It said a total of 41 were suffering from pneumonia caused by a “preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus’’ as of Friday, down from the earlier figure of 59. It said those were in stable condition and at least two had been released from hospital.
Philstar.com/File
China reports first death from new virus
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2020 - 12:00am

BEIJING – Health authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan yesterday reported the country’s first death from a new type of coronavirus.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that seven other people were in critical condition.

It said a total of 41 were suffering from pneumonia caused by a “preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus’’ as of Friday, down from the earlier figure of 59. It said those were in stable condition and at least two had been released from hospital.

The patient who died was identified as a 61-year-old man who had been admitted after suffering shortness of breath and severe pneumonia. The commission said he also suffered from abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease and had been a frequent customer at a food market in Wuhan’s outskirts that has been linked to the majority of the cases.

It said he died after his heartbeat stopped on Thursday night.

China says the cause of the Wuhan outbreak remains unknown, but has sought to quash speculation that it could be a reappearance of the SARS epidemic, which killed hundreds in 2002 and 2003.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold, while others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.

Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronavirus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DOH ready

Given the Philippines’ experience in dealing with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Department of Health (DOH) is certain the country’s health system is prepared in case the new coronavirus in China comes in.

In an interview, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said “systems are in place” to keep any infectious disease from spreading in the country.

“We’ve been prepared since there was an outbreak of SARS. We are part of the International Health Regulation (IHR) wherein all countries share information if we see an emerging disease, for instance, so that we all can take action,” he noted.

Initiated by the World Health Organization after the outbreak of SARS in 2002, the IHR requires 196 countries to work together for global health security.

These countries have primarily committed to report any possible illnesses that may become a global public health concern.

Last December, 44 individuals in Wuhan province in China contracted what was then described as a “mysterious respiratory disease.”

On Thursday, Chinese health authorities reported the disease is a new coronavirus which is different from SARS and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Unlike SARS and MERS, the new disease is not highly contagious and fatal.

According to Domingo, the DOH has started introducing various measures in anticipation of other diseases that may surface after the SARS outbreak.

“Within the country, our Bureau of Quarantine is on alert to make sure that all the flights are being monitored very, very closely. If they monitor a passenger (who may be infected), there is a protocol and they know what to do,” he added.

Domingo said there are also quarantine areas at the airport where such passenger can be interviewed and assessed by medical professionals.

He said there are enough hospitals in the country with adequate isolation rooms where potentially infected individuals could be brought if necessary.

“We have referral centers that have isolations wards that have long been prepared and functional. They can be used when needed,” he added.

CORONAVIRUS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with