MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Batangas province reported on Friday, March 13, its first two confirmed cases of the COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
According to the Batangas Public Information Office, the two cases are from Batangas City and are currently isolated in a medical facility in Metro Manila.
Earlier on Friday morning, Governor Hermilando Mandanas confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the province, advising Batangueños to take preventive measures against the virus.
“Tayo sa Batangas ay kakayanin ang [mga] sakuna na ito, kapares na rin ang ginagawang pangangalaga dahil naman sa pagputok ng Taal Volcano at pagsisimula ng African Swine Fever sa bayan ng Laurel,” Mandanas said.
(We from Batangas will endure these crises, alongside the efforts we’re making due to the Taal Volcano eruption and the onset of African Swine Fever in the town of Laurel.)
On Thursday night, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila – a region of over 12 million people – will be placed on lockdown for at least a month to contain the spread of the virus in the country.
The announcement came shortly after the President declared that the alert level for the coronavirus has been raised to its maximum level of Code Red Sublevel 2.
“Ang lalawigan ng Batangas ay hindi lang sapat sa pagkain, tayo rin po ang inaasahang mag-supply ng tilapia, baboy, manok, baka, at iba pang pagkain pang araw-araw hindi lamang sa Metro Manila kundi sa iba pang bahagi ng Pilipinas,” Mandanas said.
(The province of Batangas not only has enough food, but we are also depended on as the source of tilapia, pork, chicken, beef, and other daily foods not just in Metro Manila, but in different parts of the Philippines.)
It wasn’t clear yet if the two cases were part of the 52 confirmed cases announced by the Department of Health on Thursday. (READ: LIST: Confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines as of March 12)
To ensure the safety of students, Mandanas has also suspended classes in all levels, public and private, in the province starting today, March 13, until March 31.
“Ang kapakanan ng ating mga ka-lalawigan ay lalo nating itataguyod lalo na ang ating mga kabataaan. Kaya’t suspended muna ang pagpasok sa lahat sa lahat ng paaralan – mababa, mataas, kolehiyo, pamantasan – sa buong lalawigan ng Batangas simula sa araw na ito hanggang katapusan ng buwang ito,” Mandanas said.
(The safety of our citizens must be upheld more than ever, especially that of our youth. This is why all classes throughout Batangas will be suspended for now – whether elementary, high school, college, or university – beginning today until the end of this month.)
Of 52 recorded confirmed cases in the Philippines, 5 have died, 45 remain in hospitals, and 2 have been discharged. Globally, the virus has infected more than 125,000 people and killed 4,600 across 115 countries. More than 62,000 people have recovered from the virus. – Rappler.com