Diamond Princess cruise ship Briton dies from coronavirus

A British man on board a cruise ship in Japan has died from coronavirus.

The Japanese Ministry of Health said the man was the sixth person to have died on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been quarantined off the coast of Japan.

He is the first Briton to have died from coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.

His death comes as the first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Wales, with two more patients in England diagnosed - bringing the number of coronavirus cases in the UK to 19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he "very much" regretted the loss of life but believed his government's response to the Diamond Princess outbreak was correct.

"I think we were following the best medical advice... we think the best thing to do is not to move people around too much in the current situation," he said on Friday.

He said the coronavirus threat was now the government's "top priority" and urged Britons to wash their hands "for 20 seconds or more with hot water or soap."

It comes as fears over coronavirus have plunged stocks into its worst week since 2008 global financial crisis.

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson responds to the death of the first Briton from coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, which operates the Diamond Princess ship that the British man had been holidaying on, said: "All of us at Princess Cruises, including the crew of Diamond Princess, offer our sincere condolences to family members and friends for their loss.

"Our dedicated care team are on hand to provide support."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Japan and are in contact with local authorities. Our sympathies and thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

The Diamond Princess has been anchored off Japan for weeks. Credit: AP

On Friday morning, chief medical officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton confirmed a person had been diagnosed with the virus after travelling back to Wales from Italy.

Dr Atherton said: "I can confirm that one patient in Wales has tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).

"All appropriate measures to provide care for the individual and to reduce the risk of transmission to others are being taken."

Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for the Covid-19 outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: "Public Health Wales is working hard to identify close contacts, and we are taking all appropriate actions to reduce any risk to the public's health."

The total number of cases in the UK has now reached 19. Credit: PA

The Department of Health also confirmed two further cases of coronavirus in England. Both English patients contracted the virus in Iran, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said.

He said: "The virus was passed on in Iran and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres at the Royal Free Hospital.

"The total number of cases in England is now 17. Following confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of UK cases is 19."

  • Coronavirus: How to self-isolate

Boris Johnson will chair an emergency COBRA meeting on coronavirus on Monday, in response to the growing number of cases in Europe and the “need for PM to make sure everything that can be done is being done”, a Number 10 source said.

As the number of coronavirus cases in the UK rises, schools have been urged to remain open while testing for suspected coronavirus cases on pupils is ongoing.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "The very clear advice is that schools should remain open even if they have a pupil that has come back from an infected area.

"That child should stay at home and should be tested. But while we wait for those test results the school should remain open.

"If the test result is positive, then Public Health England will be in touch with the school to give that school direct advice about what to do."

On Thursday, Northern Ireland also recorded its first case of coronavirus. Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride told reporters the patient had come from northern Italy via Dublin.

Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency said it was "working rapidly" to identify anyone the patient came into contact with to prevent a further spread, but they would not confirm where their patient was being held.

Asked whether the person is from Northern Ireland, Dr McBride said: "I think the most important thing here is that we respect patient confidentiality so I'm not going to disclose any personal details about this individual."

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride told reporters the patient had come from northern Italy via Dublin. Credit: PA

Elsewhere, Brits are among holidaymakers on lockdown at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife, after two Italian tourists tested positive for the virus during their stay.

Around 50 Brits are among 130 guests now able to leave the hotel complex, as they are understood to have arrived on Monday, after the guests who were diagnosed had already left.

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

One of the cases in England is understood to be a parent from Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbyshire, who caught the virus while in Tenerife.

Parents were told the school would be closed on Thursday due to a "confirmed case of coronavirus amongst our parent population".

The school, which has 350 pupils, sent a message to parents via WhatsApp on Wednesday night saying the decision had been taken as a "precautionary measure and to enable a deep clean to be completed".

Buxton Medical Practice in Derbyshire, a two-minute drive from the school, urged patients not to attend on Thursday due to a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Some stocks saw their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. Credit: PA

Markets stutter amid coronavirus fears

At least £210bn was wiped off the FTSE 100 this week, a 13 per cent fall, making it the biggest one-week drop since the financial crash in 2008.

On Friday alone, £58bn was wiped off the value of shares.

Investors have been hesitant after new coronavirus cases were announced in Nigeria, Norway and New Zealand, and increasing number of cases reported in countries which already have the disease.