PH coronavirus cases jump to 217; recoveries now at 8

Bonz Magsambol
(UPDATED) The Department of Health also reports that one new patient has recovered from the virus

A crowd of commuters along Ayala Avenue in Makati City on March 16, 2020, find it difficult to get a ride due to the implementation of social distancing on public transportation. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, March 19, confirmed that the Philippines now has 217 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In a statement sent to media, the DOH reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 as of 12 noon Thursday.

The health department also announced that one new patient has recovered from the disease. The patient is a 28-year-old Filipino male from Cavite. He has a travel history from Japan and was admitted to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine on March 7. He was discharged after testing negative for COVID-19 twice.

The total number of recoveries in the Philippines now stands at 8.

Meanwhile, the total number of fatalities in the country is 17.

On Thursday morning, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed to Rappler that he is under self-quarantine after being exposed to a senior DOH official who tested positive for COVID-19.

Duque said he was in close contact with the COVID-19 patient for “about 3 times.” Duque is not showing symptoms, but he is closely monitoring his health because the DOH chief has hypertension and asthma.

“I have no fever, so I’m pretty okay. It’s just that of course I’m watching over my hypertension and asthma,” he added. 

As of Thursday, the DOH said that they have tested 1,172 patients for possible infection. 

President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16 declared a state of calamity in the Philippines as cases of COVID-19 in the country continue to rise.

The entire Luzon, meanwhile, is under lockdown from March 17 to April 12.