Skip to main content

Pedestrians wear protective masks as they walk through a shopping district in Tokyo on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Japan's government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Eugene Hoshiko/The Associated Press

A second person has died from a new form of coronavirus in central China, health authorities said.

A 69-year-old man surnamed Xiong fell ill with the respiratory condition on Dec. 31, according to a statement late Thursday from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. He passed away Wednesday.

Xiong exhibited abnormal renal function, severe impairment in multiple organs, inflammation of the heart muscle and other pressing conditions when he was admitted to the hospital. It was not clear from the commission’s statement whether these were preexisting issues or consequences of the viral pneumonia.

Story continues below advertisement

In total, 41 people in Wuhan have been diagnosed with a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more severe diseases like SARS and MERS. As of late Thursday, 12 patients have been cured and discharged and five were being treated for acute conditions.

Xiong’s is the second death associated with the current outbreak. Last Saturday, a 61-year-old man who had previously been diagnosed with abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease succumbed to the virus.

Authorities have tracked more than 700 people who were in close contact with infected patients. Among them, no related cases have been found. However, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said earlier this week that limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, as it revealed one case where a woman may have contracted the virus from her husband.

The Chinese government is keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. The SARS epidemic began in southern China in late 2002, then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.

Most of the coronavirus patients this time either worked at or visited a particular seafood market in Wuhan. The market has since been shut down for investigation and disinfection.

One patient in Thailand and another in Japan have been diagnosed with the virus.

The Japanese man developed a fever and cough on Jan. 3 while in Wuhan, returned to Japan on Jan. 6, and was hospitalized four days later as the symptoms persisted, with his X-ray image showing signs of pneumonia, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Thursday.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies