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Japan confirms first death from coronavirus

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, the third fatality outside mainland China as the outbreak continues to spread worldwide.

Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the victim was a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture, which borders on Tokyo.

He cautioned it was not clear if the virus caused her death. “The relationship between the new coronavirus and the death of the person is still unclear,” he said at a late-night briefing. “This is the first death of a person who tested positive.”

In Tokyo, a taxi driver tested positive for the virus, the health ministry said. The taxi driver was quoted as saying by a government official that his passengers may have included a Chinese person and health authorities are seeking to determine how he got the virus.

In Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, a doctor was confirmed to have contracted the deadly pneumonia-causing virus, local authorities said.

The latest cases bring the total number of confirmed infections to nearly 250 in Japan. The bulk, 218, are passengers and crew of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokoyama near Tokyo.

The tally includes foreign tourists visiting from Wuhan, the epicentre of the viral outbreak, and a Japanese bus driver who had close contact with Chinese tourists in Japan.

With thousands of passengers and crew isolated on the cruise ship for days, 44 more people were confirmed as infected with the virus on Thursday, according to the ministry.

SCMP.COM

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