Coronavirus Update

Feb 14, 2020

As of 13 February 2020, approximately 60,350 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported worldwide, with nearly 1,370 fatalities. The recent spike in reported cases — including almost 15,000 in Hubei province — followed a change in the official methodology for diagnosing cases that allows doctors to confirm the virus based on the results of computerized tomography (CT) scans instead of waiting on the results of genetic tests. After publicly reporting the sharp increase in confirmed cases, the Chinese Communist Party removed two senior party officials in the virus-stricken province of Hubei, likely signaling disapproval with how local authorities have handled the epidemic.

Schools in most of mainland China will remain closed until the end of February, and Hubei province — the epicenter of the viral outbreak — remains on lockdown. In addition, Hong Kong has extended work-from-home orders for civil servants to 23 February and delayed the resumption of school classes until at least 16 March.

In Vietnam, authorities have placed the northern village of Son Loi — located approximately 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Hanoi — under quarantine for 20 days after officials reported six new cases of coronavirus in the community of at least 10,000 people. This is the first such instance of quarantine of a town outside of mainland China.

Cruise ships continue to be affected by concerns of COVID-19. Authorities in Japan reported approximately 45 new cases of coronavirus on the cruise ship Diamond Princess on 13 February, which is docked in quarantine at the port of Yokohama, Japan. Nearly 220 individuals aboard the ship have tested positive for coronavirus. Additionally, Japan reported its first death from COVID-19, which is the third fatality outside mainland China. However, the patient was not a passenger aboard the Diamond Princess. Separately, the MS Westerdam received authorization to dock at port facilities in Sihanoukville, Cambodia — after being turned away from disembarkation points in Guam, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand. Health officials have been screening those aboard the ship, and it is expected to dock at 0500 local time on 14 February (2200 UTC on 13 February), after which the passengers will be transported to Phnom Penh aboard three chartered flights. The cruise line continues to assert that there are no known cases of coronavirus aboard the ship.

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