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Virus infects more than 1,700 health workers in China, 6 die

China also is reporting another sizable rise in the total number of people sickened by the virus.

A Chinese health official says more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected by the new virus and six have died.

China also is reporting another sizable rise in the total number of people sickened by the virus, which has killed nearly 1,400 people and spread to other parts of Asia, the U.S. and Europe.

The number of cases has been rising more quickly since the hardest-hit province changed the way it is counting them. Hubei province is now including cases based on a physician’s diagnosis before they have been confirmed by lab tests.

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In Japan, health officials allowed 11 elderly people to leave a quarantined cruise ship after they tested negative for the virus. 

In the U.S., 15 people have been confirmed with the disease. Health officials announced the case Thursday in a person who had been evacuated from China to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there will likely be additional cases of the virus "in the coming days and weeks." 

The ongoing outbreak in China has disrupted Valentine's Day festivities in the country. On a day where many couples treat themselves to a date night, many restaurants are struggling to cope with the impact of the disease. Fearful of infection, people are overwhelmingly choosing to stay home and cook for themselves. 

Moka Bros, a health food eatery in Beijing, offered a special on Valentine's day in light of the outbreak. Couples can celebrate Valentine's Day with a roast beef salad, hot chocolate, a rose and a note, all delivered to their door. The note, scrawled on the front of their sealed order, states the body temperature of the chef who made it. 

Temporary restrictions and dwindling crowds in places of worship across Asia have also underscored the extent of the scare over a viral outbreak that has permeated many aspects of life in the religiously diverse region.

Filipino Catholics have been asked to refrain from shaking or holding hands during Mass. Buddhist temples, Christian churches and Muslim mosques have been ordered closed in mainland China, where the new coronavirus strain was first detected.

In Hong Kong, public Masses have been suspended for two weeks. Discouraging the devout from going to the places of worship can be highly sensitive, and some consider it as a test of faith. Indonesia's health minister says a strong immunity, healthy lifestyle and prayers were the best weapons against the outbreak.

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