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First death from disease recorded outside of China as global fears intensify

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Epidemic: Officials in protective gear disinfect Indonesian students as they disembark on arrival at Hang Nadim international airport in Batam, following their evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Epidemic: Officials in protective gear disinfect Indonesian students as they disembark on arrival at Hang Nadim international airport in Batam, following their evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Indonesian Embassy/AFP via Getty

Epidemic: Officials in protective gear disinfect Indonesian students as they disembark on arrival at Hang Nadim international airport in Batam, following their evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese man who contracted the coronavirus has died in the Philippines, the country's health authorities reported yesterday.

He is the first person to die from the disease outside China, intensifying global fears about the spread of an epidemic that has claimed more than 300 lives.

The 44-year-old, who was from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, died from "severe pneumonia".

Since it first appeared in the city in China's central Hubei province, some 14,500 people have been infected with the virus, which can cause fever and breathing difficulties.

A man has died of the coronavirus in the Philippines, the first confirmed fatality outside China. The patient was a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, where the virus was first detected.

The victim who died in the Philippines had arrived there on January 21 via Hong Kong with a 38-year-old woman who also tested positive for the virus and remains under observation.

The couple had visited Cebu and Dumaguete before going to Manila, the capital.

Philippine epidemiologists are now tracking down passengers who were on the same flights to urge them to take precautions and further tests.

"This health event is fast-evolving and fluid. We are continuously recalibrating our plans and efforts as the situation develops," said Francisco Duque III, the health secretary, according to 'The Philippine Star'.

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The Huoshenshan temporary field hospital is seen as it nears completion in Wuhan. Photo: Chinatopix via AP

The Huoshenshan temporary field hospital is seen as it nears completion in Wuhan. Photo: Chinatopix via AP

AP

Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organisation representative to the Philippines, tried to reassure the public, saying: "We need to take into mind that this is not a locally acquired case."

Shortly before announcing the death, the Philippines introduced a temporary entry ban on non-Filipino travellers arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Other nations are following suit with restrictions to stop the virus from spreading further.

Meanwhile in China, the first patients have arrived at a 1,000-bed hospital built in 10 days as part of China's efforts to fight a new virus.

A man has died of the coronavirus in the Philippines, the first confirmed fatality outside China. The patient was a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, where the virus was first detected.

Huoshenshan Hospital and a second facility with 1,500 beds that is due to open this week were built by construction crews who are working around the clock in Wuhan, the city in central China where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected in December.

Most of the city's 11 million people are barred from leaving the area.

The Wuhan treatment centres mark the second time Chinese leaders have responded to a new disease by building specialised hospitals almost overnight.

As severe acute respiratory syndrome, or Sars, spread in 2003, a facility in Beijing for patients with that viral disease was constructed in a week.

The first patients arrived at the Huoshenshan Hospital on Monday, according to state media.

The reports gave no details of the patients' identities or conditions.

The Huoshenshan - or Fire God Mountain - hospital will open today and be staffed by 1,400 medical workers from China's armed forces, many of whom have experience in treating Sars and Ebola.

However, in Hong Kong, thousands of hospital workers have decided to go on strike today, demanding the government closes the city's borders with mainland China to shut out the virus.

China has locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, and several other cities, but millions of people had already begun travelling to celebrate the Lunar New Year before the restrictions were imposed.

About 100 cases have been reported in at least 24 countries, including Britain.

Indonesia said yesterday it would temporarily stop flights to and from mainland China from Wednesday and bar visitors who have been in China for 14 days from entering or transiting.

From today, New Zealand will deny entry to visitors departing from or transiting through China.

Korea and Japan are barring non-citizens who have been recently in Hubei, and Taiwan has extended a ban to Chinese nationals from Guangdong, a southern province that has also been hit hard by the virus.

The US, Australia, Singapore and Israel have banned foreign nationals from visiting if they have been in China over the previous 14 days, and advised their own citizens not to travel there.

The death toll in China rose to 304 yesterday, with authorities reporting 45 new deaths since the previous day.

The US yesterday said that China had been more transparent about the coronavirus than it has been in previous crises.

But Beijing has not yet accepted a US offer of help to contain the epidemic. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent


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