By Arul Louis
New York, Feb 8 (IANS) A 60-year-old American has died in Wuhan from the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, the US embassy in Beijing announced on Saturday.
“We can confirm a 60-year-old US citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at Jinyintian Hospital in Wuhan, China on February 6,” the Embassy said in a statement, but did not identify the victim.
It is the first reported death of an American from the disease outbreak.
On Saturday, the overall death toll in China from the epidemic increased to 722, with 34,546 infected, according to the country’s National Health Commission. Two deaths were reported outside China in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
There are 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US.
Four passengers from a cruise ship that came to Bayonne, a port in New Jersey, just outside of New York have been taken to a hospital with symptoms similar to coronavirus, the state’s Governor Phil Murphy said on Thursday.
Twenty-seven passengers on the ship, who had recently been to China, were examined for the virus and 23 were cleared.
The US has imposed stringent restrictions on people who have been to the Hubei province of China in the past 14 days from entering the country.
Only permanent residents and citizens who have been there are allowed in, but have to undergo quarantine.
The US government has set up quarantine facilities in at least two air force bases, where those being airlifted from Wuhan and others who may have been exposed to the coronavirus are being detained.
More than 700 people are quarantined in the US.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday that the US was allocating $100 million to help China and other countries affected by the coronavirus.
He said that nearly 18 tonnes of donated medical supplies, including masks, gowns, gauze and respirators have been sent by the US to China.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)