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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III Confirms First Coronavirus Case in the Philippines, Assures Public of Intensified Containment Measures

Secretary Duque Confirms First Case of 2019-nCoV via Press Briefing. Screenshot from PH DOH Facebook Page

The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines today confirmed that a 38-year-old female Chinese patient under investigation (PUI) is positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) after her laboratory results arrived today from the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia. DOH, however, continues to guarantee the public that all necessary precautionary measures are being taken to halt the spread of the virus.

The confirmed case arrived in the Philippines from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong last January 21, 2020. The patient sought consult and was admitted in one of the country’s government hospitals last January 25 after experiencing mild cough. She is currently asymptomatic.

“I assure the public that the Department of Health is on top of this evolving situation. We were able to detect the first confirmed case because of our strong surveillance system, close coordination with World Health Organization and other national agencies, and the utilization of DOH’s decision tool. We are working closely with the hospital where the patient is admitted and have activated the Incident Command System of the said hospital for appropriate management, specifically on infection control, case management, and containment. We are also implementing measures to protect the health staff providing care to these patients,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

PH DOH Facebook Page Photo

DOH is also in close coordination with the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) which includes representatives of the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Justice (DOJ), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Tourism (DOT), Transportation (DOTr), and Information and Communications Technology (DICT). The Task Force will convene a high-level meeting tomorrow, January 31, 2020, to discuss the first confirmed case and developments arising from this health event.

The Bureau of Quarantine remains on high alert and is in constant coordination with authorities from all ports of entry for stricter border surveillance. DOH assured that its health facilities are equipped and prepared to receive and care for PUIs and confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.

DOH has recorded a total of twenty-nine (29) PUIs – eighteen (18) in Metro Manila, four (4) in Central Visayas, three (3) in Western Visayas, one (1) in MIMAROPA, one (1) in Eastern Visayas, one (1) in Northern Mindanao, and one (1) in Davao. Twenty-three (23) PUIs are currently admitted and five (5) have been discharged but are still under strict monitoring. DOH also reported one PUI mortality.

“I urge the public to stay calm and remain vigilant at all times. Let us continue to practice good personal hygiene and adopt healthy lifestyles,” the Health Secretary concluded.

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