A BRICKLAYER has become the first European to die from coronavirus after 10 towns were placed on lockdown in Italy.
Adrian Trevisan, 78, died after testing positive for the killer bug in Veneto and being discharged from hospital for an unrelated illness.
He was among two people who caught the virus in the region while 15 others were infected in nearby Lombardy.
Officials have banned public events and closed schools in a host of towns near Milan in a frantic bid to stop the spread of the virus.
None of the cases had travelled to China, the epicentre of the illness.
It comes a week after Europe’s first coronavirus death was confirmed as a Chinese tourist in France died.
The coronavirus outbreak has spread to more than 25 countries since beginning in mid-December in the city of Wuhan in eastern China.
The number of confirmed cases now exceeds 75,000, and some 2,247 have died.
Meanwhile 32 Brits from “plague ship” the Diamond Princess are due to land in the UK on a rescue flight from Japan this morning.
Elaine and John Spencer, from Sheerness, Kent, were held in a windowless cabin for almost 24 hours a day in the Port of Yokohama.
Two of the vessel’s passengers died and 634 passengers and crew were infected with the deadly bug.
The British rescue plane is due to land at Boscombe Down Ministry of Defence base, near Salisbury in Wiltshire this morning.
Four Brits who tested positive for coronavirus are not on the flight.
Passengers who had tested negative for the virus were first released from quarantine on Wednesday, but the Foreign Office had warned Brits to stay on board if they wanted to join the upcoming evacuation flight.
Footage shot by Sky News on Friday night local time showed Brits stepping off the ship and boarding buses lined up along side the ship.
Before the flight, they will reportedly undergo “fit to fly” checks.
Only those who test negative for coronavirus and are not showing any symptoms will be allowed to board.
Once the flight arrives back in the UK, the passengers will be taken to the Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral for a further 14 days in quarantine.
‘CONCERNED FOR EVERYONE AFFECTED’
In a statement earlier this week, the Foreign Office said: “We are planning an evacuation flight from Tokyo to the UK as soon as possible for Britons who are on the Diamond Princess.
“We hope the flight will be later this week, subject to permissions from the Japanese authorities.
“We have the utmost concern for the affected Britons and strongly encourage them to register for the evacuation flight.”
Of the 78 Brits who were on the Diamond Princess when the first case was uncovered, four later tested positive.
In total, more than 620 people on the ship were diagnosed with the condition.
A number of scientists have criticised the handling of the outbreak, saying that locking down the ship with so many people on board meant it became an incubator for the virus.
Authorities in Japan have defended the approach.
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