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Coronavirus cases top 31,000 as U.S. plans more evacuations from outbreak epicenter in China

Posted at 10:48 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 00:48:08-05

Several more U.S. government-chartered evacuation flights were expected to depart Wuhan, China, on Thursday, a day after two planes carrying about 350 people arrived in California. About 250 evacuees will arrive in San Antonio, Texas, on Friday; 70 others are headed to Omaha, Nebraska. The passengers will spend up to two weeks under quarantine while they are monitored for symptoms of the flu-like virus.

The death toll from the virus was at least 638 as of Thursday evening. All but two of the deaths occurred in mainland China, with one person dead in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong. More than 31,000 people have been infected with the virus, the vast majority of them in China.

One of the deaths was Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor who was threatened by the government after he voiced concerns about the new coronavirus. Wenliang died at 2:58 a.m. local time on Feb. 7, the Wuhan Central Hospital said in a statement.

In Japan, at least three Americans were among 61 passengers confirmed to have the new coronavirus on a cruise ship quarantined in a Japanese port.

The number of cases in the U.S. rose to 12 on Wednesday, with officials in Wisconsin confirming the state's first case. There are also cases in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington and Illinois.