First coronavirus death confirmed in US

29 February 2020, 20:22

President Trump confirmed a woman had died and that he was meeting pharma companies on Monday to discuss a vaccine
President Trump confirmed a woman had died and that he was meeting pharma companies on Monday to discuss a vaccine. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

A woman has died from coronavirus in the United States in the country’s first confirmed fatality from the disease.

President Donald Trump said the patient who died was a woman in her late 50s with a “high medical risk”.

Mr Trump said 22 people in the US have been infected by the virus and additional cased in the country are likely but added that healthy Americans should be able to recover if they contract Covid-19.

The president added that he is considering closing the US border with Mexico to guard against the spread of the virus.

Vice president Mike Pence announced that the US is banning travel to Iran in response to the outbreak and elevating travel warnings to regions of Italy and South Korea.

Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services said: "We want to lower the amount of travel to and from the most impacted areas. This is a basic containment strategy."

The virus threat has spooked global markets and the public at large. Mr Trump is warning that "there's no reason to panic at all".

He was speaking a day after he denounced criticism of his response to the threat as a "hoax" cooked up by his political enemies.

Earlier, French authorities announced they are cancelling all public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in enclosed spaces as the country seeks to stop the spread of coronavirus.

A half-marathon in Paris has been cancelled, and the capital’s annual farm show will close a day early.

In Italy, five Serie A football matches have been postponed and a primary school assistant in Bonn, Germany also has the disease, causing 185 children to go into quarantine.

The list of countries touched by the illness has climbed to nearly 60 as Mexico, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Iceland and the Netherlands reported their first cases.

More than 84,000 people worldwide have contracted the illness, with deaths topping 2,800.