A U.S. citizen diagnosed with the coronavirus has died in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, marking the first known American death from the disease.
The person was 60 years old and died Thursday at Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said Saturday. He provided no further details. “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” he said. “Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.”
A spokesperson at Jinyintan Hospital referred questions to the Wuhan foreign affairs office, which didn’t answer phone calls on Saturday.
Chinese authorities said fatalities in China from the coronavirus reached a single-day high of 86 on Friday, raising the national death toll to 722. They said they confirmed 3,399 new cases of infections from the virus that causes respiratory illnesses, bringing the total to 34,546.
The vast majority of coronavirus deaths and infections occurred in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, a region of nearly 60 million residents that has been locked down.
A Japanese man in his 60s who was suspected of contracting the coronavirus also died in Wuhan, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Saturday. It didn’t say when he died.
The ministry said the official cause of death was “viral pneumonia.” It said hospital officials told the Japanese Embassy in China that they highly suspected that man had the virus, but test results never confirmed it.
The French government elevated its travel advisory to orange, warning people to not travel to China unless absolutely necessary.
China’s health-care system is being pushed to the brink by the virus. Hospitals in Wuhan are overwhelmed, short of supplies and trying to help an increasing number of people who need treatment.
China has locked down Wuhan and Hubei province, shutting down transportation and forbidding people from leaving. In recent weeks, provinces outside of Hubei have sent medical teams to help treat those with the respiratory illnesses caused by the virus.
Medical personnel in Wuhan have been trying to determine whether sick patients have been infected with the coronavirus or a more common illness. Some Wuhan residents showing coronavirus symptoms say they received negative test results, while others with symptoms haven’t yet been tested.
A Chinese doctor who became a folk hero after he was taken in by authorities for warning about the dangers of the virus died Friday after becoming infected. Li Wenliang, a young ophthalmologist based in Wuhan, had captivated the country and his illness triggered an extraordinary outpouring of emotion.
Dr. Li, who was married with one child and another on the way, caught the virus before Chinese authorities had stepped up its warnings about it. In the early days, he recalled, he didn’t wear any protective gear.
In social-media posts, many Chinese directed their frustration at government officials who many believe didn’t respond quickly enough despite clear evidence of the developing epidemic. A hashtag calling on the Wuhan government to apologize to him spread quickly on China’s Twitter-like Weibo service.
China’s National Supervisory Commission, the country’s top anticorruption body, said it would send a special team to Wuhan to investigate the circumstances around Dr. Li’s death.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Trump in a phone call Friday morning Beijing time that he had confidence the country would win what he called a “people’s war” against the deadly coronavirus, according to readouts from the White House and Chinese state media reports.
Earlier, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Xi on Twitter as “strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus.”