Japan’s Health Ministry has confirmed the first death from novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the victim was not part of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese coast. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato, in a news conference, reportedly said that the Japanese woman was in her 80s and a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the confirmed cases of coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship has now reached 175 with two Indian crew onboard also testing positive for the deadly virus. Japan has decided to conduct tests on all passengers before allowing them to get off the cruise. Earlier, Katsunobu Kato had informed that the government is working to make medication and masks available to those infected on board, particularly for passengers those are showing severe chronic or pneumonia-like symptoms.
Officials initially tested 300 people out of the 3,711 onboard and gradually evacuated the infected patients to local medical facilities. Japan has now the most number of coronavirus-infected patients after China, followed by Singapore and Thailand. The remaining people on the cruise have been asked to stay inside their cabins with their masks on and to keep a distance from each other when out on the open deck.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief has called coronavirus outbreak ‘a very grave threat’ for the rest of the world even if 99 per cent of the cases remain restricted to mainland China. Speaking at the global research and innovation forum in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the coronavirus outbreak is a test of political, financial, and scientific solidarity.
Hong Kong’s leading public health epidemiologist has warned that around two-thirds of the world’s population could get infected by the new coronavirus if it can not be controlled. The warning came after the WHO Director-General said that transmission among people with no travel history to China could be the 'tip of the iceberg'.
(With agency inputs)