Japan Confirms First Death From New Coronavirus
Japanese authorities on Thursday confirmed the first death in the country from the new coronavirus that originated in China.
The victim was a Japanese woman in her 80s.
Test results came back as positive after her death, Heath Minister Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference in Kyodo, according to The Japan Times.
Kato told reporters that the woman was being treated at a hospital near Tokyo since early February after showing symptoms of the new virus, known as COVID-19.
The woman is the countrys first confirmed fatality and the second reported outside of China. The first took place in the Philippines. That person was a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus.
China has reported tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths. Many experts and public health officials believe the number is higher than the Chinese Communist Party is reporting.
Forty-four new cases, meanwhile, were confirmed among the passengers on a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, Princess Cruises confirmed in a statement. The Diamond Princess ship now has 218 cases out of 713 people tested since it entered port on Feb. 3, by far the largest cluster of infections outside of China. There are some 3,700 people on board.
Princess Cruises said that Japanese health officials are planning to let people complete the two-week quarantine at a facility on land.
The passengers will be tested for the virus and if its positive theyll be taken to a local hospital. If its negative, theyll be told they can leave the ship for transport to a housing facility to finish the quarantine period. The facility includes private rooms and bathrooms with Japanese bento-style boxes for meals.
“From the information available it is our understanding that this will be a phased approach, with the most medically vulnerable guests in the first phase, including older adults with preexisting health conditions,” Princess Cruises stated.
Kato said five of the patients sent to hospitals earlier have severe symptoms and are on artificial respirators or under intensive care.