Coronavirus, cruises and hand sanitizer bouquets

Normally Valentine's Day in China means couples flocking to shops and cafes, but this year customers are few and far between in Beijing and other cities.

The coronavirus is keeping the country at home.

This week, even hand sanitizer sold with bouquets aren't tempting many couples to venture outdoors.


(SOUNDBITE)(MANDARIN WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) BEIJING FLORIST, CAI XIAOMAN, SAYING:

"There was a customer who ordered a bouquet here, and they asked me whether I could sanitize it before it was delivered."

Friday saw another rise in the death toll in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

116 deaths was smaller than Thursday's surge after authorities changed the way they tally victims.

However, Japan announced its first fatality - a woman in her 80s near Tokyo.

Japan is one of the worst affected countries outside of China.

That's largely because of a cruise liner that now reports more than 200 confirmed cases on board.

It's led to suspicion of cruises across Asia.

Another ship was left in limbo for weeks after being turned away by five countries.

But on Friday they were finally let off in Cambodia, and greeted by the prime minister.

The country's health ministry says no one was found carrying the virus.

And passengers were elated.

"We have a long journey ahead, it's good to be home but the crew and everybody else on board has been absolutely marvelous. Thank you so much."

Back in China officials revealed a new and grim statistic on Friday.

A high-ranking health official said that more than 1,700 health workers had been infected by the virus and six had died.