Coronavirus: First American dies of illness in China just hours after evacuation of hundreds of US citizens
The novel coronavirus, termed as 2019-nCoV, has triggered a global alarm, infecting more than 34,500 people
Coronavirus has taken the life of an American citizen in Wuhan, China on February 6, the US government has confirmed. This is the first death of an American citizen from the deadly disease. The name or the gender of the 60-year-old victim has not yet been released by officials.
A statement was released by the US Embassy in Beijing on Saturday morning, which read: "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of respect for the family's privacy, we have no further comment."
The novel coronavirus, termed as 2019-nCoV, has triggered a global alarm, infecting more than 34,500 people and killing over 722 in China alone as of February 8. The fatalities have reportedly surpassed the death toll from the SARS outbreak in 2003. The virus has spread to at least 25 countries, where officials have announced confirmed cases of coronavirus. The US currently has at least 12 people who have been infected.
The last two flights chartered by the US to evacuate Americans from the outbreak's epicenter in Wuhan landed in Texas and California on February 7. At least one passenger on each flight showed symptoms of the virus infection, resulting in the planes to be held temporarily.
Sources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Fox News that there were "two persons of interest" in the planes who had begun showing signs of the virus, like cough, trouble breathing or fever. The first plane landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego after being paused in Vancouver, Canada, while the second landed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Meanwhile, over 2,000 were stranded at sea on Friday after four countries reportedly denied permission for a cruise ship to dock over coronavirus fears. The measure was taken by the countries despite the crew insisting that there were no cases of the deadly virus on board, reports state. Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and the US territory of Guam have all prohibited Holland America's MS Westerdam cruise ship from docking at their ports.
One of the passengers, Bev Thurbin, told the Daily Mail, that the ship had been denied permission to dock in Philippines and then later in Taiwan over coronavirus fears. Holland America, however, released a statement, saying that "the ship is not in quarantine and there are no known cases of coronavirus on board."
The cruise reportedly left Hong Kong on February 1 with 687 passengers remaining on board from a previous voyage. Reports state that there are a total of 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board at present.