China nears 18,000 coronavirus cases, U.S. cases total 11

Feb. 3, 2020

Based on the most recent updates from the Johns Hopkins CSSE global coronavirus tracking map, the number of China's novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases has surged past 17,000, as the United States reported total cases have reached 11 and Spain confirmed its first.

In other developments, Australia joined the United States in temporarily banning Chinese residents from entering the country.

China reported 2,590 new cases and 45 more deaths, boosting the overall totals to 17,485 cases, 362 of them fatal, according to the latest daily update from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).

Health officials reported 315 more severe cases, raising that total to 2,110. They do not specify how they classify a case as "severe."

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its daily situation report that Hubei province is the hardest-hit area, accounting for over 60 percent of all cases since the outbreak began. It said Zhejiang province has recorded the second most, and Guangdong province is third..

In other China developments, the country's central bank announced it would take steps to support companies affected by the outbreak, such as lowering interest rates, Reuters reported. The bank also said the impact of the outbreak on China's economy will probably be temporary.

Also, China's finance ministry announced it would exempt taxes on imported products related to the outbreak, as well as on donations such as ambulances and disinfectants, according to a separate Reuters report.

Australia's prime minister announced aggressive new control steps in response to the spread of 2019-nCoV, including a temporary ban on non-citizens from entering the country, similar to steps announced by the United States, News Corp Australia reported.

The ban applies to foreigners who have been in mainland China in the past 14 days. Australians returning from China will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

The WHO in its public health emergency declaration on January 30 advised against barriers to travel and trade, based on the current information about the outbreak.

Australia also reported three new 2019-nCoV cases, two in South Australia state and one in Victoria state, raising the country's total to 12.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed another 2019-nCoV case, the nation's seventh. It said the patient recently returned from Wuhan. A statement from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said the individual is from Santa Clara County. Of the 11 U.S. cases, six have now been reported from California.

In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) reported the nation's eighth case, involving a man in his 20s who had recently returned from Wuhan. The MDPH said he sought medical care as soon as he returned to Massachusetts and has been isolated since then. His few close contacts are under monitoring.

Spain's health ministry reported the country's first case, in a person who is part of a five-person traveling group in La Gomera in the Canary Islands and who is a contact of one of Germany's confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, officials said in a statement posted on Twitter.

With Spain's new report, eight European countries have now reported cases.

Elsewhere in Europe, France reported one more case, which apparently involves local transmission, according to Public Health France. The latest case-patient, confirmed on January 30, is a doctor who treated two Chinese tourists on January 23 when they were considered probable cases. The case is France's sixth.

In addition to the first instance of a health worker infected outside of China, the WHO in its update flagged other notable transmission developments, including the first instance of third-generation spread outside of China, which is related to the cluster of German cases. It also said the first exported case from a country outside of China has been reported, which involves a patient in South Korea who was exposed to the virus in Japan.

In other developments Japan reported two more cases, both in people who returned by charter flights from Wuhan, according to a health ministry statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news message board. One of the patients initially tested negative. Japan now has 15 cases of 2019-nCoV.

Vietnam reported one more case, which also appears to involve local transmission. The patient is a Vietnamese citizen who is a receptionist and was considered a close contact of a Chinese father and son whose illnesses were detected earlier as the country's first instance of local spread, according to a health ministry statement.

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