San Juan temporarily closes prayer hall frequented by coronavirus patient

Mara Cepeda
San Juan temporarily closes prayer hall frequented by coronavirus patient
(UPDATED) San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora says the prayer room will be disinfected and sanitized

 

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora has temporarily shut down  the Muslim prayer hall in Barangay Greenhills that was frequently visited by a Filipino man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).

The prayer hall will be disinfected and sanitized, said Zamora in a statement around two hours after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed two Filipinos caught the virus locally, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the Philippines to 5. 

One of the two positive cases is a 62-year-old male who often visited the Muslim prayer hall while the other is a 48-year-old Filipino who traveled to Japan.

“I have already instructed the San Juan City Health Office, with the support of the Department of Health, to immediately disinfect, sanitize, and close to the public temporarily the prayer room in Barangay Greenhills, which was frequented by a patient who lives in a municipality near Metro Manila whom the DOH has confirmed positive with coronavirus,” Zamora said.

The mayor said San Juan is working closely with the DOH to trace all the people with whom the COVID-19 patient had contact with in the past days. 

He then advised the public to exercise all safety precautions against COVID-19, the disease caused by 2019-nCoV. 

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

The 62-year-old coronavirus patient has no known travel history outside of the country, but the DOH said it was not yet recognizing him as a positive case of local transmission in the Philippines.

In a separate statement, the Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) located in San Juan also confirmed that it had nursed the 62-year-old man before he was transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa.

“Cardinal Santos Medical Center took care of a male patient who had no history of travels or contact with those who traveled to the countries enumerated to have experienced positive COVID-19,” the hospital management said.

The patient, who continued showing symptoms, was transferred to RITM so he could have the “best care.”

The CSMC management then assured the public that they have taken “all the precautionary measures” necessary for all personnel who had been exposed to the coronavirus-positive case. None of them have shown flu-like symptoms so far.

Prior to the two Filipino cases, the Philippines previously reported that 3 Chinese nationals tested positive for COVID-19. One died, while the other two already recovered.

Three foreigners from Taiwan, Japan, and Australia also caught the virus after traveling to the Philippines. 

As of Friday, the DOH has probed a total of 678 patients for possible infection. Of that number, only 41 remain admitted in health facilities nationwide while 634 have already been discharged. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.