Sailor dies from virus, Japan reports almost 400 new cases

BANGKOK (AP) — A U.S. sailor from an aircraft carrier with hundreds of coronavirus infections has died of the disease.

The Navy said Monday four other crew members from the USS Theodore Roosevelt are in the hospital in Guam. The carrier has been docked in the U.S. territory for more than a week as the 4,865-person crew is tested for the virus.

The sailor who died was among 585 crew members who have tested positive so far. Those infected are being isolated on the U.S. naval base, while those who test negative have been moved ashore to quarantine in hotels. A number of people remain on the carrier to attend to its nuclear reactors and other sensitive systems.

The Roosevelt's coronavirus outbreak set off a Navy leadership crisis after the ship’s commander distributed a letter urging faster action to protect his sailors. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly fired Capt. Brett E. Crozier and then assailed him during a speech on the ship in Guam, saying Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier. Modly resigned after facing blowback for his comments.

The Navy's preliminary inquiry into the Roosevelt’s coronavirus outbreak and related events is being reviewed.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— JAPAN'S CASE RISE: Japan's health ministry reported 390 new cases of infection for a domestic total of 7,645. The country was put under a state of emergency last week, but many people were still seen queuing up at grocery stores and crowding shopping arcades in parts of downtown Tokyo to stock up on necessities.

— IMF CANCELS DEBT PAYMENTS: The International Monetary Fund approved $500 million to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries so they can tackle the pandemic. The immediate debt service relief applies to Afghanistan, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan and 21 other countries.

— UN STOPS ROTATIONS OF PEACEKEEPERS: The United Nations has suspended the deployment and rotation of U.N. peacekeeping troops and international police in its 13 peacekeeping missions until June 30. About 85,000 soldiers and police serve in U.N. missions in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said: “We don’t want to be part of the problem.” There are exceptions in the guidance, but quarantines will apply for any new deployments.

— DECLINES IN SOUTH KOREA, CHINA: South Korea reported 27 fresh cases as infections continued to wane in the worst-hit city of Daegu and nearby towns. South Korea’s totals are 10,564 infections and 222 virus-related deaths. China reported 89 new virus cases, 86 of them among travelers arriving from abroad, but no new deaths. It has confirmed 3,341 deaths out of 82,249 official cases of infections.

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