Japan confirms first death from coronavirus

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Kanagawa – Japan’s Health Minister confirmed the country’s first Covid-19-related death on February 13, Thursday.

Through a news conference held on Thursday evening, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato announced the death of a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture who has been infected with the virus.

“This is the first death of a person who tested positive,” noted the minister. Although it remains unclear if the death of the patient was caused by the virus.

Kanagawa prefecture is located at the southern border of Tokyo.

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The Health Minister provided no further details.

The Diamond Princess cruise is currently docked off at Yokohama which is the capital city of Kanagawa. To date, there are 218 cases within the cruise ship, with 44 new cases being confirmed on February 13, Thursday.

The Health Minister said that elderly passengers with pre-existing conditions or those that stayed in windowless rooms aboard the cruise ship would be allowed to leave starting February 14, Friday. The schedule is five days ahead of the original release date. Said passengers will complete their 14-day quarantine period ashore.

According to The Japan Times, about 80 per cent of the 2,666 passengers were aged 60 or over, with 215 in their 80s and 11 in their 90s. Head of nonprofit Medical Governance Research Institute Masahiro Kami said that the elderly could suffer rapid aggravations on their health conditions, especially those with chronic illnesses, hence the decision to let them disembark the cruise ship early.

Updates on the woman’s story will be provided. -/TISG

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