Travel companies banning some passengers from boarding - NBC News' Sarah Dallof reports
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KYMA, KECY/NBC News) - Governments and travel companies are now taking new steps in hopes of halting the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Some cruise lines are stopping passengers who've recently traveled to China, Hong Kong, or Macau from boarding. And at least one - Royal Caribbean - is going even further. It's prohibiting passport holders from those locations from boarding as well.
Meanwhile, more Americans evacuated from the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak are now back in the U.S, where they'll be quarantined for two weeks at military bases.
"They are considered increased risk for exposure, doesn't mean they'll get sick." said Dr. Eric Kasowski of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In Japan, a floating quarantine aboard the "Diamond Princess," where moe than 60 people onboard have tested positive. That includes eight Americans.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has now sickened more than 31,000, and killed nearly 640.
The death rate in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, exceeds four-percent.
"People are just really scared to even become sick and they're definitely not going to the hospital because it could be worse than staying at home." said Ben Wilson, an American living in Wuhan.
In the U.S., health officials say at least 12 people have tested positive. Results are pending on dozens more, including four passengers on a cruise ship docked in New Jersey Friday morning.
"Although the virus represents a potentially very serious public health threat, and we expect to continue seeing more cases here, the immediate risk to the American public is low at this time." said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
There's good news in Chicago, where two patients are being discharged from the hospital and transitioning to home isolation. The pair say they look forward to getting back to normal.