Coronavirus: Two Diamond Princess passengers die

Two Japanese passengers who contracted the new coronavirus on board a Diamond Princess cruise liner quarantined in Japan have died, Japan’s health ministry said on Thursday.

Both were in their 80s with underlying health conditions. They were being treated in hospitals after being taken off the Diamond Princess last week.

At least 621 people on the ship tested positive for the virus, named Covid-19, the biggest cluster outside China.

Japan has defended its handling of the situation amid criticism.

The coronavirus, which originated in China’s Hubei province last year, causes pneumonia-like symptoms.

Overall, there have now been 2,118 deaths and nearly 75,000 confirmed infections recorded in mainland China.

On Thursday, South Korea confirmed its first coronavirus death. Japan’s neighbour also reported a sharp rise in virus cases, most of them from a newly identified cluster at a large religious community.

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