DOH raises ‘code red’ over Covid-19

THE Department of Health on Saturday, March 7, raised Code Red sub-level 1 as officials confirmed local transmission through the sixth Covid-19 case.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they have recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the declaration of public health emergency to mobilize resources against the spread of coronavirus, ease processes including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, as well as intensify reporting.

Code Red, according to Duque, is a preemptive call to ensure that national and local governments and public and private health care providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.

”This declaration is a signal to all concerned agencies, local government units and health care providers to be ready to implement planned response measures. We are continuously reminding everyone to practice personal protective measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing, and proper cough etiquette. Avoid unnecessary travel and postpone mass gatherings, as well. It is our individual responsibility to protect ourselves and the people around us. Only through collective action in our communities will we be able to limit the spread of the virus,” Duque read his statement in a press conference Saturday.

Duque said the sixth case is the 59-year-old wife of the 5th Covid-positive patient. Both husband and wife are considered local transmission cases.

The fifth case, a 62-year-old Filipino male, is known to visit a Muslim prayer hall in San Juan City. The couple resides in Cainta, Rizal. As of Saturday, Duque said household members were asymptomatic.

The fourth case involves a 48-year-old employee of the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) office of international accounting firm Deloitte. He has travel history to Japan.

The BGC said in an official statement that sanitation and disinfection of malls and buildings, parks, public transportation utilities are being conducted as well as temperature checks in entrances.

The first three patients involved Chinese tourists, including one who died. The two others have been discharged from the hospital and returned to China.

The DOH confirmed that the fifth case of the coronavirus disease 2019 is the first case of local transmission in the country after verification with the Bureau of Immigration showed that the patient had no recent travel history.

The fourth and sixth cases have mild Covid-19 symptoms while the fifth case is in critical condition. He has severe pneumonia and preexisting hypertension, diabetes and kidney injury.

The global death toll rose past 3,400, with more than 100,000 cases reported. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)