Coronavirus death reported in Taiwan, US cruise passengers released from quarantine

iStock(NEW YORK) — Another coronavirus-related death was reported outside of China this weekend.

An unidentified man in his 60s was first admitted to a hospital on Feb. 3 after he developed a cough a week earlier, Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said in a statement. He died from the virus on Saturday, and his remains will be reserved for further medical testing, according to the statement.

This death is the fifth reported coronavirus fatality to take place outside mainland China. France reported a coronavirus fatality Sunday and the World Health Organization (WHO) said Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines both recorded deaths. As of Sunday afternoon, China has 1,666 reported coronavirus fatalities and 68,584 cases, the WHO said Sunday afternoon.

Health officials and businesses around the globe continued to contain the virus and treat any patient who may have contracted the disease. The first group of the 400 U.S. passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been docked at the port of Yokohama in Japan for quarantine since Feb. 3, was allowed to leave the boat Sunday morning.

They were bused to the airport, tested for any symptoms and, if cleared, will be flown to Travis Air Force Base in California and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The U.S. will provide those passengers free, chartered flights back to America until March 4, and symptomatic passengers will remain in care in Japan, the embassy said.

The cruise passengers will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at the two airbases when they reach the U.S., according to the Pentagon.

“Any evacuees who test positive or become symptomatic will be transferred to a suitable off-base facility at the direction of CDC,” LTC Chris Mitchell, a Department of Defense spokesman, said.

At least 355 people on-board the Diamond Princess tested positive for the virus, with 137 of those cases being newly reported Sunday afternoon, WHO said. The boat’s owners, Princess Cruises, said it will cancel all trips until April 20 because of the quarantine period.

“We are preparing Diamond Princess to return to service April 29, 2020 for the start of Japan’s annual Golden Week celebrations,” the company said in a statement released Saturday night.

There are 15 reported cases in the U.S. as of Sunday afternoon, according to the WHO. Chicago officials announced Saturday night that two patients who contracted the virus were released from home isolation after eight days.

One of those two, an unidentified woman in her 60s, had visited Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, and transmitted the disease to her husband, according to health officials. They both tested negative for the virus, following their treatment and isolation, according to Dr. Terry Mason, the chief operating officer for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“They have been through a lot. We thank them, and everyone else involved, for their cooperation throughout the process,” he said in a statement.

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