Another 10 passengers on a Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the corona virus and increased the number of people on board who were diagnosed with the disease to 20.
A total of 3,700 passengers and workers, including three Americans, have been quarantined on the ship, which is located in a Yokohama. Another 170 people who have experienced symptoms or have had contact with a man who was diagnosed with the virus after leaving the Hong Kong ship are under test.
On Wednesday, the 10 passengers who tested positive for corona virus and were covered with large white sheets from head to knee were led from the cruise ship by gloved and masked officers while others were locked in their cabins on board. In Hong Kong, more than 3,600 people were to be screened on another cruise ship after it was banned due to growing concerns about the spread of an Taiwan outbreak.
The ships are involved in a global health emergency that appears to be worsening every day. The corona virus has killed at least 565 people, mainly in mainland China, with more than 28,000 confirmed cases. The total number of cases in the US on Thursday morning was 12 in six different states.
When thousands of Hong Kong hospital workers went on strike to demand the full closure of the Chinese mainland border, the city announced that all people from the mainland, including Hong Kong residents, had to be quarantined for 14 days. The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics were increasingly concerned about the virus-related disruptions before the games, which would start in less than six months.
China has vigorously defended its disease control measures and urged other nations not to go overboard in their responses. Countries "can assess the disease situation objectively, fairly, calmly and sensibly, respect the relevant and professional WHO recommendations, understand and support China's disease control efforts," said Foreign Minister Hua Chenying at an online press conference on Wednesday. "Fear is worse than any virus."
In order to reduce the risk of exposure for health professionals, Beijing wants to develop a robot for performing throat examinations. Irrespective of this, Shanghai announced that the reopening of all schools will not take place until the end of February and not as originally planned until the middle of the month. The exact date depends on how the outbreak develops.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United States of America, as examples of increasing discrimination from Asia to China and other countries affected by the virus, appealed for "international solidarity" and support. He called for an end to the stigmatization of innocent people.
In the port city of Yokohama just outside of Tokyo, health workers, some in white protective suits, transferred 10 patients from the cruise ship Diamond Princess to a Japanese coast guard boat next door. The 10, wrapped in sheets to protect their identity from cameras, were taken to a dock and taken to ambulances destined for hospitals to be treated in isolation.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said that all persons on board will be quarantined on the ship for up to 14 days under Japanese law. The ship had 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members.
Paul and Jacqui Fidrmuc from the Australian city of Cairns told the Australian Nine Network that they are grateful to have a balcony in the cabin where they are locked up.
"We are here for a long distance. I think it will be a little bit exhausting. But I don't know. What are we going to do? We couldn't jump out of the boat, it's a bit cold." "Said Jacqui Fidrmuc.
Another Australian, David Abel, told the network that he hadn't eaten since last night. "I'm diabetic and addicted to insulin. If I don't get something to eat soon, I'll be in a diabetic coma, but it'll be too late."
Hong Kong ship passengers were examined after three passengers were diagnosed with the virus on a previous trip. Terrified leader Carrie Lam also announced that two terminals – including the terminal where the cruise ship is currently in quarantine – will be decommissioned.
In Hong Kong, hospital workers also fought to completely close the Chinese mainland border to ward off the virus. Hospitals said they had to stop some services due to the absence of workers.
Lam criticized the strike and said the government is doing everything it can to limit the influx of people across the border. Almost all land and sea links have been closed, but the striking workers want the border to be closed completely.
"Let us put the interests of patients and the entire public health system above everything else," she said.
Infections on the cruise ship increased Japan's total to 34 cases. South Korea and Thailand recently reported cases among people who were not in China and raised concerns about how easily the virus could spread elsewhere.
China built a new hospital in a few days and rebuilt a gym, exhibition hall, and cultural center to treat the thousands of patients in its severely affected central region.
The patients were taken to a 1,000-bed hospital with pre-built wards and isolation rooms in Wuhan. A 1,500-bed hospital, which was also built especially for virus patients, is due to open on Thursday. The hospitals, which were built to treat patients with mild symptoms from converted public spaces, have a total of 3,400 beds. The simple children's beds are set up in tight rows in cavernous rooms with no barriers between them.
A man, Fang Bin, said that during a visit to the city's No. 5 Hospital on Saturday, he saw so many wards that some patients were forced to sit on the floor.
When the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan, by rail, air, and road was cut off to contain the virus, the United States and other countries organized further evacuation flights for its citizens who were still in the central Chinese city. Two of the newest planes returned to Russia and New Zealand on Wednesday, and the returnees must be quarantined for the virus's maximum incubation period.
Dr. David Heymann, who led the World Health Organization's response to the SARS outbreak, said it was too early to say when the new coronavirus will peak, but it still seems to be on the rise.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries outside China to share more data on infections. Detailed information was provided in only 38% of cases. "Without better data, it is very difficult for us to assess how the outbreak will develop or its impact, and to ensure that we make the most appropriate recommendations."