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Philippines confirms third case of novel coronavirus


The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday confirmed the third case of novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection in the Philippines.

The patient was a 60-year-old female Chinese national.

She arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong last January 20, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in a press conference.

The patient then went straight to Bohol, he added.

Two days later, on Jan. 22, she went to a private hospital in Bohol to be checked due to fever and colds. She was then admitted, Domingo said.

Her samples that were taken on January 24 were tested by both an Australian laboratory and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and both tests showed that she was negative for nCov.

However, RITM subsequently tested a sample taken earlier on January 23, and the result showed she was positive for nCoV.

Domingo said the clinical explanation for the two different test results is that the woman was towards the end of illness at the time when the samples were taken.

After testing negative, the woman was discharged from the hospital and she already took a flight to Shenzhen, China with her healthy companions on January 31. It was only on February 3 that the DOH was notified by the RITM regarding the positive test result, according to the DOH spokesperson.

"The Bureau of Quarantine and Epidemiology Bureau are coordinating with the concerned airlines while the Central Visayas Center for Health Development is in coordination with the hotel where the patient stayed and the hospital where she was confined," Domingo said.

He added that contact tracing will be conducted for the persons who may have been in contact with the third case while she was in the Philippines.

The woman did not exhibit any symptoms upon arrival at the airport on January 20 and only consulted a private doctor on January 22 after experiencing fever and colds, Domingo said.

Those whom she shared a flight with on the way back to China no longer need to be traced as she was already well when she flew out, he added.

As of 12 noon on Wednesday, the country has recorded 133 suspected cases of novel coronavirus infection—115 of whom are admitted at hospitals while 16 others were already discharged.

Domingo however stressed that there is no case of human-to-human transmission of nCoV in the country. —KG, GMA News