Mar 9, 2020

The confirmed coronavirus cases continue to pile up. Just this morning, we wrote that there were 10 confirmed cases, including the first confirmed case of local transmissions. Now, the current tally is at 20

“DOH reported 10 more coronavirus cases on top of four new cases announced yesterday. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 20,” announced Department of Health assistant secretary on public health services Ma. Rosario Vergeire. She stressed that the sudden, noticeable jump is due to the DOH’s “intensified surveillance” on suspected cases. However, there are speculations that the department had been previously underreporting the number of cases, with Vice President Leni Robredo urging DOH to be more transparent if that was true.

In light of all this, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Proclamation 922, declaring a state of public health emergency. The DOH had previously advised this to “facilitate mobilization of resources, ease processes, including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensifying reporting.”

“All citizens, residents, tourists, and establishments owners are urged to act within the bounds of the law to comply with the lawful directives and advisories to be issued by appropriate government agencies to prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of all,” the president stated at the signing.

DOH has also raised the coronavirus alert system to code red sublevel 1, “a preemptive call to ensure that national and local governments and public and private health care providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”

“At this stage of localized transmission, intensified contact tracing and home quarantine of close contacts of confirmed cases, improved hospital preparedness, enhanced Severe Acute Respiratory Illness surveillance, and activation of other laboratories outside of RITM [Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Alabang] to increase capacity to diagnose are now being implemented,” health secretary Francisco Duque III said. “This declaration is a signal to all concerned agencies, local government units and health care providers to be ready to implement planned response measures. We are continuously reminding everyone to practice personal protective measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing, and proper cough etiquette.”

As a reminder, if you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms and have a history of travel and exposure, you should try to contact DOH and call the designated hotline at (02)8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for appropriate management and referral.


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