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Coronavirus

Coronavirus confirmed in Philippines, India and Finland

Patients arrived from Wuhan; other possible cases under investigation

Faculty members wearing masks use thermometers to check the temperature of guardians fetching students at a Chinese school in Quezon City, Philippines, on Jan. 28.   © Reuters

MANILA/NEW DELHI -- The Philippines and India on Thursday reported their first cases of the new coronavirus, with Finland also joining the list of affected countries.

The patient in the Philippines is a 38-year-old Chinese woman, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a briefing. The woman came from Wuhan and traveled to the Philippines via Hong Kong on Jan. 21. She sought a consultation and was admitted to a government hospital on Jan. 25 after she started coughing. She has no symptoms at present, according to the Department of Health.

The department announced the first case of infection after receiving the woman's laboratory results from the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne on Thursday.

The woman is among the 28 possible cases of coronavirus infection being investigated by Philippine health authorities; 23 of those patients are currently in the hospital, while five have been discharged.

India, also on Thursday, confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus in the southern state of Kerala. "One positive case of [a] novel coronavirus patient ... a student studying in Wuhan University, has been reported in Kerala," said a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"The patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital," it said, adding that the patient is stable and being closely monitored. Later, the Indian Council of Medical Research, a body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, confirmed in a statement that the patient is a female, who lived in Kerala before studying in Wuhan. 

The Foreign Ministry earlier said India is preparing to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan and coordinating with the Chinese authorities to bring them home.

Meanwhile, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare announced that it, too, had confirmed the Nordic country's first coronavirus case on Thursday. It said the patient is "a tourist from the city of Wuhan in China" who is currently "isolated," without divulging further details.

Chinese health authorities on the same day announced that the death toll from the new virus had reached 170, with 7,711 confirmed cases in the country. Apart from China, there are confirmed cases in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Singapore, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macao, France, Germany, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.

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