First US citizen dies from coronavirus in China


An American citizen has died from coronavirus in China, the US government has confirmed. 

The US national passed away Thursday from the virus in Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak. 

Officials have not released the name or gender of the 60-year-old victim, who is the first-known American to die from the illness. 

The US Embassy in Beijing released a statement Saturday morning which read: ‘We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss.

‘Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.’

As of Saturday morning US time, coronavirus – which has triggered global alarm – has infected more than 34,500 people and killed more than 700.

The number of fatalities has now surpassed the death toll from the SARS outbreak of 2003, according to Al-Jazeera. 

At least 25 countries have now confirmed cases of coronavirus, including the US, where 12 people have been struck down with the infection.   

On Friday, the last two flights that the US State Department chartered to evacuate Americans from the coronavirus outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan landed in Texas and California after one passenger on each showed symptoms of the infection, forcing the planes to be held temporarily.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sources told Fox that there were ‘two persons of interest’ had started to show signs of the virus, such as cough, trouble breathing or fever.

The first plane landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego after being paused in Vancouver, Canada.

A second plane slated landed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas – with its final destination at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska – after being held at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Elsewhere, coronavirus is currently causing panic in Singapore,  where 33 cases have been reported. 

On Saturday, anxious shoppers in the city-state formed long lines at grocery stores and cleared the shelves of essential items, after the government raised its alert level over  the outbreak. 

Singapore raised the alert level Friday to ‘orange’ –the same as during the deadly SARS outbreak, indicating the virus is severe and passes easily between people.

The announcement has triggered panic among the 5.7 million, with shoppers — many wearing masks — rushing to stock up on items including rice, noodles and toilet paper.

Pictures circulating on social media showed empty shelves in some stores, carts filled with goods and long lines at counters.

‘I’m afraid that if they further raise the alert level, we will not be able to go out,’ a 50-year-old housewife, who did not want to be named, told AFP after leaving a grocery store.

The highest level on Singapore’s four-point scale for dealing with disease outbreaks is ‘red’, one above ‘orange’.

The government urged calm, with Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing saying there was no need to rush out to buy crucial supplies.

‘There is no risk of us running a shortage of essential food or household items,’ he wrote on Facebook.

Singapore raised its alert level amid a growing number of virus cases in citizens with no recent travel history to mainland China and no known links to previous infections.

Hong Kong has also been hit by a wave of panic-buying in recent days as it seeks to battle the virus, with supermarket shelves frequently emptied of crucial goods.




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