First British coronavirus death reported in Japan

The man, as yet unidentified, had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Diamond Princess - reuters
The coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess has been moored off Yokohama Port, south of Tokyo, since February 3 [Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters]

A British tourist who had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from coronavirus.

The Japanese Ministry of Health said the man was the sixth person – and the first non-Japanese citizen – from the ship to have died. 

The tourist, the first Briton to have died from coronavirus, was one of four British passengers from the ship who remained in Japan for treatment after dozens were airlifted back to the UK last week.

A total of 705 passengers and crew out of 3,711 on board the Diamond Princess have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

In the UK, 19 people have been diagnosed with the illness.

Health Minister Jo Churchill has said she was aware a British man who had been on board the ship was “very poorly”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “The Foreign Office are supporting the family of a British man who has been very poorly and was a passenger on board the Diamond Princess.

“I haven’t had confirmation … but I was aware there was a gentleman who was very, very poorly, and I’m sure like me your thoughts and sympathies go out to his family at this time.”

A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, which operates the Diamond Princess ship, which has been quarantined off Japan’s coast since February 3, said: “All of us at Princess Cruises, including the crew of Diamond Princess, offer our sincere condolences to family members and friends for their loss.

“Our dedicated care team are on hand to provide support.”

On Friday, Wales reported its first patient with the virus and two more sufferers were identified in England.

The patient in Wales had recently travelled back from Italy, the worst-affected country in Europe.

Those identified in England had recently travelled back from Iran, the Department for Health said. The virus has spread rapidly across Iran – with 34 dead amid 388 cases confirmed.

So far, China has reported nearly 80,000 cases and almost 3,000 deaths, while the virus has reached nearly 60 countries.

Source: News Agencies