A Japanese man, accused of "terrorism" after he went to a Filipino pub earlier this month saying he wanted to spread the deadly coronavirus he was infected with, has died at a hospital in central Japan.
News of the man's death came after Japan reported 39 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, taking its total to 876 cases.
The 57-year-old man from Gamigori, who sources told the South China Morning Post also had serious pre-existing conditions, tested positive with the pneumonia-causing virus on March 4.
• Coronavirus in NZ: Tourists to be deported after failing to self-isolate upon arrival
• Coronavirus: 20 cases in New Zealand, parent of Southland Boys' High School and Southland Girls' High School students tests positive
• Coronavirus in NZ: Eight new cases, Jacinda Ardern says don't panic, but be prepared
• Coronavirus: Auckland woman Maree Glading disappointed in checks at international arrivals
Despite a request from health officials to isolate himself at home until a specialist medical facility could accept him the following day, the man went to the pub in the city that evening by taxi, telling his parents before leaving that he wanted to "spread the virus".
Local authorities said at the time they did not have the power to prohibit him from going out.
But social media users were quick to condemn his actions, which included spending time at an izakaya – a Japanese drinking establishment – and singing karaoke at the Filipino pub, where he came into physical contact with multiple employees.
"He should be arrested for endangering the public. Point blank," one angry reader on the Japan Today website.
"The degree of selfishness in some people astounds me," wrote another on Tokyo Reporter.
In both venues, he eventually told staff that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
An alarmed member of staff at the bar contacted a local health centre. Police in protective clothing arrived and closed both premises – by which point the man had already gone home.
He was admitted to a hospital for treatment the following day, where police had planned to question him on suspicion of obstruction of business when he was eventually released.
Authorities launched an investigation into him last Friday after a woman in her 30s working at the pub tested positive for the coronavirus.
"Employees have had their livelihoods snatched away," the owner of the karaoke bar told the Tokyo Reporter. "This is nothing but terrorism. I want him to be severely punished."
"I can't get this straight in my head. I cannot express it in words since I only have anger," another staff member told the publication.