MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, March 7, confirmed the 6th case of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a news briefing on Saturday that the latest confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, is the 59-year-old wife of the country's 5th coronavirus case, a 62-year-old Filipino.
"The 6th confirmed case is a 59-year old female who presented with cough and was admitted at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on March 5. The patient is currently in stable condition," Duque said.
He said the woman tested positive for the disease after contact tracing.
RITM Director Celia Carlos said the 6th case is "having just mild respiratory symptoms" but her husband still "has severe pneumonia."
"[He] has another medical problem which is acute kidney injury which may be due to multiple factors," said Carlos.
Duque added that the case of the 62-year-old – whom he earlier said was in "very critical condition" – is the first case of local transmission in the Philippines. He said the Bureau of Immigration confirmed that the patient case had no history of travel prior to contracting the disease.
"DOH confirms that the previously reported 5th case of corona disease 2019 or COVID 19 as the first local transmission COVID-19 transmission in the Philippines," said Duque.
The health chief also said that ased on their current data, 81% of COVID-19 cases in te Philippines have mild disease, 14 % appear to progress to severe disease, and 5% are critical.
Duque said that the DOH has already raised the COVID-19 alert system to Code Red sublevel 1 "in anticipation of possible sustained community transmission." He also said that he has recommended to Malacañang the declaration of a state of public health emergency to help the government be better prepared in fighting the disease.
Following the determination of local transmission in the country, the DOH raised the COVID-19 alert system in the country to Code Red Sublevel 1, which Duque clarified was a "preemptive call to ensure that national and local governments, and private and public health care providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases."
He added that the DOH has recommended to Malacañang the declaration of a state of public health emergency.
So far, there was one death due to COVID-19 in the country, a Chinese visitor who flew in from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Two other Chinese patients had recovered, while 3 Fililipinos were being treated as of Saturday – the husband and wife, and a man who traveled fom Japan.
Multinational professional services network Deloitte Philippines confirmed on Saturday that the COVID-19 patient with a history of travel to Japan was its employee, prompting the DOH to remind the public to be prudent in revealing information about patients to protect the privacy of the latter.
Worldwide, the COVID-19 death toll stood at over 3,400 as of Saturday, while over 101,000 people were infected across 84 countries. – Rappler.com