A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected hundreds since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December.

The first death from the coronavirus outbreak has been reported from outside China.

BBC reported that the death was recorded in the Philippines. The patient was a 44 years old Chinese man from Wuhan, in Hubei province.

This was were the virus was first detected in December before spreading to other provinces in the China. Currently all the provinces are under lockdown by the Chinese government.

According to the Philippines Department of Health, the dead man had travelled to the country from Wuhan through Hong-Kong with a 38 years old woman who also tested positive to the disease.

His death was confirmed shortly after the Philippines announced that it will halt the arrival of foreigners coming from China. The country has also begun a contact tracing of persons who might have been in contact with the patients since they arrived in the country.

Transmission

Since the beginning of the outbreak, more than 300 people have died from the disease, most of them in the Hubei province. However, this is the first death reported from the disease outside China.

As at Saturday, the disease has been exported to over 24 countries, there are uncertainties of how many countries would be reporting new cases anytime soon.

Many of the cases have been confirmed in the Asian region, some parts of Europe, North America and the Middle East.

So far, none has been confirmed in Africa, though there have been scares and suspected cases.

The US, Australia and more countries are detecting increasing numbers of cases and as such have barred people arriving from China to enter into the countries. Also, some of their citizens coming in from China are required to undergo quarantine.

These countries actions, however, contravene the advice given by the UN health agency after it declared the new coronavirus outbreak as a global health threat.

China

Meanwhile, in China, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to about 300. This is still expected to rise as new cases are being reported in the country.

According to the Chinese government on Saturday, at least 304 people have died and 14,380 people have been infected across the country.

A newsletter on the status of the disease released by China’s National Health Commission, shows that about 243 who had recovered from the disease have been discharged from the hospital. Most of the deaths have been recorded from the Chinese mainland.


As at Friday 136,987 close contacts of confirmed cases had been tracked, and among them, 118,478 are under medical observation while 6,509 such people were freed from observation.

The statement states that the number of confirmed infections in Hong Kong is 13, in Macao 7 and Taiwan province 10 making 30 in total.

The statement also condemned the action taken by the US in barring Chinese citizens from entering the country.

It said the Chinese people are making their best efforts to fight against the outbreak.

“The Chinese government has released information and shared data with the US and the rest of the international community in a timely, transparent and responsible manner. As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. Many countries have offered China help and support through various ways.

“In contrast, the US comments and actions are neither based on facts, nor helpful at this particular time. While the WHO has only just specifically advised against any travel restrictions, the US has decided to act in the opposite way. This has set a bad example. It is certainly not a gesture of goodwill,” it said.

Heightened surveillance

Due to the increasing number of confirmed cases outside China, the World Health Organisation on Thursday declared the new coronavirus as a global health threat.

This means that countries should be on the alert and heighten their health security surveillance especially at points of entries.

While many people saw the announcement as a welcome decision, some people feel that the UN health agency had tarried in making the announcement.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said while the disease has attained a level of global concern, it is important not to install too much fear into people and to have them lead a normal life as good as possible in these circumstances.

Meanwhile, Nigerian government said it has raised surveillance level at five airports across the county.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, also added that the government has constituted a committee which would oversee the coordination of the prevention and treatment of the disease in case it is detected in the country.

He also added that Nigeria will not be restricting passengers especially from China for entering into the country unlike countries like the US, Australia and the Philippines who have placed restrictions on foreigners from China.


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