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British man from Diamond Princess cruise liner dies from coronavirus

Health | Published:

The ship has been quarantined off the coast of Japan after an outbreak of Covid-19.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A British tourist from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from coronavirus.

The Japanese Ministry of Health said the man was the sixth person from the ship, which has been quarantined off the country’s coast amid the outbreak, to have died.

The death was announced as London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares crashed to its worst week since the depths of the 2008 financial crash and more cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in the UK, including the first in Wales.

The man is the first Briton to have died from coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Japan and are in contact with local authorities. Our sympathies and thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

In the UK, 19 people have now been diagnosed with the illness, after Wales reported its first patient and two more sufferers were identified in England.

Health authorities ordered a 14-day quarantine for all on board the Diamond Princess, which had an original population of 3,711 passengers, on February 5.

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Passengers who had tested negative were allowed to disembark at the end of the two weeks.

A family member of David and Sally Abel, who had been on board the ship and were both diagnosed with coronavirus, confirmed the couple were “doing well and fighting fit”, adding: “They are getting stronger every day.”

Princess Cruises, which operates the Diamond Princess ship, have offered their condolences to the British man’s friends and family.

Among the passengers diagnosed with coronavirus on the Diamond Princess was Alan Steele, originally from Shropshire, who was on his honeymoon with new wife Wendy Marshall Steele, from Tettenhall in Wolverhampton.

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Mr Steele is now quarantined in The Wirral after testing negative for the virus during a three-week stay in hospital in Tokyo.

Elsewhere on Friday, Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton, said that the first diagnosed patient in Wales had recently travelled back from Italy, the worst-affected country in Europe.

He said that the man had returned from a holiday there last week, and is now being treated at one of the specialist centres in an English hospital.

Those identified in England had recently travelled back from Iran, the Department of Health said. The virus has spread rapidly across Iran – with 22 dead amid 141 cases confirmed.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

A woman wearing a facemask on the London Underground (Ian Hinchliffe/PA)
A woman wearing a face mask on the London Underground (Ian Hinchliffe/PA)

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

Meanwhile, Labour have criticised Boris Johnson waiting until Monday to hold a meeting of the Government’s Cobra contingencies committee on the outbreak.

It comes after Northern Ireland reported its first case on Thursday, as someone who recently returned from northern Italy was diagnosed with the virus.

Irish health authorities said on Friday that people who had sat within two rows of the person on the flight from northern Italy to Dublin have been contacted.

Irish health chief Dr John Cuddihy said: “Each of the stages of this person’s journey have been identified and all relevant contacts in all of those stages of transport have been contacted (and) traced.”

Guests leave the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife (Joan Mateu/AP)
Guests leave the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife (Joan Mateu/AP)

Italy has become the worst-affected country in Europe, with at least 650 cases and 15 deaths.

On Friday, easyJet said it will be cancelling flights as a result of the continued spread of coronavirus, in a move which will particularly affect “those into and out of Italy”.

It was confirmed on Thursday that a parent at a primary school in Derbyshire had contracted the virus in Tenerife, where 168 Britons are being kept in a hotel in the south-west of the island.

Hundreds of guests have been confined to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace after at least four guests, including an Italian doctor, were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Overall, 130 guests from 11 countries have been told by Spanish authorities that they can leave, because they arrived at the hotel on Monday – after those who tested positive had been taken to hospital.

Some holidaymakers were seen leaving the hotel wearing face masks on Friday, although it is unknown if any Britons were among those permitted to leave.

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