7 more dead of COVID-19, cases rise to 140 in the Philippines

Travellers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. Photo: Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News
Travellers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. Photo: Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News

The Department of Health over the weekend announced seven more deaths linked to COVID-19 in the Philippines, with the total number of recorded cases rising to 140, the Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.

The patient who died most recently was case PH12, a 56-year-old Filipino male who began experiencing fever and cough on Feb. 29. He was admitted to Makati Medical Center on March 7 and died on March 15.

Read: PH government agencies shut down for COVID-19 disinfection after officials exposed to virus-positive patient

The DOH said that cases PH 89 and PH79 had also passed away. PH89 was a resident of San Fernando, Pampanga with no travel history who died on Wednesday. PH79 was a 68-year-old man from Makati City with no history of overseas travel. He died early Friday morning.

As of today, 12 people have died in the Philippines from the novel coronavirus, making the country’s mortality rate — currently 8.57 percent — far higher than the global average of between 3 and 4 percent, and higher than Italy’s already-elevated rate of 7.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the youngest newly confirmed patient is a 13-year-old girl from Quezon City who has not traveled overseas recently or had any contact with a coronavirus patient, GMA News reports. The DOH is determining where she is confined.

So far, only two patients in the Philippines have recovered from COVID-19: cases PH1 and PH3, both Chinese tourists from Wuhan, where the pandemic started.

Meanwhile, the government assured the public yesterday that the Philippines has sufficient funds for COVID-19 test kits, contrary to swirling rumors. In a joint statement, Malacañang Palace and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said, “We assure our people that we are prepared to use to the fullest the resources of the government to arrest the spread of the disease and secure the safety and health of the citizenry.”

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that his agency is “not in any way involved in the call by some groups for donations regarding access to test kits,” and that “sufficient funds [to buy them] are available.”

President Rodrigo Duterte has put the entirety of Metro Manila on lockdown (or “community quarantine”) for a month in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Despite this, workers from nearby areas are still allowed to enter and exit the city if they can provide proof that their workplaces are within Metro Manila.

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