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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

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
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 26, 2021 - 2:05pm

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

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Japan will end a coronavirus state of emergency early in some regions as the pace of infection slows, reports say, less than five months before the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The emergency measure -- currently in force in 10 regions including Tokyo -- is looser than the strict lockdowns seen elsewhere in the world, and primarily calls for bars and restaurants to close from 8pm.

It is due to end on March 7, but the government will lift the measure this Sunday, just over a week early, in around six prefectures, the reports say. — AFP

February 26, 2021 - 8:45am

Brazil's death toll from Covid-19 surpasses a quarter-million Thursday, a year after the first case was confirmed in the country, which is struggling with vaccine shortages and a devastating second wave.

The new coronavirus has now killed 251,498 people in Brazil, according to health ministry figures — the second-highest toll worldwide, after the United States, where the number passed half a million Monday.

This has been the deadliest week yet of the pandemic in Brazil, with a daily average of 1,149 deaths over the past seven days, according to the ministry's figures. —  AFP

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Fashionistas will have to log on to soak up the glamour at Milan Fashion Week, which remains online a year after the coronavirus first swept into northern Italy. 

No sharply dressed crowds will attend the extravaganza's opening on Wednesday: it's virtual catwalk shows only, with the likes of Armani and Prada presenting new women's collections for autumn and winter 2021-22. — AFP

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Movie theaters in New York City will partially reopen next month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announces, the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Big Apple.

Cuomo says cinemas will be able to operate at 25% capacity, or up to 50 people per screen, from March 5 -- almost exactly a year since they shut. — AFP

February 21, 2021 - 5:39pm

The head of the World Health Organization on Sunday appeals to Tanzania to take "robust action" to combat COVID-19 in the country, where the president has long played down the virus.

President John Magufuli has claimed coronavirus has been has fended off by prayer in Tanzania, and refused to take measures to curb its spread. 

But a recent spate of deaths attributed to pneumonia has struck both members of the public and government officials.

And Magufuli on Friday appeared to admit the coronavirus was circulating in his country after months of denial.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a number of Tanzanians traveling to neighboring countries and beyond have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"This underscores the need for Tanzania to take robust action both to safeguard their own people and protect populations in these countries and beyond," he said in a statement.

Tedros said he had urged Tanzania in late January to take measures against the pandemic and to prepare for vaccinations.

"Since then I have spoken with several authorities in Tanzania but WHO is yet to receive any information regarding what measures Tanzania is taking to respond to the pandemic. — AFP

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