Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Coronavirus Case Was Severely Ill, but Recently Taken off Ventilator

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Coronavirus Case Was Severely Ill, but Recently Taken off Ventilator

Article excerpt

New coronavirus case recently off ventilator

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A Saudi Arabian man who is the third known person to have been infected with a new coronavirus was severely ill, a senior health official with the Saudi government revealed Monday.

The man, who was hospitalized with pneumonia, had to be placed on a ventilator, a machine that breathed for him. But he has recovered to the point that he no longer needs assistance to breathe, the Saudi deputy minister of health suggested, and has been moved from the intensive care unit.

"The patient was extremely sick but (was) extubated a few days ago and (is) recovering nicely," Dr. Ziad Memish said in an email exchange with The Canadian Press.

Extubation is the procedure in which a tube that pushes air from a ventilator into the lungs is removed.

Few details of the case are currently known. Even the World Health Organization was scrambling Monday to learn more about the latest infection with the new coronavirus, which is from the same family of viruses as the one that causes SARS.

Glenn Thomas, a spokesman with the WHO, said the agency was informed of the case on Sunday, after Saudi authorities received results of a confirmatory test that showed the man's infection was caused by the new coronavirus.

"Once that was confirmed we were notified before the press through the International Health Regulation procedures," Thomas said. The International Health Regulations require countries to notify the WHO of disease outbreaks that could have international significance.

The confirmatory testing was done by a laboratory outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, though the lab itself has not been named.

The WHO has requested more information from Saudi authorities and hoped to be able to issue a statement on the case on Tuesday, Thomas said in an interview from Geneva.

And Memish said doctors in Saudi Arabia are writing a report on the case and the treatment used on the man. …

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