February 10 coronavirus news
The Westerdam cruise ship -- which has more than 2,000 people on board -- will dock this Thursday in the Thai city of Laem Chabang. It was previously denied entry to Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan as countries closed their ports to cruise ships over coronavirus fears.
The vessel, operated by Holland America, was scheduled to end its itinerary in Yokohama, Japan, on February 15, but was refused entry at any Japanese port despite having no confirmed cases of the coronavirus on board.
Holland America says the guests will receive a 100% refund for the current trip as well as “100% Future Cruise Credit.”
Passengers will be allowed to disembark the ship at Laem Chabang, which is around 50 miles from Bangkok.
Several Indian members of the Diamond Princess crew have appealed for help from the Indian government, and alleged that they are at risk of infection by not being segregated.
So far at least 135 people (including five crew members) have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus on board the vessel, amid signs of a full blown outbreak -- one of the largest outside of mainland China.
The cruise ship passengers have been under strict quarantine for over a week now, confined to their cabins as medical personnel conduct tests on the 3,700 people on board.
“We are extremely scared at this point in time,” Binay Kumar Sarkar said in a video obtained by CNN. “Our request is to segregate the crew members from the infected.”
He said neither he nor his colleagues had been checked for the novel coronavirus.
CNN is reaching out to Princess Cruises for comment.
“Only people who are recording temperatures higher than 37.5 degree Celsius are being checked,” Sarkar said. “If Japan cannot take stock of the situation, please ask for assistance. The United Nations and government of India should intervene as soon as possible and help segregate us.”
Please help save those who have not been infected yet. There are 160 Indian crew members and 8 Indian passengers onboard. Please rescue us. Help evacuate us before we contract the virus. 90% of us are healthy as of now. I appeal to India’s Prime Minister Modi, please bring us home safe and sound.”
On February 7, the Indian minister of external affairs tweeted that no Indian nationals on the ship had tested positive for the virus, and that his government was “closely following the developments.”
Of all the patients confirmed to have the Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China, 8.2% have been cured, according to officials at the country's National Health Commission (NHC). On January 27, only 1.3% of patients had been cured.
Mi Feng, a NHC spokesman, said the increased numbers were due to China's preliminary success in treating the coronavirus, but did not elaborate on what treatment was applied on the patients.
In Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus, 6.1% of patients have been cured and showed no signs of the virus, Mi added.
Mi also said that an expert group from the World Health Organization will be visiting China to exchange ideas on containing the virus, and that an advance team will land in Beijing Monday to discuss the arrangements of the visit.
Airbnb is suspending all listings in Beijing from February 7 2020 to February 29 2020 in light of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
Airbnb appreciates that disease control efforts are causing overall travel disruptions that also affect our community of guests and hosts,” the company said in a statement.
“We will refund and support guests who had cancelled reservations. And we will continue to work diligently to build programs that support our community of hosts.”
Four further patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total UK tally to eight, Britain's Department of Health said in a statement on Monday.
The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed case, and the virus was passed on in France, the statement says.
"Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided," the Department of Health said.
The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centers at Guy's, St Thomas' and Royal Free hospitals in London, and authorities are "using robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus," the health authority added.
The number of new coronavirus cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has been reduced from 66 to 65, Captain Stefano Ravera announced in a public address on the vessel.
“We have now been advised that the number of cases is reduced from 66 to 65, of which five were crew members,” he said Monday in a recording heard by CNN.
This brings the total number of cases on the Diamond Princess to 135. The newly announced cases have nearly doubled the total number, from 70 confirmed cases yesterday.
Those cruise passengers have been under strict quarantine for over a week now, confined to their cabins as medical personnel conduct tests on the 3,700 people on board.
Ravera said that they are currently in the process of disembarking the newly discovered patients.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Monday that it is difficult to test to everyone on the cruise ship for coronavirus.
Suga also said there is "a limit capacity to process virus test samples,” adding that authorities were testing samples belonging to people who had a fever, who had close contacted with infected people, and people over the age of 80 who feel ill.
Hong Kong has confirmed two more cases of Wuhan coronavirus, bringing its total to 38, Sophia Chan, the semi-autonomous Chinese city's secretary for food and health, told a regular media briefing on Monday.
The two new cases include a 69-year-old man who has no travel history to mainland China and is currently in critical condition, and a 55-year-old woman from a family cluster of cases who attended a hot pot dinner party.
Among the 38 cases, four patients are currently in critical condition and another patient is in serious condition.
A total of 1,193 people have been placed under mandatory quarantine after entering the city from mainland China, of whom 90% are Hong Kong residents.
Chan said the government has identified nine people who violated quarantine orders during spot checks. Two people are still missing, and police will list them as wanted. She warned that anyone who violated quarantine orders could be subject to a maximum fine of HK$25,000 ($3,200) and six-month imprisonment.
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected efforts to contain the Wuhan coronavirus in the capital Beijing on Monday, the first time he has appeared on the front lines of the fight against the outbreak.
Wearing a protective face mask, Xi visited a specially built center in the city's Chaoyang district, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The capital is gradually getting back to work Monday, after the Lunar New Year holiday became an extended voluntary quarantine for millions of people across the country.
Xi has been strangely missing in recent weeks, not appearing on front pages or CCTV's main news broadcasts, which he usually dominates even if his activities are barely newsworthy.
Speculation is rife about just why Xi has taken such a backseat visually, even as state media has been keen to emphasize that he has been guiding all efforts from behind the scenes.
The most convincing theory is that China's propaganda apparatus is trying to thread the needle of having Xi receive the credit for successful measures against the virus, while not catching any blame or fallout from myriad missteps, particularly in Wuhan.
The total number of deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus has topped 910, officially outpacing the global death toll from the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003.
More than 40,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, with the vast majority of those in mainland China.
The country began going back to work Monday, after the Lunar New Year holiday became an extended quarantine for hundreds of millions in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Even though businesses are gradually resuming operations, many people remain under quarantine, working from home where possible.
The largest outbreak outside mainland China is on board a cruise ship docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo. As of Monday afternoon local tinme, 136 people on board the ship had tested positive for the virus. Thousands of passengers and crew have been quarantined on board for almost a week, and continue to be tested by the Japanese health authorities.
The UK has declared the Wuhan coronavirus a "serious and imminent threat to public health," as cases were confirmed in more than 25 other countries and territories around the world.
Read more here.