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Coronavirus death toll tops 600 as number of cases passes 31,000

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More Americans to be quarantined amid coronavirus outbreak 02:07

Follow Friday's latest updates on the coronavirus here.

Two more U.S. government-chartered evacuation flights departed Wuhan, China, on Thursday, a day after two planes carrying about 350 people arrived in California. The 300 additional evacuees are scheduled to arrive in San Diego and Omaha Friday. They'll spend up to two weeks under quarantine while they're monitored for symptoms of the flu-like virus. 

The death toll from the virus was at least 638 as of Thursday evening. All but two of the deaths were in mainland China, with one person succumbing in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong. More than 31,000 people have been infected with the virus worldwide, the vast majority of them in China.  

One of those who died was Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor who was threatened by the government after he voiced concerns about the new coronavirus. Wenliang died at 2:58 a.m. local time on February 7, the Wuhan Central Hospital said in a statement

In Japan, at least three Americans were among 61 passengers confirmed to have the new coronavirus on a cruise ship quarantined at a port. 

The number of cases in the U.S. rose to 12 on Wednesday, with officials in Wisconsin confirming the state's first case. There are also cases in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington and Illinois. 

Japan Screens Cruise Ship Diamond Princess For The Wuhan Coronavirus
Emergency workers in protective clothing prepare to remove coronavirus patients from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked at Daikoku Pier where it remains in quarantine off the port of Yokohama, Japan, after a number of the 3,700 people on board were confirmed to have coronavirus, February 6, 2020. Getty

Trump, China's Xi chat amid some tension between their nations over the virus

China's state media said Friday that President Xi Jinping urged the U.S. to "respond reasonably" to the coronavirus outbreak, in a phone call with President Trump.

"A people's war against the virus has been launched," Xi was quoted as saying by broadcaster CCTV, using timeworn communist terminology. "We hope the U.S. side can assess the epidemic in a calm manner and adopt and adjust its response measures in a reasonable way."

Beijing has complained that the U.S. was flying its citizens out of Wuhan but wasn't providing any assistance to China.

The White House said Mr. Trump "expressed confidence in China's strength and resilience in confronting the challenge" of the outbreak. — The Associated Press


China launching probe after whistleblower doctor dies of coronavirus

China announced Friday that it would conduct an investigation after the death of a whistleblower doctor sparked grief and anger online over the government's handling of the coronavirus emergency.

Authorities said a team would go to Wuhan, where he died, to "conduct a comprehensive investigation into issues involving Dr. Li Wenliang reported by the masses." Li, 34, died early Friday, Wuhan Central Hospital said in a post on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform.

Li was among eight physicians punished by Wuhan police for discussing the emergence of a SARS-like virus on social media in December.

China's supreme court criticized Wuhan police last month for punishing early "rumor mongers," saying the outbreak might not have become so serious "if the public had believed these 'rumors' at the time." -- Agence France Presse  


2 more evacuation flights have departed from Wuhan, China, U.S. military says

Two additional evacuation flights have departed from Wuhan, China, the U.S. Northern Command tweeted late Thursday. The flights, carrying approximately 300 people in all, are expected to arrive in the U.S. on Friday.  

One was to refuel at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, in Northern California, before heading to Omaha, Nebraska; the other was to stop in Vancouver, Canada before flying to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. Another group of evacuees is already in quarantine at Miramar. As with all other passengers who arrived on evacuation flights, this group will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

By Victoria Albert

41 more people on cruise ship docked off Japan's coast have coronavirus, officials say

An additional 41 people on board a cruise ship off Japan's coast have tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus, Japan's health minister said Thursday.

The new cases raise the number of confirmed infections on board the ship to at least 61, said Katsunobu Kato.

Japanese authorities have tested 273 people on board the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined after a former passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong last month, tested positive for the virus.

"The results of the remaining 171 tests came out and 41 tested positive," Kato told reporters. "Today they will be sent to hospitals in several prefectures, and we are now preparing for that."

There are more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship, which has been off Japan's coast since Monday evening. It docked in Yokohama on Thursday to resupply for a quarantine that could last until February 19.

Twenty people who were previously diagnosed with the virus have already been removed from the vessel and taken to hospitals.



Fifth evacuee transported to hospital after developing symptoms

A fifth evacuee from Wuhan, China, was transported to the hospital after showing symptoms, the CDC announced Thursday night. The evacuee had been quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California. 

Four other people had previously been sent to the hospital after developing either a fever or a cough. The person was sent to UC San Diego Health. 

By Victoria Albert

China reports 73 new deaths, 3,143 new cases

Chinese officials reported 73 new deaths and 3,143 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday. That brings the worldwide death toll to at least 638, and the number of confirmed cases to over 30,000. 

By Victoria Albert

"You feel like E.T. at the end of the movie": Passenger trapped on cruise ship off the coast of Japan speaks out

Approximately 3,700 passengers are locked down on a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Japan, after 20 people — including three Americans — tested positive for the coronavirus.

Some of those passengers have posted video footage of what it's like on board: Masked health workers and virtually deserted public spaces.

Trudy Clement, who faces nearly two more weeks confined to her cabin, told CBS News she feels unsettled.

"Apparently we are going to be allowed out to stretch our legs tomorrow. We are being supervised when we do that and we can only go to a certain area of the ship and we must mask up," she said.

"We look down off the balcony and we see all these people masked, gowned and gloved and it's just like the people who deliver food to our room," she added. "You open the door and it's, you feel like E.T. at the end of the movie."

— Ramy Inocencio contributed reporting. 

More Americans to be quarantined amid coronavirus outbreak 02:07

Workers in China crash messaging and video conference sites after they're forced to work from home

The sheer number of people in China forced to work from home to avoid spreading the deadly coronavirus is crashing overburdened messaging and video-conferencing tools. 

With many offices closed, workers and businesses in China are flocking to platforms like WeChat Work and Zoom, which has reportedly seen record usage. WeChat, China's equivalent of WhatsApp, said its network crashed after users inundated the platform, according to the South China Morning Post. 

The demand surge on its WeChat Work tool came on Monday, the first day back to work for some in China after authorities extended the Lunar New Year holiday. The tidal wave of users also temporarily knocked out WeChat's video-conferencing feature, which has since been restored. DingTalk, a similar app, also reported a disruption in service after more than 200 million users in China had tried sending messages, according to the report.

Wuhan, the region in Hubei province where the virus is thought to have originated, is on virtual lockdown, with Chinese authorities ordering nearly 50 million people to limit their movements. Corporations from Facebook to Goldman Sachs also are telling their China-based employees to work from home and restricting all workers' travel to and from the country.  

By Megan Cerullo

China's Hubei province reports 69 new deaths, 2,447 new cases

Officials in China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, reported 69 new deaths and 2,447 new cases on Thursday. That brings the overall death toll from the virus to at least 634, and the total number of cases to at least 30,723.

By Victoria Albert

Evacuated Americans at San Diego hospitals doing well, officials say

Four Americans who were taken to hospitals in San Diego after they were evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China were doing well, health officials said Thursday. The four patients were taken to two hospitals Wednesday after they arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on a U.S. government flight and were determined to have a fever or a cough.

The patients were being tested for coronavirus, and the results may come back as early as Saturday, Dr. Francesca Torriani, program director of infection prevention at UC San Diego Health, told reporters Thursday. Two patients being treated at Rady Children's Hospital were a 4-year-old girl and her father, according to Dr. John Bradley, the hospital's medical director of infectious diseases.

The girl and her dad are under isolation in the same room, Bradley said. The two patients at UC San Diego are not related, Torriani said.

By Alex Sundby

Doctor who sounded the alarm on coronavirus dies of illness

Dr. Li Wenliang is seen in a photo posted to his Weibo account.

A Chinese doctor who was threatened by his government after he publicly voiced concerns about coronavirus in December died of the illness early Friday, according to a translation of a social media post from the hospital treating him. Dr. Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, warned fellow clinicians in a group chat in December about a SARS-like illness popping up in one of the main hospitals in Wuhan, BBC News reports.

He was then told by government officials to stop "making false comments." After being diagnosed with the illness in January, he was lauded on Chinese social media as a hero for speaking out; local authorities later apologized.

— Sophie Lewis and Alex Sundby


Chinese envoy bemoans "overreaction by individual countries" to virus

China's Ambassador to the U.K. has continued the Chinese government's criticism of some Western nations' response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told journalists in London Thursday that British leaders' "words do not match with (their) deeds," pointing to the U.K. government's advice to citizens to leave China as soon as possible.

Liu said there had been an "overreaction by individual countries." China has also balked at U.S. warnings against all travel to the country.

The ambassador stressed that the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Gebreyesus, on Wednesday said that adopting a "blanket approach" — banning travel to and from all of China or urging people to leave the vast country when 80% of the confirmed cases of the illness were still in just one province, could prove unhelpful.

China's ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming takes questions at the Chinese Embassy in London, February 6, 2020, during a press conference on the coronavirus outbreak in Hubei province. Getty

"It's hoped that governments of all countries, including U.K., should understand and support China's efforts, respect the professional advice of the WHO, avoid overreaction and creating panic and ensure normal cooperation and exchanges between countries."

Liu stressed that, "not the whole of China is an outbreak area. Life is still normal in most parts of China."

By Tucker Reals

"Good anecdotal evidence" current antivirals can help treat coronavirus

CBS News medical consultant Dr. David Agus said Thursday that there has already been "good anecdotal evidence" that existing, approved antiviral drugs can at least help treat the new virus. Chinese officials said Thursday that they were to begin clinical trials of one such medicine on coronavirus patients in the province most affected by the disease, Hubei. 

Agus noted that work was also being done to see if any current medicines could be adapted to treat the new strain of virus specifically. 

He said he was not worried about the virus spreading widely in the U.S., given the robust American healthcare infrastructure and measures that have already been implemented to screen for it and isolate suspected cases. As of Thursday there were 12 confirmed cases in the U.S. Three more Americans were hospitalized with the disease in Japan after being taken off a quarantined cruise ship.

Agus urged people in the U.S. who have been in contact with anyone who was recently in Hubei province, and who begin to develop flu-like symptoms, to get tested. 

By Tucker Reals

U.K. confirms 3rd case of new virus

Britain's Chief Medical Officer confirmed Thursday that there was a third confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the U.K. 

"The individual did not acquire this in the U.K.," Professor Chris Whitty said in a statement. He did not say where the new patient did contract the virus, but the vast majority of cases have either been in the central China region at the heart of the outbreak, or in close contact with someone who was.

Whitty said the new patient was being transferred to a "specialist" facility under the care of the U.K.'s National Health Service. 

"We are using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus," he said. "The NHS is well prepared to manage these cases and we are now working quickly to identify any contacts the patient has had."

By Tucker Reals

5,000 cruise passengers may have been exposed to virus on 1 ship

Hong Kong authorities say more than 5,000 people may have been exposed to the new coronavirus during previous voyages on a cruise ship now in quarantine. Center for Health Protection official Chuang Shuk-kwan said Thursday that eight people tested positive for the virus after they traveled on the World Dream cruise from Jan. 19-24.

The ship sailed four voyages after that date. It was placed in quarantine Monday, with its 3,600 passengers and crew being screened for the virus. 

A general view shows the World Dream cruise ship, docked at the Kai Tak cruise terminal in Hong Kong on February 5, 2020, as health officials conduct inspections in the wake of the SARS-like virus outbreak across China. ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty

Chuang said the three other cruises involved more than 5,000 passengers who had returned to Hong Kong. Cheung said 206 were Hong Kong residents on the same trip as the eight mainland Chinese who were infected. She urged anyone who had joined World Dream cruises since then to contact health officials immediately. 



China to trial existing antiviral drug on new virus

China's state-run Xinhua news agency says clinical trials to test the antiviral drug Remdesivir's effectiveness in treating the new coronavirus had been approved and the first group of patients were expected to start taking the drug Thursday. Word of the trials had boosted the stock price of the drug's maker, American biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc.

Antivirals and other drugs can reduce the severity of the virus, but "so far, no antivirals have been proven effective," said Thanarak Plipat, a doctor and deputy director-general of Thailand's Disease Control Department of the Health Ministry. He said there were a lot of unknowns, "but we have a lot of hope, as well."

Experts around the world are racing to develop a new vaccine to treat the novel coronavirus, but they have said nothing will be ready for use in human populations for about a year, at least.



City at center of virus outbreak still short on hospital space

With medical facilities in Hubei's capital Wuhan overwhelmed with patients, authorities were due to open a second field hospital, offering 1,600 beds. The first new hospital in the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak opened earlier this week with 1,000 beds, and authorities were converting public buildings into temporary medical facilities to deal with the influx of sick people.

The city of 11 million is facing a "severe" lack of beds, said Hu Lishan, a senior official in Wuhan, noting that there were 8,182 patients admitted to 28 hospitals that have a total of 8,254 beds. There is also a shortage of equipment and materials, Hu said. 

A patient covered with a bed sheet at an exhibition center converted into a hospital for patients displaying mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus is seen in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province, February 5, 2020. STR/AFP/Getty

"We must make all-out efforts across the country to meet the need for essential medical supplies and medical professionals in Hubei Province," Premier Li Keqiang said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.


By Tucker Reals

Newborn diagnosed with virus in Wuhan

Chinese health officials confirmed Wednesday that a newborn baby had tested positive for the new coronavirus in what could be the first case passed from mother to child.  

"This reminds us to pay attention to mother-to-child being a possible route of coronavirus transmission," Zeng Lingkong, chief physician of the Wuhan Children's Hospital's neonatal medicine department said, according to state-run media.

The mother was known to have the virus when she gave birth in the city at the center of the outbreak on February 2. The baby tested positive 30 hours after it was born, the hospital said, but it was not immediately clear whether the infant contracted the disease before or after it was born.

Zeng said the newborn was in stable condition and the only apparent symptom was shortness of breath. Chest x-rays showed signs of infection and there was some abnormality in liver function, according to China's CCTV state television network.

By Tucker Reals

3 Americans among 20 cruise passengers confirmed to have virus in Japan

Thousands of people were stranded aboard two cruise ships in Asia on Thursday, quarantined by officials desperate to stem the spread of a deadly virus that has killed hundreds in China and spread panic worldwide.

At least 20 people on board one ocean liner off the Japanese coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, with thousands more facing two weeks of isolation. The outbreak on the Diamond Princess vessel, whose 3,700 passengers and crew hail from over 50 countries, included at least three Americans diagnosed with the virus. Princess Cruises confirmed in a statement sent to CBS News that two U.S. nationals were among the latest 10 from the ship to test positive for the disease. One American was among the first group of 10 diagnosed on Wednesday.

Public health experts warn U.S. coronavirus response could backfire 06:28

In Hong Kong, meanwhile, 3,600 people spent the night confined aboard the cruise ship World Dream as authorities conducted health checks after three former passengers tested positive for the virus.



Taiwan bans all international cruise ships from docks

Taiwan has banned international cruise ships from docking, Reuters reported, following news that 10 more patients tested positive for coronavirus on a quarantined ship docked in Japan.

Many of the tourists aboard the quarantined ship spent time in Taiwan when the boat anchored at the island on January 31, according to an immigration authority cited by Reuters.


Four Wuhan evacuees tested for coronavirus

Four of the 167 Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California are being tested for the coronavirus, the CDC said Wednesday night. The four people tested had either a fever or a cough. 

"Two adults have been transported to UC San Diego Health, and one adult and a child were transported to Rady Children's Hospital," the CDC said in a statement. 

By Victoria Albert

China announces 73 new deaths, 3,694 new cases

Chinese officials announced 73 new deaths and 3,694 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. That brings the total number of deaths to at least 564, and the number of confirmed cases to at least 28,248.

By Victoria Albert

China's Hubei province reports 70 new deaths, 2,987 new cases

Officials from China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 70 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. That brings the total number of deaths worldwide to at least 561. 

Officials also reported 2,987 cases, bringing the total number of worldwide cases to at least 27,541. 

By Victoria Albert

Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China will be quarantined for 14 days

An official from the CDC on Wednesday described the living conditions for the Americans who recently arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California on a flight from Wuhan, China. The group will remain in quarantine for 14 days.

The official said that the quarantined group has a "fairly large area" in which to spend time on the base, and that they're not required to isolate themselves from each other. They are also not required to wear protective gear, including face masks, the official said.

He added that some of the approximately 170 people quarantined are young children, and some are elderly.

A second group of Americans also flew in on Wednesday. They are being held at Travis Air Force Base.

By Victoria Albert

Wisconsin confirms its 1st coronavirus case

Health officials confirmed Wednesday the first case of coronavirus in Wisconsin and the 12th in the U.S. The adult patient, who has a history of traveling to China, has been isolated at home. But state and local health officials would not say where or provide details such as the patient's age.

Officials in Madison, Wisconsin, said the person went to a hospital after arriving at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison on January 30. The person had mild symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, but is "doing well" and recovering at home, said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer in the state Department of Health Services' Bureau of Communicable Disease.

The person came to the University of Wisconsin Hospital emergency room in Madison to have their symptoms evaluated, said Dr. Nasia Safdar, director of infection control at UW Health. The patient was tested for coronavirus because they had traveled to Beijing, China, for the Chinese New Year, she said.


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