Hong Kong reports first death of coronavirus patient

A medical worker takes the temperature of a woman as she enters Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong.

A medical worker takes the temperature of a woman as she enters Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong.

AFP/Anthony Wallace

BEIJING - Hong Kong became the second place outside mainland China to report the death of a coronavirus patient as restrictions on movement were imposed on two more cities far from the epicentre, including the home of Alibaba.

The death of the 39-year-old man in Hong Kong came as the semi-autonomous city closed all but two land crossings with the Chinese mainland to slow the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, the Philippines reported the death of a Chinese man who had come from Wuhan, the central city at the epicentre of China's health emergency.

READ: Japan quarantines 3,700 on cruise ship over coronavirus

The virus has so far spread to more than 20 countries, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, several governments to institute travel restrictions and airlines to suspend flights to and from China.

Hong Kong has been particularly on edge over the virus as it has revived memories of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-03, which killed nearly 300 people in the financial hub and 349 people in the mainland.

China reported 64 more fatalities -- a single-day high -- from the new coronavirus, raising the toll to 425, with more than 20,000 infections across the country.

READ: Hong Kong medics strike for China border closure over virus fears

With more than 20,400 confirmed infections, the mortality rate for the new coronavirus is much lower than the 9.6 percent rate for SARS.

Hong Kong media said the man who died had underlying health issues that complicated his treatment. He had visited Wuhan last month.

China has struggled to contain the virus despite enacting unprecedented measures, including locking down more than 50 million people in Hubei province where the outbreak emerged.

Restrictions have also been imposed far from the epicentre.


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