First American Coronavirus death in Wuhan

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BEIJING (AP) — The rate of increase in new cases of the virus in China rose again after a brief respite, as the death toll rose to 772 on the mainland and countries around the world enforced stricter measures to contain its spread.

A U.S. citizen died of the virus in Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, in what was apparently the first American death. A Japanese being treated in Wuhan who was a suspected case also died.

Almost all of the new fatalities were in and around Wuhan in central Hubei province. Another 3,399 cases were reported, bringing the total to 34,546, although some of those have recovered. More than 320 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, including two deaths in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Three more cruise ship passengers were diagnosed with the virus in Japan for a total of 64 on board the ship.

China’s ruling Communist Party faces continuing anger and recriminations from the public over the death of a doctor who was threatened by police after trying to sound the alarm about the disease over a month ago.

A look at the latest developments:

AMERICAN, JAPANESE SUCCUMB IN WUHAN, CRUISE SHIPS QUARANTINED

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said a 60-year-old U.S. citizen diagnosed with the virus died in Wuhan on Wednesday. The patient was apparently the first American fatality. The embassy did not identify the person.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said a Japanese man in his 60s being treated in Wuhan also died. It said the patient had been suspected of having the coronavirus, but that it had not been confirmed.

Cruise ship passengers faced more woe as Japan reported three more cases for a total of 64 on one quarantined vessel and turned away another. The three are among 3,700 passengers and crew on the quarantined Diamond Princess. They must remain on board for 14 days.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said foreign passengers on another ship, Holland America’s Westerdam, won’t be allowed into Japan. He said suspected virus patients were on board. The ship, with more than 2,000 people, was near Okinawa and was seeking another port, said Overseas Travel Agency official Mie Matsubara.

“We are getting desperate,” she said. “We hope we can go somewhere so that passengers can land.”

Hong Kong began enforcing a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from mainland China on Saturday.

Hong Kong has refused to completely seal its border but hopes the quarantine will dissuade travelers from the mainland.

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