people.
The country’s National Health Commission said there were more than 42,600 confirmed cases.
Earlier, Chinese authorities said that there was hope the spread of the coronavirus might soon reach a turning point.
But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been “concerning instances” of transmission from people who had not been to China.
“The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he said in Geneva. — Tim Stelloh and Reuters
Thailand bars cruise passengers from disembarking
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Thailand on Tuesday barred passengers from Holland America’s cruise ship MS Westerdam from disembarking, the latest country to turn it away amid fears of the coronavirus despite no confirmed infections aboard.
It has already been turned away by Japan and the Philippines.
Holland America Line cruises said in a statement Monday that the ship was not in quarantine and there was no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board.
Another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, with 3,700 passengers and crew onboard, is quarantined in the port city Yokohama, south of Tokyo, with 135 cases of coronavirus detected on the vessel. — Colin Sheeley and Reuters
195 U.S. evacuees from Wuhan prepare to end 14-day quarantine
Nearly 200 evacuees prepared Tuesday to end their two-week quarantine at a Southern California military base where they have been living since flying out of China during a deadly viral outbreak.
The quarantine was in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
None of those who flew into March Air Reserve Base have tested positive for the coronavirus, health authorities said.
The group, which includes children, arrived from China Jan. 29, taking chartered flights from Wuhan. — The Associated Press
Coronavirus fears cause building evacuation in Hong Kong
Authorities in Hong Kong evacuated an apartment block after two cases among its residents raised suspicion the virus may be spreading through the building’s plumbing.
Hong Kong’s health ministry said Tuesday the 62-year-old woman and 75-year-old men who were confirmed to have the virus lived in the building, but on different floors, prompting an investigation into whether the infections were related.
“Symptomatic residents will be sent to the hospital for isolation while asymptomatic residents will be issued quarantine orders and be transferred to quarantine centre,” the ministry said in a statement. — Ed Flanagan
Hong Kong leader tells residents to stay at home “as much as possible”
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday appealed for residents to stay indoors as much as possible.
“As part and parcel of enhancing social distancing we are making an appeal to the people of Hong Kong to stay at home as much as possible,” Lam told reporters.
“But at the moment, we’re making this appeal, we’re not going for compulsory closures because Hong Kong is a free society.”
Parts of Hong Kong, including restaurants, shopping malls and cafes, have been deserted as people work from home and schools remain closed. — Reuters
China’s leader appears in public wearing a mask
China’s leader Xi Jinping visited a health center Monday to rally public morale amid little sign the contagion is abating.
In a bid to boost morale, Xi was featured on state broadcaster CCTV’s main news report visiting a community health center in Beijing and expressing confidence in the “war against the disease.”
The country’s president and leader of the ruling Communist Party was shown wearing a surgical mask and having his temperature taken before expressing his thanks to health workers on behalf of the party and government.
Xi also spoke with some locals about the epidemic’s impact on their lives.
“This is a special period so we will not shake hands,” he said, prompting laughter from a group of residents.
“But we must have confidence,” Xi added. “We shall overcome this virus.” — The Associated Press, Reuters and Leou Chen
13th confirmed case of the coronavirus recorded in the United States
A case of the new coronavirus has been diagnosed in San Diego County, California, bringing the total number of cases in the U.S. to 13.
The patient had been evacuated from Wuhan and had been under a 14-day federal quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, according to a statement from the UC San Diego Health.
The patient, who was doing well and had minimal symptoms, was under observation and isolation at UC San Diego Health, the statement said. — Erika Edwards