Coronavirus: first American dies of virus in China's Wuhan

Few details about the 60-year-old American were immediately available

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A United States citizen has died in the Chinese city of Wuhan in what appeared to be the first death of an American from the new coronavirus outbreak that has left hundreds dead, the US embassy in Beijing said on Saturday.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” said a spokesman for the embassy. “Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.”

Little was known about the American national who died on Thursday, but the New York Times reported the person was 60 years old.

The US announced on Friday a wave of assistance to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

"The United States government is announcing it is prepared to spend up to $100 million in existing funds to assist China and other impacted countries, both directly and through multilateral organisations, to contain and combat the novel coronavirus," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The development comes on the same day that a Japanese man hospitalised with pneumonia in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, died.

The man in his sixties was suspected of having been infected with the coronavirus but due to difficulties in diagnosing the disease the cause of death was given as viral pneumonia, the foreign ministry said citing Chinese medical authorities.

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The man is potentially the first Japanese to have died of the disease, as a foreign ministry official said the government does not know of any Japanese that have died from the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed more than 700 people in mainland China and infected over 34,000.

As of noon Thursday, there had been 19 cases of foreigners infected with the coronavirus, of which two had been discharged from hospital and 17 were being quarantined and treated, Hua Chunying, spokeswoman at the Chinese foreign ministry, told reporters at a regular briefing last Thursday. (