Philippines reports first case of novel coronavirus

Marje Pelayo   •   January 30, 2020   •   1013

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

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.

Ombudsman suspends 5 DOH officials for delay in release of frontliner benefits

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020

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

New COVID-19 cases in PH hits 1,509, total cases reached 362,243

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2020

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)

DOH logs 2,502 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Maris Federez   •   October 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health or DOH on Sunday reported that the total number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases nationwide is now at 339,341.

This, after 2,502 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list of COVID-19 patients.

The DOH has also announced 17,057 recoveries recorded as of 4 pm on Sunday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 293,075.

In an advisory, the department also said that of Sunday’s 2,502 reported cases, 2,106 (84%) occurred within the recent 14 days (September 28 – October 11, 2020).

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were NCR (650 or 31%), Region 4A (492 or 23%) and Region 3 (203 or 10%), the advisory further said.

Eighty-three (83) deaths were also recorded Sunday, bringing the total of fatalities to 6.321.

The department also recorded 87 duplicates that were removed from the total case count. Of these, 35 were recovered cases.

It added that the 41 cases previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths. —/mbmf

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