41 more virus cases on cruise ship off Japan, Latest World News - The New Paper

41 more virus cases on cruise ship off Japan

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More cases on ship off Japan as experts are set to gather in Geneva to help speed up research into drugs, vaccines

Some 3,700 people on Carnival's Diamond Princess face testing and quarantine for at least two weeks on the ship, which is moored off Japan.

Another 41 people on the cruise liner off Japan tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total confirmed from the ship to 61, Japan’s health minister said on Friday.

The new cases were out of the 171 remaining test results, he said.

The drastic jump in infected passengers on the cruise vessel comes as the cruise ship was under the two-week quarantine with about 3,700 people inside

The rise in the number of infections shifts the mood for thousands of passengers stuck in the cruise who were allowed to breathe air on open decks on Thursday.

Kato said that the new patients would be transported to hospitals in Tokyo and other towns.

Live TV footage shows blue and white hoardings put up in the vessel where passengers diagnosed with the virus are moved out to medical facilities.

The new cases take the total number of coronavirus infections in Japan to more than 80.

China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, reported 69 new deaths, taking the total in China to over 600. It also reported nearly 2,500 new cases, taking the total in China to over 30,000, according to state television

In China, cities have been shut off, flights cancelled and factories closed, shutting supply lines crucial to the world economy. Companies including Hyundai Motor, Tesla, Ford, PSA Group, Nissan, Airbus, Adidas and Foxconn are taking hits.

Financial analysts have cut China's growth outlook, with ratings agency Moody's signalling risks for auto sales and output.

Nintendo said yesterday delays to production and shipping of its Switch console and other goods to the Japan market were "unavoidable" due to the coronavirus.

Several large trade fairs and industry conferences in China have been postponed, shuttering events where billions of dollars worth of deals have been signed at in the past.

The postponed events, including some scheduled as late as end March, show the ripple effect the virus is having on businesses globally with airlines cancelling flights as governments and companies curb travel, and thousand of factories and shops remain shut.

One example is China's oldest and biggest trade fair, the Canton Fair.

It has suspended exhibitions until further notice.

The Canton Fair was due to hold its spring exhibition from April 15.

Last year, US$29.7 billion (S$41 billion) worth of deals were signed at the event.

China is also considering delaying an annual meeting of its highest legislative body, the National People's Congress, from March 5, sources said.

"The situation doesn't look likely to be contained by March," a government official said.

Separately, hundreds of experts will gather in Geneva next Tuesday and Wednesday to try to speed research into drugs and vaccines, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, adding that a multinational WHO-led team would also visit China.

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said participants would include experts in clinical investigations and research into an animal source of the virus, which emerged at a market in Wuhan.

"We want to bring the best minds, people who have experience in this...," she said.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a multinational WHO-led team would go to China soon to work with Chinese authorities in tackling the outbreak. He gave no details.

The WHO-led mission may include experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. - REUTERS