Hong Kong reports second COVID-19 death

15:45 | 19/02/2020
Hong Kong recorded its second death caused by the new coronavirus on Wednesday (Feb 19).
hong kong reports second covid 19 death
View of medical staff at Princess Margaret Hospital. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

The 70-year-old man, who had underlying illnesses, was one of the 62 confirmed cases in the city, said a spokesperson from Princess Margaret Hospital.

The spokesperson added that the elderly man's condition had deteriorated before he died at the hospital on Wednesday morning.

Hong Kong officials said the man was taken to hospital on Feb 12 after a fall at home. He had a fever and tested positive for the coronavirus before he died a week later.

The city's first fatality from COVID-19 was a 39-year-old man who had travelled to Wuhan in January.

Officials said the man also had diabetes, but had been stable until his condition suddenly deteriorated before he died on Feb 4.

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 2,000 on Wednesday after 136 more people died. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,185.

Hong Kong is on edge over the coronavirus partly because of its own tragic history of experiencing a deadly disease.

In 2003, 299 Hong Kongers were killed by an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) - 40 per cent of the global total fatalities.

In the last fortnight, the international business hub has been hit by a wave of panic-buying, with supermarket shelves emptied of staple goods such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser and rice.

Authorities say the supply of goods remains stable and says panic-buying is itself causing shortages.

Face masks, however, remain in short supply with queues cropping up across the city whenever a local pharmacy or store announces a new delivery.

AFP

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