Tourist from New York becomes Puerto Rico’s second coronavirus-related death

Puerto Rico on Monday reported its second death due to the novel coronavirus, saying a 73-year-old man from New York who was on vacation on the island, succumbed to the virus.

In addition, it reported eight new cases of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, bringing the island’s total to 31 patients.

The Health Department said four men and four women, ranging in age from 26 to 88, had contracted the virus. The new cases were reported in San Juan, Mayaguez, Ponce and Caguas.

The Health Department said the New York tourist had arrived on the island this month with his wife and was hospitalized after developing symptoms associated with COVID-19 while in Puerto Rico.

On Saturday, the island reported its first death related to the coronavirus, a 68-year-old Italian woman who had been evacuated from a cruise ship.

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Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory of 3.2 million, has taken some of the most dramatic steps of any U.S. jurisdiction to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The island has been in virtual lockdown for more than a week, with all non-essential businesses, schools and government offices closed. In addition, there’s a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m curfew.

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“This is an extremely serious matter in which we must assume individual responsibility for the collective good,” Interim Health Secretary Concepción Quiñones de Longo said in a statement. “Stay at home, wash your hands constantly, clean surfaces and maintain social distance; especially if you are sick, isolate yourself for 14 days.”

The island is seen as being particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. With an aging population, its health system has been weakened by a decade-long recession and an exodus of doctors.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez is expected to release the details of a financial aid plan on Monday to help businesses hit by the shutdown.

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The island’s Health Department says it has run 241 tests for the coronavirus: 188 have been negative, 18 have been positive and 35 are still pending. The Veterans Affairs Hospital, which keeps its own tally, has an additional 13 positive cases.

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