Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that there are two new cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines, and one of them is locally-transmitted. The total case of COVID-19 in the country is at five.
In a press conference on Friday, DOH said that the fourth confirmed case is a 48-year-old male Filipino with travel history to Japan. The patient returned to the Philippines last February 25 and experienced chills and fever beginning March 3.
The patient sought medical consultation at a hospital and samples were collected for testing. Results tested positive for COVID-19 on March 5. He is currently stable and admitted at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
The fifth confirmed case and the first locally-transmitted is a 62-year-old male Filipino with known hypertension and diabetes mellitus, who experienced cough with phlegm last February 25. He has no known history of travel outside of the country.
The patient sought medical consultation at a hospital in Metro Manila last March 1 and was admitted with severe pneumonia. Specimen collected on March 4 tested positive for COVID-19 on March 5.
Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the acting WHO representative in the country, said it was still unclear whether the fifth case got the virus from a foreigner or a resident of the Phlippines.
“We don’t know whether it was from a foreigner or its from a local contact or another contaminated source. We also don’t know whether that patient transmitted the infection to other people,” Abeyasinghe said.
Contact tracing is being done for the two cases and samples have already been collected from close contacts. DOH is also in close coordination with the concerned Local Government Units for concerted action on identifying persons who had interaction with the confirmed cases and strengthening of infection prevention and control protocols.
The fifth case is known to have regularly visited a Muslim prayer hall in Barangay Greenhills, San Juan City. Previous visitors to the prayer hall who are presenting with fever and/or respiratory symptoms are encouraged to call the DOH hotline (02)8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for proper referral to the appropriate health facility.
“These recent developments are significant, but we are prepared to respond to its potential consequences. Our priority is to protect our health workers and the most vulnerable populations,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque said.
“We can still contain the spread of the virus in the country, which is why we are encouraging the public to practice proper handwashing, social distancing, and cough etiquette. We call on the public to be vigilant and continue doing their part in containing the disease,” Duque said.
Iloilo City still COVID-free
Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, COVID-19 focal person in Iloilo City, said that there is still no reported positive case of the disease in the city.
“Iloilo City is constantly preparing to respond to potential risk and consequences brought about by this public health threat. We are continuously assessing the situation and strengthening` our surveillance protocols. As such we are still urging the public to be vigilant and strongly advised them to practice safety measures,” Fortuna said in a statement.
With first confirmed case of COVID-19 local transmission, Fortuna advised those who feel sick and develop flu-like symptoms after travel to immediately report to the City Health Office and seek medical consultation.