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San Juan prayer room regularly visited by COVID-19 patient shuttered
A Muslim prayer room in San Juan City was temporarily closed for disinfection after the Department of Health announced that the fifth case of COVID-19 regularly visited there.
The STAR/Felicer Santos

San Juan prayer room regularly visited by COVID-19 patient shuttered

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 6, 2020 - 5:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — A Muslim prayer hall in San Juan City was temporarily shut down on Friday after a man who frequently visited the place tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said he ordered the disinfection, sanitation and closure of the said prayer room in Brgy. San Juan hours after the Department of Health reported two more Filipinos contracted the virus.

One of the two new cases of COVID-19 in the country was a frequent visitor of the prayer hall. The 63-year-old Filipino has no history of travel outside the Philippines, making him the first local case in the country.

Health chief Francisco Duque III said it is premature to say that this case can be treated as a confirmed local transmission of the virus.

After experiencing cough with phlegm on February 25, he sought medical consultation in a Metro Manila hospital on March 1 and was admitted with severe pneumonia.

The Cardinal Santos Medical Center said it took care of the patient before he was transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The Health department and the city government of San Juan are tracking the individuals who have been in contact with the man since he displayed symptoms of COVID-19.

The CSMC said “all those who have had contact with the patient have no symptoms” as it committed to take care of its patients and employees.

Zamora called on the public to exercise safety precautions against COVID-19.

“I encourage the public to stay calm, practice proper hand washing using soap and water or alcohol and execute proper cough etiquette. Finally, avoid going to crowded places keeping at least a one-meter distance from other people,” he said.

The other case is a male Filipino who had a travel history to Japan—a country with 360 confirmed cases and six deaths from the illness.

The 48-year-old male returned to the Philippines on February 25 and experienced chills and fever starting on March 3. He tested positive on March 5.

“He is currently stable and admitted in the RITM,” Duque said.

The Philippines has a total of five confirmed cases of COVID-19, three of whom are Chinese nationals. One of the Chinese died, while the other two 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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