The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death from the new coronavirus outside of China, where authorities delayed the opening of schools in the worst-hit province and tightened quarantine measures in a city that allow only one family member to venture out to buy supplies.
The Philippine Department of Health said a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in central China, was admitted on Jan. 25 after experiencing fever, cough and sore throat. He developed severe pneumonia, and in his last few days, “the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement,” the department reports. “However, the condition of the patient deteriorated within his last 24 hours resulting in his demise.”
The man’s 38-year-old female companion, also from Wuhan, first tested positive for the virus and remains in hospital isolation in Manila.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved a temporary ban on all travelers except Filipinos from China and its semiautonomous regions. The U.S., Japan, Singapore and Australia have imposed similar restrictions despite criticism from China and an assessment from the World Health Organization that they were unnecessarily hurting trade and travel.
Meanwhile, six officials in the city of Huanggang in Hubei province, where Wuhan is also located, have been fired over “poor performance” in handling the outbreak, the official New China News Agency reported.
It cited the mayor as saying the city’s “capabilities to treat the patients remained inadequate and there is a severe shortage in medical supplies such as protective suits and medical masks.”