Death toll tops 1,000 in China as nations race to contain outbreak


• 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

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

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.

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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.

Holland America Line’s MS Westerdam at sea.Holland America Line

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.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, wearing a protective face mask, receives a temperature check as he visits a community health center in Beijing on Monday. Pang Xinglei/Xinhua / AP

“We will most definitely win this people’s war,” Xi said. — The Associated Press and Reuters

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

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