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Perth man James Kwan, 78, the first AUSTRALIAN to die from CORONAVIRUS

Just tragic
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The final moments of a Perth man who became the first person in Australia to die from coronavirus have been revealed.

James Kwan died after his condition deteriorated while in isolation at the intensive care unit of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the early hours of Sunday.

The 78-year-old had been flown to Perth on February 21 after being diagnosed with coronavirus at the Howard Springs facility near Darwin.

Kwan and his wife, 79, were part of a group of 170 Australians evacuated from Japan after being stranded on the coronavirus-hit cruise ship the Diamond Princess.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said his death was a “tragic event” for Kwan’s family.

“The circumstances were obviously very distressing,” McGowan said on Sunday, The West Australian reports.

“It would have been awful. They couldn’t go in and touch him or hold his hand. It would have been so tragically sad,” McGowan said.

“I feel deeply for them in that circumstance. You don’t want to leave this world without someone holding your hand.”

Kwan’s wife was also diagnosed with coronavirus and remains in isolation.

WA Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson said she was able to talk to her husband before his death.

“She’s obviously understandably quite upset,” Robertson said on Sunday.

Robertson added the man’s family would’ve spoken to him before his death either by phone or through the glass in the isolation unit.

The 79-year-old paid tribute to her husband from her hospital bed on Sunday evening.

“My husband passed away peacefully knowing that his family loved him,” she said in a statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “very saddened” to hear of Kwan’s death.

“We join his family and friends in mourning his passing,” Morrison wrote on Twitter.

Australia’s first coronavirus death comes as several other cases were confirmed around the country.

In Victoria, a woman who had arrived home from Iran tested positive on Sunday night, as did a sixth person in NSW.

In Queensland, authorities were working to track down patients treated by a Gold Coast beautician who contracted the virus.

Travel bans to China and Iran remain in place as the contagion continues to spread across the globe.

There have now been more than 85,000 cases globally and nearly 3000 people have died.

This story first appeared on 7NEWS and has been republished here with permission. 

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