The Philippines first official case of the little understood and potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed today by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a press briefing.
Duque said the patient is a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak, ABS-CBN News reports. She arrived in Manila from Hong Kong on Jan. 21, and is currently staying at a government hospital, where she went for a checkup after coming down with a cough.
“The patient sought consult and was admitted to one of the country’s government hospitals last Jan. 25 after experiencing a mild cough. She is currently asymptomatic… which means she has no fever, and no other signs and symptoms suggesting illness at this point,” Duque said.
Prior to being admitted to the hospital, the patient traveled to Cebu and Dumaguete, and health officials are now trying to track down the passengers from her flight with whom she may have come into contact.
The Health Department is currently monitoring 29 other possible cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV. Most of them are in staying in hospitals in Metro Manila, while the rest are in Visayas and Mindanao, Rappler reports.
Duque also assured the public that everything is under control, GMA News reports.
“We are working closely with the hospital where the patient is admitted and have activated the incident command system of the said hospital for appropriate management specifically on infection control, case management, and containment,” he said.
“We are also implementing measures to protect the health staff providing care to these patients,” he added. “Stay calm and vigilant at all times… Adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
A man being monitored as a potential 2019-nCoV case died of pneumonia in Manila yesterday after also testing positive for HIV and a skin-related infection. He was a 29-year-old resident of China’s Yunnan province. It remains unknown whether he was actually carrying the Wuhan virus.
Duque’s announcement comes a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no plans of banning travel between China and the Philippines, but added he was keen to repatriate Filipinos from Wuhan if they wish to come home, CNN Philippines reports. The Department of Foreign Affairs said two charter planes are currently on standby to fetch the Filipinos from Wuhan if needed.
As of this morning, there have been almost 8,000 people infected with the SARS-like disease — the vast majority in China, where the first cases were linked to a now-shuttered seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan. After the disease quickly spread to other parts of China, and to several other countries, Chinese authorities put Wuhan and several other neighboring cities on virtual lockdown.
This article, Well, It’s Here: First confirmed case of Wuhan coronavirus detected in PH, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!