New local test shows Chinese boy in PH is now negative for coronavirus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 23) — Another test on the five-year-old Chinese boy from Wuhan showed that he is now negative for coronavirus infection, according to the Department of Health in Central Visayas.

A second swab test done on the boy a few days ago and sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine yielded a negative result for coronavirus infection. This test is different from the confirmatory test results on a throat swab and blood sample that Philippine authorities are still waiting for from Australia.

"The boy from Wuhan City, Hubei province in China, no longer has fever, cough, and other signs and symptoms associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus," DOH Central Visayas medical officer Van Philip Baton said Thursday in a media briefing.

Another sample from the boy has been sent to the RITM for testing. If this yields a negative result again for coronavirus infection, the boy and his mother may be discharged from the hospital, health officials in Central Visayas said.

The mother of the boy, staff at the condominium where the two stayed, and health workers who have been exposed to him have not exhibited any symptoms of infection until now, health officials said.

Health authorities earlier announced that the boy, who landed in Cebu City with his mother on January 12, tested positive for a still-unidentified coronavirus strain. The strain was not the one that causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome nor Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday it's possible that the boy is not infected with the novel coronavirus that originated from Wuhan.

Wuhan is a Chinese city south of Beijing where the new coronavirus referred to as 2019-nCoV originated from.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as such as MERS and SARS, according to the World Health Organization. They can be transmitted from animal to person or infected human to others, according to the WHO.

Philippine authorities have intensified precautionary measures at airports to check on passengers who exhibit flu-like symptoms and guard against the entry of the new coronavirus in the country. There is so far no confirmed case of 2019-nCov in the country, officials said.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus has risen to 17, as over 500 more cases were reported across China, the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Macao and Taiwan, sparking fears of a possible pandemic, CNN reported.

Cebu-based Stringer Dale Israel contributed to this report.