San Juan coronavirus cases surge to 45

Rambo Talabong
San Juan coronavirus cases surge to 45

San Juan has the highest concentration of coronavirus cases in the country, with 45 out of its 120,000 residents testing positive for COVID-19 as of March 23

MANILA, Philippines – San Juan City now has 45 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of 4 pm Monday, March 23 – the highest number per capita among local territories in Metro Manila.

A city of over 120,000 people according to the 2015 census, San Juan is only second to Quezon City which has the highest number of coronavirus cases.

Quezon City has 61 cases as of Monday night, but it has a land area and a population about 19 times greater than San Juan’s.

“We really have a high number of cases,” San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said in an interview with Rappler on Monday.

Why the surge? The prayer hall frequented by one of Philippines’ first local transmission cases is located inside a mall at the Greenhills Shopping Center. Greenhills has the most number of people among barangays in San Juan. 

“It is within a mall. The people who got infected by this virus came from the mall, workers in the Greenhills Shopping Center, and eventually went home [to] [Barangay] West Crame,” Zamora said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Of the 45 confirmed cases, 14 live in Greenhills and 12 live in West Crame. These are adjacent barangays. West Crame is also a barangay bordering Quezon City.

All the cases, Zamora said, were either admitted to private hospitals of their choice in other cities, or a hospital in San Juan. (READ: 14 coronavirus patients in Quezon City staying at home)

What San Juan is doing: Zamora said the two barangays have been declared as coronavirus “hot spots,” where virus containment efforts such as lockdown and curfew are being strictly implemented.

Greenhills Shopping Center has since closed indefinitely after Metro Manila mayors called for the closure of malls in the capital region.

Zamora added that the Philippine National Police has even deployed Special Action Force troopers to West Crame to enforce physical distancing and isolation efforts.

San Juan has also been disinfecting public spaces, but Zamora urged residents to disinfect their own homes and to always wash their hands and maintain their distance from other people. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.