Coronavirus Live Updates: Japanese Official Tests Positive After Visit to Cruise Ship

Coronavirus Live Updates: Japanese Official Tests Positive After Visit to Cruise Ship

The coronavirus has jumped from ship to shore, officials in Japan said on Wednesday, after an employee of the country’s Health Ministry tested positive for the illness after surveying passengers aboard a cruise ship being held under quarantine in the port of Yokohama.

In addition, 39 new confirmed cases were announced among the more than 3,600 crew and passengers, bringing the total number of infected people to 175.

The ship, known as the Diamond Princess, has been under quarantine for a week, after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Japanese authorities have been slowly moving those with the illness off the ship and to hospitals. But onboard, many passengers are complaining of lack of information and poor access to necessary medicines.

Separately, a cruise ship carrying 1,400 passengers that had been refused permission to stop in Japan, Guam, Taiwan and the Philippines even though no cases of the coronavirus had been diagnosed onboard may have found a place to dock.

On Wednesday, Cambodia said it would allow the ship, the Westerdam, to dock on Thursday morning and the passengers to disembark, according to a statement from the cruise line Holland America, which owns the ship.

“Westerdam is now sailing for Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where the current cruise will end. We will arrive at 7:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, Feb. 13, and will remain in port for several days for disembarkation. Guests will be able to go ashore,” the company said in the statement, adding, “We are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support.”

The cruise ship, which had been on a 14-day voyage after departing from Hong Kong on Feb. 1, was to stop on Feb. 15 in Yokohama, Japan. But it was turned away at every turn.

On Wednesday, Holland America said, “All guests on board are healthy, and despite erroneous reports, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been.”

The death toll from the coronavirus in China reached a new high on Wednesday, least 1,113, even as officials said that the rate of reported new infections showed signs of slowing.

Nationwide, 97 new deaths and 2,015 new cases have emerged in the previous 24 hours, the national health authorities said.

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.

The newly reported infections on Tuesday represented the lowest in a single day since Jan. 30, when there were 1,982 new confirmed cases.

The total number of confirmed cases rose to 44,653. Most of the newly reported deaths, 94, occurred in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak.

There are 393 COVID-19 cases outside China, in 24 countries.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday proposed an official name for the illness caused by the new coronavirus: COVID-19. The acronym stands for coronavirus disease 2019, as the illness was first detected toward the end of last year.

The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that the new name made no reference to any of the people, places or animals associated with the coronavirus. The goal was to avoid stigma.

Under international guidelines, the W.H.O. “had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease,” he said on Twitter.

The United States will allow nonemergency consulate employees in Hong Kong and their families to leave because of the coronavirus outbreak, a State Department official said on Wednesday.

The decision to allow voluntary departures was made in response to continuing uncertainty surrounding the outbreak and practical considerations such as school closings, the official said.

The consulate in Hong Kong will remain open and continue to provide regular services.

A similar decision was made to allow nonemergency State Department personnel and their families to leave mainland China in late January.

The State Department chartered flights and evacuated about 850 people from Wuhan, where the outbreak began late last year, including employees of the United States Consulate in the city.

Hong Kong has 50 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death. The State Department’s travel advisory for the city is at Level 2, the second-lowest of four levels, and recommends that visitors to Hong Kong “exercise increased caution” because of the outbreak.

This month, the warning for mainland China was raised to 4, the highest level.

“Do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus,” it said.

Formula One’s governing body said on Wednesday that it would postpone the Shanghai Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place on April 19, the latest sporting event to be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The International Automobile Federation said it had taken the measure “to ensure the health and safety of the traveling staff, championship participants and fans,” after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health concern.

The federation said it was studying alternative dates later in the year in case the situation improved.

The Hong Kong marathon, which was scheduled for Sunday, has also been canceled, as well as the Chinese Formula-E Grand Prix, which was scheduled for March 23 on the southern island of Hainan.

China has also suspended its soccer league, and the players of its national women’s team found themselves in quarantine upon their arrival in Australia for an Olympic qualifying event.

The coronavirus outbreak in China has generated economic waves that are rocking commodities markets and disrupting the supply networks that act as the backbone of the global economy.

In Australia, after hauling hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore to China, returning freighters can face a 14-day quarantine.

BHP, one of the world’s largest copper mining companies, which has headquarters in London and Melbourne, Australia, has been in talks to possibly delay shipments to Chinese ports.

And from Qatar to Indonesia, exporters of liquefied natural gas face the prospect of disrupted shipments because China, a crucial importer, is turning back deliveries.

“We’re seeing a rippling out,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York. “And we don’t see it stopping.”

Prices for key industrial raw materials such as copper, iron ore, nickel, aluminum and liquid natural gas have plummeted since the virus emerged. Countries that export those goods at high rates, including Australia, Brazil and South Africa, are near their lowest levels in recent memory.

And manufacturers, mining companies and commodity producers of all stripes are weighing whether they will be forced to cut back on production for fear of adding to a growing inventory glut.

Airbnb will suspend bookings in the Chinese capital until May 1, the company said on Wednesday.

The decision was made “in accordance with guidance issued by the government to all companies in the short-term rental industry,” a spokesman for the company said. He added that existing reservations would be refunded.

Airbnb has also waived cancellation fees for travel to and from mainland China until the end of February. Travelers who had booked stays in Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, can cancel reservations without charge until April 1.

The company had continued to accept reservations throughout China during the busy travel season before and after the Lunar New Year holiday, even as the government started to lock down cities and impose road restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.

The company also said it would set aside $10 million “to support hosts in the next few years, during the recovery period of the local tourism industry.”

A person sick from the coronavirus was released from a San Diego hospital this week after a labeling error led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to incorrectly indicate that the person was not infected, the federal authorities said.

The samples had not yet been tested when officials announced mistakenly that the results were negative.

The patient, among hundreds recently evacuated to the United States from China and under quarantine at a military base, was sent back to the base because of the error, the C.D.C. said.

The patient was among three quarantined evacuees at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego whose samples were lacking information and went untested, said Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the C.D.C.

It was uncertain how the labeling error had been made and which agency had been responsible. A spokeswoman for the hospital, the University of California San Diego, said there had been a miscommunication over how to identify patients.

With a rare, federal quarantine mandated for people arriving from Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak, the labeling error raised concerns among some being kept at the base.

“It caused quite a commotion on the base,” said John McGory, who had taught English in Wuhan for six years and is one of about 230 people being held there.

Reporting and research was contributed by Amber Wang, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Amy Qin, Sui-Lee Wee, Steven Lee Myers, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Matt Phillips, Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May, Elian Peltier and Yonette Joseph.

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