Wuhan outbreak claims second victim: officials
A second person has died from pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan following an outbreak believed to be caused by a new coronavirus strain, local health authorities said.
The 69-year-old man surnamed Xiong (熊) had been hospitalized with multiple conditions, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its Web site late on Thursday.
He died on Wednesday.
Xiong exhibited abnormal renal function, severe impairment in multiple organs, inflammation of the heart muscle and other pressing conditions when he was admitted.
It was not clear from the commission’s statement whether these were pre-existing issues or consequences of the viral pneumonia.
Although the known cases of the outbreak have involved only individuals who have traveled to or live in Wuhan, the WHO has warned that a wider outbreak is possible and alerted hospitals worldwide.
The exact cause of the outbreak remains unclear, although the Huanan Seafood City market in Wuhan is suspected to be the epicenter. The market has been shut down for investigation and disinfection.
The WHO, China and other nations, including Taiwan, seek to prevent the further spread of the virus ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday next week, when many of China’s 1.4 billion citizens will be traveling abroad.
Beijing has stepped up disinfection efforts in major transportation hubs, while the WHO has given guidance to hospitals worldwide on infection prevention and control.
Thailand on Thursday reported a second case of pneumonia, a 74-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who has been quarantined.
The country expects nearly 1 million Chinese visitors during the Lunar New Year break and has increased monitoring at airports that have flights from Wuhan.
Japan on Thursday also confirmed that a man in his 30s had been infected with the virus after visiting Wuhan.
Twelve people have been discharged and five remain in a serious condition, China said, adding that 644 of the 763 people who had come in close contact with known patients are no longer under medical observation.
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