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Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Says China Is Doing a ‘Very Good Job’ Handling Outbreak

China on Wednesday said it would revoke the credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters working in mainland China, in a significant escalation of Beijing’s pressure on foreign news organizations.

A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the move was in retaliation for a headline on a Feb. 3 opinion piece about the economic impact of the coronavirus. The Chinese authorities objected to article’s headline: “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia.”

The “sick man of Asia” was a derogatory characterization of China’s weaknesses in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when it was rived by internal divisions and exploited by foreign powers.

Chinese officials have “demanded that The Wall Street Journal recognize the seriousness of the error, openly and formally apologize, and investigate and punish those responsible,” Geng Shuang, the ministry spokesman, said in a transcript provided by the Chinese government.

“The Chinese people do not welcome media that publish racist statements and smear China with malicious attacks,” he added.

The revocations come less than one day after American officials said they would treat five government-controlled Chinese news organizations — Xinhua, CGTN, China Radio, China Daily and People’s Daily — as foreign government functionaries, subject to rules similar to those applied to diplomats stationed in the United States.

President Trump doubled down on his support of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday, calling his counterpart’s efforts “a very good job.”

“I think President Xi is working very hard,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country and he’s doing a very good job with a very, very difficult situation.”

He added that the United States was “working with him and helping him as of the last few days.”

The president’s praise for the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of an outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people in China contrasts with comments made by members of his administration.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, last week said the White House was “disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese” and said China had turned down American offers of help.

Mr. Trump’s recent comments also contrast those he made as a businessman in 2014, when he criticized the Obama administration’s approach to handling the Ebola outbreak. At the time, he said American doctors who had contracted the disease while working in Africa should be barred from entering the United States to seek treatment.

Passengers began disembarking on Wednesday from a cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan, as a two-week quarantine of the vessel was coming to an end even as a major coronavirus outbreak on board continued unabated.

An initial group of about 500 people were to leave the boat on the first day of what the Japanese authorities have said will be a three-day operation to offload those who have tested negative for the virus and do not have symptoms. Passengers who shared cabins with infected patients have been ordered to remain on the ship.

Several countries have arranged charter flights to take their nationals home after they leave the boat. Most if not all of these passengers face an additional two-week quarantine in their home countries.

The disembarkation is taking place even as at least 542 passengers aboard the ship, the Diamond Princess, have been infected with the virus. On Tuesday, the authorities announced an additional 88 cases on the ship, which originally carried about 3,700 passengers and crew members.

More than half of all the recorded cases outside China, the center of the epidemic, have been aboard the ship.

Many of the infected had already been removed from the ship and taken to nearby hospitals. More than 300 Americans, at least 14 of whom were infected, had also been taken off the boat earlier this week and placed in a 14-day quarantine at military bases in the United States.

But more than 100 Americans who were not evacuated on chartered flights cannot return home for at least two more weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

The agency said in a statement that virus containment measures on the ship “may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission.”

“C.D.C. believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk,” it added.

Passengers will not be allowed to return to the United States until they have been off the ship for 14 days, without any symptoms or a positive test for the virus, the agency said. The decision applies to those who have tested positive and are hospitalized in Japan, and to those who are still aboard the ship.

On Wednesday, the number of confirmed new cases in mainland China appeared again to be slowing, and was put at 1,749. That brought the country’s total number of reported infections to 74,185. Deaths in the previous 24 hours were put at 136, bringing the total in the mainland to 2,004.

Hong Kong reported its second death from the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the number of deaths from the virus outside of mainland China to six.

The victim, 70, had underlying health conditions and had traveled to the mainland for a day in late January, according to statements from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

He was taken to Queen Mary Hospital on Feb. 12 after suffering a fall at home, where he lived alone, the department said. The hospital said in a statement that the man died on Wednesday morning.

Hong Kong currently has 63 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has placed more than 100 patients under isolation as they await test results. The city has so far avoided a large-scale outbreak by imposing restrictions on the number of travelers entering from land ports.

But the virus has begun to spread among people who had not recently traveled to mainland China. Several confirmed patients had no recent travel history outside Hong Kong, and some transmissions may have occurred between colleagues, neighbors and friends who had shared meals, officials have said.

Additionally, 53 of the 260 Hong Kong residents quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have been infected with the virus. Officials in Hong Kong have said they will charter two planes to repatriate residents.

South Korea reported 15 more cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of patients infected with the disease to 46.

Of the 15 new patients, 13 were residents of Daegu, 186 miles southeast of Seoul, said the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a daily news briefing.

Ten of those infected were members of the same church, it said.

Of the new patients, 11 were believed to have contracted the disease through contact with a 61-year-old woman in Daegu who had earlier been diagnosed with the virus.

Officials said they have shut down or quarantined hospital emergency rooms in Daegu where the patients passed through.

South Korea has tested more than 10,000 people for the virus. Of those 46 who have tested positive, and 12 have been discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, officials said.

Economic fallout from the epidemic continued to spread on Tuesday, with new evidence emerging in manufacturing, financial markets, commodities, banking and other sectors.

HSBC, one of the most important banks in Hong Kong, said it planned to cut 35,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in costs as it faces headwinds that include the outbreak and months of political strife in Hong Kong. The bank, based in London, has come to depend increasingly on China for growth.

Jaguar Land Rover warned that the coronavirus could soon begin to create production problems at its assembly plants in Britain. Like many carmakers, Jaguar Land Rover uses parts made in China, where many factories have shut down or slowed production; Fiat Chrysler, Renault and Hyundai have already reported interruptions as a result.

U.S. stocks declined on Tuesday, a day after Apple warned that it would miss its sales forecasts because of the disruption in China. Stocks tied to the near-term ups and downs of the economy slumped, with financials, energy and industrial shares the leading losers.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.3 percent. Bond yields declined, with the 10-year Treasury note yielding 1.56 percent, suggesting that investors are lowering their expectations for economic growth and inflation.

With much of the Chinese economy stalled, demand for oil has fallen and prices were down on Tuesday, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate selling for roughly $52.

In Germany, where the economy depends heavily on global demand for machinery and automobiles, a key indicator showed economic sentiment has tumbled this month, as the economic outlook has weakened.

Reporting and research were contributed by Motoko Rich, Alexandra Stevenson, Choe Sang-Hun, Russell Goldman, Gerry Mullany, Austin Ramzy, Steven Lee Myers, Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock, Tiffany May and Elaine Yu.

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