WASHINGTON — The Philippines has reported the first death of a new virus outside of China as the World Health Organization told countries to prepare in the event the disease spreads among their populations.
The Philippine Health Department says a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan was admitted on Jan. 25 after experiencing fever, cough, and sore throat. He developed severe pneumonia, and in his last few days showed signs of improvement.
However it says his condition deteriorated within his last 24 hours. His female companion also tested positive.
Meanwhile, China's news agency says six officials in the city of Huanggang, neighboring the epicenter of Wuhan in Hubei province, have been fired over poor performance in handling the outbreak.
The mayor complained the city lacks medical supplies.
The Associated Press reports that figures from the National Health Commission showed an increase of 45 in the death toll and 2,590 in the number of cases for a total of 14,380, well above the number of those infected in the 2002-03 outbreak of SARS, which happened southern China before spreading worldwide.
Saturday the Boston Public Health Commission said the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Massachusetts had been confirmed late Friday evening. According to BPHC, the man went to see a doctor after returning to the U.S. from Wuhan, China. Officials say the man has been in isolation since that time and will "continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials."
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said “we are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately."
Officials say the risk to the general public remains low. This latest case in Massachusetts brings the number of confirmed cases as of Saturday of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the U.S. to eight.
Beijing criticized Washington's order barring entry to most foreigners who visited China in the past two weeks. Australia announced similar measures. Meanwhile, South Korea and India flew hundreds of their citizens out of Wuhan, the city at the center of an area where some 50 million people are barred from leaving in a sweeping anti-virus effort. Indonesia also sent a plane.
The World Health Organization says it is especially concerned about cases of human-to-human contact abroad saying, “Countries need to get ready for possible importation in order to identify cases as early as possible and in order to be ready for a domestic outbreak control, if that happens,” The Associated Press reports.
Friday, the U.S. declared a public health emergency and President Trump signed an order blocking the entry of foreign nationals who are not the immediate family of American citizens or permanent residents, if they have visited China within the last 14 days.
AP reports that both the new virus and SARS are from the coronavirus family, which also includes those that cause the common cold. Experts say there is evidence the new virus is spreading among people in China.