British Diamond Princess cruise ship passenger dies from coronavirus

28 February 2020, 13:19

A British man who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from coronavirus
A British man who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from coronavirus. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A British man who had been on board the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship has died, becoming the first UK national to succumb to the disease.

The Foreign Office confirmed the death after the Japanese Health Ministry said a British national had died after contracting Covid-19 aboard the cruise liner.

It brings the total number of deaths of people who had been on board the ship to six.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak

The Diamond Princess has been quarantined at Japan's Yokohama port and has seen more than 600 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

A spokesman for the embassy of Japan in the UK issued a statement saying: "On 28 February, a British male who had previously been on the cruise chip quarantined at Yokohama port passed away."

It is being reported that the man was in his 70s and did not reside in the UK.

Japanese authorities were heavily criticised for keeping passengers on board the ship. Doctors said the conditions allowed the infection to spread widely among passengers.

Meanwhile, Disneyland Tokyo has been temporarily forced to close amid fears over the outbreak of the disease.

A spokesperson for Princess Cruises said: "All of us at Princess Cruises, including the crew of Diamond Princess, offer our sincere condolences to family members and friends for their loss. Our dedicated Care team are on hand to provide support."

In the UK, 19 people have been diagnosed with the illness but there have been no fatalities.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Japan and are in contact with local authorities.

"Our sympathies and thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

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

Wales confirmed its first case of the infection on Friday morning after a person travelled back from northern Italy, the worst-affected country in Europe.

The mortality rate of Covid-19 by age
The mortality rate of Covid-19 by age. Picture: Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to hold an emergency Cobra meeting in Whitehall on Monday.

A Downing Street spokesman said the decision was made because of the sharp rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 across mainland Europe.

However, Labour accused the leader of being a "part-time prime minister" and said he should take immediate action in order to get the situation under control.

So far, there have been nearly 80,000 cases reported in China and almost 3,000 deaths. The virus has reached nearly 60 countries with more than 80 deaths recorded.