The man who has not currently been named was a passenger on board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship and was made to stay in Japan for treatment after testing positive for the virus, as many other British passengers were evacuated last week. The other five fatalities from the ship so far are Japanese citizens.
705 people from the ship containing 3,711 people have now contracted COVID-19, with it becoming increasingly apparent that the quarantine protocols on the ship were poorly enforced and wholly inadequate to protect passengers. The 705 cases are thought to stem from just one man from Hong Kong who was a passenger on the ship in late January and later tested positive for the virus after returning home.
The quarantine has attracted increasing criticism, including from a Japanese infectious diseases professor who visited the ship and from others who suggested three weeks ago, early on in the quarantine, that the strategy of keeping people on the ship was flawed.
It is not known how many people are still sick or indeed how many people may still get sick from the ship, but further fatalities are not unlikely given that cruises tend to be popular with older people and that the reported fatality rate from COVID-19 is 3.6% for people in their 60’s, 8% for people in their 70’s and 15% for those aged 80 and over. These figures were supplied by the Chinese government using data from 44,000 cases in China collected up until February 11th and it is not currently known how these figures will relate to people contracting and being treated for the disease in different countries.