Coronavirus updates: U.S., Japanese citizens die in Wuhan
• Global death toll rises to at least 724 as confirmed cases reach more than 34,500 in mainland China
• One American is dead and there are at least 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States as of Saturday morning.
• Epidemic is “far from over,” World Health Organization warns.
• A 60-year-old U.S. citizen with coronavirus died Thursday in Wuhan, embassy says
•Japanese citizen in their 60s suspected to have died from virus in Wuhan
• 3 more cases from cruise ship quarantined in Japan, bringing total to 64
Cruise ship docked in New Jersey delays departure another 2 days
Royal Caribbean said Saturday that the departure of its Anthem of the Seas cruise from New Jersey will be delayed another two days, until Monday, to allow continued testing of passengers from the ship’s prior cruise. When the ship returned to Bayonne, New Jersey, on Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) boarded the vessel to screen 27 passengers who had recently traveled from mainland China.
Four of those passengers were taken to a hospital for evaluation, while the other 23 were to return to China.
The next Anthem of the Seas cruise was to leave New Jersey on Friday, but the cruise line initially delayed the departure until Saturday to allow for conclusive testing by the CDC. On Saturday, Royal Caribbean said that due to the volume of tests the health agency was conducting, another day or two was needed to complete them. — Phil McCausland
U.S. State Department evacuates hundreds from China
Two more flights from Wuhan carrying approximately 300 U.S. citizens, immediate family members and permanent residents of the U.S. departed Wuhan on Thursday, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said Saturday.
This brings the total number of Americans evacuated to about 850 from Wuhan, China, since Jan. 29, the State Department said. There have been a total of five flights evacuating people to the U.S. All those evacuated are to be screened and closely monitored by the CDC as well as the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Our team here in Washington and at our Embassy and consulates in China are working closely with [Chinese] authorities to offer all possible support to U.S. citizens throughout China,” Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokesperson, said in a statement. — Phil McCausland
The virus now has an official, though tentative, name
China’s National Health Commission announced Saturday that it had tentatively named the virus “new coronavirus pneumonia.” In English, it will be referred to as “novel coronavirus pneumonia” or “NCP” for short. — Phil McCausland
Mandatory quarantine in Hong Kong
More than 150 people will undergo mandatory quarantine measures on Saturday, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam said at a news conference.
In total, 148 of the 161 people who had recently traveled to mainland China must stay at home, while 11 will stay in hotels, and two in government quarantine camps, Lam said. The majority of those under quarantine are from the special administrative region of China.
Lam also appealed for “citizens to stay at their homes in order to reduce the use of face masks.”
There are currently 26 recorded cases of the virus in Hong Kong, including one virus-related death.— Jasmine Leung
Five new cases in France
Five new cases of coronavirus were reported in France on Saturday, according to the French Health Ministry. This brings the total to 11 infected people in country.
The new patients are all British nationals, including four adults and a child, said Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said, adding that the new infections are considered a “cluster,” which is a case of several people in contact with one infected person.
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All of the five were all staying in the same chalet at a ski resort in the Alps.
Buzyn said the five had contracted the virus from a British national who had recently returned from Singapore, but none of their conditions were considered serious. — Nancy Ing
WHO says epidemic is ‘far from over’
The coronavirus “epidemic is far from over,” World Health Organization representative Dr. Gauden Galea said Saturday adding that a high alert is required.
Dr. Galea told the Reuters news agency that predictions about where the disease is heading were “impossible,” but at this time, “the best thing, rather than crystal ball gazing, is vigilance.”
From the WHO’s observation, older people with underlying or chronic diseases are facing more risk to the disease, he said. — Reuters
Japanese citizen suspected to have coronavirus dies in Wuhan
A Japanese citizen in their 60s who had been hospitalized with severe pneumonia and who had been highly suspected of having coronavirus died at a medical facility in Wuhan, Japan’s foreign ministry said on its website Saturday.
Wuhan and Hubei Province where the city is located is the epicenter of the outbreak.
The man was “highly suspected” of having coronavirus, Japan’s foreign ministry said after consulting with the Chinese facility he lived. But because of the difficulty confirming that, the man’s death was being classified as “viral pneumonia.”
Japan’s government said it sends its prayers to the victim and condolences to his family.
The outbreak of coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, has been confirmed in more than 34,500 people in mainland China, and there have been at least 722 deaths there as of Saturday morning local time, China’s national health commission said. There have been two deaths elsewhere, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong. — Arata Yamamoto
American with coronavirus dies in Wuhan hospital, embassy says
A U.S. citizen diagnosed with novel coronavirus has died in China in what appears to be the first death of an American from the virus that has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and killed more than 700, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.
“We can confirm a 60-year-old U.S. citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at Jinyintian Hospital in Wuhan, China on Feb. 6,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment,” the spokesperson said.
A U.S. official had previously said that two U.S. citizens had been confirmed to have novel coronavirus in Wuhan. It was not immediately clear if the person who died was among that number. — Phil Helsel
3 more coronavirus cases confirmed on cruise ship off Japan; total at 64
Three more people aboard a cruise ship quarantined in Japan have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total from the Diamond Princess to 64, Japan’s health ministry said Saturday on its website.
Two of the three people newly diagnosed are American, a health ministry official said, which brings the total number of Americans diagnosed from the cruise ship to 13. The third person is from China.
Six new people were screened, and the three tested positive for coronavirus, the health ministry said. All three newly confirmed patients were checked in to a medical facility.
Earlier this week, 11 Americans were confirmed to have the virus, along with people from Japan, Canada, Australia and other countries.
About 3,700 passengers and crew were aboard the Diamond Princess, but those who tested positive were taken to hospitals.
The ship was quarantined off Yokohama and testing was conducted on over 270 people after a man who had been on the ship last month and who got off in Hong Kong was later confirmed to have the virus. The quarantine is expected to last until Feb. 19. — Arata Yamamoto and Phil Helsel
Coronavirus deaths in mainland China increase to 722
The number of deaths from novel coronavirus in mainland China increased to 722 early Saturday, China’s National Health Commission said, up from 636 deaths previously reported.
More than 34,500 confirmed cases have been reported on mainland China as of Friday, the health commission said.
In addition to the mainland deaths, two people who had been confirmed to have novel coronavirus have died elsewhere, one in the Philippines and in Hong Kong, bringing global deaths to at least 724.
Almost all the 86 new deaths reported Friday on the mainland occurred in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, according to the health commission. Three other deaths were reported elsewhere in China, including one in Beijing.
The World Health Organization says on its website that the virus has been confirmed in 24 other countries. — Dawn Liu
Chicago coronavirus patients released from hospital
A Chicago couple diagnosed with coronavirus is now home, recovering from the illness.
The two cases represented the first example of the virus spreading from person to person in this country. Doctors said the husband had not traveled to China recently, but his wife had in December to care for her father in Wuhan.
On Friday, the couple released a statement thanking the medical staff at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates.
“This has been the best healthcare experience we’ve ever had,” the statement read in part. “But we’re definitely looking forward to getting home and getting life back to normal.”
Another coronavirus patient, in Washington sate, was discharged earlier this week. Eight other patients with diagnosed coronavirus remained hospitalized Friday afternoon.
A patient in Wisconsin was confirmed to have the virus Wednesday, but doctors said that person has not been been sick enough to warrant hospitalization. — Erika Edwards