First British patient dies of coronavirus after travelling on cruise ship

A British man has become the first UK national to die from coronavirus.

The unnamed patient was a passenger on the quarantined Japanese cruise ship the Diamond Princess.

Japanese media site Asahi reported that the man had been travelling on the ship, moored in the Japanese port city of Yokohama.

He is the first foreign national aboard the virus-ridden ship to die.

In a statement, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed the death.

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He was one of four Brits forced to stay in Japan after dozens more, who had tested negative for the COVID-19 disease, were evacuated to the UK last week.

Two of the group of four were David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, who were treated for the virus at a Japanese hospital.

Neither of them is the passenger who died.

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The man – who has not yet been identified – becomes the sixth passenger on board the ship to die of coronavirus so far, after a Japanese woman in her 70s from Tokyo passed away earlier today.

Almost 700 passengers and crew who were travelling on the ship have become sick so far.

The Foreign Office says it is investigating reports that a British man who was aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from coronavirus.

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Health Minister Jo Churchill said she was aware a British man who had been on board the ship was "very poorly".

She told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "The Foreign Office are supporting the family of a British man who has been very poorly and was a passenger on board the Diamond Princess.

"I haven't had confirmation, because obviously I'm on the telephone to you, but I was aware there was a gentleman who was very, very poorly, and I'm sure like me your thoughts and sympathies go out to his family at this time."

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A total of 19 people have tested positive for the disease in the UK so far after one case in Wales and two in England were confirmed today.

The Welsh patient is the first case in the country.

Reports say the two new English cases both contracted the disease after coming from Iran, which has seen 388 people infected and 34 deaths.

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Earlier today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the virus could affect most if not all countries.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a Geneva news briefing: "The outbreak is getting bigger.

"The scenario of the coronavirus reaching multiple countries, if not all countries around the world, is something we have been looking at and warning against since quite a while."

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