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Thursday, 13 February 2020 22:08

Japan vows to step up efforts on coronavirus testing, containment after first fatality

Written by Reuters
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Friday vowed to step up testing and containment efforts for the coronavirus after suffering its first death and the confirmation of new cases, including a doctor and taxi driver.

Japan’s health ministry said Thursday that a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture, just to the west of Tokyo, had died. She was transferred between hospitals as her condition worsened and was only confirmed to have the coronavirus after her death.

A Tokyo taxi driver, who Japanese media said was the woman’s son-in-law, as well as a man in his 20s just east of Tokyo and a doctor in Wakayama, western Japan, were also confirmed to have the virus.

“We will stay in touch with local governments and expand our testing procedures and treatment of patients in order to prevent the spread of the illness,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters, a day after a task force on the disease drew up new measures to deal with it, including spending 10.3 billion yen from budget reserves.

Planners will also keep in close contact with Japan’s military, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, without giving further details.

He said the number of people confirmed to have the virus in Japan had risen to 33, with another 218 on a cruise ship quarantined at a port in Yokohama.

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