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Novel coronavirus claims first foreign victims as US citizen, Japanese man die in Wuhan

Novel coronavirus claims first foreign victims as US citizen, Japanese man die in Wuhan

A deliveryman rides on a street at Sanlitun area, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING: A US citizen who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and a Japanese man suspected to have the infection have both died in Wuhan. 

"We can confirm that a 60-year-old US citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at a hospital in Wuhan, China, on Feb 6," an embassy spokesman told AFP on Saturday (Feb 8), without specifying the person's gender.

READ: Coronavirus death toll surges past 700, exceeding SARS toll in China and Hong Kong

"We offer the sincerest condolences to the family for their loss," the spokesman said, adding that no further comment would be made out of respect for the family's privacy.

The Japanese foreign ministry in a statement on Saturday also said that one of its citizens with a suspected coronavirus infection has died in a hospital in the Chinese city. 

The man in his 60s had been hospitalised due to severe pneumonia and the hospital reported his death to the Japanese embassy in China, the ministry said in a statement.

Chinese medical authorities said the man was highly likely to have been infected with the new coronavirus but "it is difficult to make a definitive judgment", the statement said.

His cause of death was given as viral pneumonia, it added.

READ: Coronavirus outbreak: Singapore raises DORSCON level to Orange; schools to suspend inter-school, external activities

These latest cases would be the first confirmed foreign deaths in China from the outbreak. 

Two people have died from the virus outside the mainland: A man from Wuhan in the Philippines and a 39-year-old man in Hong Kong.

At least 722 people have died from the virus in China while more than 34,000 have been infected, according to the latest official figures.

The Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday that 19 foreigners have been infected in China, and two of them have recovered. The ministry refused to disclose their nationalities.

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Source: AFP/ad


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