Passengers wear facemasks as they sit inside a bus in Manila on Jan. 30, 2020. The Philippines reported its first case of the virus on January 30, a 38-year-old woman who arrived from Wuhan and is no longer showing symptoms. She came to the Philippines on January 21, sought medical help four days later and was admitted to hospital for testing.
Ted Aljibe/AFP
Palace calls for calm amid Philippines' first confirmed novel coronavirus case
Alexis Romero ( - January 30, 2020 - 9:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the entry of the novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) in the Philippines, Malacañang Thursday called on the public to remain calm, saying the government is undertaking measures to contain the infection.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that with the continuous inflow of travelers from affected areas in China, agencies would continue to conduct "stringent" customs, immigration and quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

"With the first confirmed case of the 2019-novel coronavirus, we ask the public not to panic and to remain calm as the government, especially the Department of Health, is on top of the situation. We would like to assure them that the relevant health, research, and law enforcement agencies are working together to prevent the disease from spreading," Andanar said in a statement.

"We have also intensified our containment measures and the necessary precautionary measures are being taken to address this health concern," he added.

Andanar said the government would also coordinate with Chinese authorities for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in China. A coronavirus hotline would also be created to assist the OFWs and other Filipinos residing in China for virus prevention and countermeasures.

"We advise everyone to observe all health and preventive advisories issued by the DOH on the matter. Let us also observe proper hygiene and cleanliness in order to prevent the likelihood of contracting the virus," Andanar said.  

The DOH is coordinating with health and research authorities in Australia, Japan and China to implement precautionary measures, Andanar added.

He also advised the public to remain vigilant and to coordinate with local barangay health centers if they observe symptoms associated with the NCoV.

"Let’s continue to remain calm and heed the advisories of the DOH and the rest of the government on the matter, as we continue to monitor such developments and take the appropriate actions in dealing with the 2019-nCoV," Andanar said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 28, 2020 - 7:20am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

May 28, 2020 - 7:20am

Brazil's death toll from the new coronavirus surpasses 25,000 on Wednesday, as the country emerges as the latest epicenter in the pandemic.

The health ministry says it had confirmed 1,086 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the fifth time the daily toll has exceeded 1,000 since the crisis accelerated in Brazil last week.

That pushes the nationwide death toll to 25,598.

The country of 210 million people now has 411,821 confirmed cases of the virus, second only to the United States. Experts say under-testing means the real figures are probably much higher. — AFP

May 28, 2020 - 7:19am

The United States has now recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths, Johns Hopkins University reported Wednesday — a somber milestone and by far the highest total in the world.

The country reported its first death about three months ago. Since then, nearly 1.7 million infections have been tallied nationwide, according to the Baltimore-based school.

The actual number of deaths and infections is believed to be higher, experts say. — AFP

May 27, 2020 - 8:35pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused surging unemployment worldwide, but has hit young workers especially hard, forcing more than one in six people aged under 29 to stop working, the UN said Wednesday.

In a fresh study, the International Labor Organization warned that the novel coronavirus crisis has disproportionately affected young people, and could impact upon their work opportunities and career options for decades to come.

"I don't think it is giving way to hyperbole to talk about the danger of a lockdown generation," ILO chief Guy Ryder told a virtual press conference. — AFP

May 27, 2020 - 6:28pm

More than 350,000 deaths from the new coronavirus have been recorded worldwide since it first appeared in China in December, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.

A total of 350,196 deaths have been reported, from 5,589,389 cases, including 173,713 in Europe from 2,057,414 infections. The United States has registered the most deaths of any country, 98,929, ahead of Britain with 37,048, Italy with 32,955, France with 28,530 and Spain with 27,117.

The number of diagnosed cases however reflects only a fraction of the actual number of infections as many countries test only serious cases or lack testing capacity.

May 27, 2020 - 4:23pm

The Philippines records an additional 380 COVID-19 cases, bringing the national total to 15,049. Of the confirmed cases, 10,639 of which are active cases.

The Department of Health also reports 18 new deaths, raising the death toll to 904.

Meanwhile, 94 more patients recovered from the disease, which brings the total number of recovered patients to 3,506.

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