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Philippines reports first virus death outside China: WHO

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Manila (AFP)

The Philippines has reported the first death outside China from the coronavirus that has killed over 300 and spread to other countries, the World Health Organization said Sunday.

The fatality is a 44-year-old Chinese man from the city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, and appears to have been infected before arriving in the Philippines.

"This is the first reported death outside China," Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the WHO representative to the Philippines, told reporters.

"However, we need to take into mind that this is not a locally acquired case. This patient came from the epicentre of this outbreak," Abeyasinghe added.

The man, who died in a Manila hospital, arrived in the Philippines with a 38-year-old Chinese woman who had also tested positive for the virus, health secretary Francisco Duque said.

She was the Philippines' first case of the virus and is recovering in hospital.

The news of the man's death was released shortly after the Philippines announced it would immediately halt the arrivals of any foreign travellers from China.

The Philippine government has also told citizens not to travel to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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