• Deaths in mainland China go up to 811, confirmed cases reach more than 37,100
• Chinese authorities warn about use of masks
• Passengers, crew of quarantined cruise ship in Hong Kong are allowed to disembark
• Four passengers on cruise ship docked in New Jersey test negative for novel coronavirus
• 3 more coronavirus cases confirmed on cruise ship off Japan; total at 64
Coronavirus deaths in mainland China rise to 811, surpass SARS fatalities
The number of deaths from novel coronavirus in mainland China increased to 811 Sunday, health officials with China’s National Health Commission said.
This exceeds the number of deaths reported from the SARS outbreak in 2003, which killed 774 people, according to the World Health Organization.
Outside of China, two people died from the disease in the last two week, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong, bringing total number of global deaths to at least 813.
As of Sunday, more than 37,198 confirmed cases have been reported on mainland China.
However, officials at China’s National Health Commission said the number of confirmed cases reported daily in provinces other than Hubei — the region in central China were the virus is believed to have originated — has dropped from 890 on Feb. 3 to 509 on Feb. 8 — a decrease of nearly 43 percent.
They said this indicated “that preventative and control measures such as joint prevention, control mechanisms and strict management are being implemented and they are effective.” — Leou Chen, Yuliya Talmazan and Reuters
Officials with China’s National Development and Reform Commission warned against “excessive and improper” use of protective masks.
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The demand for respiratory masks has surged in China during the outbreak.
“With regard to the use of masks, we once again propose that you use them scientifically,” said Chen Da, deputy director of economic and trade department at the state body.
“Avoid excessive and improper use and save mask resources,” he added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also advised “rational use of medical masks” to avoid “unnecessary wastage of precious resources and potential mis-use of masks.”
The organization advised using masks only if one has respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) or is caring for someone with suspected infection. — Leou Chen and Yuliya Talmazan
Hong Kong health officials said Sunday all passengers and crew members aboard a cruise ship that has been in quarantine in Hong Kong over fears of coronavirus spread aboard can now leave the ship.
“With the help of the cruise company and people on board, the Health Department already completed sample collection yesterday,” said Leung Yiu-hung, chief port health officer from Hong Kong’s health ministry.
“The results show that all people on board are negative to coronavirus tests,” Leung said, adding that all passengers and crew members are allowed to disembark.
Earlier this week, Hong Kong’s health ministry said three people who tested positive were on board the ship during a previous voyage that took place between Jan. 19 and 24.
That prompted a mass health screening of the 3,600 passengers and crew members on board. — Jasmine Leung
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy confirmed Sunday four passengers from a cruise ship docked in Bayonne tested negative for novel coronavirus.
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 and tested negative. Another 23 people were to return to China.
“New Jersey currently has no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and the risk to residents remains low,” Murphy said. — Phil McCausland and Yuliya Talmazan
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.
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.
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 ship, but those who tested positive were taken to hospitals.
The Diamond Princess was quarantined off Yokohama and testing was conducted on over 270 people after a man who had been on the ship last month was later confirmed to have the virus.
The quarantine is expected to last until Feb. 19. — Arata Yamamoto and Phil Helsel