Hong Kong reported the first death due to the novel coronavirus, becoming the third country after China and Philippines to confirm fatalities from the fast-spreading virus.
The 39-year-old victim, a Hong Kong resident with underlying illness, was confirmed on January 31 as the city’s 13th coronavirus case, and was admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation and treatment, reports Xinhua news agency.
He died early Tuesday morning after his condition deteriorated, a hospital spokesperson said.
The victim had travelled from Hong Kong to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak which has killed 425 in China, on January 21 and returned home on January 23.
Investigations by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) revealed that he neither visited any health care facilities, wet markets or seafood markets, nor had any exposure to wild animals during the incubation period.
People with close contact with the patient, including his mother, wife, daughter, son and domestic helper, were transferred to a quarantine centre for medical monitoring.
His 72-year-old mother was confirmed on Sunday as Hong Kong’s 15th case of novel coronavirus infection, and has been transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment.
The development comes after the Philippines on February 2 confirmed the country’s first fatality due to the coronavirus, becoming the second nation outside China to report deaths. As of Tuesday, the toll in China rose to 425, with 20,438 infected cases.