A Canadian has died in Japan from complications related to COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Friday.
The minister offered his condolences to the family, saying they are receiving consular support. Information about the Canadian’s identity was not shared, however, officials said the death was related to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Roughly 255 Canadians were kept on board Diamond Princess docked in Yokohama, Japan in February, over concerns that some of the 2,500 passengers and crew members were sick with the coronavirus.
While 129 Canadians returned home, 47 Canadians who were ill had to remain in Japan for treatment.
This is the first reported death of a Canadian from COVID-19 abroad.
As of Friday morning, there are more than 800 cases of COVID-19 reported within Canada. The virus has caused 11 deaths, while 10 Canadians have recovered from the illness.
Canadian officials have been urging citizens abroad to return to the country as soon as possible, as commercial airlines begin limiting flights.
“Let me be clear: if you are abroad, it’s time for you to come home,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, outside his home in Ottawa, where he is currently in self-isolation.
However, many Canadians have spoken out about difficulties they’re experiencing tracking down flights already. Some are in countries where borders are already locked down.
Trudeau has said there are about three million Canadians working and living abroad at any given time and that many of them will be stranded as borders close and airlines ground planes.
“We’re going to work very, very hard to bring Canadians home,” Trudeau said Thursday.
“I spoke yesterday with the heads of our two large airlines at WestJet and Air Canada to talk about how we can work with them to ensure that there are flights to bring Canadians home. We will continue to respond to the overwhelming demand by Canadians for support.”
— With files from Global News’ Andrew Russell and Sean BoyntonView link »