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PH now has 5 cases of Covid-19; 2 Pinoys added to list

06 March 2020

By The SUN

One of the 2 new cases has no history of travel outside the Philippines

The Philippines’ Health Department has reported that there are now a total of five confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease or Covid-19 in the country, after two patients tested positive yesterday, Mar 5.

It’s the first time that new cases have been reported in the Philippines after a month. The last of the three earlier cases, all mainland Chinese, was reported on Feb. 5. The second case, a 37-year-old Chinese man, was reported to have died on Feb. 2.

Of the two Filipinos in the latest cases, one had no travel history, indicating he acquired the disease through community transmission.

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The DOH also cast doubts on reports that two foreign nationals who tested positive for Covid-19 after visiting the Philippines had acquired it in the country. But this could be possible in the case of a third visitor who was in the Philippines during the incubation period.

The first case is a 38-year-old Taiwanese male who visited the Philippines from Feb. 28 to Mar 3. He had stomach pain and diarrhea on Mar 2, and sore throat, fever and malaise on Mar 3. He consulted an outpatient clinic in Taiwan on Mar. 4, and tested positive for the virus the next day.

“The onset of symptoms on Mar 2 points to possible infection before the patient traveled to the Philippines,” said the DOH.


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The second case is a 44-year-old Japanese male who visited the Philippines from Feb 21 to 28. Before this, he traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. He flew back to Thailand on Feb 28 and the next day, experienced cough, shortness of breath, and fever.

He consulted at a clinic in Cambodia on Mar 3 and was referred to a hospital but no tests were done. He flew back to Japan on Mar 4, and there tested positive for Covid-19.

“The extensive travel history of the patient suggests possible contraction of the disease in another country,” said the DOH.

The third case is an Australian female who attended a wedding in Manila on Feb 13 and visited Pangasinan. She left the country on Mar 2 and was confirmed as having Covid-19 by the New South Wales Government on Mar 3.

“As for this case, DOH is still verifying information with the International Health Regulation National Focal Point Australia,” said the statement.

The biggest number of infected Filipinos overseas are the 80 crew members of this cruise ship anchored off Japan

The DOH said the 4th confirmed case in the Philippines is a 48-year-old Filipino male who traveled to Japan and returned to the country on Feb 25. He started having chills and fever on Mar 3, and sought medical treatment in a hospital. Test samples taken from him confirmed he had Covid-19.

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He was admitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine where he is now in stable condition.

The Philippines’ 5th confirmed case is a 62-year-old Filipino male with known hypertension and diabetes who experienced cough with phlegm on Feb 25. He went to a hospital in Metro Manila for a medical check-up on Mar 1, and was admitted with severe pneumonia.

Specimen collected from him on Mar 4 tested positive for Covid-19 the next day. He has no known history of travel outside of the country.

The patient is known to have regularly visited a Muslim prayer hall in Greenhills, San Juan City.  Those who have visited the prayer hall and are experiencing symptoms are urged to call the DOH hotline, 632 651 7800 loc 1149-1150

The DOH said contact tracing is being done for the two cases and samples have already been collected from close contacts. Local government units concerned have been asked for help in identifying persons who had interaction with the confirmed cases and in strengthening infection prevention and control protocols.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III called on the public to continue practicing good personal hygiene to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“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. 

In another statement issued a day earlier, the DOH  said there were only 43 patients still under investigation in various health facilities in the Philippines. A total of 592 patients have been discharged.

Among those still being tested are four Filipinos quarantined at the New Clark City (NCC) after showing symptoms of respiratory illness. Another 10 people who also showed symptoms have already tested negative for the virus.

HK and Singapore have 3 cases each of Filipinos infected with Covid-19

DOH also reported that as of Mar 2, there were a total of 86 Filipinos overseas  confirmed to have the disease. Of these, 80 cases were recorded in Japan – 48 of them are still in hospitals, while 32 have been discharged.

On Mar 5, the total figure went up to 88, with a third Filipino getting infected in both Hong Kong and Singapore. United Arab Emirates has two cases.

Hong Kong reported earlier today that the first confirmed Filipina case has been discharged in good health and has already gone home to her employer's flat in Quarry Bay.

Yesterday, Singapore also reported the discharge of its first Filipino patient found with Covid-19.
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