BEIJING (AP) — China counted 170 deaths from a new virus Thursday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical observation and even isolation.
India and the Philippines reported their first cases, in a traveler and a student who had both been in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the new type of coronavirus first surfaced in December. South Korea confirmed a case that was locally spread, in a man who had contact with a patient diagnosed earlier.
Locally spread cases outside China have been a worrying concern among global health officials, as potential signs of the virus spreading more easily and the difficulty of containing it. The World Health Organization is reconvening experts on Thursday to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.
The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, another type of coronavirus.
Thursday’s figures for mainland China cover the previous 24 hours and represent an increase of 38 deaths and 1,737 cases for a total of 7,711. Of the new deaths, 37 were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, and one was in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
Three of Japan’s confirmed cases were among a group of evacuees who returned on a government-chartered flight from Wuhan on Wednesday. Japan’s foreign ministry said a second flight carrying 210 Japanese evacuees landed Thursday at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Reports said nine of those aboard the flight showed signs of cough and fever.
India’s health ministry said a student in Kerala state who had been studying in Wuhan was confirmed to have the virus after returning home during the Lunar New Year break. Philippine health officials say a woman who traveled to the country from Wuhan via Hong Kong had tested positive.
Vietnam, meanwhile, confirmed three new cases on Thursday— all people returned from Wuhan — bringing its total to five. The patients, who are receiving treatment in Hanoi and Thanh Hoa provinces, are all in stable condition, Do Xuan Tuyen, deputy minister of health, said in a statement.
The United States evacuated 195 Americans from Wuhan who are being tested and monitored at a Southern California military base. A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said additional evacuation flights were being planned for Monday or surrounding days.