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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Breaking: DOH confirms first nCoV death in PH

The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Sunday, February 2, the death of the first novel coronavirus (nCoV) patient in the country.

In a press conference, health officials confirmed that the 44-year-old male died on Saturday, February 1, 2020, saying that he developed severe pneumonia aver the course of his admission. While the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement in his last few days, his condition deteriorated within his last 24 hours resulting in his demise.

It was disclosed that the country recorded two confirmed cases in the Philippines: a 38-year-old Chinese female and her companion, a 44-year-old Chinese male. Both patients are from Wuhan, China and arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong last January 21. They were both admitted for isolation and supportive treatment at the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

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“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,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured, telling the public that all measures needed to contain the spread of the virus is being strictly implemented and followed. 

Moreover, San Lazaro Hospital has implemented rigorous infection control protocols while caring for these patients. Both patients were isolated following strict isolation standards, and all health personnel who came in contact with them practiced stringent infection control measures and wore appropriate personal protective equipment, it was noted.

Meanwhile, the DOH's Epidemiology Bureau (EB) is urrently conducting contact tracing of passengers aboard the flights of the two positive cases. EB has secured the manifestos of the flights and is in close coordination with the concerned airlines. Contact tracing activities are ongoing in Cebu and Dumaguete, and in other places where the patients stayed and traveled to.

“The Philippine Government has already implemented a temporary travel ban for travelers coming from China, Macao, and Hong Kong. DOH is monitoring every development on the 2019-nCoV very closely and is taking proactive measures to contain the spread of this virus in our country. This health event is fast-evolving and fluid. We are continuously recalibrating our plans and efforts as the situation develops,” Duque said.

“We are providing the public with constant updates and advisories as frequently as possible, so all I ask from the public now is to heed the advisories from official DOH channels and to refrain from sharing unverified and unvalidated information. I assure the public that we will keep you abreast of any information that we have,” he added.
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