2019-nCoV-ARD claims first fatality in Manila hospital

A 44-YEAR-OLD man, who was confined in the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila, died on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, due to the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

He was the second confirmed case of the 2019-nCoV-ARD in the country and the first known death of someone outside mainland China. The World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines said the fatality was a close contact of the first confirmed case in the country.

“They are both confirmed residents from Wuhan, China. He experienced symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat before being admitted at the San Lazaro Hospital,” WHO Philippines said on its Facebook post.

The Department of Health (DOH) did not directly confirm whether the second case was infected by the 38-year-old Chinese female previously reported as the first positive case of 2019-nCoV-ARD in the country.

“Ang malinaw lang (0ne thing is clear), they are partners,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Duque said the 44-year-old man who died had “mixed infections” aside from the novel coronavirus.

“We should mention that in this patient (second case), meron din siyang (he already had) mixed pathogens. I would say, (it was a) mixed infection due to Influenza D,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte issued his latest directive, approving the temporary ban of any person, regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of permanent resident visa directly coming from China and its special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Duterte made his decision upon the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which convened last Jan. 31 following the WHO’s declaration of the 2019-nCoV-ARD outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

Duterte also approved the temporary ban of entry of any person, except Filipinos and holders of permanent resident visa, who, within 14 days immediately preceding the arrival in the Philippines, has been to China and its special administrative regions.

The President mandated a 14-day quarantine for Filipinos and permanent resident visa holders coming from any place in China and its special administrative regions.

He also approved the temporary ban on Filipinos from travel to China and its special administrative regions.

The President also ordered the establishment of a repatriation and quarantine facility. He is set to preside over another meeting with the task force on Monday, Feb. 3.

In another development, the Chinese government has reported an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in Hunan province, which lies on the southern border of Hubei province, the epicenter of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Saturday, Feb. 1, issued a statement that the outbreak “occurred in a farm in the Shuangqing district of Shaoyang city. The farm has 7,850 chickens, and 4,500 of the chickens have died from the contagion. Local authorities have culled 17,828 poultry after the outbreak.”

No human cases of the Hunan H5N1 virus have been reported.

The Hunan H5N1 outbreak comes even as Chinese authorities continue to scramble to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, further stretching the nation’s already heavily strained resources needed to combat the health threats, the SCMP reported.

The Department of Tourism, in its official Facebook page, said they are coordinating with the travel and trade sector of the country to ensure the full implementation of Duterte’s directive.

The Manila International Airport Authority advised passengers to and from China to coordinate with their airline or travel agencies for proper guidance and encouraged them to check airline websites for advisories.

In an advisory released on Sunday, Feb. 2, Philippine Airlines (PAL) canceled flights going to and coming from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau until Feb. 29, 2020.

PAL said it will be cancelling flights between Manila and mainland China, particularly in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen and Quanzhou (Jinjiang). Flights to and from Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macau are also canceled.

The advisory did not include direct flights between Cebu and China. PAL said the ban also applies to their all-Filipino flight and cabin crew.

As of 10:40 a.m., Sunday, the DOH reported 36 patients under investigation (PUIs) in the Philippines.

Of the 36, two patients were confirmed positive for 2019-nCoV-ARD and four are still under investigation, while the remaining 30 were found negative of the infectious disease.

Health officials said of the 30 negative patients, 10 were already discharged.

The DOH ensured strict implementation of the travel ban in various ports around the country in coordination with the Bureau of Immigration, Department of Foreign Affairs and other concerned agencies.

In Central Visayas, the DOH recorded four PUIs. Three of them are currently admitted in a hospital while one, the five-year-old boy from Wuhan, was already discharged.

The 44-year-old fatality and his 38-year-old female partner came from Wuhan City, Hubei province, China, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV-ARD d.

They arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong last Jan. 21.

The man was admitted for pneumonia last Jan. 25, after experiencing fever, cough and sore throat, said Duque said.

“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.

Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique said they are scheduling the patient’s remains for cremation. The DOH coordinated with the Chinese Embassy in Manila, informing the latter about the process.

The DOH initially revealed that the two were able to travel to Cebu and Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. The contact tracing procedures in Cebu and Dumaguete and in other places where the two patients stayed and traveled to are still ongoing.

The DOH-Epidemiology Bureau had secured the airline manifestos and it is in close coordination with the airlines.

Duque emphasized the importance of proper hand washing and cough etiquette as effective prevention not only against the 2019-nCoV-ARD but also from other viruses. (WBS, NJN OF SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES)