On April 19, the Philippine Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the country’s ambassador to China, Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana died at the age of 74 during quarantine in Huangshan City, Anhui Province. No specific cause of death is mentioned.
The Philippine embassy in China coordinates with Beijing authorities to return Romana’s body to the Philippines.
From March 31 to April 3, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi successively met with visiting foreign ministers from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Myanmar in Tunxi District, Huangshan City. Romana accompanied Philippine Foreign Secretary Locsin to the talks.
According to the Associated Press, Romana, born in 1948, had lived and worked in China for nearly 40 years. During the reign of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Romana led a Philippine youth delegation to visit China in 1971. And he was subsequently banned from returning home.
Romana remained in China until Marcos stepped down in 1986, and he joined ABC in 1989.
In its statement, the Philippine Foreign Ministry said that Romana was nominated ambassador to China in 2016 over his “deep knowledge of China’s history and people.”
In addition, on April 19, the Shanghai Health Commission announced seven new local deaths on the 18th, with age distribution ranging from 60 to 101 years old. All seven of the deceased had underlying diseases.