With the recent announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) of a global emergency over the 2019 novel coronavirus-acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD) case, the Philippines’ Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed the second nCoV case, and the first death in the country and outside China.
At a press conference in Quezon City, Duque reported that the 44-year-old Chinese male companion of the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the country, a 38-year-old Chinese woman, also tested positive for the virus and died yesterday (Saturday) due to nCoV.
[BREAKING] First n-CoV-Related Death Confirmed in the Philippines
Moreover, the death of the Chinese male is also the first reported death of a person testing positive for the novel coronavirus outside China, as shared in a report by GMA News.
In a statement, Dr. Rabi Abeyasinghe, World Health Organization representative in the Philippines shared: “This is the first reported death outside China. However, we need to take in mind that this is not a locally acquired case. This patient came from the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan, China.“
Meanwhile, 24 patients under investigation tested negative for the novel coronavirus, while four others are awaiting results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Regarding the development, Health Secretary Duque noted that the 44-year-old Chinese male arrived with his female companion in the Philippines on January 21 via Hong Kong from Wuhan. The two reportedly traveled to Cebu and Dumaguete first before flying to Manila.
The Chinese male was admitted for pneumonia last January 25 at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila after experiencing “fever, cough and sore throat.”
Duque also shared that it was during the patient’s course of admission that he developed severe pneumonia. Despite this, Duque noted that in his last few days, the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement.
“However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within the past 24 hours resulting in his demise,” Duque said.
For his part, Health spokesperson Eric Domingo announced that the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the country, on the other hand, no longer experiences symptoms of the infection such as fever and cough. However, she has yet to be discharged from the hospital.
In an update regarding the case, Secretary Duque shared that they are currently working with the Chinese Embassy for the dignified management of the remains of the Chinese male according to national and international standards.
“DOH is assuring the public that all measures needed to contain the spread of the virus is being strictly implemented and followed. San Lazaro Hospital has implemented rigorous infection control protocols while caring for these patients,” Duque added.
The health secretary also shared that the Epidemiology Bureau (EB) of the department is currently conducting contact tracing of passengers aboard the flights of the two positive cases. “EB has secured the manifestos of the flights and is in close coordination with the concerned airlines,” Duque explained.
Furthermore, contact tracing activities are likewise being conducted in Cebu, Dumaguete and in other places where the patient has recently visited.
In spite of these developments, Secretary Duque reaffirmed the public that there are no reports of community spread of the virus within the country.
However, the public is still reminded to practice prevention measures such as proper hand hygiene and observance of cough etiquette.
Here is a video clip on this news update posted by PTV News/Facebook: