KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — A second person died in the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, international reports said today, quoting local health authorities.
The Guardian reported that a 69-year-old man was admitted to hospital with abnormal renal function and severe damage to multiple organs, citing a statement by the Wuhan municipal health commission. He died on Wednesday.
Wuhan, a central Chinese city more than 1,000km from Beijing, has reported at least 41 cases of pneumonia, which preliminary lab tests cited by state media showed could be from a new type of coronavirus. Health authorities previously put the figure at 59.
As of yesterday, 12 people in Wuhan have reportedly recovered and since been discharged from hospital, but five others are still in serious condition. No human-to-human transmission has been confirmed either but the possibility “cannot be excluded”.
The Wuhan outbreak was linked to a fresh seafood market, which sells exotic meat, and has since been closed since January 1. Coronaviruses, which come from bats but can also infect various animals, can jump from animals to humans.
A Chinese woman has been quarantined in Thailand with a mystery strain of coronavirus, Thai authorities said on Monday, the first time the virus was detected outside China, while a Chinese national in Japan has tested positive for the viral strain. Both visited Wuhan before being hospitalised.
The World Health Organization (WHO) previously said the coronavirus could be caused by a newly emerging member of the family viruses that caused the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak — which infected over 8,000 people and killed almost 800 in 2003 worldwide, including a significant number in China.
Meanwhile, a Singaporean man with pneumonia has been warded in Singapore and isolated after travelling to Wuhan, the island republic’s Ministry of Health reportedly said yesterday.
Channel News Asia quoted a ministry statement as saying that the 69-year-old man had been admitted for future assessment and treatment, and isolated as a precautionary measure, but is still in stable condition. He did not visit the Wuhan seafood market.