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Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 900


Passengers from the cruise ship "World Dream" docked at Kai Tak cruise terminal, gesture in Hong Kong, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. The cruise ship "World Dream" with approximately 1,800 passengers remained quarantined in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on…

More cases on a cruise ship in Japan; Britain declares virus 'imminent threat'.

The number of deaths from a coronavirus outbreak in China has topped 900, while an increase in cases in Britain led the government there to declare the virus a "serious and imminent threat" to public health.

Chinese health officials reported 97 new deaths Sunday, pushing the total to 908. There were also 3,062 new cases, which reversed a multi-day downward trend that had brought hopes containment measures were working.

Britain reported four new cases Monday, bringing its total to eight people testing positive for the virus. Health Minister Matt Hancock made the declaration about the threat to public health to give the government more power to isolate people in its bid to keep the virus from spreading.

In Japan, a cruise ship remains in quarantine in Yokohama with 66 new cases reported Monday, more than doubling the number of known cases on board.

The Diamond Princess was ordered to remain isolated last week after a passenger who got off the ship in Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus.

The center of the outbreak is China's Hubei province where millions remain under lockdown and people are complaining of food shortages.

Commerce official Wang Bin said Sunday said there are poor logistics, price increases and labor shortages.

"It is difficult for the market supply to reach normal levels," he acknowledged. Currently, he said there is a five-day supply of pork and eggs, and a three-day supply of vegetables.

China's central bank said that starting Monday it would make available 300 billion yuan ($43 billion) to help businesses involved in fighting the epidemic.

Joseph Eisenberg, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, told the Reuters news agency it was too early to say whether the epidemic was peaking due to the uncertainty in the number of cases.

"Even if reported cases might be peaking, we don't know what is happening with unreported cases," he said. "This is especially an issue in some of the more rural areas."

The death toll from the coronavirus is higher than that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-03, which is believed to have killed 774 people and sickened nearly 8,100 in China and the special administrative region of Hong Kong.

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