Philippines probes possible case of virus from China

Philippines probes possible case of virus from China

The infection was first confirmed on December 31 in Wuhan, a central Chinese city with a population
The infection was first confirmed on Dec 31 in Wuhan, a central Chinese city with a population of over 11 million. (Photo: AFP/STR)

MANILA: The Philippines was probing on Tuesday (Jan 21) its potential first case of the SARS-like virus that has infected hundreds in China, health authorities said.

A five-year-old child arrived in the Philippines Jan 12 from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease was discovered, and has been hospitalised since with flu symptoms. To date, 291 people have fallen ill with the new coronavirus in China.

Wuhan pneumonia virus outbreak infographic

READ: Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: Asia ramps up defence against coronavirus

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While the child tested positive for a virus, authorities in Manila say they are not sure if it is the same one that has killed six people in China and sickened people in three other Asian countries.

"The child is considered a person under investigation," Philippine health secretary Francisco Duque told a press briefing in Manila.

Samples from the child were sent to a lab in Australia for further testing and authorities are awaiting the results, he added.

READ: Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: A timeline of how the new coronavirus spread

The child was already showing symptoms like fever, throat irritation and cough before arriving in the central city of Cebu with a parent, the health department said.

Three other travellers from China were checked by authorities at another airport, but they did not show symptoms that corresponded with the warning issued by the World Health Organization about the virus from Wuhan.

Authorities in China reported on Tuesday that a sixth person had died from the virus. Fifteen medical workers in Wuhan were also diagnosed with pneumonia, with an additional worker suspected of having the disease.

The virus - that can spread between humans - has spread beyond China to other Asian countries like Japan, Thailand and South Korea. 

Several countries in Asia, including Singapore and Thailand are also ramping up screening measures at airports because of the outbreak.

Source: AFP/aa

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