Philippines Coronavirus death marks first virus fatality outside China. Traveled with female companion from Wuhan. Health officials tracking who the couple traveled with.
The man, 44, was a resident of Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, and officials believe he was infected before traveling to the Philippines, according to the World Health Organization.
The BBC reports the un-named man hailing from the Hubei province, where the virus was first detected.
He experienced symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat before being admitted at the San Lazaro Hospital. He passed away on Saturday, according to a released statement by WHO on Sunday.
‘He passed away on 1 February 2020. This is the first known death of someone with 2019-nCoV outside of China. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,’ the statement read in part.
The victim was the second person in the Philippines confirmed to have contracted the virus.
The news came as reported cases and deaths continued to rise. More than 304 people have died in the outbreak so far, the vast majority from Hubei. More than 14,380 people have been infected according to Chinese officials.
The US, Australia and an increasing number of other countries have barred the arrival of foreigners from China and are requiring their own citizens to be quarantined.
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has overtaken that of the similar Sars epidemic, which spread to more than two dozen countries in 2003. But the mortality rate of the new virus is much lower, suggesting it is not as deadly the BBC reports.
LIVE: #Coronavirus outbreak, declared a public health emergency by UN, is spreading – with the first death outside of China reported in Philippines.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to fight the spread of the virus.
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) February 2, 2020
What do we know about this death?
The man travelled to the Philippines from Wuhan, via Hong Kong, with a 38-year-old Chinese woman who also tested positive last week, the Philippines Department of Health said.
Officials said he was admitted to a hospital in the capital, Manila, where he developed severe pneumonia.
Both patients arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong on Jan. 21.
The man is thought to have had other pre-existing health conditions.
Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the WHO representative to the Philippines, urged people to remain calm: ‘This is the first reported death outside China. However, we need to take into mind that this is not a locally acquired case. This patient came from the epicentre of this outbreak.’
According to local news outlet Rappler, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the patient was “stable and showed signs of improvement”, but his condition deteriorated rapidly over 24 hours.
The Department of Health is in the process of trying to track down people who were on the same flight as the man so that they could be quarantined, the health secretary said, as well as any other people the man and woman may have come into contact with, such as hotel staff.