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Friday, 14 February 2020 21:32

After first death, Japan pledges more containment effort; cases increase

Written by Reuters
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Friday vowed to step up testing and efforts to contain the spread of a new coronavirus after suffering its first death and finding new cases, including a doctor and at least one taxi driver, in different parts of the country.

The biggest cluster of coronavirus infections outside China is linked to a cruise liner quarantined in a Japanese port, with 218 people from the ship confirmed as infected and taken off to hospital.

On Friday, some of the ship’s passengers were allowed to disembark - with priority given to older passengers who have been confined to windowless cabins - to complete their quarantine on shore.

NHK public television said a woman taxi driver on the southern island of Okinawa had tested positive for the virus, and the chances were high she had contact with passengers from the ship during a Feb. 1 port call.

NHK also reported two new cases in Tokyo, both of whom had connections with a Tokyo taxi driver in his 70s whose infection was announced on Thursday. One of the new cases was a worker on a boat where the taxi driver held a party.

A doctor at a hospital in Wakayama prefecture, where confirmed cases were being treated, had also tested positive and was in serious condition.

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