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Covid-19 cases in Phl surge to 24, after doubling in one day

10 March 2020

By The SUN

Duterte has declared a public health emergency, but says there's no need to lock down Metro Manila

Within just a day, the total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, Covid-19, in the Philippines, doubled from 10 to 20. Then, just hours afterwards, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that four more cases had been confirmed, rounding up the total tally for today, Mar 9,  to 24.

President Duterte also announced that all schools in Metro Manila will be closed from tomorrow, Mar. 10 to Saturday, Mar. 14.

“Tingnan natin incubation period,” he said, referring to the time the virus is expected to latch on to a person, either from a contaminated place, or another individual.
Earlier, the President declared a public health emergency across the country as the number of confirmed cases surged.

With the proclamation, the Department of Health is empowered to call on the police and other law enforcement agencies to provide assistance in addressing the threat of the virus.

All government agencies and local government units are enjoined to render all needed assistance while citizens and tourists are urged to comply with lawful directives.
But he rejected a call for Metro Manila to be locked down amid the contagion.

“We haven’t reached that kind of contamination. There will be a time I suppose, I hope not. I hope God will have mercy on the Filipino people. It’s too early for that,” Duterte said.

The new cases are all Filipinos, eight males and two females, some with recent travels to virus-hit areas like Japan,  Australia and Taiwan. At least two were exposed to other infected patients.
However, the cause of infection for most could not be traced, further raising fears that the virus is now being spread from person to person.

The first locally transmitted case was reported as case no 5 on Saturday. He is a 62-year-old Filipino male with hypertension and diabetes who was admitted to Medical City in Pasig on Mar 1 with severe pneumonia. He was confirmed as having Covid-19 three days later.

He had no known travel history, and frequented a mosque in Greenhills, San Juan City, before being taken ill.
For an entire month, the number of confirmed cases remained at three, with one death, all of them Chinese nationals who had entered the Philippines as tourists.

The number climbed up to six on Saturday, then 10 on Sunday. By Monday noon, the cases doubled to 20. A few hours later, four more were announced by President Duterte.

He cited the location of the new cases as West Crame in San Juan, Project 6 in Quezon City and Sta. Maria in Bulacan, but failed to give information on the fourth.

Earlier, Assistant Health Secretary Ma Rosario Vergeire said that information about the residence and whereabouts of the 10 new cases was still being gathered.

But she said the Department of Health had already started tracing all close contacts of the new cases.
WHO graph shows data on the 10 cases confirmed earlier Monday

A report from the World Health Organization subsequently showed four are confined in Makati Medical Center, two in Tricity Medical Center in Pasig City, two in UniHealth Paranaque Hospital, one in Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and one in The Medical City, also in Pasig.

According to Vergeire, the sudden increase in the number of confirmed cases was due to the Department of Health’s “intensified surveillance” on suspected cases of the disease.

Despite the sudden spike in the number of cases, she said no lockdown would be necessary unless sustained community transmission in a particular area is recorded.

That means, if the cases being recorded are no longer linked to each other.

If this happens, she said the DOH will raise the alert status on Covid-19 to Code Red Sub-level 2. Code Red Sub-level 1 was raised on Saturday after the health agency confirmed local transmission of the disease on the 5th case.

Late Sunday night, DOH released a statement confirming four Covid-19 cases that brought the total number of infections in the country to 10, including the first case of local transmission.

The four patients were separately admitted to the Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, The Medical City in Ortigas, and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.

Four countries have so far imposed a travel ban or restrictions on travelers from the Philippines: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Cook Islands and Qatar. Israel has also issued an advisory canceling all scheduled pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
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