BEIJING — The number of people infected on a cruise ship south of Tokyo with a new strain of coronavirus almost doubled on Monday, as authorities in China and beyond pursued greater quarantine measures to contain the disease.

Deaths from the new coronavirus have hit 909, the Chinese government announced, with 97 fatalities within 24 hours — one of the grimmest figures of the outbreak so far.

The operator of a cruise ship that was quarantined in the port of Yokohama in Japan due to an outbreak of coronavirus on board reported that about 66 more people had been infected with the virus.

They are going to be transferred to medical facilities in Japan, Princess Cruise Lines said. The new cases included Japanese, Americans, Australians, Filipinos, and one person each from Canada, Britain and Ukraine.

This raised the total infections on the Diamond Princess liner to about 136.

The ship was quarantined after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was confirmed to be infected with the virus earlier this month.


Meanwhile, a top Chinese scientist reported that the incubation period of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV could be as long as 24 days.

Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese epidemiologist who gained fame for his work managing the 2003 SARS outbreak and was appointed a top adviser for the 2019-nCoV crisis, co-authored a study saying that the incubation period could be less than one day or as long as 24 days — 10 days longer than previously suggested.

The article, which was written by a team of Chinese experts and is still awaiting peer review, indicates that the mean incubation period is three days, Hong Kong’s Now News reported.

Quarantine provisions for those suspected of carrying the infection currently extend 14 days, during which time the carrier may not exhibit symptoms.

The World Health Organization, which is holding a two-day summit of coronavirus experts beginning Tuesday, said it is skeptical about the possible 24-day incubation period.

Some people get exposed to the virus more than one time, making it seem as if their incubation period lasts very long, WHO emergency operations chief Mike Ryan told a press conference in Geneva.


Back in China, the country’s biggest cities have implemented “lockdown-style” measures to contain the spread of the pathogen.

A “vast majority” of residential compounds in Shanghai, China’s financial hub and most populous urban center, have implemented the measures, disease prevention and control officials in the city said at a news conference.

Individuals who were unable to present proof of residence or employment in the city would also be prevented from entering the coastal metropolis of 24 million, officials added.

Beijing officials said they would also enforce a “strict registration” system for entries into the city, and volunteer patrol groups would enforce lockdown measures in communities without walls and established entry and exit points.

With similar measures already in place in Tianjin and Chongqing, all four of China’s directly-administered mega cities — considered on par with provinces — are now under effective lockdown.

Over 3,000 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in China on Monday, according to the country’s National Health Commission, bringing the nationwide tally to 40,235.


The figures for recovered patients climbed by 632 to a total of 3,283.

The impact on business continues. Apartment broker Airbnb has temporarily stopped rentals in Beijing due to the coronavirus, the U.S. company said. German car giant Volkswagen also announced it was again delaying the resumption of production at its factories in China.

Outside mainland China, further travel restrictions are being put in place.

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control announced that they were increasing restrictions on people from Hong Kong and Macau after the number of coronavirus cases in Hong Kong jumped to 38, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Hong Kong authorities, who began a mandatory two-week quarantine for arrivals from mainland China on Saturday, reported at a Monday news conference that two people under self-quarantine had disappeared, according to public broadcaster RTHK.

European countries continued to be on alert, with the British government on Monday introducing emergency powers, including forcible quarantine, in response to the “imminent threat” from the virus.

Across Europe, more than 550 people have so far been repatriated from China’s Wuhan region where the coronavirus began, EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said.

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