Philippines confirms two new cases of COVID-2019

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines confirms two new cases of COVID-2019
Arriving passengers wearing protective masks wait for their luggage at the international airport in Manila on February 3, 2020.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines (Update3: March 7, 2020, 11:52 a.m.) — The Philippines reported Friday two additional cases of the coronavirus disease after nearly a month of not detecting any new cases, one of which has no known travel history to any country. 

This is the country's first local case. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines to five. 

The country’s fourth case, a male Filipino, had a travel history to Japan—a nation with 360 confirmed cases and six deaths from the illness. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the 48-year-old male returned to the Philippines on February 25 and experienced chills and fever starting March 3. He tested positive on March 5, Thursday. 

“He is currently stable and admitted in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine,” Duque said. 

The fifth case, meanwhile, is a 62-year-old Filipino male with known hypertension and diabetes mellitus. After experiencing cough with phlegm on February 25, the patient sought medical consultation in a Metro Manila hospital last March 1 and was admitted with severe pneumonia. 

Unlike the fourth case, the fifth case has no known travel history outside the country. 

He is known to frequent a Muslim prayer hall in San Juan.

“It can be considered as a local case,” Duque said. 

But the Health chief said it is premature to say that the fifth case can be treated as a confirmed local transmission of the virus.

“There is no transmission to speak of because we only have one. That’s why we’re doing contract tracing to establish whether or not there are another local cases or clustering of case,” he said.

In February, the Philippines reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19 including one fatality—the first one outside mainland China. The other two have recovered. 

The virus has spread to some 80 countries and territories and infected more 95,000 people after first emerging in China late last year. The global death toll from the epidemic stood at 3,200.

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