Coronavirus Outbreak: Hong Kong reports first death

Hong Kong on Tuesday announced its first death from the new coronavirus believed to be from the city of Wuhan in central China.

A 39-year-old man infected with the virus died Tuesday morning at the Princess Margaret Hospital, a spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement.

Local media outlets reported that the man traveled to Wuhan, China.

This would be the second known death outside of mainland China. On Sunday, officials in the Philippines said a man from Wuhan died in a hospital in Manila.

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, borders Guangdong province in south China.

The city’s leader Carrie Lam had already declared a virus emergency in the city of 7.3 million on Jan. 25. Embattled Lam has been under pressure to close all of the the city’s borders with mainland China.

On Monday, Lam announced that the city would suspend 10 out of a possible 13 border crossings with mainland China in an effort to curb the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Thousands of medical workers in Hong Kong have gone on strike starting Monday to compel the city’s government to accede to a demand for a complete shutdown of its borders with mainland China to stem the spread of the virus.

Lam has previously said a complete border shutdown with mainland China would be “discriminatory.”

The financial center has been already been hit by months-long anti-establishment protests that have hurt its economy.

Hong Kong reported its real GDP contracted by 1.2% in 2019 — the city’s first annual decline since 2009.

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