More offices and stores in Beijing and other parts of China finally reopened Monday after the Lunar New Year break was extended to discourage travel and contain the new coronavirus, but many workers and shoppers appeared to stay home.

Public health authorities are watching closely to see whether the return to business worsens the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 40,000 people globally and killed over 900, with most cases in China.

Even before the slow and cautious reopening, China on Monday reported a rise in new cases, dimming optimism that the near-quarantine of some 60 million people and other disease-control measures might be working.

Britain, meanwhile, declared the virus a “serious and imminent threat to public health” and said it would forcibly detain infected people if necessary. France tested scores of children and their parents after five British tourists contracted the virus at a ski resort.

The director-general of the World Health Organization said that the agency is still unable to predict where the outbreak is heading but that he believes there is still an opportunity to contain it. “In recent days, we have seen some concerning instances of onward transmission from people with no travel history to China, like the cases reported in France yesterday and the U.K. today,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The detection of the small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire, but for now, it’s only a spark.”

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, wearing a mask, visited a community health center in Beijing. He had his temperature taken and expressed thanks to the health workers on behalf of the Communist Party and government.

“We will most definitely win this people’s war,” he said.

More cases aboard cruise ship

Japan said an additional 65 cases were found aboard a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, near Tokyo, raising the total to 135.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the Japanese government was considering testing all 3,700 or so passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess, which would require them to remain aboard until results were available. Health authorities are scrambling to deliver medicine requested by more than 600 passengers.

“We are doing the utmost to keep everyone in good health,” Kato said.

At least 20 of the infected passengers are from the U.S. Forest Grove woman Rebecca Frasure was among those previously diagnosed. She has been at a Japanese hospital since last week. Her husband, Kent Frasure, said over the weekend she was doing well.

“Right now, I’m not very worried,” he said from his suite on the ship, where he had to stay to wait out the rest of the 14-day quarantine. “She’s not showing any signs of the virus.”

Britain and France act

Britain issued its “imminent threat” declaration after a British man who caught the virus in Singapore in January appeared linked to several other confirmed cases in Europe. Five Britons, including a 9-year-old boy, contracted the virus in the French Alpine ski town of Contamines-Montjoie after staying in the same chalet as the British man.

Jerome Salomon, head of France’s national health agency, said that in the wake of the episode, 61 people, including many children who went to school with the boy, were tested and proved negative for the virus.

The Oregonian contributed to this report.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.