A woman wearing a masks at Greenhills shopping mall in San Juan City on March 8, 2020 in the vicinity of a prayer room which was frequented by a confirmed patient of the new coronavirus disease.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

COVID-19 cases in Philippines rise to 10 as DOH confirms 4 new patients

(Philstar.com) - March 9, 2020 - 12:45am

MANILA, Philippines (2nd update at 1:20 a.m.) — The Department of Health confirmed four additional cases of the novel coronavirus disease, namely two Filipinos and two foreign nationals who are being treated in undisclosed private hospitals.

The report released shortly before midnight on Monday brings the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines to 10.

RELATED: List of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines

The samples of the confirmed cases were tested on Saturday, March 7 while the results were released on Sunday, March 8. More details about the cases are still being gathered but are further proof of a localized transmission or the spread of the deadly virus among Filipinos inside the country.

The health agency's confirmation of local transmission came nearly a month after the first case was reported.

"The DOH is committed to accurate and timely reporting of verified information on the COVID-19 health situation. We have been preparing for the possibility of localized transmission," the health department said in a statement.

The four new cases are as follows:

  1. A 38-year-old Taiwanese man who did not recently travel outside the country. However, he was in contact with another Taiwanese national while in the Philippines who was later diagnosed with COVID-19 in Taiwan. His symptoms started manifesting on March 3.
  2. A 32-year-old Filipino man who returned from a trip to Japan within the last 14 days. The onset of his symptoms was on March 5.
  3. An 86-year-old American man who traveled to the United States and South Korea. He has preexisting hypertension. His symptoms began on March 1.
  4. A 57-year-old Filipino man who was reported to have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the Philippines. He has no history of travel.

The DOH is documenting the 57-year-old Filipino patient's recent activities to determine how he was exposed to the virus and whether there were those he could have infected.

Senators have called for a more efficient reporting system and procedures by the DOH as the country deals with the public health emergency.

Sen Panfilo Lacson suspects that health authorities could be underreporting the numbers. Minority Floor Leader Sen. Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, found the DOH's detection and reporting of new cases slow and inadequate.

RELATED: How the Department of Health processes potential COVID-19 cases

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