Philippines reports first coronavirus death

World Yen Doran 02-Feb-2020
Coronavirus outbreak
ID 170766278 © Alexander Yakimov |

The Philippines confirmed the death of a 44-year-old man on Feb. 2, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the first-known fatality from coronavirus outside of China.

The Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the deceased was the second confirmed case of the 2019-nCoV in the country, while his partner, a 38-year-old Chinese woman, was the first.

The couple, both from Wuhan, China and arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong on Jan. 21. They were admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila four days later.

The female patient reportedly experienced a mild cough but had no fever when she was brought for a check-up. Her husband was admitted for pneumonia after experiencing fever, cough, and a sore throat.

However, on Jan. 30, the Department of Health (DoH) announced that her laboratory tests — which had been sent to the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia — had tested positive for the virus.

The man was stable and showed signs of improvement, however, his condition deteriorated within his last 24 hours. He died on Feb. 1 after being confined since Jan. 25.

Duque said that this couple is so far the only confirmed cases in the Philippines. They came from the source of outbreak, Wuhan, and there is no evidence of local transmission.

The secretary advises the public to increase awareness about prevention measures such as hand hygiene and observance of cough etiquette, as well as keep up with constant updates and advisories from DoH as frequently as possible.