Philippines confirms third novel coronavirus case

MANILA – The Philippines confirms its third case of a patient who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).
Philippines confirms third novel coronavirus case

A 60-year-old Chinese woman has been confirmed as the country’s third case of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, the Department of Health said Wednesday, February 5.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo confirmed in a press conference that the woman is from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. She traveled to Hong Kong to catch a flight to Cebu City on January 20 before heading off to Bohol.


On January 22, the patient consulted with a private hospital in Bohol after experiencing fever and colds. The patient was immediately admitted at the hospital. According to Sec. Domingo, several samples were taken from the patient on January 23 and 24. These were sent for testing to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM0 in the Philippines and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Australia.

Results from samples on January 24 turned out negative from both testing centers. Domingo said that the results arrived on January 29 (from Australia) and 30 (from RITM). Upon recovery, the patient was discharged and allowed to go home on January 31; that’s 9 days after the admission.

On February 3, however, the Department of Health (DOH) was informed by RITM that the earlier sample on January 23 turned out positive for the 2019-nCov. The Health Undersecretary explained that both laboratories had only run tests on the samples from January 24 as these were more “clinically relevant” to the patient.

But RITM ran tests on all old samples as a matter of procedure. This is when they discovered that the sample from January 23 turned out to be positive – but the patient has already returned to China.

Responding to concerns that the woman might continue spreading the virus, the Health Undersecretary said that the woman had the novel coronavirus while traveling from Wuhan to the Philippines, but she was getting better. While she still had the virus on January 23 (as shown by the positive test results), she had gotten better; that’s why she tested negative on January 24 and was allowed to go home.

Contact tracing for the persons this patient had interacted with or those in close proximity to the patient, especially during the first leg of her trip before admission is now ongoing.

Watch the press conference here:

Currently, DOH is monitoring 133 patients for the suspected case of nCoV.

DOH is monitoring 133 patients for the suspected case of nCoV
Photo courtesy of Department of Health on Facebook.


— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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