Health Minister Nobukatsu Kato said 10 people on the cruise ship were tested positive for the virus and were taken to the hospitals, while all other 3,700 crew and passengers on the ship will be quarantined on board for up to 14 days. Tests are still being conducted.
However, in Hong Kong, hospital workers are on strike to raise their voice for the complete shut down of the border with mainland China to ward off the virus, by far four new cases being unknown has reached to the mainland which indicates the illness is spreading locally in the territory.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch at the Center for Health Protection said rapid growth of the caseload "indicates significant risk of community transmission" and could be a threat to societ at large.
Hospitals in Hong Kong said due to the workers on strike they had to cut some services. On Tuesday, more than 7,000 joined the strike as per the Hospital Authority Employees' Alliance, the strike organiser.
Carrie Lam, known as a prominent leader of the territory has demeaned the strike and noted the government was doing all it could to limit the flow of people across the border. Inspite closing all land and sea links the striking workers want it to shut completely.
Lam told reporters, "Important services, critical operations have been affected. So I'm appealing to those who are taking part in this action: Let's put the interests of the patients and the entire public health system above all other things."
Wuhan, being the epicentre of the outbreak has been completely cut off by rail, air and road to try to contain the virus, the U.S. and other countries were organizing more evacuation flights for their citizens still in the central Chinese city.
The latest mainland China figures showed an increase of 65 deaths from the previous day, all the new deaths from Wuhan. The number of new cases increased to 24,324, a rise of 3,887 from the previous day. Outside mainland China, at least 180 cases have been confirmed, including two fatalities, one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.
China has ruhsed to build hospitals and converted a gymnasium, exhibition hall and cultural center in Wuhan to treat the thousands of patients. In new, 1,000-bed hospital with prefabricated wards and isolation rooms patients were shifted. A 1,500-bed hospital also specially built opens in days. The hospitals made from converted public spaces to treat patients with mild symptoms have a total of 3,400 beds, the simple cots placed in tight rows in voluminous rooms without any barriers between them.
One man, Fang Bin, said on his visit to the city's No. 5 Hospital wards on Saturday, he saw that it was overly crowded and some patients were forced to sit on the ground. On posting a video on what he saw, Fang was taken from his home and questioned by cops to investigate.
With the confirmation of 10 cases confirmed on the Japanese cruise ship has led to increase in total number of people affected by virus to 33. There were among 273 people tested because they had a cough or fever, which are symptoms of the virus, or had close contact with a man who got off the ship in Hong Kong and was infected.
Although, some tests are still pending, transmission to each person isn't clear, and the others may have gotten the virus when they got off the ship at other port calls in Vietnam, Taiwan, Kagoshima and Okinawa. The ship returned to Yokohama, near Tokyo on Monday.
On Tuesday, six more cases have been confirmed by Thailand, denominating 25 cases. Two are motorcycle taxi drivers who had driven for Chinese tourists. Earlier, a Thai taxi driver was also diagnosed with the virus. The cases are matter of concern because they suggest the virus can spread more easily between people than has been suspected.
Dr. David Heymann, who led the World Health Organization's response to the SARS outbreak, said it's too early to tell when the new coronavirus will be at its peak, but that it appears to still be on the increase. He further added, the spike in China's recent caseload is partly because the tally was expanded to milder cases, not only people with pneumonia. It is not yet considered a pandemic, or worldwide outbreak, which WHO defines as sustained transmission in at least two world regions.
Heymann said that as the new virus starts to spread beyond China, scientists will gain a better understanding of it. "What we will see is the clearer natural history of the disease, as those exposed to the virus are being traced and watched very closely," he said.
Nevertheless, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries outside China to share more data on infections, saying detailed information has been provided in only 38 per cent of cases. "Without better data, it's very hard for us to assess how the outbreak is evolving or what impact it could have and to ensure we're providing the most appropriate recommendations," Ghebreyesus said.