Coronavirus Live Updates: Death in Philippines Is First Outside China

ImageStudents wearing protective masks during a school activity in Manila.
Credit…Aaron Favila/Associated Press

A man from Wuhan has died in the Philippines.

A 44-year-old man in the Philippines has died of the coronavirus, health officials said on Sunday, making him the first known death outside China. The man, a resident of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, died on Saturday after developing what officials called “severe pneumonia.”

“This is the first known death of someone with 2019-nCoV outside of China,” the World Health Organization’s office in the Philippines said in a statement, using the technical shorthand for the coronavirus.

Philippine health officials said the man had arrived in the country on Jan. 21 with a 38-year-old woman who remains under observation.

“In his last few days, the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement,” said the health secretary, Francisco Duque III. “However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within his last 24 hours, resulting in his demise.”

Hours before the death was announced, the Philippines said it was temporarily barring non-Filipino travelers arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Mr. Duque said the Philippines was currently observing 23 people who had been isolated in hospitals with possible coronavirus symptoms.

The death toll passed 300, with more than 14,000 infections confirmed.

Chinese officials on Sunday reported a surge in new cases.

◆ The death toll in China rose to at least 304.

◆ More than 2,000 new cases were also recorded in the country in the past 24 hours, raising the worldwide total to nearly 14,557, according to Chinese and World Health Organization data. The vast majority of the cases are inside China; about 150 cases have been confirmed in at least 23 other countries.

◆ All of China’s provinces and territories have now been touched by the outbreak.

◆ Countries and territories that have confirmed cases: Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Macau, Russia, France, the United States, South Korea, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Britain, Vietnam, Italy, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Finland, Sweden and Spain.

◆ Cases recorded in Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, France and the United States involved patients who had not been to China.

◆ China has asked the European Union for help in buying urgently needed medical supplies from its member countries, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

Experts say virus may turn into a pandemic.

Many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts say the outbreak is likely to become a pandemic, defined as an ongoing epidemic on two or more continents.

Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, but there is a growing consensus that it is readily transmitted. Scientists have found that it is spreading more like influenza than its slow-moving viral cousins, SARS and MERS.

“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

“But will it be catastrophic? I don’t know,” he added.

The effects of a pandemic would likely be harsher in some countries than in others. While wealthier countries can direct their resources toward early detection and treatment, countries with fragile health care systems will not necessarily be able to offer the same level of care.

[Three American airlines have suspended flights between the United States and China. Are you affected, or do you know someone who is? Please contact us at [email protected]]

China reports an outbreak of a different sort: bird flu.

China is now dealing with another disease outbreak — this one mostly affecting animals, but also potentially deadly among people.

The Ministry of Agriculture said late Saturday that a fresh outbreak of a lethal form of influenza had been found in poultry in the southern province of Hunan, and that officials had ordered the slaughter of 17,828 chickens.

China has previously dealt with several bird flu outbreaks. In the new case, the H5N1 bird flu virus was found at a farm in the city of Shaoyang. The farm had 7,850 chickens, and more than half have died from the bird flu, the ministry said. It called the strain “highly pathogenic.”

Although bird flu poses more of a danger to poultry than humans — it is not easily transmissible among people — the World Health Organization has called on countries to be on guard.

China is also grappling with an African swine fever epidemic that has infected tens of thousands of pigs and could stoke worries about the food supply.

China builds a coronavirus hospital within 10 days.

The Chinese government has delivered on its promise to build a hospital for coronavirus patients at the epicenter of the outbreak within 10 days. About 1,400 military medics will begin working at the hospital in Wuhan on Monday, according to state news media.

Several state outlets streamed footage from the new hospital, which spans roughly 365,000 square feet and has been fitted with 1,000 beds. A second facility in Wuhan, with 1,500 beds, is expected to be completed this week.

An official in Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital, said in a news briefing on Sunday that the time required to confirm new cases of the virus had halved to no more than two hours, and that the accuracy of the test kits had improved.

But the situation in Hubei remains “severe and complicated,” Vice Governor Xiao Juhua said.

Since the coronavirus emerged, hospitals in Wuhan have been met with a shortage of masks and basic protective gear for doctors and nurses, and overwhelmed hospitals have had to turn away many people with flu-like symptoms.

Wuhan, the virus’s epicenter, expands its quarantine.

Eleven days into the lockdown of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the epidemic began, the government there is extending its quarantine in an effort to halt the coronavirus that has killed at least 224 people in the city.

Starting Sunday, the authorities are putting into quarantine people in Wuhan who have had close contact with confirmed carriers of the virus and people with pneumonia-like symptoms who may be carriers. Under the new rules, many may face supervised quarantine away from their families.

The government had already ordered residents not to leave the city and to stay indoors as much as possible. Now, people who have had close contact with confirmed carriers of the virus “will be sent to centralized isolation and observation points,” according to the new rule.

The regulation did not specify where people will be kept for observation, but it warned that people would have no choice.

“Those who refuse to cooperate will be compelled under the law by assisting public security offices,” the order said. “During isolation, each district will provide free room and board, as well as medical observation and treatment.”

‘No reason for Americans to panic,’ a U.S. official says.

President Trump’s national security adviser played down the risk of an outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, saying on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that “right now there’s no reason for Americans to panic.”

The national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said that the United States had offered to send health officials to China to help contain the epidemic, but that officials had not yet received a response from Beijing.

Mr. O’Brien also defended remarks by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who said on Thursday that the United States could benefit economically from the outbreak because it could cause companies to reconsider their global supply chains and ultimately “help to accelerate” the return of jobs to the United States.

“I think what Commerce Secretary Ross is saying is there’s a danger, there’s a risk factor in doing that, and wouldn’t it be better if we had supply chains and factories here in the U.S.?” Mr. O’Brien said.

The list of countries restricting visitors from China grows.

New Zealand imposed new restrictions on travelers from mainland China, saying it would deny entry to visitors departing from or transiting through the mainland for two weeks starting on Monday.

Citizens and residents will be allowed entry to New Zealand, but will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The government will also send a charter flight to repatriate up to 300 citizens in Wuhan.

“Ultimately, this is a public health decision,” she said.

Many other countries have expanded travel restrictions on noncitizens who had traveled to China, including the Philippines, the United States and Australia. Japan and South Korea are barring noncitizens who have traveled to Hubei. (South Korea also said it would restrict tourism to and from China.)

Vietnam recently barred almost all flights to and from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau until May 1, according to the United States Federal Aviation Administration. But Vietnam then partly eased its ban, allowing flights from Hong Kong and Macau to continue.

Indonesia is suspending visa-free travel for Chinese citizens and barring passengers who have visited mainland China. Like other countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia depends heavily on Chinese tourism. On Thursday alone, 10,000 Chinese tourists canceled their trips to Bali, according to one industry association.

Russia, which shares a 2,600-mile border with China and which had temporarily stopped issuing work visas to Chinese citizens, is also halting visa-free entry for Chinese tour groups, the government said.

Iraq is temporarily barring travelers coming from China. Chinese people working in oil production are allowed to remain, though any who leave will not be able to return for the time being.

Saudi Arabia’s state airline and Oman also suspended flights to China on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Israel vows to pursue a vaccine and extends permits for Chinese workers.

Citing what it called the “apparently inevitable” spread of the coronavirus, Israel’s government on Sunday closed its borders to arrivals from China and said that it would work on producing a vaccine.

Israeli citizens who have traveled to China will be allowed back, officials said. And the Israeli news media reported that the country was expected to extend the work permits of nearly 1,700 Chinese construction workers whose contracts expired. The arrival of the same number of workers from China who were due to replace them has been indefinitely postponed.

Taiwan is upset about being lumped in with China.

Taiwan complained on Sunday that it was being punished because the World Health Organization considers it part of China, which has been subject to travel bans as the coronavirus spreads.

Italy and Vietnam included Taiwan in banning flights from China, a move that they announced after the W.H.O. declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

Vietnam backtracked on Saturday, but the ban from Italy remains, Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s foreign minister, said on Sunday.

He pointed out that Taiwan had 10 confirmed cases, versus more than 14,000 in mainland China.

“The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Taiwan is not higher than in most countries affected,” Mr. Wu said, adding that other than China, “no other country has had its flight banned by Italy.”

China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be part of its own territory and has long sought to limit Taiwan’s diplomatic relations and recognition at international bodies.

Taiwan also announced that it would deny entry to Chinese nationals from Guangdong, a coastal province that has been battered by the virus, and travelers who have recently visited the area.

Hong Kong medical workers threaten to strike Monday.

As many as 9,000 medical workers in Hong Kong have pledged to strike this week, a threat that alarmed officials in the territory, which confirmed its 14th coronavirus case late Saturday.

The workers are demanding that Hong Kong close all border checkpoints to visitors from mainland China, saying they represent a threat to health care workers in the city.

Matthew Cheung, Hong Kong’s No. 2 official, appealed to the medical workers to reconsider. “At this critical moment, I believe the general public would count on medical personnel to fight against the epidemic together, in the spirit of professionalism,” he wrote in a blog post on Sunday.

Health officials said it was unclear where the latest coronavirus patient in the territory had developed the disease. The patient, an 80-year-old man, had visited mainland China during a cruise, and later spent several days on a cruise ship in Japan with more than 3,000 passengers and employees.

“We are very worried,” said Chuang Shuk-kwan, a Hong Kong health official. “Everyone should prepare mentally for the possibility that the disease is spreading within the community.”

Hong Kong officials say that the number of visitors from the mainland and other countries has decreased significantly after they closed several border points and cut flight arrivals by half.

But several border points remain open, and many medical workers fear that Hong Kong’s well-regarded health care system will be overwhelmed. They have also voiced frustrations about patients from mainland China hiding their travel and medical history, potentially endangering other patients.

Two Germans repatriated from China are treated for the virus.

Two of the 120 Germans repatriated from China on Saturday have fallen ill and are being treated for the coronavirus in a university hospital in Frankfurt, the German authorities said.

All of those who were repatriated by the German government are being quarantined for two weeks at army barracks in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Eight cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the southern German state of Bavaria, the state ministry said. All of them are linked to a company in the town of Starnberg that was visited by a Chinese woman who began exhibiting symptoms on her return flight to China.

British citizens repatriated from China are taken into quarantine.

Eleven British citizens were expected to return from Wuhan on Sunday, raising to 94 the total number of people who have been repatriated, the country’s foreign secretary said.

The group — which traveled on a French flight carrying people from 29 European countries — will be taken to a hospital in northwestern England where a previous batch of repatriated citizens have been staying in isolation, the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, told the BBC.

Most of the 64 French citizens on the flight will be quarantined near Aix-en-Provence in southern France or the resort area Carry-Le-Rouet, a spokesman for France’s health ministry said.

In Britain, footage from the facility, Arrowe Park Hospital, showed some of the quarantined people wearing face masks while eating breakfast or playing pool indoors.

Ben Pinkerton, a 23-year-old teacher from Northern Ireland, described the facility as “very comfortable.”

“We have TVs, video games, a nice room and good food,” he said in a Facebook message.

Kharn Lambert, who is also in quarantine at the center, told Sky News on Saturday that those being kept in the facility were in good health and good spirits — “albeit subdued.” He said that they were allowed to go in a courtyard, but an outer perimeter that prevents them from leaving “is patrolled by the police quite regularly.”

Reporting was contributed by Austin Ramzy, Chris Buckley, Tiffany May, Jason Gutierrez, Sui-Lee Wee, Choe Sang-Hun, Tess Felder, Anton Troianovski, Alissa J. Rubin, Isabel Kershner, David Halbfinger, Christopher F. Schuetze, Iliana Magra, Chris Cameron, Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Constant Meheut.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here