Manila, Philippines – On February 2, the Department of Health (DOH) announced the death of a 44-year-old Chinese man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). He was the second confirmed case in the country, and the first reported death outside China.
A resident from the epicenter, Wuhan, the patient was the husband of the 38-year-old Chinese woman who last week also tested positive and was declared the first case of the new virus in the country.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the man was admitted to San Lazaro Hospital on January 25, bearing the symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, and pneumonia.
“Over the course of the patient’s admission, he developed severe pneumonia. In his last few days, the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement. However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within the last 24 hours resulting in his demise,” the health secretary reported.
Furthermore, Duque added that aside from being infected with 2019-nCoV, the man acquired the Influenza B virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria infections.
Following the patient’s death, the DOH has coordinated with the Chinese embassy and on the cremation of the remains of the man.
“When we have persons who died of infectious illness, part of the protocol is to dispose of the body or even cremate the remains as soon as possible,” DOH spokesperson Eric Domingo said.
On the other hand, the wife of the man remains isolated at San Lazaro Hospital. All health personnel who came in contact with them practiced strict infection control measures and wore appropriate personal protective equipment.
The Epidemiology Bureau continues to trace passengers aboard the flights of the couple, who came to the Philippines from Wuhan via Hong Kong on January 21. Moreover, the bureau is also tracing those people who cam in contact with the couple in Cebu, Dumaguete, and other places where they stayed and traveled to.
Cebu Pacific said the couple was aboard January 21 on flight 5J 241 from Hong Kong to Cebu and flight DG 6519 from Cebu to Dumaguete. While Philippine Airlines disclosed that the couple was on board flight PR 2542 from Dumaguete to Manila on January 25.
Both airline companies remain contact tracing the passengers on those flights. The crew aboard were also placed under quarantine, while planes used have been disinfected.
Passengers on the abovementioned flights who have not been contacted by Cebu Pacific may call this number +632 87020886, from 7 AM to 10 PM.
“This is the first known death of someone with 2019-nCoV outside of China,” World Health Organization Philippines announced in a statement, however, stressed that this is not the locally-acquired case.
As of Saturday, there are 36 people under investigation for possible 2019-nCoV infection, in which 30 of them tested negative. Meanwhile, four more are still being tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Overall, the death toll already passed 300, with more than 14,000 infections confirmed.
—(Source: CNN Philippines)