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Phl reports 2nd death from Covid-19

11 March 2020

By The SUN


Six of the 16 new cases are foreigners, according to health officials
UPDATE
By The SUN

The Philippines reported its second fatality from the deadly novel coronavirus disease or Covid-19, late today, Mar. 11.

The patient has been identified as a 67- year-old Filipina who had no travel history outside of the Philippines and had no interaction with anybody who tested positive. 

She was identified by the Health Department as patient no 35 who was admitted at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

Various reports said she was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 29 but was diagnosed as having Covid-19 only earlier today. Her case was among the 16 new ones reported, which brought the total tally in the country to 49.

The first death from the disease involved a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan city in central China, where the new coronavirus was first detected. He died at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila a few  hours before his death was reported on Feb. 2.

Today saw the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in a single day since a new spike in detection started on Mar 8.

According to Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, among the new cases is a private doctor residing in the city, who apparently fell ill after treating a patient with the disease. He’s said to be the fourth confirmed case in the city.



“Yung ika-apat, sa aking pag-tingin, sa aking pag-unawa, parang nahawa siya sa paga-alaga din ng mga pasyente, ‘yun ang nakikita ko,” she reportedly said. 

(“The fourth one to my understanding, was infected because he was looking after some patients, that’s how I see it”).

Health Assistant Secretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire who announced the new cases in a press briefing, said the recent surge in cases was due to findings of a localized transmission and more stringent surveillance measures by the government.

She said that six of the new cases involved foreign nationals, but she had no additional information on the patients except for their gender and age.

She also said all hospitals are required to admit all persons under investigation (PUIs) for suspected Covid-19 infection.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the same thing in a talk with reporters afterwards, saying hospitals that turn away coronavirus patients may face sanctions, like being stripped of their license or accreditation with PhilHealth, the national insurance agency.
Both were responding to questions about a memo issued by The Medical City in Pasig on Mar 10 which said it would no longer accept PUI cases as its “currently available manpower will be unable to care for any additional patients.”

The memo from Dr. Karl Henson, director of the hospital’s Infection Control and Epidemiology Center, said the Medical City is already attending to three confirmed cases and several admitted PUIs.

Dr Vergeire also advised the public to beware of misinformation, including one that supposedly came from DOH advising everyone to stock up two weeks’ worth of food and other supplies because Metro Manila could be put under lockdown soon.

“That’s fake news,” she said, adding that a lockdown would only be resorted to if there is an indication of an extensive community-wide transmission of the disease.

She also dismissed as unverified a report of two students at the elite Ateneo de Manila University being taken ill with the virus.

Dr Vergeire said that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, is now able to test for Covid-19 up to 600 people in one day, compared to just 100 previously.

Duque says community transmission could already be happening
During a hearing at the House of Representatives earlier, Secretary Duque said there is a possibility that community transmission of Covid-19 could already be taking place.

"I have said time and again that it's going to be a very real occurrence over the very short term," he said.

But right now, Dr Duque said the cases point only to a localized transmission, meaning the disease is being passed on among people within the Philippines

"What we have now is localized transmission in the areas we have earlier mentioned. But the situation can very quickly progress into a community transmission, which means, there could be a larger area of affected communities," Duque told the House Committee on Health.

On Feb 2, Dr Duque reported the first two cases, a couple who flew into the country from Wuhan City. A third patient who arrived from Shezhen was reported as the third case a few days later. 

The 42-year-old Chinese male in the first two cases reportedly died at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila within 24 hours of being diagnosed, becoming the first recorded fatality in the Philippines.

On Mar 9, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 922 declaring a state of public health emergency throughout the country amid the worsening outbreak, and ordered all schools in Metro Manila to close down until this weekend.


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