/Coronavirus updates: More cruise ship cases confirmed as death toll continues to rise – NBC News

Coronavirus updates: More cruise ship cases confirmed as death toll continues to rise – NBC News

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• Coronavirus death toll in China rises to 1,113

• Coronavirus gets official name from WHO: COVID-19

• People of Asian descent worldwide share examples of coronavirus-related xenophobia on social media

• Outspoken Chinese lawyer critical of government missing in Wuhan, family says

• American Airlines cancels flights to mainland China and Hong Kong through April 24

• 174 cases confirmed aboard quarantined cruise ship in Japan

• Chinese epidemiologist says outbreak could be over by April


Coronavirus death toll in China rises to 1,113

Chinese health officials said Wednesday the death toll from the novel coronavirus has reached 1,113. It stood at 1,016 on Tuesday.

Officials at China’s National Health Commission said there were now 44,653 confirmed cases in mainland China.

More than 500 cases have been recorded outside mainland China so far 2 of them fatal. One person died from the virus in the Philippines on Feb. 1 and another in Hong Kong several days later. — Yuliya Talmazan

Coronavirus gets official name from WHO: COVID-19

The new coronavirus now has an official name: COVID-19. It stands for the coronavirus disease that was discovered in 2019.

The World Health Organization announced the name Tuesday, saying it was careful to find a name without stigma.

“We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, or an individual or group of people,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a call with reporters.

It’s also easy to pronounce, he added. — Erika Edwards

Asians worldwide share examples of coronavirus-related xenophobia on social media

From New York City to Los Angeles and various other cities around the world, people of Asian descent have been documenting xenophobic incidents on social media following the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus.

NBC News has been tracking social media reports of harassment targeting Asian communities globally as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to spread internationally, including 13 in the U.S.

Read some of their stories here. — Ali Gostanian, Suzanne Ciechalski and Rima Abdelkader

Outspoken Chinese lawyer critical of government missing in Wuhan, family says

A Chinese lawyer who had been documenting the coronavirus outbreak in the city of Wuhan has not been seen or heard from since last week, and friends and family say they fear he may have been forcibly quarantined by the Chinese government.

The lawyer, Chen Qiushi, 34, made a series of social media posts about the outbreak in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, starting on Jan. 25, several days after the city was locked down by the Chinese government to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Calling himself a “citizen journalist,” Chen posted videos and messages reporting hardships faced by Wuhan residents seeking medical help and supplies, as well as hospital overcrowding.

His last update came on Thursday. He has not been seen or heard from since, his friends and family say. — Ali Gostanian and Yuliya Talmazan

First group of evacuated Americans released from quarantine

The first group of American citizens who were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the center of the epidemic, are healthy and have been released from their 14-day quarantine imposed by the federal government.

All 195 passengers had been housed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California since late January. None of them have developed what’s now called COVID-19.

Those quarantined have been “deemed safe to re-enter their communities,” the CDC’s Dr. Nancy Knight said during a news conference Tuesday. — Erika Edwards

American Airlines cancels flights to mainland China and Hong Kong through April 24

American Airlines has extended the suspension of flights to and from mainland China and Hong Kong.

Flights between Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles and mainland China will be suspended through April 24, as will be the flights between the two hubs and Hong Kong.

“We will continue to evaluate this schedule and make any adjustments as necessary,” the company said in a statement. — Jay Blackman

650 U.S. passengers aboard Holland America cruise ship; no suspected coronavirus cases

There are more than 600 Americans aboard Holland America’s cruise ship MS Westerdam that was barred from docking in Thailand Tuesday, the latest country to turn it away amid fears of the coronavirus despite no confirmed infections on board.

The company spokesperson said Tuesday there were 1,455 guests, including 650 U.S. citizens, and 802 crew members on board.

“We have no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board the ship,” the spokesperson said.

The cruise ship was expected to disembark in Bangkok on Thursday, but Thai Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate said in a Facebook post Tuesday that while the ship would not be allowed to dock, Thailand “will gladly help in providing fuel, medicine, and food” to the ship. — Ann-Kathrin Pohlers and Reuters

174 cases confirmed aboard quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Japan’s health ministry said Tuesday 39 additional cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed aboard a cruise ship being quarantined off Yokohama, south of Tokyo, with 3,700 passengers and crew members on board.

The latest batch of confirmed cases came from additional 53 samples that were taken on the ship.

Japan’s health minister also reported one case involving a quarantine officer.

All will be transferred to medical facilities on shore.

A military vehicle is attached to a gate of the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the Daikaku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on Wednesday. Behrouz Mehri / AFP – Getty Images

That brings to the total number of confirmed cases aboard the ship to 174 — the highest number of confirmed cases outside mainland China. So far, 492 people have been screened.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday four people among the confirmed cases are in serious condition. Two of them are in intensive care and the other two are on artificial respirators, NHK said. — Arata Yamamoto

Chinese epidemiologist says outbreak could be over by April

The coronavirus outbreak is hitting a peak in China this month and may be over by April, a senior government medical adviser said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Reuters, Zhong Nanshan, an 83-year-old epidemiologist who won fame for combating the SARS epidemic in 2003, was optimistic the new outbreak would soon slow, with the number of new cases already declining in some places.

The peak should come in middle or late February, followed by a plateau and decrease, Zhong said, basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action. — Reuters