TOKYO—Japanese officials defended their handling of cruise-ship virus victims after the first two passenger deaths were reported—one a woman in her 80s who had a fever for a week before getting to a hospital.

South Korea, meanwhile, reported its first death from the Covid-19 coronavirus, while confirmed cases began to mount in Beijing and Iran announced emergency measures Thursday to stem the spread of the virus there after two people diagnosed with the illness died in the central city of Qom.



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