Japan announced last night its first death from a new virus from China, hours after confirming 44 more cases on a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo as fears of the spreading disease mount in the country.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the first fatality is a woman in her 80s who had been hospitalized since Feb. 1 when she was diagnosed with pneumonia. Her confirmed diagnosis came after her death, he said. The woman, a resident of Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo, was the mother-in-law of a taxi driver who also became a newly confirmed case, Japanese media reported. Health Ministry officials declined to confirm a relationship at the request of her family.
Officials also confirmed two other cases, a doctor in his 50s who works at a hospital in western Japan and a man in his 20s who lives in Chiba, near Tokyo. None had a record of traveling abroad in recent weeks or contacts with Chinese — a possible sign that the virus is spreading inside the country.