At least 11 American evacuees transported to the U.S. from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, as another doctor in China was pronounced dead from the virus Friday.
The American evacuees were transported to U.S. hospitals after delayed Japenese test results showed they tested positive. Five other people were confirmed to have shown symptoms of the virus.
None of the 16 evacuees has had confirmed tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so federal authorities have yet to report them. They have been staying at Travis Air Force Base in California.
Four were taken to a hospital in Washington state, while Scott Pauley, a CDC spokesman, wouldn’t elaborate on where the others were taken.
The newly infected reportedly don’t include the 14 people who officials had previously said tested positive before boarding two State Department chartered flights carrying 300 Americans from the Diamond Princess last Monday. Thirteen of them were brought to a hospital in Omaha, Neb., and the CDC says 11 are officially declared to have the virus.
Another doctor in Wuhan was also confirmed to have been killed by the virus Friday, adding to the list of leading medical professionals now deceased in the virus’s epicenter.
Peng Yinhua, a 29-year-old respiratory doctor died Thursday. Others killed by the virus include Wuchang Hospital director Liu Zhiming and Li Wenliang, who warned authorities about the virus before it was public.
China has suffered the most from the virus, which is now known as COVID-19, with the country having 99 percent of the cases. The U.S. has 26 patients, including 11 confirmed so far at a Nebraska hospital, eight in California, one in Texas, one in Wisconsin, one in Arizona, one in Washington state, one in Massachusetts and two in Illinois. Those numbers don’t include the 11 recently shown to have the new virus.
CDC officials added there will “likely be additional cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from Wuhan.”
The U.S. had announced that Americans who traveled to China within the last 14 days would be sent to designated airports for enhanced screenings. Foreign nationals who recently went to China would be denied entry in the U.S., except for the immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents.
China’s Foreign Ministry had said the U.S. hasn’t given the country any substantive help in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak. They added the U.S. was contributing to the international panic surrounding the illness, Reuters reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global emergency as it spreads to countries outside of China and the number of infected patients continues to grow.
Countries around the globe have increased travel restrictions to the infected mainland China and Hubei province — with the U.S. State Department increasing its advisory to level 4: “Do Not Travel.”
The CDC has issued an advisory to avoid all nonessential travel to the country.
Coronavirus has now killed about three times the amount of people in China than were sickened during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. The SARS outbreak killed 349 people in mainland China in 2002-2003 — with 744 deaths and 8,096 infections globally, according to the CDC.
Here are the latest figures.
How many have been infected or have died?
The virus has claimed the lives of 2,236 people and infected 75,465 around the globe. Only 11 people have died outside mainland China.
South Korea recorded its first fatality from the virus on Thursday.
France announced its first death on Saturday in a Chinese tourist who died in the country. It was the first fatality outside of Asia.
Japan announced two people in their 80s who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship had died on Thursday. A week earlier, an 80-year-old woman died after being hospitalized near Toyko since Feb. 1.
The other deaths were in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
The WHO said the number of cases will keep growing as tests are pending on thousands of suspected cases.
Where is the virus?
Roughly 99 percent of new cases have appeared in China with the vast majority of the cases in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus.
The United Kingdom has nine cases in the country.
Japan — 519 (607 passengers on Diamond Princess cruise ship outside Yokohama) (3 deaths)
South Korea — 104 (1 death)
Singapore — 84
Thailand — 35
South Korea — 31
Taiwan — 24 (1 death)
Malaysia — 22
Germany — 16
Vietnam — 16
Australia — 15
France — 12 (1 death)
United Arab Emirates — 9
Canada — 8
India — 3
Italy — 3
Philippines — 3 (1 death)
Russia — 2
Spain — 2
Iran — 2
Sweden — 1
Belgium — 1
Nepal — 1
Sri Lanka — 1
Cambodia — 1
Egypt — 1
Hong Kong — 67 (1 death)
Macao — 10
Differences between coronavirus and the flu?
The flu has estimated to have killed roughly 10,000 to 25,000 people with nearly 19 to 26 million infected in the U.S. between October 1, 2019, and January 25, 2020, according to the CDC. Coronavirus has impacted a far lesser number, although it’s not yet clear how many have been infected or how widespread it is.
There have also been reports it can be spread without symptoms showing up. In respiratory illnesses, people with the most symptoms are the most contagious, the agency said. Children and those over 65 are the most likely to get sick from the flu, the CDC added.
Unlike the coronavirus, there’s a seasonal vaccine for the flu. People over six months out are advised by the agency to get it during annual vaccination, with certain rare exceptions, such as severe allergies to the shot.
No vaccine has been developed for coronavirus as of yet, which makes it dangerous in that respect.
How did it start?
It’s not entirely clear how it started, but Chinese scientists believe the virus may have originated in bats. The pangolin, a type of scaly anteater was reported to be a possible host, according to a Chinese University. A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology said that genome sequences from seven patients tested were identical to the bat coronavirus.
How does it transmit?
It’s believed the normal coronavirus can be transmitted most commonly through respiratory droplets in the air, as well as close contact with an infected person or touching areas contaminated with the virus before washing. The digestive tract may also transmit the disease, according to scientists from the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Science.
They recently discovered “virus genetic material” in feces samples and rectal swabs from some patients, Chinese state media reported.
What are the current travel restrictions?
The U.S. declared the coronavirus a public health emergency with Trump signing an order barring entry to foreign nationals who recently were in China, other than the immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents.
Officials at the CDC have advised travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. The U.S. State Department raised its China travel advisory to “Level 4: Do Not Travel.”
“Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus,” The advisory said.
Vietnam stopped all flights to and from China.
Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia all have similar policies to the U.S. on restricting non-citizens.
Mongolia and Singapore have shut their borders.
Singapore said it would ban travelers from China’s Hubei province.
Pakistan says they’re halting all flights to and from China
The United Kingdom and New Zealand advised their people against nonessential travel to China.
Russia has signed an order to close the border between them and China. They also blocked tour groups from China.
China has cut off access to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, trapping more than 50 million people
Hong Kong quarantining visitors from mainland China
Japan bars foreign nationals who had been to Hubei province.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean denying boarding of people who travel to China within 14 days.
Italy suspended all flights to China.
South Korea urged an increase in its level of caution to “restraint” when traveling to China.
Hong Kong reduced half its flights and shut down rail service to mainland China.
Cathay Pacific Airways asks 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave.
Delta suspended all service to China.
United Airlines suspends all flights between China and the U.S.
United’s pilots, concerned for their safety, were able to drop trips to China without pay, a union memo said, according to Reuters.
American Airlines suspends all flights to China.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents 15,000 pilots for American Airlines filed a lawsuit to halt service with the airline, citing “serious, and in many ways still unknown, health threats posed by the coronavirus.”
“I am directing all APA pilots to cease flight operations between the United States and China,” said APA president Eric Ferguson. “Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into China, decline the assignment by calling your Chief Pilot or IOC Duty Pilot. Inform them you are declining in accordance with the CDC and WHO declarations.”
British Airways suspended all flights to and from mainland China.
Virgin Atlantic suspending operations to Shanghai
Lufthansa suspending flights to and from China
Air India and Seoul Air halting all flights to the country.
Egypt Air suspended all fights
Air France suspending all flights
Finnair, Cathay Pacific, and Jetstar also stopping service.
Lion Air canceled 50 flights to China into February.
Air Canada suspending all direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai.
Kenya Airways suspends all flights to China.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.