American with coronavirus died in Wuhan, China, embassy says

The person was a 60-year-old U.S. citizen, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

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By Phil Helsel and Arata Yamamoto

A U.S. citizen diagnosed with the novel coronavirus has died in China in what appears to be the first death of an American from the virus that has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and killed more than 700, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson said.

"We can confirm a 60-year-old U.S. citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 6," a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment," the spokesperson said.

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also offered his condolences on behalf of the agency and said the CDC remains "vigilant" in its efforts to prevent further spread and impact of the deadly virus.

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China’s National Health Commission said that as of Saturday morning local time, there had been 811 deaths from the virus in the mainland.

Two people have died elsewhere — a person who had the coronavirus in the Philippines and a person in Hong Kong, health officials said, bringing global deaths to at least 813.

In this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, photo, a nurse takes notes in the isolation ward for 2019-nCoV patients at a hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province.Chinatopix via AP

More than 37,198 cases have been confirmed in mainland China as of Saturday morning, the health commission said.

Wuhan and Hubei province, where the city is located, is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has been detected in more than 20 other countries, including in the United States.

Twelve people in the U.S. have been confirmed to have the virus, but some of them have been released from the hospital, including a Chicago couple who are now home.

On Friday, two flights from Wuhan carrying U.S. citizens, their immediate relatives and permanent residents landed in the United States, according to the State Department. In total, 800 passengers have evacuated from Wuhan, the department said.

"We remain committed to our vital mission of ensuring the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas and providing important information to help them stay safe," the State Department said in a statement. "We encourage U.S. citizens to continue to review our China Travel Advisory at Travel.State.gov, and to closely monitor and follow the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities."

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Japan's foreign ministry said on its website Saturday that a Japanese citizen in his 60s who had been hospitalized with severe pneumonia had died at a medical facility in Wuhan.

The ministry said that according to the Chinese facility where the Japanese citizen was, he was "highly suspected" of having the novel coronavirus but because of the difficulty in confirming that, the man’s death was being classified as "viral pneumonia."

Japan’s government said it sends its prayers to the victim and condolences to his family.