TOKYO: a lady in her 80s has become the primary person with the new coronavirus to die in Japan, the country's health minister said Thursday, cautioning it had been not clear if the virus caused her death.
"The relationship between the new coronavirus and therefore the death of the person remains unclear," Katsunobu Kato said at a late-night briefing.
"This is that the first death of an individual who tested positive."
The minister said the lady , living in Kanagawa prefecture, developed symptoms on January 22 and was hospitalised on February 1.
"She was suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus so… testing was conducted. Her positive test result was confirmed after her death," he said.
In all, Japan has 247 confirmed cases of the new disease that apparently started in Wuhan, a city in central China, in December.
Meanwhile, 44 more people on a cruise liner quarantined near Tokyo have tested positive for the virus that causes the new disease referred to as COVID-19.
The Diamond Princess, which remains carrying about 3,500 passengers and crew members, now has 218 people infected with the virus out of 713 people tested since it entered Yokohama Port on February 3, the most important cluster of infections outside China.