British man dies from Covid-19 in Japan

A British man who was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from coronavirus, Japan’s Health Ministry says.

He is the first British person to die from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

Hundreds of people on board the liner became infected while it was held in quarantine off the port of Yokohama – and six have since died.

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK rose to 19.

Earlier on Friday, three more cases of the virus were confirmed in the UK, including the first one in Wales.

Two new patients in England contracted the virus while in Iran, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Public Health Wales said it was working to identify close contacts of the Welsh patient, who is believed to be from the Swansea area and was infected in Italy before returning to the UK.

The Foreign Office said it is investigating the reports about the British man’s death.

A group of 30 British nationals and two Irish citizens were flown back to the UK from the cruise ship last Saturday.

They were taken on coaches to Arrow Park hospital in Wirral, where they are spending two weeks in quarantine.

The coronavirus-hit cruise ship was put under quarantine in Yokohama in early February after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to have the virus.

Passengers were initially isolated in their cabins and later allowed to sporadically go out on deck.

At least 621 people on the ship tested positive for the virus.

Northern Ireland also confirmed its first case on Thursday. Authorities said they have contacted passengers who sat near the woman on a flight from northern Italy to Dublin.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee on Monday in response to a growing number of cases in Europe.

Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned that the coronavirus outbreak could lead to a downgrade of the UK’s economic growth prospects, in an interview with Sky News.

Experts have warned of school closures and the cancellation of major sporting events, concerts and festivals in the UK in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, which causes Covid-19.

England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said on Thursday that transmission of the virus between people in the UK was “just a matter of time”.

The World Health Organization warned that the outbreak had reached a “decisive point” and had “pandemic potential”.

Globally, more than 80,000 people have been infected. About 2,800 have died – the majority in China’s Hubei province.

It comes as airline Jet2 said British guests at a locked-down hotel in Tenerife would not be flown home until 10 March, unless they tested negative.

Some 168 Britons were among hundreds of guests confined to the Costa Adeje Palace earlier this week.

What should I do to minimise the risk?

Public health advice is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze, throw away tissues immediately after use and wash your hands frequently.

It is also advised to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands and avoid close contact with people who are unwell.


Diamond Princess. Image by Alpsdake, via Wikipedia

Diamond Princess. Image by Alpsdake, via Wikipedia

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