COVID-19 Found to Be More Contagious than MERS or SARS
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A Chinese study has determined that the coronavirus COVID-19 is more contagious than related viruses that cause MERS or SARS, CNN reported Wednesday. “The novel coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people, almost all in mainland China,” the U.S. news agency added.
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COVID-19 has “sickened more than 75,000 worldwide, with a recent spike in infections in Singapore, Japan and South Korea,” CNN noted.
Despite the numbers, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China’s measures to prevent and control the epidemic “are achieving visible progress,” said a CNN story from Hong Kong, citing the Chinese official Xinhua news agency. In a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Xi said China has “mobilized the entire country, and adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures.”
Quarantined Cruise Passengers Now Disembarking from the Diamond Princess
Meanwhile, cruise ship passengers who tested negative for the novel coronavirus have begun disembarking from the British-owned and operated Diamond Princess. The cruise ship has been anchored off Yokohama, Japan, for several weeks.
Of the 3,700 passengers and crew on board, 621 people have tested positive for the virus.
Some Cruise Ship Passengers Return to California and Texas
According to NBC News, more than 300 U.S. citizens and their immediate family members were taken off the vessel and flown back to the United States on two chartered flights. The aircraft landed at Travis Air Force Base, California, and at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, early Monday.
Fourteen Passengers with COVID-19 Placed in Special Containment Areas on Flights
However, 14 Americans who were among the evacuees tested positive for the novel coronavirus. “These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols," a State Department spokesperson told NBC News.
Experts Still Concerned about Future COVID-19 Infections from Cruise Ship Passengers
Infectious disease experts, however, are raising concerns that “those on board could be unknowingly carrying the virus back to their home areas.” Last week, the World Health Organization called the virus epidemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, “a very grave threat for the rest of the world.”