February 15 coronavirus news
An American couple from Oregon who traveled in the Diamond Princess cruise ship that's docked at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama have had their hopes of coming home dashed.
Rebecca Frasure has tested positive for the virus, which means she can’t board a flight to the US and has to remain in quarantine at a nearby hospital.
Her husband Kent remains on the cruise ship and it's unclear what he will do.
“It was like a punch in the gut. I was so sure that this was going to come out negative. I was so sure that this was going to come out negative,” Rebecca Frasure told CNN.
Getting out: The US is sending charter planes to evacuate US citizens and their families Sunday evening local time. Those who choose to fly back on the planes will be quarantined for 14 days once they arrive.
The Japanese government said it “appreciates” the US decision to offer voluntary evacuation to American citizens and their immediate family on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
“The Government of Japan believes that the measures taken by the US government will help mitigate the Government of Japan’s burden regarding medical response in the ‘Diamond Princess’ and appreciates such measures," the ministry said.
Evacuation flights: The United States is sending charter planes to evacuate US citizens and their families Sunday evening local time. Those who choose to fly back on the evacuation planes will be quarantined for 14 days once they arrive.
Japanese officials report another three cases of coronavirus, totaling nine new cases Saturday not from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
These cases are in addition to the 67 reported earlier today from the Diamond Princess.
The condition of the Chinese novel coronavirus patient who died in France had “deteriorated rapidly” after being hospitalized on Jan. 25, French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said Saturday, adding that he had been kept under intensive care for several days.
“His condition had deteriorated rapidly and he had been in a critical condition under intensive care for several days,” Buzyn said.
The patient in question was a Chinese tourist from Hubei Province, who arrived in France on Jan. 16. The patient was kept under strict isolation after being hospitalized just days after his arrival, Buzyn added.
Buzyn confirmed that the patient’s daughter has also tested positive to Coronavirus and is being treated at the Bichat hospital in Paris, but should be released from hospital soon.
“Her state of health is no longer a cause of concern and she should be able to leave the hospital soon,” Buzyn said.
By the numbers: There are 11 cases of coronavirus have so far been confirmed in France, according to the Health Ministry. Of these, four patients have been cured and discharged, one patient has died, and six remain in hospital in non-severe conditions.
The supply of medical protective gear in Hong Kong’s public hospitals is “tight," officials said in a press conference on Saturday.
The protective gear for public hospitals — including face masks and protective clothing — is estimated to be enough for the next month, and authorities are looking to purchase more in different countries, according to Hospital Authority Chief Manager for Patient Safety and Risk Management, Dr Sara Ho.
Ho cited difficulties in procuring the equipment, noting that some countries set export restrictions on such products. She added that even though some orders were made, the goods were not delivered on schedule.
Coronavirus in Hong Kong: There have been 56 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Hong Kong and one death.
There are nine more people in Japan, not on the Diamond Princess ship, who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Japanese Mistry of Health, Labour, and Welfare said Saturday.
One person is a surgeon in his 50s who works at same hospital where another doctor tested positive earlier, in Wakayama Prefecture. Eight others are in Tokyo. Seven of them had close contact with a taxi driver who was found to be infected, the ministry said.
A Chinese tourist who tested positive for the novel coronavirus has become the first person to die in the outbreak in Europe.
The patient, who was 80 years old, had been receiving treatment at the Bichat Hospital in Paris since January 25, according to a statement from French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn.
Another 67 people onboard the Diamond Princess have tested positive for novel coronavirus, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Saturday -- bringing the number of cases from the ship to 286.
More than 3,600 people, including 428 Americans, have been stuck on the cruise ship, which became a floating quarantine zone after dozens of people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Elsewhere in Japan, there are 39 confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the country's total to 325 -- the highest number of cases outside of mainland China.
One Japanese woman in her 80s, not from the ship, has died. The Health Ministry did not report any new cases on Friday.
Disembarking: Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship will be disembarked over several days beginning February 21, said the president for the cruise operator.
Crew on board will likely begin their own quarantine once all passengers have left the ship, said Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz in a letter read to passengers by the ship’s captain.
This does not apply to the Americans taking the US government evacuation charter flight on Sunday.
Delay on testing: According to Swartz, the Japanese government said they may start a new testing process starting February 18 -- which may push back the disembarkation. The quarantine originally was set to lift on February 19.
“We understand there is a limit to the number of tests the Japanese government can complete each day, so testing all of our remaining guests could take a few days to complete," Swartz said. Because each test takes several days to process results, the first guests would not disembark until February 21.
The novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China, in December, has now infected more than 67,000 people and killed over 1,500, the vast majority in mainland China.
Beijing quarantine: Beijing has ordered a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers returning to the city, with novel coronavirus cases continuing to rise in China and international experts warning there's no immediate end in sight.
Global spread: The coronavirus has now spread to 28 countries -- with Japan reporting the highest number of cases outside China.
There has been one death and 258 confirmed cases in Japan, 219 of which are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is currently docked in Yokohama Bay under quarantine.
First case in Africa: Friday marked the first confirmed coronavirus case in Africa, with a single patient in Egypt.
Impacts felt by the global economy: The coronavirus has also sent reverberations through the global economy. China is struggling to return to work after businesses were shut and schools suspended for weeks. Millions are now working from home, with Chinese President Xi Jinping warning on Monday that the country needed to stabilize its economy and avoid mass layoffs.