First Coronavirus Death Outside China Reported in the Philippines

  • "In his last few days, the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement," explained Francisco Duque III, the health secretary.
  • The death in Manila is the first to be recorded among more than 130 confirmed cases of infection in more than 20 countries outside mainland China.
  • China has faced increasing isolation while other countries impose travel restrictions and close their borders.

A Chinese man died in the Philippines of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus, becoming the first death related to the disease to be reported outside China, the source of the outbreak. The information was released on Sunday by government officials in the Philippines.

The 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus causing the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The first suspected cases were officially reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.

According to the Philippine Department of Health, the 44 year-old was from the Chinese city of Wuhan, in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus. He had been admitted to a hospital in Manila on January 25 with a fever, cough and sore throat. He died on Saturday after developing severe pneumonia.

“In his last few days, the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement,” explained Francisco Duque III, the health secretary. “However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within his last 24 hours, resulting in his demise.” A statement from the World Health Organization Philippines said, in part, “this is the first known death of someone with 2019-nCoV outside of China.”

The man was a companion to a 38 year-old Chinese woman, also from Wuhan, who was the first and only person besides him to be diagnosed with coronavirus in the Philippines. Both arrived in the country via Hong Kong on January 21. She remains in the Philippine capital in hospital isolation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has approved a temporary ban on entry into the country for any travellers from China or its autonomous regions except, Filipino citizens. The United States, Japan, Singapore and Australia have imposed similar measures, despite protest from Beijing and an assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) that these countries are unnecessarily harming trade and tourism.

The death in Manila is the first to be recorded among more than 130 confirmed cases of infection in more than 20 countries outside mainland China. In China, the death toll reached 304 on Saturday night, while the number of infected people jumped to 14,380. A record 2,590 new infections was recorded in just one day, the country’s National Health Commission said.

China has faced increasing isolation while other countries impose such travel restrictions and close their borders, airlines suspend flights, and governments in several states withdraw their citizens from Chinese territory. All this threatens to worsen the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

The first infections by the virus, named 2019-nCoV, were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year and are attributed to a closed wildlife and fish market. The virus may have been transmitted through direct contact between humans and animals, or simply by air. The symptoms of the disease are; fever and tiredness, accompanied by a dry cough and, in many cases, breathing difficulties.

Due to the rapid spread of the disease around the world, the WHO declared last Thursday that the outbreak of the new coronavirus is a global health emergency.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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