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MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Department of Health (DOH) reported the first novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV-related death outside of China as another patient who tested positive for the virus died on Saturday, February 1.
This puts the total number of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases in the Philippines to 2. The first confirmed death in the Philippines was a 44-year-old man who traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China. He was the traveling companion of the 38-year-old woman who tested positive for 2019-nCoV last week.
In a press briefing on Sunday, February 2, the DOH said the 44-year-old man developed severe pneumonia.
“The patient was stable and showed signs of improvement, however, the conditions of the patient deteriorated within the last 24 hours resulting in his demise,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. He had no preexisting illnesses, according to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
“We are currently working with the Chinese Embassy to ensure the dignified management of the remains according to national and international standards to contain the disease,” Duque added. The 44-year-old’s remains will be cremated.
The two patients confirmed for 2019-nCoV both traveled from Wuhan, China, through Hong Kong. They then traveled to Cebu and Dumaguete before being admitted to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. (READ: Novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV: What we know so far)
The DOH is doing contact tracing – tracking down people who were on the same flight as the patient. Once identified, they would also be isolated and monitored. They are also in the process of identifying other people the patient might have interacted with. This would include finding personnel in hotels and other establishments that the patient went to and placing them under monitoring, but not isolation.
The DOH is currently probing 36 people for the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease, 24 of whom tested negative for the virus after confirmatory tests done by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Meanwhile, 10 have been discharged but are still being monitored by the health department’s Epidemiology Bureau, and 23 are still admitted in hospitals.
The government has announced a temporary ban on all travel from mainland China and the regions of Macau and Hong Kong after pressure from lawmakers and the public to do so as other countries closed their borders to contain the spread of the disease. – Rappler.com