Rate of New Fatalities Drops in China


China’s National Health Commission on Monday reported 2,048 new cases of coronavirus infections and 105 new deaths over the previous 24 hours. The number of new deaths dropped from the previous day, when 142 deaths were reported, though the increase in the number of new infections remained steady.

The vast majority of cases and deaths have occurred in Hubei Province, where the outbreak began, though the commission’s latest announcement also reported three deaths in neighboring Henan Province and two in Guangdong, the province next to Hong Kong.

In all, more than 70,500 people have been infected in China and 1,770 have died so far. Four others have died outside of China as of Sunday night.

On Thursday the government began counting cases diagnosed in clinical settings, including with the use of CT scans, and not just those confirmed with specialized testing kits.

American passengers evacuated a cruise ship that has been quarantined for more than a week in the Japanese port city of Yokohama, after hundreds of people on board fell ill with the coronavirus.

The Americans boarded two chartered flights to the United States, which departed Tokyo at 7:05 a.m. Monday, according to a statement by the United States Embassy in Japan.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

As the passengers prepared to leave the country, Japanese health officials said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases found on the ship, the Diamond Princess, had grown by 70, to 355.

“Can’t get off here fast enough,” said Sarah Arana, 52, a medical social worker from Paso Robles, Calif.

Only American passengers who were screened and did not show any symptoms of the illness were allowed to board the flights, according to a statement from the State Department.

Once in the United States, passengers will undergo a 14-day quarantine at either Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., or Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio.

The embassy said that those who did not take the charter flights would not be allowed to travel to the United States until March 4, two weeks after they would otherwise be allowed to leave the ship.

An American woman who disembarked from a cruise ship in Cambodia last week has tested positive twice for the coronavirus since flying on to Malaysia, officials in that country said on Sunday.

Cambodia allowed the ship, the Westerdam, to dock after five other ports turned it away over concerns about the coronavirus.

Officials said more than 140 passengers from the ship had flown from Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. All but the American woman and her husband had been allowed to continue to their destinations, including airports in the United States, the Netherlands and Australia.

The woman, who is 83, and her husband, who is 85 and also an American citizen, were both hospitalized and placed in isolation. The husband tested negative for the virus, but he has pneumonia, which is often a sign of the virus.

Dr. Eyal Leshem, director of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, called the disclosures “extremely concerning” and said, “We may end up with three or four countries with sustained transmission of the virus.”

The Westerdam, carrying 2,257 passengers and crew, departed from Hong Kong on Feb. 1 and was at sea for nearly 14 days.

The coronavirus outbreak has so far largely spared the United States, with only 15 confirmed cases across this country, even as the virus has rapidly spread around the globe and killed more than 1,100 people, most of them in China.

Most Americans seem to be going about their lives.

But not everyone.

For some people — those who come from China, or travel there frequently, and health workers who are charged with battling the virus — life has been upended. Hundreds of Americans who were in China are now marooned in anxious quarantine on military bases.

But for many Asian-Americans who never left the United States, there has also been an unnerving public scrutiny. They notice that a simple cough or sneeze can send people around them scattering.

“Instead of ‘Bless you’ or ‘Are you O.K.,’” said Aretha Deng, 20, a junior at Arizona State University, “their reaction is an instant state of panic.”

Taiwan said that a 61-year-old man who had a history of diabetes and hepatitis B had died of the coronavirus.

The man, who died Saturday after nearly two weeks in a hospital, was not known to have a history of traveling to mainland China. Health officials were investigating how he came to be infected.

News outlets in Taiwan reported that the man had worked as a taxi driver and could have been infected by a passenger. A male relative in his 50s who lived with the man was also infected, health officials said.

Taiwan has recorded 20 cases of the new coronavirus, and it has enacted strict limits on travel from the mainland to prevent further spread.

Japan’s economy shrank in the last three months of 2019 following a devastating typhoon and a tax increase on shoppers. Now the coronavirus threatens to put the world’s third-largest economy, after the United States and China, into its first recession in five years.

Japan’s output shrank at an annual rate of 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter period, the government said on Monday. The country’s consumption tax was raised to 10 percent from 8 percent in October, depressing consumer spending. Days after the tax increase went into effect, Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan, causing enormous damage and further suppressing economic activity.

Even before that, Japan’s exports had been hit by slowing growth in China, which has been dealing with a trade war with the United States.

Government officials had hoped that these issues would ease in the new year. But that optimism predates the coronavirus outbreak, which the figures released on Monday don’t take into account. The coronavirus has closed many of the Chinese companies that buy parts and equipment from Japan. It has also stopped the flow of Chinese tourists to Japan.

Research and reporting were contributed by Richard C. Paddock, Sun Narin, Sui-Lee Wee, Russell Goldman, Amy Qin, Austin Ramzy, Steven Lee Myers, Motoko Rich, Eimi Yamamitsu, Johnny Diaz, Ben Dooley and Chris Cameron.


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