A US citizen died from the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, embassy officials said Saturday, marking the first known American death from the outbreak that has killed hundreds.
The patient was 60 years old and died at a local hospital Thursday, the US Embassy in Beijing said. It declined to disclose more details out of respect for the family’s privacy.
The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan in December, and has killed 724 people worldwide, mostly in China, where it has trapped residents at home and paralyzed the world’s second-biggest economy.
Outside of mainland China, the virus has raced across continents, infecting tens of thousands in 27 countries and territories.
The US citizen’s death was reported hours after the evacuation of hundreds of Americans from Wuhan in two flights Friday in what a State Department official described as likely the last chartered flights.
After evacuees arrived in the US, five people housed at the Travis Air Force Base in Northern California were hospitalized with symptoms of coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. They were taken to an undisclosed hospital with a fever and are in isolation as they undergo more tests.
The passengers evacuated are quarantined at several other bases, including Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska.
The first evacuation flight on January 29 had 200 Americans who are quarantined at the March Air Reserve Base in Southern California.
On Wednesday, two more flights out of Wuhan arrived with a total of 350 passengers. They were quarantined at Travis and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Everyone evacuated will be subject to a 14-day federally mandated quarantine. Those who show symptoms will be taken to area hospitals for isolation and treatment.
Thousands quarantined on cruise ships
Passengers are not just trapped at home and in military bases.
Four people on a cruise ship that was docked in New Jersey were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Friday.
Twenty-three other passengers aboard the Anthem of the Seas were evaluated and cleared at the Bayonne port near New York City, Murphy said.
A pair of relatives had become ill, a CDC spokesperson said, and health officials decided to test all four family members in an abundance of caution. The family has been to mainland China but not to Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. They had not been in China since January 26, Royal Caribbean said.
Passengers had been on the ship for 12 days, traveling through the Caribbean. They disembarked Friday.
“None of the four guests being tested by CDC showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement, adding that one of them tested positive onboard for the flu.
On Saturday, Royal Caribbean said it was awaiting test results from the CDC to decide whether passengers on its next voyage will be able to board. Because of the high volume of testing being done by the CDC, results won’t be available for another day or two, Royal Caribbean said.
The ship was originally scheduled to embark Friday but was delayed first until Saturday. The cruise line pushed departure back to at least Monday.
As a result of the outbreak, two US-based cruise lines are forbidding people with Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passports from boarding.
More than 7,300 people are being quarantined on two cruise ships docked in Hong Kong and Japan over concerns they were inadvertently exposed to the coronavirus by infected passengers.
At least 64 people from all over the world have tested positive for coronavirus on the cruise ship docked in Japan, including 13 Americans.