16 cruise ship evacuees being moved to US hospitals after tests for new virus

(AP) - Sixteen Americans who were brought to the U.S. from a quarantined cruise ship have been moved to hospitals.

Officials in protective suits help a passenger disembarked from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored at a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (Source: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Officials say that’s because delayed Japanese test results showed 11 of them had the new virus that caused an outbreak in China.

Five others have symptoms of the virus.

The patients had all been staying at Travis Air Force Base in California since being flown to the U.S. over the weekend.

Officials say test results for the cruise ship passengers have continued to trickle in from Japan even after their return to the U.S.

None of the newly hospitalized former passengers had confirmed CDC tests.

Four were being brought to a hospital in Spokane, Washington. It’s unclear where the others were taken.

New threats emerge in outbreak while China voices optimism

Chinese health officials are expressing new optimism about a deadly virus, but it continues to bring new threats elsewhere.

The latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19 emerged in Daegu, South Korea, whose 2.5 million residents were urged to stay inside, wearing masks even indoors to stem further infection after 35 new cases were reported in the city and surrounding areas.

Across the Yellow Sea at the virus’ epicenter, China voiced confidence as a noticeably reduced number of new daily infections was recorded. But that came after the country again changed its method for how the cases are counted.

Ukrainians clash with police to block evacuees from China

Ukraine’s effort to quarantine more than 70 people evacuated from China over the outbreak of a new virus has plunged into chaos as local residents opposing the move engaged in violent clashes with police.

Buses carrying evacuees were finally able to reach the designated place of quarantine after hours of clashes.

Earlier Thursday, several hundred residents in Ukraine’s Poltava region blocked the road to a sanitarium where the evacuees are to be quarantined because they feared becoming infected.

Demonstrators put up road blocks, burned tires and resisted riot police who moved to clear access.

South Korea ups emergency response as viral cases surge

South Korea reported more virus cases and declared a “special management zone” around a southeastern city where the surging outbreak threatens to overwhelm the health system.

In the capital, Seoul, officials banned major downtown rallies and shut down a big park to avoid mass public gatherings where the virus could spread.

Health authorities reported 52 new cases, raising South Korea’s total to 156 and fueling fears the outbreak is getting out of control.

Two new cases in South Korea’s military were confirmed in a soldier and a sailor who traveled to Daegu, where cases have been spiking.

The mayor of Daegu has urged people to stay indoors and wear masks.
South Korea reported its first death from a new virus while the mayor of a southeastern city urged his 2.5 million people to refrain from going outside as viral infections, linked to a church congregation, spike.

2 former cruise ship passengers with virus die in Japan; 2 more Russians diagnosed

Japan’s Health Ministry says two passengers taken off the Diamond Princess cruise ship because they had a new virus have died, becoming the first fatalities from the virus-stricken vessel.

NHK public television says both were Japanese in their 80s. A Health Ministry official says they had been previously hospitalized in serious condition and had existing chronic diseases.

The Diamond Princess ship has been docked in the Yokohama port near Tokyo since Feb. 4, when 10 people on board tested positive for the virus. So far, 621 cases have been confirmed among the ship’s original 3,711 people on board.

The Russian Embassy in Japan announced Thursday two more Russians aboard the cruise ship have been diagnosed with the virus, bringing the number of Russians on the ship diagnosed to three.

The Diamond Princess started letting passengers who tested negative for the virus off the ship Wednesday when the quarantine period ended. On Thursday, hundreds of passengers are expected to leave. The process continues through Friday.

Test results are still pending for some people on board.

Kentaro Iwata, an infectious diseases expert at Kobe University Hospital, has criticized what he called the chaotic management of the quarantine, including the lack of control measures and distinction between clean and contaminated zones.

Australian evacuees from virus-hit ship begin 2nd quarantine

Around 180 Australians evacuated from the virus-stricken cruise ship in Japan have arrived in the city of Darwin to begin a second quarantine period.

Australian health officials say the former cruise ship passengers will spend the next two weeks in a quarantine facility near the northern Australian city.

Not evacuated were 46 Australians from the Diamond Princess who tested positive for the coronavirus. They will be treated in the Japanese health system.

More than 200 people are already quarantined at the Howard Springs facility after being evacuated from Wuhan, the central Chinese city that is the epicenter of the viral outbreak. The new group will be kept separate from the Wuhan evacuees, who remain in good health, said Di Stephens, acting chief health officer of the Northern Territory, of which Darwin is the capital.

China’s virus cases, deaths rise, but count revised again

New virus cases in China have again declined, up just 394, after authorities again changed how they count new daily infections. They are now discounting cases that had come back negative after laboratory tests.

Another 114 people were reported to have died from the new illness. Mainland China has now reported 2,118 deaths and 74,576 total cases.

While the overall spread of the virus has been slowing, the situation remains severe in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first detected in December. More than 80% of the country’s cases are in Hubei and 95% of the deaths.

Inspectors are going door-to-door in the city to find every infected person.

The new daily figure is a notable drop from the 1,749 cases recorded the previous day.

Virus limits next Tokyo Olympic test event to Japanese-only

Tokyo Olympic organizers say a test event scheduled for later this month is being revamped because of the fear of the spreading virus from China. It was to have involved non-Japanese athletes but now only Japanese will participate.

The Olympics are to open in just over five months and planning is being jolted by the virus that has killed over 2,000 in China.

Organizing committee spokesman Masa Takaya says the test event for Paralympic boccia will go ahead in a “modified” way with only Japanese athletes. The Japan Para Sports Association said the original plan was put on hold “to fully analyze” any impact the virus might have on athletes.

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