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MORE INFO: DOH probes 5-year-old Chinese child in Cebu City who tested positive of unidentified coronavirus strain

By: Futch Anthony Inso, Morexette Marie B. Erram January 21,2020 - 04:16 PM

THERMAL IMAGING A health surveillance officer monitors passengers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport on Saturday after authorities activated a newly created “serious response” level to a mysterious infectious disease that may have been brought back by visitors to mainland China. —AP

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is now investigating the case of a 5 year-old Chinese from Wuhan City in China, who is currently admitted in a hospital in Cebu City, after he tested positive for a non-specific pancorona virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III disclosed this in a press conference at Manila on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

“We are currently investigating a 5-year-old from Wuhan City who travelled to Cebu City. The child, accompanied by his mother, was admitted for having throat irritation, and cough prior to entering the country,” Duque said.

The DOH head also said the child, whose gender was not disclosed, was first tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and yielded negative results for the other known coronaviruses – Middle Eastern Respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus or more often referred to as MERS-COV and severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus.

He added that the specimen from the child has been sent to Australia to help them identify the specific coronavirus strain.

“[The child] is still experiencing cough “but is currently stable and afebrile… Technically the child is considered as PUI or Person-under-investigation, pending results,” said Duque.

According to Duque, coronaviruses come from a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more serious infections such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

“Common signs of coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death,” he said.

People from various countries in Asia are now alarmed after an unnamed coronavirus emerged recently in China, and was reportedly linked to the deadly SARS-CoV strain that claimed over 600 lives in 2003.

The new coronavirus strain, which was tagged as the 2019 new Coronavirus, originated from Wuhan in the Hubei Province in central China – the same city where the 5-year-old child being investigated by DOH came from.

It has spread to three other countries namely Japan, Thailand, and South Korea, and has claimed four lives so far.

Duque said the results they are expecting from Australia is crucial in determining if the child infected by the unidentified coronavirus strain matched that of the 2019 new Coronavirus.

Read more: New coronavirus strain in Cebu City

The press conference was also attended by various health officials from the Bureau of Quarantine, RITM, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Bureau of Quarantine Director Ferdinand Salcedo, on the other hand, told reporters in Metro Manila that the child and his mother, believed to be Chinese nationals, arrived in Cebu last January 12.

“They arrived in Cebu on January 12, 2020, at 3 p.m. The child was confined (at the hospital) at 6 p.m.,” said Salcedo.

He also said that based on their traveling documents, the itineraries of both mother and child were to study English in Cebu. /rcg

NOTE: This is an updated version of an earlier story published by CDN Digital. Read the first update here

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