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The Latest: EU says new virus poses serious danger

BEIJING – The Latest on a virus outbreak that began in China (all times local):

6 p.m.

The European Union commissioner for crisis management says the new virus that emerged in China creates a “worrisome” situation that will be discussed during a special meeting of health ministers from the 27-member bloc.

Speaking Monday in Brussels, Janez Lenarcic said the virus is spreading with great speed and poses a “serious danger for public health.”

He added that the meeting of health ministers will take place Thursday and will help coordinate the actions of member states.

The EU commission allocated 10 million euros last month to research the virus. Lenarcic said the EU will continue to offer China assistance in fighting the outbreak.

Lenarcic said more than 500 EU citizens have been repatriated to the continent since the outbreak started. China on Monday said 908 people have died of the virus on the mainland and over 40,170 have been infected. More than 440 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, including two deaths in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

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5 p.m.

Britain has declared the new virus from China a "serious and imminent threat to public health'' and announced new measures to combat the spread of the disease.

The Department of Health and Social Care on Monday said it would forcibly detain infected people if necessary. It also named two British hospitals as isolation facilities for those affected by the disease.

It said the measures would help delay or prevent further transmission of the virus.

The changes come after a British man who caught the virus in Singapore in January appeared to be linked to at least seven 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.

French medical authorities tested 45 children and their families Sunday from the area and temporarily closed three schools where the boy spent time.

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4:30 p.m.

A group of Japanese passengers on board a quarantined cruise ship have asked the country's health ministry to improve conditions on the vessel.

The group said elderly people and others with disabilities and chronic diseases are not getting enough support because of all the attention given to anti-virus measures.

“Our living environment on board has rapidly deteriorated and we need the issues addressed quickly,” the group said Monday in a statement released through Japanese media.

They asked officials to speed up the delivery of refills of their prescription medicine, dispatch more medical staff, and improve their living conditions, including more frequent room cleaning.

“We are increasingly getting worried, as information released to the passengers is insufficient,” they said.

Japan's health ministry said Monday an additional 65 cases were found aboard the cruise ship, quarantined in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, raising the total to 135.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the Japanese government is considering testing all 3,711 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess.