Coronavirus: 15 New Cases Reported In Hokkaido

Coronavirus: 15 new cases reported in Hokkaido

A man in his 80s who was infected with the new coronavirus died on Thursday in Japan's northern prefecture of Hokkaido. Fifteen new cases of infection were reported there on the day.

Hokkaido's governor said the man who died had pre-existing conditions.

Governor Naomichi Suzuki said, "The patient was more susceptible to respiratory problems compared to healthy people."

Officials say 2 of the 15 new cases are children under the age of 10.

The latest cases bring the number of confirmed infections in Hokkaido to 54, the most in Japan.

Meanwhile, health officials in the western prefecture of Osaka revealed a woman in her 40s has tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time.

The patient was initially diagnosed late last month. She recovered and tested negative in early February. But she felt pains in her throat and chest and a subsequent test came back positive on Wednesday.

An expert says even though the virus inside a human body is reduced, it could remain in the intestines or elsewhere and multiply again in the throat or lungs.

Professor Tetsuo Nakayama of Kitasato University said, "There are lots of unknown things about the virus. I think there is a possibility that infected cells secretly survive without being found and attacked by immune cells."

The latest developments unfolded as crew members aboard a quarantined ship docked near Tokyo began disembarking Thursday.

Those without symptoms will be quarantined and undergo medical checkups for 14 days.

It will take about 3 days for the approximately 240 crew members of the Diamond Princess to disembark.

Across Japan, more than 900 cases of infection have been confirmed. Over 700 of those are from the cruise ship. Eight people have died.

Major sports and cultural events have been canceled or delayed throughout the country.

Some games are being held without spectators. Wedding receptions and other social gatherings are also being postponed.