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First confirmed nCoV death outside China is in Philippines

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
First confirmed nCoV death outside China is in Philippines
The Department of Health has confirmed the second case of the 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019 nCoV in the Philippines.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

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

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 26, 2023 - 12:04pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

January 26, 2023 - 2:01pm

The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in China has fallen by nearly 80% since the start of the month, authorities have said, in a sign that the country's unprecedented infection surge may have started to abate.

A wave of virus cases has washed over the world's most populous nation since Beijing abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy last month.

Beijing's figures are believed to only represent a fraction of the true toll, given China's narrow definition of a COVID death and official estimates that swathes of the population have been infected.

The CDC last week said nearly 13,000 people had died from Covid-related illnesses between January 13 and 19, adding to a previous announcement that around 60,000 people had succumbed to the virus in hospitals in just over a month.

But recent local government announcements and media reports have indicated that the wave may have started to recede since peaking in late December and early January when hospitals and crematoriums were packed.

There were 896 deaths attributable to the virus in hospitals on Monday, a decline of 79 percent from January 4, China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Wednesday. — AFP

January 26, 2023 - 12:04pm

The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in China has fallen by nearly 80% since the start of the month, authorities have said, in a sign that the country's unprecedented infection surge may have started to abate.

A wave of virus cases has washed over the world's most populous nation since Beijing abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy last month.

Beijing's figures are believed to only represent a fraction of the true toll, given China's narrow definition of a COVID death and official estimates that swathes of the population have been infected.

The CDC last week said nearly 13,000 people had died from Covid-related illnesses between January 13 and 19, adding to a previous announcement that around 60,000 people had succumbed to the virus in hospitals in just over a month.

But recent local government announcements and media reports have indicated that the wave may have started to recede since peaking in late December and early January when hospitals and crematoriums were packed.

There were 896 deaths attributable to the virus in hospitals on Monday, a decline of 79 percent from January 4, China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Wednesday. — AFP

January 22, 2023 - 4:14pm

China reported nearly 13,000 Covid-related deaths in hospitals between January 13 and 19, after a top health official said the vast majority of the population has already been infected by the virus.

China a week earlier said nearly 60,000 people had died with Covid in hospitals as of January 12, but there has been widespread scepticism over official data since Beijing abruptly axed anti-virus controls last month.

China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Saturday that 681 hospitalised patients had died of respiratory failure caused by coronavirus infection, and 11,977 had died of other diseases combined with an infection over the period. 

The figures do not include those who died from the virus at home.-- AFP

January 20, 2023 - 11:43am

South Korea will drop rules that require people to wear masks in most indoor spaces, authorities say, ending one of the country's last major pandemic restrictions as COVID-19 cases dwindle.

From January 30, it will no longer be mandatory to wear facemasks in most indoor spaces, except on public transport and in medical facilities.

The mask mandate has been in place since October 2020, and is one of South Korea's last remaining pandemic-era restrictions, with other rules from business curfews to social distancing long dropped. — AFP

January 19, 2023 - 10:29am

Xi Jinping says he is "concerned" about the virus situation in the Chinese countryside, state media reported, as millions of people head to rural hometowns ahead of upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

The Chinese leader also defended his zero-Covid policy -- lifted last month after crippling the economy and sparking nationwide protests -- saying it had been "the right choice".

In a series of calls Wednesday ahead of the holiday, the Chinese leader told local officials he worried about the situation in the country's rural hinterlands.

"Xi said he was primarily concerned about rural areas and rural residents after the country adjusted its Covid-19 response measures," state news agency Xinhua reports.

He "stressed efforts to improve medical care for those most vulnerable to the virus in rural areas," Xinhua says.

"Epidemic prevention and control has entered a new stage, and we are still in a period that requires great efforts," Xi was reported as saying, stressing the need to "address the shortcomings in epidemic prevention and control in rural areas". — AFP

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