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February 15 coronavirus news

What we're covering here

  • More cases: The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 67,000 people globally, the vast majority in mainland China. The death toll is over 1,520, including four people outside mainland China.
  • First death in Europe: A Chinese tourist who tested positive for the virus died in France, health officials confirmed on Saturday.
  • Medical workers at risk: China says over 1,700 medical workers have been infected by the virus, and six have died.
  • Spike in numbers: There's been a spike in numbers because China changed how cases are tabulated. The total will now include people who demonstrate all the symptoms of Covid-19 but have not been tested, or are believed to have falsely tested negative.
7:51 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has moved here.
6:40 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

Demand for robots among Chinese retailers is rising amid the coronavirus outbreak

Delivery robots are in high demand among retailers after many employees have not been able to return to work due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

"Orders are now about six times higher than they used to be. Our engineers have been working remotely, and we hope to start production next week and solve the current supply and demand problem," said Liu Zhiyong, the CEO of ZhenRobotics.

Credit: CCTV

Robots are becoming an alternative for retailers as shops are shuttered, public facilities are closed and few people are wandering on the streets.

Here’s how China's companies are trying to get back to business amid the outbreak.

5:36 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

This is where novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide

The novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world since the first cases were detected in central China in December, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

Meanwhile, a number of countries, such as the United States and Japan, have evacuated their nationals on flights from Wuhan, capital of the Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak.

Here's map showing places outside mainland China with confirmed cases of the coronavirus:

3:52 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

Here's a look at where the coronavirus cases are throughout mainland China

More than 66,000 cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in mainland China since Dec. 31. Here's a map showing where the confirmed cases are, according to data from the World Health Organization:

2:38 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

First case of coronavirus involving Westerdam cruise ship confirmed, a US citizen

The Westerdam cruise ship is seen past Cambodian policemen as it approaches port in Sihanoukville, Cambodia's southern coast, on February 13. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images

The first case of coronavirus involving the Westerdam cruise ship was confirmed by Malaysia on Saturday, after an 83-year-old US citizen tested positive, according to a report from state media Bernama.

Several Asian countries refused to let the Westerdam dock in their ports before being allowed to disembark in Cambodia on Friday. The cruise ship, which had a total of 1,455 guests and 802 crew onboard was not under quarantine, Holland America Line said last week.  

All passengers and crew members onboard the cruise ship were allowed to return to their respective countries by the Cambodian government after they successfully passed through health screenings. 

The US citizen and her husband, also American, were found to have symptoms as soon as they landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Cambodia, Bernama added. They were referred to the Sungai Buloh hospital for examination, which concluded that the woman tested positive while her husband, age 85, tested negative.

The husband is still undergoing treatment and observation at the hospital for his symptoms.

The total tally of confirmed cases in Malaysia is now up to 22, according to a report from state media Bernama. 

CNN has reached out to the State Department for a comment.

1:31 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

US cruise ship passengers urged to disembark, return to US

US citizens aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan will undergo extensive screening and a 14 day quarantine period should they choose to disembark.

On Saturday, US passengers received an email from the State Department urging them to leave the ship and return to the United States. There are currently some 400 US citizens aboard the Diamond Princess.

The State Department will provide chartered flights for those who choose to leave. Passengers choosing to fly back aboard the charter will be screened before they leave the ship and monitored by medical personnel during their return to the US, according to a news release from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once back in the country, passengers will undergo a 14 day quarantine period at either Travis Air Base in California or Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. The passengers returning from Japan will be housed separately from those evacuated from China at the same bases.

More context: So far at least 24 Americans aboard the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus aboard the ship. Americans who have already tested positive for coronavirus, as well as those showing symptoms of the virus, will not be able to board the charter aircraft back to the United States, and will continue to receive treatment in Japan.

 

3:43 p.m. ET, February 15, 2020

Hopes dashed for cruise ship couple from US hoping to evacuate

Rebecca Frasure and her husband, Kent, aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship. CNN

An American couple from Oregon who traveled in the Diamond Princess cruise ship that's docked at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama have had their hopes of coming home dashed.

Rebecca Frasure has tested positive for the virus, which means she can’t board a flight to the US and has to remain in quarantine at a nearby hospital.

Her husband Kent remains on the cruise ship and it's unclear what he will do.

“It was like a punch in the gut. I was so sure that this was going to come out negative. I was so sure that this was going to come out negative,” Rebecca Frasure told CNN.

Getting out: The US is sending charter planes to evacuate US citizens and their families Sunday evening local time. Those who choose to fly back on the planes will be quarantined for 14 days once they arrive.
11:12 a.m. ET, February 15, 2020

Japan "appreciates" American Diamond Princess evacuation plan

The Japanese government said it “appreciates” the US decision to offer voluntary evacuation to American citizens and their immediate family on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

“The Government of Japan believes that the measures taken by the US government will help mitigate the Government of Japan’s burden regarding medical response in the ‘Diamond Princess’ and appreciates such measures," the ministry said.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,600 people quarantined onboard due to fears of the new coronavirus, is seen at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 14. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Evacuation flights: The United States is sending charter planes to evacuate US citizens and their families Sunday evening local time. Those who choose to fly back on the evacuation planes will be quarantined for 14 days once they arrive.

9:58 a.m. ET, February 15, 2020

Japan confirms 3 more coronavirus cases

Japanese officials report another three cases of coronavirus, totaling nine new cases Saturday not from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

These cases are in addition to the 67 reported earlier today from the Diamond Princess.

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