Japan confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday – a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo. The death was the third outside mainland China, after two others in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Japan is one of the worst affected of more than two dozen countries and territories outside mainland China that have seen hundreds of infections from the flu-like sickness.
Figures due out on Monday are expected to show Japan’s economy – the world’s third-largest – shrank an annualised 3.7% in the October-December quarter, due partly to the impact of the virus outbreak, according to analysts.
“Investors will surely avoid Asia for the time being and will shift funds to the U.S., geographically the most separated from the region,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
A cruise liner quarantined off a Japanese port has more than 200 people confirmed with the disease. Authorities have said they will allow some elderly people to disembark on Friday.
Passengers on another cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over coronavirus fears started disembarking in Cambodia on Friday.
The MS Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville on Thursday. It had anchored offshore early in the morning to allow Cambodian officials to board and collect samples from passengers with any signs of ill health or flu-like symptoms.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted the passengers with handshakes and bouquets of roses as they stepped off the ship and boarded a waiting bus.
“My wife and I gave him some chocolates as a show of our appreciation,” Lou Poandel, a tourist from New Jersey, told Reuters after he disembarked and met the Cambodian leader.
Global health authorities are still scrambling to find “patient zero” – a person who carried the disease into a company meeting in Singapore from which it spread to five other countries.