Here’s where things stand this morning:
- How many cases have there been? Around the world, there have been 31,482 confirmed cases; 31,161 of those cases have been in mainland China.
- How many deaths have there been? At least 638 people have died, and all but two of them have been in China. One person in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines have also died.
- In New Jersey: A cruise ship docked this morning near New York City as some passengers have a history of travel to China. Twenty-three passengers were cleared, and four are being evaluated at an area hospital after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the cruise ship to evaluate the situation.
- Other cruise ships in Asia: Two of the vessels are docked in Japan and Hong Kong and under quarantine as officials try to slow the spreading of the virus. A third ship in the East China Sea has been unable to dock because of outbreak fears
Hong Kong healthcare workers end five-day strike over coronavirus handling
Medical workers in Hong Kong have ended their strike after members voted not to extend it.
Thousands of workers have been on strike for five days, demanding that the Hong Kong government close all borders with mainland China and take further emergency measures against the virus.
In a press statement released on Friday, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority Employees Alliance said that more than 7,000 members voted in a poll to decide whether to continue the strike and 4,000 members voted against it.
Over the past five days, the union has organized a medical sector strike that has heavily impacted services across the city. On Wednesday alone, over 7,000 employees took part accounting for nearly 10% of all public sector medical workers in the city.
For most of the week, public hospitals have had limited services due to the strike. Remaining staff members have had to focus efforts on emergency services, so patients with mild conditions were advised to find private hospitals or clinics instead.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has implemented emergency measures such as mandatory quarantines for travelers coming from China, and closed all but three of Hong Kong’s mainland China border crossings.
What we know about the three cruise ships that had their travels disrupted by coronavirus
Two of the vessels are docked and under quarantine as officials try to slow the spreading of the virus, and a third has been unable to dock because of outbreak fears.
The ships had spent time at multiple ports across Asia before fears of the virus prompted the quarantines and backlash.
Some details about the situation are still unclear, but here’s what we know about the three ships right now:
- The one docked in Japan: The Diamond Princess is anchored off the coast of Yokohama, near Tokyo, with 1,045 crew and 2,666 passengers — including 428 Americans — on board. At least 61 people on board have been infected. The vessel has been quarantined since Tuesday, and passengers are expected to remain under quarantine for at least 14 days — so roughly 11 more days.
- The one docked in Hong Kong: The World Dream, is docked at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with more than 3,600 passengers and crew members on board. A Hong Kong Department of Health official said 33 crew members had shown symptoms of illness at varying degrees, although most had tested negative for the coronavirus. All passengers will have to remain on board until “we complete the quarantine work,” the official said — but it’s unclear how long that could take.
- The one without a port: In the middle of the East China Sea, the Westerdam is struggling to find a port to dock at after being turned away from both Taiwan and Japan over fears of passenger contamination. The company that operates the line said it has no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board. The cruise is in the middle of a 30-day voyage (it initially left Singapore on January 16), and it’s not clear when or where it could dock.