A woman in her eighties was the first person with the new corona virus to die in Japan, the country's health minister said on Thursday. It was not clear whether the virus caused her death.
"The relationship between the new coronavirus and the person's death is still unclear," Katsunobu Kato said at a nightly meeting.
"This is the first death of a person who has tested positive."
The minister said the woman living in Kanagawa Prefecture developed symptoms on January 22 and was hospitalized on February 1.
"She was suspected of being infected with the new corona virus, so … tests were carried out. Her positive test result was confirmed after her death," he said.
The case is because Japan is dealing with more than 200 confirmed infections from a quarantine cruise ship that has moored off the coast since early February.
Those who tested positive on the boat were taken to hospitals, with five people in serious condition.
The authorities said on Thursday that if they tested negative for the virus, they would allow older passengers on board to move from the ship to government-designated accommodations for the rest of their quarantine.
So far, 218 people on board have carried out a positive test for the newly named COVID-19 together with a quarantine officer.
The ship is scheduled to remain in quarantine until February 19, approximately 14 days after the isolation phase begins.
Japan has separately reported at least 28 cases of the virus, including citizens evacuated from Hubei, the province of China in the epicenter of the fatal outbreak.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)