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Coronavirus death toll hits 811, surpasses SARS deaths

As confirmed cases reach more than 37,100 in mainland China, here is the latest you need to know.
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• Global death toll rises to at least 811 as confirmed cases reach more than 37,198 in mainland China

• 3 more cases from cruise ship quarantined in Japan, bringing total to 64

• 27 cruise passengers screened in New Jersey

• Chinese commission sends investigators after death of doctor punished for raising alarm

• President Xi Jinping urges U.S. to respond to outbreak in "reasonable way"

• Chicago couple diagnosed with coronavirus released from hospital

Coronavirus deaths in mainland China rise to 811, surpass SARS fatalities

The number of deaths from novel coronavirus in mainland China increased to 811 Saturday, China’s National Health Commission said. The death toll now exceeds the number of deaths reported from the SARS outbreak in 2003, which killed 774 people, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 37,190 confirmed cases have been reported on mainland China as of Saturday, and 2,649 patients were discharged from hospitals, China's health commission said.

In addition to the mainland deaths, two people who had been confirmed to have novel coronavirus have died elsewhere, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong, bringing global deaths to at least 813.

Almost all the 89 new deaths reported on the mainland occurred in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, according to the health commission. Three other deaths were reported elsewhere in China, including at least one in Beijing.

The World Health Organization says on its website that the virus has been confirmed in 24 other countries. — Dawn Liu and Alicia Victoria Lozano

American with coronavirus dies in Wuhan hospital, embassy says

A U.S. citizen diagnosed with novel coronavirus has died in China in what appears to be the first death of an American from the virus that has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and killed more than 700, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

"We can confirm a 60-year-old U.S. citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at Jinyintian Hospital in Wuhan, China on Feb. 6," a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment," the spokesperson said.

The New York Times first reported the death of the American in Wuhan.

China's national health commission said that as of Saturday morning local time, there had been 722 deaths from the virus in the mainland.

3 more coronavirus cases confirmed on cruise ship off Japan; total at 64

Three more people aboard a cruise ship quarantined in Japan have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total from the Diamond Princess to 64, Japan’s health ministry said Saturday on its website.

Two of the three people newly diagnosed are American, a health ministry official said, which brings the total number of Americans diagnosed from the cruise ship to 13. The third person is from China.

Six new people were screened, and the three tested positive for novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, the health ministry said. All three newly confirmed patients were checked in to a medical facility.

Earlier this week, 11 Americans were confirmed to have the virus, along with people from Japan, Canada, Australia and other countries.

About 3,700 passengers and crew were aboard the Diamond Princess, but those who tested positive were taken to hospitals.

The ship was quarantined off Yokohama and testing was conducted on over 270 people after a man who had been on the ship last month and who got off in Hong Kong was later confirmed to have the virus. The quarantine is expected to last until Feb. 19.

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 724 people globally, and all but two of the deaths occurred in mainland China, health authorities said. More than 34,500 cases have been confirmed in mainland China as of Saturday morning, China’s National Health Commission said. There have been no deaths in Japan. — Arata Yamamoto and Phil Helsel

Chicago coronavirus patients released from hospital

A Chicago couple diagnosed with coronavirus is now home, recovering from the illness.

The two cases represented the first example of the virus spreading from person to person in this country. Doctors said the husband had not traveled to China recently, but his wife had in December to care for her father in Wuhan.

On Friday, the couple released a statement thanking the medical staff at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates.

“This has been the best healthcare experience we’ve ever had,” the statement read in part. “But we’re definitely looking forward to getting home and getting life back to normal.”

Another coronavirus patient, in Washington sate, was discharged earlier this week. Eight other patients with diagnosed coronavirus remained hospitalized Friday afternoon.

A patient in Wisconsin was confirmed to have the virus Wednesday, but doctors said that person has not been been sick enough to warrant hospitalization. — Erika Edwards

Royal Caribbean enacts new cruise restrictions

Royal Caribbean cruises announced Friday that any guest or crew member who traveled to, from or through China in the last 15 days will not be allowed on their ships.

Any guests with Chinese passports and any guest or crew member that has been in contact with someone who traveled through China in the past 15 days will also not be allowed on board Royal Caribbean ships.

The company said it will do health screenings on anyone who is unsure if they have been in contact with people who recently traveled through China or report feeling unwell.

The cruise line will also bar anyone with a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau from boarding its ships. — Jason Abbruzzese

Trump says China 'is working hard'

President Donald Trump took questions from reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before leaving for Charlotte, North Carolina, where he's due to speak at the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit.

In response to a question about whether he was concerned about how China was handling the coronavirus outbreak, Trump said he had spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"China's working very hard," Trump said. "Late last night, I had a very good talk with President Xi."

Trump said they spoke about the coronavirus and the U.S. and China are in touch with national and international health organizations over how to coordinate response.

"It's a tough situation," he said. "I think they're doing a very good job." — Jason Abbruzzese

Hong Kong to quarantine anyone traveling via China

Hong Kong said starting Saturday midnight local time, it would quarantine anyone who had traveled to and from mainland China in the past 14 days and then returned to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong locals put under quarantine will be allowed to stay at home, while nonlocals will have to stay at hotels or "quarantine camps." — Jasmine Leung

27 cruise passengers screened in N.J.; 4 taken to hospitals

Twenty-seven Chinese nationals were screened after getting off a Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise that docked in New Jersey on Friday morning.

One passenger who had a fever on the cruise was given Tylenol and the fever went away, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said.

That person and three others, who were under close observation for their health on the ship, were taken to the University Hospital in Newark, which has isolation rooms.

The other 23 Chinese nationals who were screened showed no symptoms and were headed to the Newark Liberty International Airport for flights back to China on Friday.

The Bayonne mayor said he was told that none of the 27 people are from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, or have traveled there recently, and the screenings were being done out of an abundance of caution.

Xi tells U.S. to respond in 'reasonable way'

In a phone call with President Donald Trump, President Xi Jinping urged the U.S. to have a measured response to the virus outbreak, Chinese state media reported Friday.

Xi said he hoped the two countries could maintain communication and work together to work together to contain the epidemic.

Xi also said the long-term trend of China's economic development will not change.

The White House deputy press secretary tweeted Friday that Trump expressed confidence in China's resilience in confronting the epidemic during the phone call.

China had previously accused the U.S. of scaremongering over the epidemic. — Dawn Liu and Isobel van Hagen

Death of doctor who raised alarm to be investigated

A Chinese Communist party commission said in a statement it would send a team to Wuhan, "to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the issues reported by the public involving Dr. Li Wenliang," followingthe death the doctor who had been punished by police for blowing the whistle on the outbreak.

Li died of coronavirus Friday local time, the hospital confirmed. The ophthalmologist had tried to warn his colleagues about the deadly new respiratory virus in online chat forums. He was then reportedly reprimanded for "posting false information on the Internet," in the early days of the outbreak

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection sent a team to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The team will "conduct comprehensive investigation on the issues reported by the public involving Dr. Li Wenliang," it said.

On Friday, the Global Times, a Communist Party newspaper and usual staunch defender of the authorities, reported that “many said the experience of the eight 'whistleblowers' was evidence of local authorities' incompetence to tackle a contagious and deadly virus." — Dawn Liu, Phil Helsel and The Associated Press

Image: The Diamond Princess sits docked at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment in Yokohama, Japan.
The Diamond Princess sits docked at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment in Yokohama, Japan.Carl Court / Getty Images

11 Americans among 61 on quarantined ship

Eleven Americans are among the 61 people from a quarantined cruise ship off Japan who have been confirmed to have the coronavirus, the cruise line said.

Princess Cruises said that of 41 newly confirmed cases from the quarantined Diamond Princess, eight are Americans. Earlier this week, 20 other people from the ship had tested positive for the virus, and of those three are from the U.S.

Overall, more than 20 of the 61 cases involve Japanese residents. Australians and Canadians are also among those who have tested positive.

The Diamond Princess is quarantined at Yokohama after a passenger who later tested positive for novel coronavirus after getting off in Hong Kong was on the ship late last month. There are around 3,700 passengers and crew aboard, and all are being quarantined.

Princess Cruises says on its website that there could be new developments, but currently the quarantine period is expected to last until Feb. 19. — Arata Yamamoto and Phil Helsel

American evacuees leave Wuhan for U.S.

Two chartered flights with around 300 passengers aboard have left the Chinese city of Wuhan amid a novel coronavirus outbreak centered there, U.S. officials said.

"Two planes have departed Wuhan en route to the United States," a State Department spokesperson said Thursday night.

U.S. Northern Command said the two State Department chartered evacuation flights carried around 300 passenger bound for military bases in Southern California and Nebraska, where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

One of the flights will land at Travis Air Force Base in California for refueling before continuing to Omaha. The other will go to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Northern Command said. The quarantines will be managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s the second round of flights from Wuhan to the U.S. this week.

A total of 540 American citizens and family members have already been evacuated and are under federal quarantine on three military bases in California: March Air Reserve Base, the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Travis Air Force Base. — Abigail Williams

Deaths in mainland China hit 636

Seventy-three new deaths from novel coronavirus were reported in mainland China as of Friday, bringing the total deaths there to 636, according to numbers from China’s national health commission. That's up from 563 deaths on the mainland previously reported.

Novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, has been confirmed in more than 31,000 people in mainland China, the commission said. Two people confirmed to have the virus have died elsewhere, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

Almost all of the new deaths — 69 — occurred in Hubei province, which is where the Chinese city of Wuhan is located.

China's national health commission said of the confirmed cases on the mainland, nearly 29,000 are "currently confirmed." Some people who had been confirmed have been treated and released.

There are 12 confirmed cases in the United States, but there have been no deaths. A second U.S. citizen in Wuhan has been confirmed to have novel coronavirus, and both are being treated at a local hospital there, a U.S. official said Thursday. — Eric Baculinao and Phil Helsel