Coronavirus cases rise again in China's Hubei province
The number of reported new cases of coronavirus in China’s Hubei province rose on Monday after two days of falls, as authorities imposed tough new restrictions on movement to prevent the spread of the disease which has now killed more than 1,700 people, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The tighter lockdown on the central province where the flu-like virus originated in December came as American passengers were taken off a cruise liner on Sunday to fly home after being quarantined for two weeks off Japan.
Seventy new coronavirus cases were confirmed on board the Diamond Princess where 3,700 passengers and crew have been held since Feb. 3. Some 355 people on board have tested positive for the disease, by far the largest cluster of cases outside China.
Canadian, Italian, South Korean and Hong Kong passengers were expected to follow soon, after their governments also announced plans to repatriate passengers.
“Leaving in a few hours. No details. Might be going to Texas or Nebraska,” Gay Courter, one of the American passengers on board, told Reuters. She said she expected to spend another two weeks in quarantine on U.S. soil.
In Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, health officials reported 1,933 new cases and 100 new deaths on Feb. 16, the lowest daily death count since Feb. 11.
The number of new cases rose nearly 5% from the previous day, but the number of deaths fell from 139.
Nearly 90% of the new cases were in the provincial capital of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the virus is believed to have originated at a market illegally trading wildlife.
The total number of cases in the province reached 58,182, with 1,696 deaths.
Chinese health officials on Sunday said two days of falls in the number of new confirmed cases showed their efforts to halt the spread of the virus were bearing fruit.
“The effect of the coronavirus controls is appearing,” Mi Feng, spokesman for the Health Commission, told reporters.
Mi said the proportion of confirmed cases who were critically ill had fallen to 21.6% on Saturday, from 32.4% on Jan. 27. He said this showed the authorities were able to treat patients more quickly, preventing cases from becoming critical.