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Friday, March 6, 2020

Philippines: Department of Health Confirms Two New Positive Cases of COVID-19

Secretary Duque center with the microphone during the media briefing. (DOH Philippines Facebook Page Screenshot.)

The Department of Health (DOH) reported two additional confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines, bringing the total of COVID-19 cases in the country to five (5).

The 4th confirmed case is a 48-year-old male Filipino with travel history to Japan. The patient returned to the Philippines last February 25 and experienced chills and fever beginning March 3. The patient sought medical consultation at a hospital and samples were collected for testing. Results tested positive for COVID-19 on March 5. He is currently stable and admitted at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The 5th confirmed case is a 62-year-old male Filipino with known hypertension and diabetes mellitus, who experienced cough with phlegm last February 25. The patient sought medical consultation at a hospital in Metro Manila last March 1 and was admitted with severe pneumonia. Specimen collected on March 4 tested positive for COVID-19 on March 5. He also has no known history of travel outside of the country.

Contact tracing is being done for the two cases and samples have already been collected from close contacts. DOH is also in close coordination with the concerned Local Government Units for concerted action on identifying persons who had interaction with the confirmed cases and strengthening of infection prevention and control protocols.

The 5th case is known to have regularly visited a Muslim prayer hall in Barangay Greenhills, San Juan City. Previous visitors to the prayer hall who are presenting with fever and/or respiratory symptoms are encouraged to call the DOH hotline (02)8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for proper referral to the appropriate health facility. 
“These recent developments are significant, but we are prepared to respond to its potential consequences. Our priority is to protect our health workers and the most vulnerable populations,” the Health Chief said.

“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.


DOH received reports of 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases among foreign nationals who had a history of travel to the Philippines.

The first case is a 38-year-old Taiwanese male who visited the Philippines from February 28 to March 3. He developed abdominal discomfort and diarrhea on March 2, and experienced sore throat, fever, and malaise on March 3. The patient consulted at an outpatient clinic in Taiwan on March 4, and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on March 5. The onset of symptoms on March 2 points to possible infection before the patient traveled to the Philippines.

The second case is a 44-year-old Japanese male who visited the Philippines from February 21 to 28. Prior to visiting the Philippines, he traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. He stayed at three different hotels during his visit to Metro Manila. The 44-year-old flew back to Thailand last February 28 and experienced cough, shortness of breath, and fever which began on February 29. The patient consulted at a clinic in Cambodia on March 3 and was referred to a hospital but no tests were done. He flew back to Japan last March 4 and was tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was admitted and is still in isolation at Aichi Prefecture Hospital. The extensive travel history of the patient suggests possible contraction of the disease in another country.

The third case is a female living in Sydney, Australia. The patient attended a wedding in Manila on February 13 and visited Pangasinan. The patient left the country for Sydney on March 2, and was confirmed with COVID-19 by the New South Wales Government on March 3. As for this case, DOH is still verifying information with the International Health Regulation National Focal Point Australia.

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