Man monitored for novel coronavirus dies of pneumonia in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – A man who was among those being monitored for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the national capital died of complications due to pneumonia, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, January 29. 

San Lazaro Hospital Director Edmundo Lopez said in a news briefing that the 29-year-old man from Yunnan, China, died early Wednesday morning but stressed that he was not yet a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV. Tests would still be conducted on samples to be taken from him.

"Cause of death is pneumonia.... The patient was seen with various symptoms upon admission," Lopez said, when asked to confirm if one of the patients under investigation had died.

Lopez said the man was admitted to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila on Monday, January 27. Upon admission, Lopez said the man had "many swollen lymph nodes," renal warts, and was tested for HIV. He said the patient "tested positive" twice for HIV during the initial and confirmatory tests. (READ: ’Novel coronavirus’ or 2019 nCoV: What we know so far)

The patient was on the health department’s list of patients under investigation for the 2019-nCoV, which has sickened over 6,000 in China and beyond, and killed over 130 in China, most of them in Wuhan, the epicenter of the oubtreak.

The DOH said it would still collect samples from the deceased patient to confirm if he was positive for 2019-nCoV. 

Meanwhile, 16 samples were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and 6 to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory for testing. The DOH said it expected results by Thursday, January 30, or Friday, January 31. 

The health department also confirmed that by then, the RITM will be able to run tests confirming 2019-nCoV as they have acquired the necessary test kit for the process. 

Four of the 27 patients under investigation were discharged and were no longer showing symptoms, but were still being closely monitored, the DOH added. 

Health Secretary Franciso Duque III continued to remind people to practice proper hygiene and constant washing of hands, and proper coughing etiquette or coughing into the crook of the elbow, amid the virus scare. He also reassured the public that  DOH hospitals, with their respective isolation areas, were ready to respond to the disease, should it reach the Philippines. – Rappler.com