Philippines reports first case of novel coronavirus
Marje Pelayo • January 30, 2020 • 1013
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday (January 30) confirmed its first case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippines.
The patient, a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan City, China, arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong on January 21.
The woman was admitted to a government hospital on January 25 after experiencing mild cough.
“She is currently asymptomatic,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III at a press briefing.
“She has no fever and no other signs and symptoms suggesting illness at this point,” he added.
The patient’s test results returned Thursday from the Australia-based Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory.
The Health Secretary advised the public to practice precautionary measures at all times, avoid crowded places as much as possible, maintain proper hygiene by hand washing more often, and wear a surgical mask once experiencing any of the symptoms to prevent the spread of the virus.
Duque assures the Department’s readiness in the face of the current epidemic.
“DOH assures health facilities are equipped and prepared to receive and care for PUIs (persons under investigation) and confirmed 2019-nCoV cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is providing technical support to the DOH in its response to 2019-nCoV following confirmation of a positive case.
This support includes strengthening of laboratory capacity, logistics, case management, coordination and information sharing, as well as risk communication.
The WHO encourages the public to keep protected against the risk of novel coronavirus by practicing the following:
Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue paper away immediately and wash hands
Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough
If experiencing fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with the health care provider
When visiting marketplaces in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered a preventive suspension against five Department of Health (DOH) officials for the alleged delays in the release of frontliner benefits.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires signed the order on Tuesday (October 27) to preventively suspend for six months Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an; Kenneth Ronquillo, Maylene Beltran, Laureano Cruz and Esperanza Carating.
The order is to prevent the officials from potentially tampering with documents or evidence while an investigation on the health department is ongoing.
The investigation was opened in June to look into the alleged delay in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other medical gears, alleged lapses that led to the rising number of health workers infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), inaction to the release of financial benefits for fallen medical workers, as well as confusing and delayed reports of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The DOH previously welcomed the said investigation and assured they will fully cooperate with the appropriate authorities. AAC
The Philippines records a total of 1,509 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with 362,243 total cases, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday (October 21).
The DOH also recorded 60 deaths and 911 recoveries. The day’s recorded recoveries brought the total number to 311,506.
Based on DOH COVID-19 Case Bulletin no. 221, 90% of the total daily cases occurred within the recent 14 days, while the top regions in the recent two weeks are in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 320 cases, and Region 4A with 297 cases.
The DOH also added that 41 duplicates were removed from the total case count. Thirty-one recovered cases and three deaths have also been removed from the list.
The University of the Philippines Octa Research Team said there are still areas with high COVID-19 cases since October 11, based on their research. These areas include several areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Pasig, Makati, Pasay, Mandaluyong, and Marikina.
Meanwhile, DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 60-70% of the country’s population should be vaccinated against COVID-19 for herd immunity.
“It doesn’t stop there because we would need 60-70% of the population immunized so we can have herd immunity. So when we talk about P12.5 billion that is just covering our population,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.