With the coronavirus spreading around the world, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told President Trump in a phone call Friday that his government is confident about, and capable of, defeating the epidemic.

Anger was swelling online in China over the death of a whistleblower doctor who tried to sound the alarm about the deadly outbreak but was silenced by Communist Party authorities. On social media, users hailed Li Wenliang as a hero, after the ophthalmologist was reported to have died of the virus late Thursday.

Social media users also began voicing rare fury toward the Chinese government and demanding freedom of speech, echoing the sentiments of the 1989 Tiananmen uprising, as censors moved to squelch the dissent.

Meanwhile, Chinese researchers said they have found evidence linking the spread of coronavirus to the pangolin, a mammal illegally trafficked in huge numbers for the supposedly healing qualities of its scales and meat.

Here are the latest developments:

● Chinese health officials say they confirmed more than 34,000 cases of the coronavirus, about 6,100 of which were severe. The death toll surpassed 720, with fatalities almost entirely confined to mainland China.

● An additional 44 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise liner, which has been quarantined in Japan, have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 64.

● Another cruise ship, the Westerdam, is at sea, and its crew is unsure where to go next, after being denied entry to the Philippines, Japan and South Korea. Passengers blame an ill-advised port stop in Hong Kong, where the boat took on many new passengers.

● What do we really know about the coronavirus? The Washington Post’s Carolyn Y. Johnson and Lena H. Sun tackle the biggest questions here.

1:45 a.m.
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Chicago couple diagnosed with coronavirus are discharged from the hospital

WASHINGTON — The Chicago couple who were the first person-to-person coronavirus patients in the United States have been discharged from the hospital and are isolated in their home.

The husband and wife, in their 60s, were released under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the AP reported, according to a statement from AMITA Health Alexius Medical Center at Hoffman Estates.

The couple, who have not been identified, said in the statement that they received “great” care in an uncomfortable situation.

“This has been the best healthcare experience we’ve ever had, but we’re definitely looking forward to getting home and getting life back to normal,” they said.

The husband became the country’s sixth coronavirus patient when he contracted the virus from his wife, who had recently traveled to Wuhan. Both were admitted to the hospital in late January with fever, coughing and shortness of breath, state and federal officials said at the time.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said last week that the man did not attend any large gatherings or take the city’s elevated-train system after he started experiencing systems.

“It is not a local emergency,” she said.

1:15 a.m.
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Number of people with coronavirus on quarantined cruise ship rises to 64

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Three more people on board the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Japan’s health ministry said Saturday.

The latest results mean 64 people from the 3,711 passengers and crew have now tested positive for the virus, not including a former passenger from Hong Kong who is thought to have brought the virus on board before disembarking. All passengers testing positive have been or will be taken to local hospitals in the Tokyo and Yokohama region.

Japan’s health ministry said it does not currently have plans to test everyone on board.

“Our current policy is to test passengers if the symptoms of the virus appear,” a Japanese government official who was not authorized to be named told reporters late Friday. “And in addition, we will test those at high risk, meaning who had close contacts with them.”

The official said research was continuing into what factors contributed to the infection on board.

“We have been working with experts to conduct epidemiological research by examining where the infected cases are found, whether they are concentrated in certain space based on the map of the cabins and other facilities,” the official said, in answer to a question about the risks of catching the virus through the ship’s air conditioning system.

“We may gain new information as a result of that examination. Still, as of now, we haven’t seen information that the virus is transmitted by air, or the infection is spreading by the ventilation system of the air conditioner.”

If the results suggest the infection rate is high on a particular floor, then tests may be extended to that floor — particularly to those at high risk, including older people and those with underlying health problems — to ensure they are not infected, the official said.

12:45 a.m.
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Thousands of new cases confirmed in China

WASHINGTON — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China jumped by roughly 3,400 on Friday, reaching a total of more than 34,000, according to the most recent figures from the country’s health officials. The total includes 16 cases on the self-governing island of Taiwan.

The death toll surpassed 720, up by about 85 from the previous day. The only deaths outside mainland China are one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

12:30 a.m.
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Passengers quarantined on cruise ship are desperate to escape

YOKOHAMA, Japan — In the four days since the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined thousands of passengers off the coast of Japan, the few dozen who have disembarked were wheeled off on stretchers and helped into ambulances. They coughed and ached and burned with fever — the latest to fall ill as the coronavirus spreads rapidly across Asia.

Growing desperate after days of being cooped up, Vana Mendizabal, 69, suddenly realized: What if her only escape route from the ship and the mandatory 14-day quarantine would be to come down with the virus?

She is one of hundreds of Americans stuck on the cruise ship halfway around the world.

Her travel insurance won’t arrange an evacuation unless she falls ill. Japan won’t allow anyone off the ship unless they are being transported to a hospital or have completed at least two weeks in quarantine. U.S. officials have not offered another solution to evacuate American passengers who are anxiously holed up on the cruise liner.

Mendizabal and her husband, Mario, 75, who are from Crystal River, Fla., feel stranded as they run out of clean clothes and patience.

“We are trying to somehow reach the State Department in hopes they will get us off here,” Vana Mendizabal said in a phone call from the couple’s cabin. “We are confined to our cabins, we’re breathing recirculated air, and it’s not a healthy environment for us to be staying in.”

A State Department official said Friday that U.S. officials were closely tracking the situation aboard the ship and that “once the passengers on the Diamond Princess finish their 14-day quarantine period, they will be permitted to depart Japan on commercial flights, which are readily available, and will not be subject to additional quarantine upon return to the United States.”

But as the number of sick steadily ticked up to 61 Friday, fears mounted among passengers that the quarantine could potentially expose them to the virus rather than protect them from it.

Japanese officials are investigating how the disease spread on the ship, but an official said Friday it didn’t appear to be through air or the ventilation system. The State Department official said that Japanese officials and cruise employees are doing their best to keep passengers safe and that “medical consensus and protocols state that the safest and most reliable way to prevent further spread of viral infections on cruise ships is for passengers to shelter in place.”

Read more here.

11:50 p.m.
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Norwegian Cruise Line announces it, too, will keep Chinese passport-holders off its ships

WASHINGTON — The parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line became the latest cruise operator to ban Chinese nationals from sailing late Friday.

“Any guest that holds a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport will be unable to board any of our ships, regardless of residency,” the company, which also owns Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said in a travel alert.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the world’s third-largest cruise company, had already announced that anyone who had traveled from, visited or passed through airports in China within 30 days of sailing would not be allowed on board, regardless of their nationality. The same rules apply to crew.

The announcement followed a similar one by Royal Caribbean Cruises, the world’s second-largest cruise operator. The company, whose lines include Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, put the policy in place Thursday, chief communications officer Rob Zeiger said.

On Friday, Royal Caribbean publicized the new rule after four passengers who had been in China 12 days earlier were taken to a hospital in New Jersey to rule out the new coronavirus as the cause of their symptoms. They were among more than two dozen people who were screened on the Anthem of the Seas liner after it arrived in Bayonne, N.J.; 23 others were cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cruise industry giant Carnival Corp. has not announced a similar measure. Carnival’s fleet includes the Diamond Princess, which is quarantined off Japan until at least Feb. 19 after 61 passengers on the current sailing were diagnosed with the new coronavirus and taken to hospitals on land.

11:30 p.m.
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Coronavirus may have a high rate of in-hospital transmission, study finds

WASHINGTON — The novel coronavirus may spread easily between people inside a hospital, including to health-care workers and patients being treated for other illnesses, a new study suggests.

Doctors affiliated with Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University observed 138 patients hospitalized with coronavirus-infected pneumonia from Jan. 1 to Jan. 28, according to a study published Friday in the medical journal JAMA.

The doctors said they suspect that 41 percent of those patients, including 40 health-care professionals and 17 already hospitalized people, had gotten the virus in the hospital. The study noted that in-hospital transmission of the virus “could not be definitively proven but was suspected and presumed” based on the patients’ exposure to previously infected patients and their own subsequent development of the virus.

The study also found that 26 percent of the patients were admitted to an intensive-care unit, and 4.3 percent died. Patients who went to an ICU were likely to be older or to have coexisting medical conditions. The doctors wrote, however, that because most patients were still hospitalized when they submitted their study for publication, they could not fully identify risk factors for a poor outcome.

The median age of the patients was 56, and 54.3 percent were men. For patients who were discharged, the median length of their hospital stay was 10 days.

9:30 p.m.
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China has started testing a drug that could treat coronavirus

WASHINGTON — China has begun a clinical trial of an antiviral agent to treat the coronavirus, health officials told reporters Friday.

Anthony S. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said China is studying remdesivir. The drug, made by the pharmaceutical company Gilead, is being compared with methods of controlling the respiratory illness.

Fauci also said that one of several vaccines for the infection, a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and the Massachusetts biotech company Moderna, remains on track. The next step will be to test it in mice.

Barring any new obstacles, scientists should be able to start testing the vaccine on people in a Phase 1 or safety trial in about two and a half months, Fauci said.

9:00 p.m.
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Royal Caribbean says it banned Chinese nationals the day before four passengers were hospitalized

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the day before four passengers on a Royal Caribbean ship were hospitalized in New Jersey with possible coronavirus infections, the cruise line instated a policy banning guests holding Chinese, Hong Kong or Macao passports, regardless of when they last visited China, said Rob Zeiger, the company’s chief communications officer, on Friday.

It was initially unclear when the ban was instituted. Zeiger first told The Post that the policy had “been public for more than a week.” He later amended that remark, saying the policy took effect Thursday. Some outlets reported that the measure went into place Friday.

Royal Caribbean announced Friday to guests on the Anthem of the Seas, a cruise ship docked roughly 15 miles from New York City, that “any guests holding a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, regardless of when they were there last, will not be allowed to board our ships.”

The company has also canceled trips from China through March 4 and barred “any individual who has traveled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days,” regardless of nationality, as well as anyone who has come within six feet of someone from those places in the past 15 days.

The apparent confusion within Royal Caribbean reflected the bewilderment of passengers, who reported first learning about a possible coronavirus case on their ship from the news.

Twenty-seven passengers who had recently traveled to China were screened and tested negative for the virus after one person reported flulike symptoms. Twenty-three were cleared, and the other four were taken to a hospital in Newark for additional testing.

“None of the four guests being tested by CDC showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement Friday. “One had tested positive onboard for Influenza A.”

8:40 p.m.
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U.S. still awaits China’s acceptance of scientists to help respond to the outbreak

WASHINGTON — China still has not accepted the United States’ offer to send personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with the coronavirus outbreak, officials said Friday.

“At this point, it’s a decision for the Chinese,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters. “We’re ready, willing and able to support the Chinese government” in learning more about the virus.

It was not clear why the Chinese were not accepting the assistance of CDC scientists and others. Azar said the World Health Organization provided the Chinese with the names of 25 scientists; 13 of them are from U.S. agencies such as the CDC, the National Institutes of Health and the HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

“We continue to expect fully that President Xi will accept that team,” Azar said.

At the same briefing, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said aircraft used to bring medical supplies to China had evacuated additional Americans from Wuhan.

After the briefing, a State Department spokesman said two flights that brought the evacuees back to the United States on Friday were the last scheduled for now, though that could change “as events arise.”

8:15 p.m.
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U.S. pledges $100 million to help countries handle coronavirus

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the United States would provide up to $100 million in aid to help China and other countries “contain and combat” the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the State Department helped arrange transportation to China for almost 18 tons of donated medical supplies, including masks, gowns and respirators.

“This commitment — along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector — demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak,” Pompeo said in a statement.

7:30 p.m.
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In the United States, some Chinese restaurants report decline in customers

WASHINGTON — Some Chinese restaurants in the United States have reported a decline in customers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

There are no known connections between U.S. restaurants and the spread of the virus.

In New York City, where no coronavirus cases have been documented, restaurant owners in Manhattan’s Chinatown reported a notable drop in business in recent weeks.

“It’s a ghost town in Chinatown right now,” Wilson Tang, owner of the nearly 100-year-old Nom Wah Tea Parlor, told Grub Street. “There’s just nobody around. Typically there’s a lot of tourists, stuff going on.”

Chinese food establishments across the country, from Philadelphia to Houston to San Francisco have reported a similar fall in demand.

In several cases, rumors scared customers off.

In San Francisco, home to large Chinese and other Asian communities, false claims that a worker at the AA Bakery and Cafe was infected with the virus circulated on WhatsApp, shrinking the usual flow of customers to a trickle, Eater reported.

Chinese restaurants, a core part of the American culinary experience, are grappling with more than just lost revenue.

There’s a long history in the United States of racist tropes around Asians and immigrants bringing in dangerous diseases and being compared to pathogens. Along with the public panic over the coronavirus epidemic, communities around the world have reported an uptick in discriminatory and xenophobic incidents targeting people of Asian heritage.

“The outbreak has had a decidedly dehumanizing effect, reigniting old strains of racism and xenophobia that frame Chinese people as uncivilized, barbaric ‘others’ who bring with them dangerous, contagious diseases and an appetite for dogs, cats, and other animals outside the norms of Occidental diets,” Eater reported.

6:20 p.m.
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Pompeo says U.S. is facilitating delivery of humanitarian relief to Wuhan

WASHINGTON — The United States is helping to deliver humanitarian relief to virus-stricken Wuhan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday.

“We have coordinated with U.S. organizations to transport more humanitarian relief to people in Wuhan,” the United States’ top diplomat said in a tweet. “Personal protective equipment and other medical supplies donated by these organizations can help save lives in China and help protect people from the coronavirus.”

Pompeo’s tweet included a short video of boxes being unloaded beside a plane.

The announcement came at an icy time for U.S.-China relations. Beijing has accused Washington of trying to use the coronavirus outbreak to harm China. Last Friday, the United States temporarily banned all non-U.S. citizens who had recently traveled in China.

6:01 p.m.
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Coronavirus may show risk of new zoonotic infection

WASHINGTON — The outbreak of a new kind of coronavirus in central China is loaded with mysteries, and among the biggest is how the virus made the jump from an animal host into humans. This global health crisis is a reminder of the danger of zoonosis — the ability of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, to enter the human population from an animal host.

The coronavirus is similar to two viruses that circulate in bats, but it might have skipped through another species before infecting humans.

Suspicion has fallen on the pangolin, an endangered, highly trafficked creature that looks like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo. Its scales are prized in traditional Chinese medicine, although they’re made of keratin, just like fingernails. In recent days, some researchers have noted that a coronavirus previously identified in pangolins is more closely related to the new coronavirus than any virus identified.

It’s not clear whether any bats or pangolins, alive or dead, were on sale in December at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, where more than half of the people first identified with the virus had shopped. And it’s possible that the viral leap into humans occurred somewhere else, as some early cases occurred in people with no known link to it.

The disease detectives need to nail down the host species, because there could be a population of animals capable of sparking new outbreaks, said Melissa Nolan, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina.

5:41 p.m.
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Trump says he thinks China is doing a ‘very good job’ on coronavirus

WASHINGTON — Trump praised the efforts of China to contain the coronavirus outbreak as he spoke to reporters at the White House on Friday, saying that “China is working very hard.”

“They’re working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job,” the president said. “We’re working together. World Health [Organization] is working with them. CDC is working with them,” he added, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Trump on Feb. 7 said he thought China would “do a very good job” to contain and combat the coronavirus. (The Washington Post)

The president was responding to a question from a reporter who had asked whether he was concerned that China was covering up the extent of the outbreak. Trump did not respond directly to a question about whether the outbreak could have an impact on the global economy.

The president said he had a “great conversation” with Chinese President Xi Jinping late Thursday night where they spoke mostly about the coronavirus outbreak.