China reported its highest daily coronavirus death toll Tuesday, the 103 additional fatalities pushing the total past 1,000 and providing a somber warning that the epidemic was accelerating.
All but two of the 1,018 deaths attributed to the outbreak that emerged in December have taken place in mainland China. The virus is continuing to spread into other countries, with almost 500 of the 43,138 now confirmed cases elsewhere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported the 13th case in the U.S.
The 103 deaths broke the daily record set one day earlier, when 97 deaths were reported. A team from the World Health Organization arrived in China this week to “lay the groundwork for a larger international team” that will aid the Chinese effort while learning traits of the outbreak that could aid global efforts, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
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13th US case confirmed
The CDC confirmed the 13th coronavirus case Monday. The case, detected in California, involved a patient under a federal quarantine order at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego after recently returning from Wuhan, China.
Wuhan and Hubei province are where the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the virus was discovered in December 2019.
The CDC said it was conducting a thorough “contact investigation” of the person who has tested positive to determine whether friends, relatives or others are should be deemed high-risk.
About 800 Americans evacuated from Wuhan remain under quarantine.
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World coronavirus summit underway
WHO, which declared a global emergency two weeks ago, on Tuesday convened a two-day global forum to encourage international action and fast track new tests, treatments and vaccines aimed at curtailing the outbreak. The forum, meeting in Geneva with some experts attending remotely, includes scientists, researchers from public health agencies, regulatory experts and bioethicists with expertise in research emergencies.
“We want you to know that we stand with you in solidarity and we wish you courage, patience, success and good health in these extremely trying circumstances,” Ghebreyesu told participants.
Japan may let elderly exit quarantined cruise ship
The Japanese government is considering a plan to allow the elderly and passengers with chronic illnesses to disembark a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama over coronavirus infection fears. A total of 135 of the 3,700 people aboard have tested positive for the virus.
The government had asked about 3,600 passengers and crew members to stay on board during the two-week isolation period through Feb. 19 in an effort to contain the spread of the pneumonia-causing disease. Many passengers have struggled with their prolonged isolation on the ship. About 80% of the 2,666 passengers are 60 or older, with 215 in their 80s and 11 in their 90s, authorities say.
Masahiro Kami, head of the nonprofit Medical Governance Research Institute, said that elderly people with chronic illnesses could suffer rapid aggravations of their health conditions due to stress if confined to cramped cabins.
“They will be susceptible to virus infection and risk their lives,” Kami told Kyodo News.