Hong Kong Reports First Death From Coronavirus Outbreak
The death was the second from the virus outside mainland China
The patient was a 39-year-old man who had visited Wuhan and returned to Hong Kong on Jan. 23.
Hong Kong’s first death was the second outside mainland China.
A 39-year-old man in Hong Kong died Tuesday from the new coronavirus, the city’s Hospital Authority said.
The death from the outbreak was the first in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory that has had 15 confirmed cases, and the second outside mainland China. A man in the Philippines who was from Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the outbreak — also died from the coronavirus, Philippine officials said Sunday.
Train attendants wearing protective masks on their way to Beijing Railway Station
The man who died Tuesday had traveled by train to Wuhan on Jan. 21, returning from the mainland to Hong Kong two days later, the Hong Kong government said in a statement. His mother, who did not travel to Wuhan, later contracted the virus, suggesting a transmission within the household. The man’s wife, two children and a domestic helper who worked for him are being quarantined.
The Hong Kong government has been under pressure to close its borders to mainland China. All but three border checkpoints out of 16 had been shut by Monday, but those remaining entry points can still admit thousands of mainland Chinese visitors per day.
More than 2,500 medical workers went on strike Monday to demand a fully closed border. They said they were unsatisfied by the partial closings, and many continued to strike on Tuesday.
A steady climb in infections in China, but some encouraging news, too
The death toll from the new coronavirus has exceeded that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2002 and 2003 in mainland China. But the number of people who have recovered nationwide has also risen in recent days, suggesting that the new virus’s fatality rate is relatively low.
China’s Health Commission reported on Tuesday that there were 632 recoveries and 425 deaths nationwide. During the SARS outbreak, 349 people died in mainland China.
Stocks in Hong Kong opened down on Monday
Health experts say they are encouraged by the steady rise in the number of recoveries. They take it as evidence that the treatments meted out have been effective and that the virus does not appear to be as deadly as SARS.
SARS had a mortality rate of 9.6 percent, and about 2 percent of those reported to have been infected with the new coronavirus have died.
China first announced an outbreak of mysterious pneumonia in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31. It has been 12 days since the authorities began to place the city and much of the surrounding Hubei Province — home to tens of millions of people — under lockdown.
In Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, 80 patients had recovered on Sunday, compared with 56 deaths. On Saturday, 49 patients had left the hospitals, while 45 people had died.
Still, the number of infections from the new coronavirus continues to climb, suggesting that it could be some time before the outbreak is over.
China had 20,438 confirmed infections as of Monday, the government said on Tuesday. During the SARS outbreak, it had 5,327 cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Source: The New York Times