MANILA: The Philippines has become the first country besides China to record its first death due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday confirmed a second case of the virus in the Philippines – a Chinese national who died on Saturday at a hospital in metro Manila.
In a press briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the second case involved a 44-year-old Chinese man who was admitted to San Lazaro Hospital in Sta Cruz, Manila for pneumonia after experiencing fever, cough and sore throat.
He was the companion of the 38-year-old woman who was the first confirmed 2019-nCoV case in the Philippines.
“Over the course of the patient’s admission, he developed severe pneumonia. In his last few days, the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement, ” Duque said.
“However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within the last 24 hours resulting in his demise.
“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.”
The World Health Organisation said this was the first reported case of nCoV-related death outside China.
The Chinese man and his female companion, who is still confined in the same hospital, are both from Wuhan in China and arrived in the country on Jan 21 from Hong Kong via the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
They waited at the MCIA domestic departure terminal for several hours for their flight to Dumaguete City on the same day.
They then travelled to Dauin town in Negros Oriental, the jump-out point for the famous Apo Island dive and marine preserve.
However, there was no indication that they travelled to the island.
They were recorded to have boarded a flight from Dumaguete to Manila on Jan 24, where the 38-year-old woman was confirmed to have been afflicted by the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to impose a temporary travel ban on visitors from mainland China and its special administrative regions, Senator Bong Go disclosed yesterday.
Go said he met with Duterte on Saturday night to discuss the expansion of the temporary travel ban currently imposed on Hubei province to the rest of mainland China as well as its special administrative regions, Macau and Hong Kong. —Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN