HONG KONG (The Straits Times/ANN):- Chinese authorities have reported a second death from a mystery virus that has left dozens of people ill in the city of Wuhan, Hong Kong media reports said.
The Wuhan health authorities reported late on Thursday (Jan 16) that a 69-year-old man, who was first taken ill on Dec 31, died on Wednesday at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in Hubei province after a two-week illness that progressed to multi-organ system failure. His symptoms became more severe on Jan 4, broadcaster RTHK reported.
The first death from the mystery virus occurred in China on Jan 9. The victim was a 61-year-old man who had serious underlying medical conditions.
News of the latest death came hours after it emerged that a second case of the novel coronavirus had been reported outside China. Japanese authorities said that a man in Kanagawa prefcture had fallen ill after visiting Wuhan.
The first case outside China was detected in Thailand on Monday - a 61-year-old Chinese woman who had been hospitalised for high fever and breathing difficulties. She is now in a stable condition.
After the news of the Japanese case emerged, Hong Kong authorities stepped up their monitoring of the disease, ordering private doctors to report cases of fever and respiratory infection in anyone who had been in a mainland hospital or come into contact with anyone who had the new virus, RTHK reported.
Previously, doctors had been required to report such symptoms to the Centre for Health Protection only for patients who had actually been to Wuhan.
There have been no confirmed cases of the disease in Hong Kong so far.
Wuhan has recorded a total of 41 cases of the new virus, of whom five are in a serious condition
In Singapore, a third suspected case was reported on Thursday. The Ministry of Health said a 69-year-old man who travelled to Wuhan has been diagnosed with pneumonia.
The man, a Singaporean, had not visited the seafood wholesale market in Huanan, from whence the new bug is thought to have emerged. Investigations are ongoing to establish whether his illness is linked to the Wuhan disease cluster.
Meanwhile, two Chinese tourists with fever symptoms from Wuhan were quarantined by Vietnam's Ministry of Health and are now under observation after they landed at Danang International Airport on Tuesday.
Hanoi dispatched a medical team to the coastal city and called an emergency meeting on Wednesday on prevention efforts.
The World Health Organisation, which has said that the virus has "some limited human-to-human transmission", is not taking any chances and has warned of a potential wider outbreak.
The region is gearing up on precautionary measures, with an expected surge in Chinese visitors during the Chinese New Year holiday later this month, with more stringent health monitoring checks and quarantine procedures for those who visited Wuhan recently.
Many countries in the region, including Japan and Indonesia, are stepping up health screening of inbound travellers. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network