COVID-19 cases in Philippines rise to 64 with 12 new patients

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed 12 more cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), increasing the total number of infections in the country to 64.

The DOH has yet to release the details of new positive cases, as of posting time.

The department added it has deployed surveillance teams, with the help of concerned local government units, to conduct extensive gathering of information and tracing all those who had contact with the new patients.

The DOH also called on the public to help the government in the contact tracing activities by reporting information to its designated hotline.

“We continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities. Please contact DOH and call the designated hotline at (02) 8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for any new leads,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

He also urged those who have been confirmed to have contracted the virus to let the government assist them in fighting the disease.

“For those who are confirmed cases, please let our hospitals take care of you. Studies show that chances of recovery are high. Let us take it upon ourselves to protect our family and our community’s health and well-being,” Duque said.

Available data on COVID-19 show that elderly people, average of 66 years in age, and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are vulnerable to the disease.

“We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings,” the health chief said.

Duque also reminded the public to keep calm and stop hoarding basic commodities as denying others access to such necessities only adds to the problem at hand.

“I also implore everyone to please stop hoarding basic commodities, particularly hygiene and sanitation products. It does not help us fight off COVID-19. Realize that when you hoard, you are being part of the problem by denying the rest of your fellowmen the means to protect themselves,” he said.

The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency following the hoisting of Code Red Sub-level 2 due to growing coronavirus infections, particularly in Metro Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila under a 30-day community quarantine to combat the spread of the virus which will start from March 15 to April 14.

During the quarantine period, land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are suspended.

Work in the executive branch and classes in all levels in Metro Manila are also suspended.

Mall and shop owners are urged to continue operations. The delivery of goods and services will also be allowed as long as it follows regulations.

Private companies, however, are encouraged to implement a flexible work arrangement or a work from home set up for the meantime to protect their employees.

Duterte said all these measures are subject to daily review depending on the situation.

Authorities have stressed that movement of residents in Metro Manila will not be restricted but everyone should cooperate and obey the rules to help stop the contagion.

“The decision to implement a community quarantine was made in the best interest of the public. I enjoin everyone—young and old—to cooperate fully with our government. Together, we can contain COVID-19,” Duque said.

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