BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Coronavirus latest: Hong Kong lifts quarantine on World Dream cruise ship

Comments
Passengers from the cruise ship World Dream docked at Kai Tak cruise terminal leave the ship after be quarantined for the coronavirus in Hong Kong, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020
Passengers from the cruise ship World Dream docked at Kai Tak cruise terminal leave the ship after be quarantined for the coronavirus in Hong Kong, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020   -   Copyright  Vincent Yu/ASSOCIATED PRESS   -  
Text size Aa Aa

Hong Kong has lifted a quarantine on the World Dream cruise ship after clearing all crew members of the new coronavirus.

The ship was placed under quarantine since it docked Wednesday after eight mainland Chinese passengers on a voyage last month were diagnosed with the virus.

Port official Leung Yiu-hon says tests on all 1,800 crew members were completed ahead of schedule and were negative.

He said that the quarantine of the ship, which has more than 1,800 mostly Hong Kong passengers, will end and all those on board will be allowed to leave.

Some passengers who were symptomatic had tested negative, and Leung said there was no need to test all passengers because they had no contact with the eight who were infected.

He said there was "no need for further surveillance or follow-up" of those on board.

The case of the Diamond Princess cruise ship

A British man on his honeymoon is among 64 more passengers to have tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan.

Alan Steele, a passenger on the Diamond Princess which is quarantined off Japan, told UK media via Facebook that he was being taken to hospital.

Princess Cruises, which operates the ship, said the latest confirmed cases were from Argentina (one); Australia (five); Canada (five), Japan (21); United Kingdom (one) and United States (eight).

The new infections take the total number of confirmed cases from the cruise ship to 64. The health ministry was planning to expand testing to cover older passengers and people with pre-existing conditions, the Japan Times reported.

Executive Vice President of Princess Cruises Rai Caluori tweeted on Saturday that the Japanese health minister, Katsunobu Kato, has provided additional medical staff to work with the onboard medical team.

The nearly 3,700 passengers and crew still on board remain under 14-day quarantines.

Euronews Now spoke to Karey and Roger Maniscalco, who are among the passengers stuck on board the Diamond Princess. View excerpts from the interview in the video player below.

WHO's mission to China

The head of the World Health Organisation said it received a response from China on the dispatch of a WHO-led international mission to the country.

Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated the team leader will leave between Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the experts will follow.

When asked whether members of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will be part of the team, he said, "We hope so."

Dr Tedros did not name the leader or the rest of the team or give any other details. He said that WHO will "publicise everything as soon as we're ready."

Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll rose by 89 on Sunday to 811, passing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, but fewer new cases were reported in a possible sign its spread may be slowing as other nations step up efforts to block the disease.

Probe into death of the doctor who warned China

Chinese authorities said on Friday they would investigate circumstances surrounding the death of a doctor who had tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak.

It came a day after a Chinese hospital said Dr Li Wenliang had died of the illness. The 34-year-old ophthalmologist came down with the illness in Wuhan where he had been treating patients.

When he warned of the outbreak in December, the doctor was warned by the police and local officials to keep it quiet.

Following an online outcry over the government’s treatment of the doctor, the ruling Communist Party said it was sending an investigation team to “fully investigate relevant issues raised by the public” over the case.

State television acknowledged that Li Wenliang’s experiences illustrated “shortcomings and deficiencies” in dealing with epidemics.

More European cases

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has now infected nearly 37,500 people globally and killed more than 800, mostly in China's Hubei province, including the city of Wuhan, where the infection was first detected in December.

Britain and Spain announced more coronavirus cases on Sunday. The UK confirmed its fourth patient and Spain reported its second. Both the new cases were acquired during trips to France, officials said.

In Germany, all 14 cases have centred on a car parts supplier, Webasto, whose headquarters near Munich was visited by a Chinese trainer. The latest is the wife of an employee who was previously diagnosed.

Meanwhile, two newborn babies in China were announced as the youngest diagnosed cases.

At least a dozen of the European cases involve patients who caught the infection locally, the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) said in its update on Thursday.

British health authorities said on Thursday that three patients in England had tested positive for coronavirus. Public Health England said the latest UK confirmed case involved infection overseas, but did not elaborate.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in its update on Thursday that the probability of infection in Europe was considered "very low", but was "moderate to high" for people in areas with "community transmission". "There are significant uncertainties regarding transmissibility and under-detection, it warns.

Holiday camp

Dozens of Italians and Poles repatriated from of Wuhan have been quarantined over fears they may have contracted the coronavirus.

Italy's evacuation flight landed at a military airport near Rome on Monday - bringing 56 people home - while 30 people from Poland landed Sunday night. Both groups will spend two weeks in quarantine.

A total of 254 Europeans arrived in France on Sunday from Wuhan, where the deadly virus was first detected. They are now in quarantine in France — at a holiday camp near Carry-Le-Rouet or a firefighters' training centre near Aix-en-Provence — or have travelled on to their home countries.

In Britain, British nationals evacuated from Wuhan were being held in quarantine at a hospital in Wirral while non-UK nationals were at the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire.

China isolated

Hong Kong has sealed most of its border crossings with mainland China, Kazakhstan has suspended travel to and from its neighbour and dozens of international airlines have cancelled flights to and from China since the outbreak.

Beijing has criticised a decision by the United States to bar entry to most non-nationals who have visited China in the past two weeks, saying it contradicted the WHO’s appeal to avoid travel bans.

Other countries to have taken similar measures include Australia, Japan, Singapore and the Philippines.

What's the situation inside China?

In Hubei, bustling streets, shops, restaurants and other public spaces in the city were eerily empty as authorities put more than a dozen cities on lockdown.

The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak originated, has admitted the first patients to the new hospital, while construction crews continue to work around the clock on the second facility.

Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops guarded the city's train station, where metal barriers blocked the entrances.

The cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Tianjin have suspended long-distance coach services, as well as the vast province of Shandong.

As a symbol of the concern that has gripped China, the authorities have announced the closure of sections of the famous Great Wall, as well as the Disneyland resort site in Shanghai.