DOH probing 2nd suspected coronavirus case

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WHILE awaiting confirmation of the laboratory test results for a five-year-old Chinese boy in Cebu City, the Department of Health (DOH) is investigating a second suspected case of novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the Philippines.

A 36-year-old man in Tacloban City, who worked in Wuhan in China, has manifested symptoms of respiratory infestion, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo in an interview.

The 2019 nCoV originated at a seafood market in Wuhan in central China. Reports said over 800 people have been infected and 26 have died in China.

"We still have that patient in Cebu considered as a person under investigation. And we have another person under investigation in Tacloban City," Domingo said.

"He has history of travel to Wuhan, China and then he came home with cough and colds and fever. So far, we have these two under investigation," he added.

Domingo said the second patient arrived in the country on January 17 or 18. His condition is stable but he remains in isolation at a local health facility.

The patient's close contacts are under home quarantine although they have not manifested any symptoms of the virus.

Unlike the five-year-old boy in Cebu, the man from Tacloban has yet to be tested for any virus.

"The one in Tacloban is a suspected case because he has yet to have a positive test for the pancoronavirus. We will just do the test. We have not yet reached the level that he is a probable case," he explained.

To recall, the Cebu patient tested positive for a non-specific pancoronavirus by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). A second test, however, yielded negative results.

The boy's samples were sent to an Australian laboratory in a bid to identify the specific coronavirus strain.

Domingo said they expect the results from Australia to arrive on Tuesday, January 28, at the earliest.

"It is a long holiday weekend in Australia since it is the celebration of Australia Day," Domingo said. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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