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Coronavirus: First death reported outside China as overall death toll rises above 300

The outbreak has been declared an international public health emergency.

Updated Feb 2nd 2020, 2:40 PM


A MAN IN the Philippines has become the first person outside China to die from the outbreak, while the overall death toll has risen above 300 and the number of confirmed cases of infection increased to more than 14,000.

The 44-year-old man from Wuhan, the province where the outbreak is believed to have originated, was admitted to a Manila hospital on 25 January with a fever, cough and a sore throat, the Philippine Department of Health said in a statement.

He developed severe pneumonia but “showed signs of improvement” in the days before his death, and the 38-year-old woman he was with has tested positive for the virus and remains in hospital isolation.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved a temporary ban on all travellers, except Filipinos, from China and its autonomous regions.

The death follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) calling on governments to prepare for “domestic outbreak control” if the virus spreads in their countries.

Beijing has criticised Washington’s order barring entry to the US to most foreigners who visited China in the past two weeks.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced similar measures on Saturday, following Japan and Singapore.

The number of confirmed cases in China has surpassed the number in the 2002-03 outbreak of Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

The virus’s rapid spread in two months prompted the WHO to declare it a global emergency on Thursday.

That declaration “flipped the switch” from a cautious attitude earlier to recommending governments prepare for the possibility the virus might spread, said WHO’s representative in Beijing, Gauden Galea.

Most cases reported so far have been people who visited China or their family members.

The agency acted out of concern for poorer countries that might not be equipped to respond, said Galea. Such a declaration calls for a coordinated international response and can bring more money and resources.

The WHO said it was especially concerned that some cases abroad involved human-to-human transmission.

Suspected case 

PastedImage-63296 Source: Laura's Russian Lifeline/Facebook

Passengers on a flight that arrived into Dublin Airport from Moscow last night were given a leaflet telling them they had travelled “with a possible case of novel coronavirus”. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre leaflets instruct passengers to avoid contact with other people “as much as possible” after disembarking the plane. 

If passengers become ill they are advised to stay home and “phone a doctor or 999 for advice, mentioning that you were on this flight”. 

A passenger on board the flight told that when the plane landed a passenger was removed by ambulance. 

“Airport police etc in masks but paramedic in full hazmat suit. We are suitably terrified,” they said.   

Tweet by @michelle Source: michelle/Twitter

The Department of Health said it could not comment on any individual cases other than confirmed cases of novel coronavirus. 

In a statement, the National Public Health Emergency Team said Ireland has advanced plans in place to deal with public health emergencies such as novel Coronavirus.

The aim of these plans in Ireland at this point in the response to novel Coronavirus is one of containment. This seeks to maximise the chance of a case being detected should one arise here and to prevent it being transmitted to another person. 

“The protocol always ensures that the people involved are fully communicated with and are aware of what is going on.  Their activation is an indication of the quality and responsiveness of the agencies and the staff who carry them out in the health services, the emergency service and at the ports of entry into Ireland.” 

The Department added that there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Ireland. 

- Additional reporting by Adam Daly 

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