coronavirus. Image Source: IANS News

Rome, Feb 22 : A 78-year-old man has become the first person in Italy to die after being infected with the coronavirus, with authorities confirming 16 cases of the disease in the country, it was reported.

The man, identified by Italian news agency Ansa as a former construction company owne, was among 18 confirmed cases in Italy, Sky News said in a report.

The father of three died at a hospital in Padua, where he had been admitted along with another person who tested positive for COVID-19.

There are currently 16 Italians confirmed to have the virus in Lombardy and one in Veneto.

Among the cases, a 38-year-old man from the town of Codogno near Milan, had spent time with a friend who returned from a trip to China on January 21, Xinhua news agency reported.

The man passed on the virus to five relatives and friends.

Besides Italy, fatalities outside China were recorded in Iran (four), Japan (three), South Korea (two), Hong Kong (two), France (one) and the Philippines (one).

-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text

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