MANILA - The Philippines on Saturday recorded the first new coronavirus-related death outside China, where it originated, officials said Sunday.
The fatality was a 44-year-old Chinese man who arrived in the Philippines from Wuhan, China on Jan. 21 with a 38-year-old Chinese woman, who was Manila’s first confirmed case of the new strain of virus.
The Chinese couple traveled to Hong Kong, Cebu, and Dumaguete City before arriving in Manila on Jan. 25, officials earlier said.
The man was admitted for pneumonia on Jan. 25 after experiencing fever, cough and sore throat, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
"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. However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within the last 24 hours, resulting in his demise," he said.
Results of tests conducted by the country's Research Institute for Tropical Medicine showed that aside from the 2019-nCoV, the man was also positive for two other bacteria.
"Merong (There was) Streptococcus pneumonia, which is the common cause of community-acquired pneumonia, and also Haemophilus influenza type b," Duque said in another press conference Monday.
"We would say that the severe pneumonia must have been caused by the nCoV because of the clinical and some diagnostics that show similarity between the SARS-CoV and the nCoV," he added.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said cremation of the man's remains is being arranged since it is regarded to be potentially infectious.
The Chinese woman, meantime, is no longer showing such symptoms as fever and cough as of Sunday, said Domingo. She needs to test negative twice before she can be discharged from the hospital.
The two confirmed cases are among the 80 individuals considered by the Department of Health, as of Monday, as patients under investigation (PUIs) for the 2019-nCoV. Of these, 30 already tested negative, while results for the remaining 48 are still pending.
Domingo said 8 of the PUIs are among 74 individuals who were traced, as of Monday, to have been in contact with the two confirmed cases. The 8 had cough and colds.
Since emerging in Wuhan late last year, the new coronavirus has killed 361 people in the mainland, infected more than 17,200 people across China and reached 24 nations.