Coronavirus Patient Dies in Hong Kong, Marking Second Death Outside Mainland China


Officials in Hong Kong announced a 39-year-old man had died from coronavirus, marking the second death caused by the deadly virus outside mainland China.

The man was a patient at the city’s Princess Margaret Hospital and had recently traveled from the outbreak’s epicenter of Wuhan, China, according to a report from The New Zealand Herald. He had been treated in an isolation ward after having developed muscle pain and fever before dying early Tuesday.

The first death outside mainland China was reported Saturday in Manilla, Philippines. The patient there had also recently arrived from Wuhan before falling ill.

Chinese officials reported that Monday was the deadliest day for the virus, with 120 people being added to a global death toll of 427. Over 20,000 people are now officially reported to be infected in China.

There have been suggestions that the official number of patients in China is being significantly underestimated. A study published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday estimated a “baseline” figure of at 75,815 people infected as of January 25, when the official count was significantly lower than it is now.

Wuhan locals have also claimed that the number of infections is far higher than Chinese officials admit. A shortage of medical supplies and overcrowded hospitals are also thought to be contributing issues.

“The situation that we’ve seen is much worse than what has been officially reported,” resident Long Jian told The New York Times as his father was being treated for the virus. “Those who can get diagnosed and treated are the lucky ones… in our neighborhood, many who weren’t able to get diagnosed ended up dying at home.”

Princess Margaret Hospital Coronavirus
Medical staff are seen outside Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, the site of the second coronavirus death outside mainland China, on February 4, 2020.

The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city in December 2019 and has quickly made its way around the world, with cases being confirmed in at least 24 other countries. World health officials have expressed concern that the virus is likely to spread further but stressed that the greatest risk of transmission is concentrated near the center of the outbreak in China.

There were 11 confirmed cases in the United States as of Monday, with many other possible cases under investigation across the country.

American officials announced a travel ban on foreign nationals arriving from China on Friday. Many flights to and from China have also been cancelled, and a mandatory 14-day quarantine has been imposed on all Americans returning from areas close to the outbreak. Four military bases have been designated to receive people under quarantine. Fewer than 200 people are currently being quarantined at a base in Riverside, California.

The patient in the first reported U.S. case was released Monday after being admitted to a Washington state hospital on January 20 and is said to be recovering well while continuing to be isolated at home.


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