The Department of Health has confirmed the second case of the 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019 nCoV in the Philippines.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
First confirmed nCoV death outside China is in Philippines
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - February 2, 2020 - 10:52am

MANILA, Philippines (5th update, 3:21 p.m.) — The second case of novel coronavirus confirmed by the Department of Health on Sunday morning became the first recorded death outside China.

The 44-year-old male companion of the first confirmed carrier of the virus, a 38-year-old woman, also tested positive for the virus, the DOH confirmed at a press briefing.

However, the man passed away on February 1, days after he was admitted for fever, cough and sore throat. In his last few days, the patient was reported to be in stable condition before his sickness worsened within 24 hours, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

The man was also found to have severe pneumonia, a lung inflammation due to viral or bacterial infection.

Both diagnosed patients came from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, and arrived in the Philippines from Hong Kong. Urging for calm, Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization's representative in the Philippines, stressed that the couple did not acquire the virus in the Philippines.

"This is the first reported case outside of China. However, we need to keep in mind that he came from Wuhan, China," Abeyasinghe said at the same press conference.

The woman, meanwhile, is still in isolation and treatment at San Lazaro Hospital, an infectious disease facility in Manila.

The department assured the public that both patients were isolated and that "all health personnel who came into contact with them practiced stringent measures." San Lazaro Hospital is implementing rigorous infection control protocols while caring for the two patients, Duque said.

Of the 31 recorded persons under investigation, 24 of them tested negative, two tested positive while the remaining ones are still being tested, Duque added.

Health officials' next steps

The department's epidemiology bureau has secured the manifestos of the flights the victims were on and is in close coordination with the concerned airlines. Passengers on the same flight are being contacted and instructed to take precaution and further tests.

The two novel coronavirus patients reportedly traveled to Cebu and Dumaguete before going to Manila, although the department earlier said they were only in Cebu for hours.

The female patient, before testing positive for the virus, was also observed to be asymptomatic or displaying no symptoms.

Commenting on how the department will handle the remains of the first fatal case, Duque said it is being prepared for cremation. The Chinese embassy is also working with the DOH "to ensure the dignified management of the remains according to national and international standards to contain the disease."

The measures the DOH is undertaking have been evolving as days pass. "This health event is fast-evolving and fluid. We are continuously recalibrating our plans and efforts as the situation develops," Duque said.

He also urged the public to refrain from sharing unverified information, guaranteeing that health agencies will release constant updates.

While there are no reports that the new virus has spread in communities, presidential palace Macalañang declared on Sunday the temporary ban of all incoming travelers from the whole of China, Hong Kong and Macau, with the exception of Filipino passport holders.

2019 NCOV NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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LATEST UPDATE: February 21, 2020 - 6:35pm

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February 21, 2020 - 6:35pm

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February 21, 2020 - 4:48pm

Chinese wrestlers gunning for a place at this summer's Tokyo Olympics are training in quarantine in Serbia after a qualifying event was moved from China to Kyrgyzstan because of the coronavirus.

The Chinese athletes "are going through an extensive quarantine process" in the Serbian capital Belgrade and will then fly to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for the Asian Olympic qualifier on March 27-29, United World Wrestling (UWW) says. — AFP

February 21, 2020 - 1:18pm

Iran has confirmed three new coronavirus cases following the deaths of two elderly men, the health ministry says, as Iraq banned travel to and from its neighbour.

The pair who died were elderly Iranian citizens and residents of the city of Qom. They were the first confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus in the Middle East. — AFP

February 21, 2020 - 11:02am

Health officials say two Australians who have been diagnosed with coronavirus after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship had earlier tested negative in Japan.

Department of health officials say that all 164 Australians who were returned home earlier this week "were tested for COVID-19 in Japan and returned negative results".

Officials stress that the development of some positive cases among cleared evacuees was "not unexpected", given the continued spread of the disease onboard after testing began. — AFP

February 21, 2020 - 8:14am

Two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus, authorities says, raising questions about Japan's policy of allowing evacuees from the ship to move freely after testing negative for the disease. 

"We have two people who are positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those two people have mild illness," says Dianne Stephens, acting chief health officer for the Northern Territories.

Some 164 Australians aboard the Diamond Princess were cleared for transfer from the ship to quarantine in Australia's remote north. — AFP

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