A rise in new coronavirus cases on Monday broke a recent series of declines, crushing optimism that control measures in isolated major Chinese cities are being effective.
China reported another 3,062 cases over the 24 hours throughout midnight Sunday — up 15% from Saturday. The coronavirus death count now stands at 909, surpassing the 774 deaths seen during the SARS outbreak in China in 2002-2003. One American and one Japanese citizen succumbed to the disease over the weekend, marking the first non-Chinese fatalities linked to the virus.
More than 40,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed globally as of Monday.
Chinese go back to work
Workers began going back to factories and offices Monday as the Chinese government eased some restrictions on working during the coronavirus outbreak. However, many workplaces remain closed and a number of white-collar workers will continue to work from home.
Meanwhile, a team of international experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) has departed for Beijing to investigate the coronavirus outbreak, the UN health agency announced.
The death toll of 97 on Sunday was the highest in a single day since the outbreak was detected in December.
New case in UK, Spain
The second and last plane to evacuate British nationals from Wuhan, the center of the virus outbreak, arrived in southern England on Sunday. More than 200 people were on the flight, including 20 German citizens. They were taken to Berlin, where they'll be quarantined for 14 days.
Another 17 evacuees were flown on to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Romania on special flights. Thirty-five French citizens on the British flight were taken to southern France and immediately placed under quarantine.
After another case of the virus was identified in the country, the UK declared on Monday that the coronavirus was a "serious and imminent threat to public health." The total number of infections in the UK currently stands at four.
The British government introduced emergency powers Monday, including forcible quarantine.
The ministry designated Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park as "isolation" facilities and China's Hubei province as an "infected area."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has made regulations "to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus," the health ministry said in a statement.
Britain's four new coronavirus cases are all "known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France," Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said.
On Sunday, Spain announced its second confirmed case. Officials said both new infections were acquired while the parties were in the French Alps. They are believed to have come into contact with the British tourist who became infected during a trip to Singapore last month.
Cruise ships remain stranded in the ports off coastal cities. Hong Kong on Sunday allowed 3,600 people aboard the World Dream cruise ship to disembark after all 1,800 crew tested negative for the infection.
Meanwhile, the Diamond Princess cruise ship entered its fifth day of quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama.
Local broadcaster NHK, citing Japan's Health Ministry, reported Monday that about 60 more people on board the cruise have been infected with the coronavirus. The ship now has 130 confirmed cases of coronavirus on board.
The vessel carries around 3,711 passengers and crew members in total from more than 50 countries. They will not be allowed to disembark until February 19 at the earliest.
The Singapore Airshow scheduled for Sunday has insisted that the show— the largest aerospace event in Asia — must go on, despite 70 exhibitors pulling out over coronavirus fears, including US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.