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: March 29, 2020 - 2:36pm

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

March 29, 2020 - 2:36pm

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says test kits donated by the Chinese government are actually accurate.

In a transcript of a text message sent by the embassy and since confirmed by Duque, the health secretary said:

"Hi! There is nothing wrong with the REAL TIME-POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION machine which is used for generating positive or negative result as the case may be!

Again your Test Kits BGI and SANSURE BIOTECHNOLOGY are very good and up to the standards as those which were donated by WHO and approved by our RITM. AGAIN OUR GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION TO YOU AND THE CHINESE Government."

The Department of Health has also issued an apology and clarification on the issue.

 

March 29, 2020 - 10:51am

US President Donald Trump decided late Saturday against imposing a broad two-week lockdown on New York and its neighbors after a strong pushback from local political leaders and warnings of the panic it could spark.

"A quarantine will not be necessary," Trump tweeted, some eight hours after he stunned the New York metropolitan region, the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, with a proposal to place it under quarantine to prevent residents from leaving.

Trump had indicated earlier he was responding to worries in other states, particularly Florida, that travelers from the greater New York city area could spread COVID-19 in their communities.

He told reporters that "heavily infected" New Yorkers were a threat to Florida, a popular southern holiday destination for people in the northeast. ?— AFP

March 28, 2020 - 6:29pm

Iran announces that 139 more people had died from the novel coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 2,517 in one of the world's worst-affected countries.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour says in a press conference that 3,076 more cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 35,408. — AFP

March 28, 2020 - 3:53pm

Actress Iza Calzado tested positive for the coronavirus disease, her manager says.

March 28, 2020 - 1:30pm

Toyota Makati Inc. announces that a team member tested positive for COVID-19.

"The safety and security of our employees, customers, and all of our stakeholders, is paramount to us. Keeping this in mind, and under the guidance and support of the relevant national and local authorities, we are taking immediate and comprehensive actions necessary, including disinfection of the dealership, to prevent any spread of the virus," the company says.

"Furthermore, all employees who have had close contact with the infected member have been quarantined," it adds.

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