12th US case of coronavirus confirmed as unknowns make global quarantines a struggle

(AP) – China reports deaths from new virus rise by 73 to 563, number of confirmed cases jump by 3,694 to 28,018. The first group of patients were expected to start taking a new antiviral drug on Thursday.

This handout photo taken and released by Malaysia's Ministry of Health shows health officials in protective suits at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, waiting for arrivals that were evacuated from China's Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak. (Muzzafar Kasim/Malaysia's Ministry of Health via AP)

Halting the spread of a new virus that has killed hundreds in China is difficult in part because important details about the illness and how it spreads are still unknown.

China orchestrated history’s largest anti-viral campaign by blocking 50 million people from leaving Wuhan and nearby cities where the outbreak has been concentrated.

Some places are discouraging people from even leaving their apartments, and businesses and offices are closed indefinitely.

Foreign governments have rushed to get their citizens out of China while also restricting visitors from the country.

And countries’ efforts to hold people in quarantine to stop a possible pandemic have not always been smooth.

Planes with Americans escaping virus zone land in United States

U.S. military officials say two jets carrying about 350 Americans fleeing the virus zone in China have landed at Travis Air Force base in Northern California.

Some will be quarantined for 14 days there while others will fly on to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego to be quarantined.

An Air Force spokeswoman says the passengers fleeing the Chinese city of Wuhan and are at Travis Air Force Base will stay in a base hotel. Guests and staff at the hotel were moved out.

Planes originating in China are headed to Eppley Airfield. The flights will be met by a team from the CDC who will assess the health of the passengers.

Seventy people arriving in Omaha will quarantined at Camp Ashland, WOWT says.

On Wednesday, a Wisconsin resident who returned from a trip to China last week became the 12th confirmed case of the virus in the U.S., according to health officials.

10 more sick with virus on one of two isolated cruise ships

Japanese health officials say 10 more people have been sickened with a new virus aboard one of two quarantined cruise ships with some 5,400 passengers and crew aboard.

The ships in Japan and Hong Kong are caught up in a global health emergency that seems to worsen by the day.

The 10 who were infected on top of 10 others on Wednesday were dropped off in Yokohama where the ship docked and transferred to nearby hospitals for further test and treatment.

Japan quarantines cruise ship as toll of new virus grows

Gloved and masked health workers in Japan have led people infected with a new virus off a cruise ship, while the rest of the 3,700 people on board face a two-week quarantine in their cabins.

In Hong Kong, more than 3,600 people on another cruise ship are to be screened after it was banned by Taiwan amid growing worry about the spread of an outbreak.

Thousands of hospital workers in Hong Kong are striking to demand the border with mainland China be closed completely.

China has strongly defended its control measures and is calling on other nations not to go overboard.

Thousands of medical staff strike in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority says 4,600 medical staff, mainly nurses, didn’t turn up for work Wednesday as part of a strike by a medical union. The group wants the government to completely seal the border with mainland China to halt cross-border travel and prevent the spread of the new virus.

The medical union, however, says about 7,000 people took part in the strike Wednesday.

Opposition lawmakers also slammed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's move Wednesday to quarantine all people arriving from the mainland for 14 days instead of shutting the remaining two land border checkpoints. They said it could lead to more people from the mainland coming to Hong Kong to seek treatment that would further burden the city's already taxed medical facilities.

Lam said the number of cases in Hong Kong has risen to 21, with three more local transmissions involving citizens with no travel history to the mainland and an unclear source of infection.

WHO seeks $675M to fight new virus

The director-general of the World Health Organization has asked for $675 million to help countries address the expected spread of the new virus that emerged in China.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that the sum is a lot, but says it is “much less than the bill we will face if we do not invest in preparedness now.”

Tedros says in the last 24 hours, the U.N. health agency has seen the biggest jump in cases since the start of the epidemic.

Tedros also responded to published comments from John Mackenzie, a member of WHO’s coronavirus emergency committee, that China’s initial response to the outbreak was “reprehensible” and that cases were not rapidly reported. He said he would have expected higher numbers of cases if China had been hiding them.

“I don’t think it helps now,” Tedros said of speculation about any mistakes in the early stages of the outbreak. “Let’s take the action we can take today to prevent this outbreak from spreading all over the world.”

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