COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climb to 52 as WHO declares crisis a pandemic
Firemen spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a market in Manila on March 11, 2020.
AFP/Maria Tan
COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climb to 52 as WHO declares crisis a pandemic
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 12, 2020 - 5:37pm
MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:35 p.m.) — The Philippines’ confirmed coronavirus diseases continued to pick up on Thursday after the Department of Health tallied three infections, raising the country’s total to 52.
 
This comes after the World Health Organization characterized the new coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, meaning it is spreading in several regions through local transmissions. 
 
The country’s new confirmed cases are the following:
 
•PH50;  69-year-old female from Quezon City who had no known travel history. She is admitted at the Medical City.
• PH52; 26-year-old male from Quezon City who had no known travel history. He is currently being treated at the Makati Medical Center. 
• PH53, 79-year-old female who had a travel history to United Kingdom. She is confined in Asian Hospital and Medical Center. 
 
A vast majority of confirmed infections in the Philippines were only detected in the last six days after a month-long lull in cases. 
 
There are concerns that the figure may be bigger due to the country’s very limited testing program. 
 
"So we continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities. Individuals with history of known exposure to a positive patient and/or travel to areas with local transmission, within and outside the country, presenting with mild symptoms are advised to self-isolate and be home quarantined for 14 days," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. 
 
The spread of the virus in the country prompted the enforcement of travel ban, suspension of classes, cancelation of events and adjustment in working schemes. 
 

First local Filipino death

DOH on late Wednesday evening reported the first local death due to the new coronavirus: a 67-year-old Filipina, identified as the country’s 35th COVID-19 case. 

Patient 35 experienced symptoms on February 29 and was brought to Manila Doctors’ Hospital on March 5 along with her husband. 

She passed away around noon of the same day she was diagnosed with COVID-19 infection due to severe pneumonia. The patient also had existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus. 
 
Elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease and immunosuppression are vulnerable to COVID-19. 
 
"We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings," Duque said. 
 
A Chinese visitor from Wuhan, China—where the virus originated late last year—was the Philippines’ first fatality and the first COVID-19 death outside of mainland China. 
 
The number of cases across the world has risen to more than 124,000 in more than 100 countries and territories with 4,500 deaths. 
 
While situation in China has steadied, virus hotspots have emerged elsewhere: South Korea, Italy and Iran. 
 
"We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
 
"We're deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction." — with report from Agence France-Presse

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 24, 2020 - 6:18pm

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

November 24, 2020 - 6:18pm

Hundreds of flights at one of China's busiest airports were cancelled Tuesday as Shanghai raced to bring a local coronavirus outbreak under control.

Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers.

China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities.

Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found in the past few days. — AFP

November 24, 2020 - 3:43pm

Hundreds of flights at one of China's busiest airports were cancelled Tuesday as Shanghai raced to bring a local coronavirus outbreak under control.

Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of Covid-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers.

China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities.

Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found in the past few days. — AFP

November 24, 2020 - 12:22pm

The Department of Health discourages attending indoor religious activities where there may be crowds like Christmas masses in anticipation of a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission over the holidays.

It also considers "singing and speaking loudly" and physical contact as high-risk activities.

DOH cautions the public against shopping at malls and tiangges, or bazaars, as well.

November 23, 2020 - 8:58pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,388,590 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday.

At least 58,647,610 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 37,298,300 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

November 23, 2020 - 3:25pm

Canada's biggest city entered lockdown on Monday in the latest bid to curb coronavirus infections, with case numbers surging across North America even as US officials said vaccinations could be available within weeks.

Encouraging results from several vaccine trials have raised hopes of a decisive shift in the battle against a disease that has claimed around 1.4 million lives worldwide in the last year.

But seesawing restrictions and lockdowns in countries that successfully contained earlier outbreaks — shattering lives and economies in the process — have highlighted the ongoing risk of contagion.

Toronto banned private indoor gatherings and capped the size of weddings and funerals for four weeks from midnight, with officials warning that hospitals risked being overwhelmed without quick action.

"I've been clear on this: the situation is extremely serious and further action is required," Ontario premier Doug Ford had told journalists ahead of the lockdown. — AFP

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