Health Department confirms 4 new COVID-19 cases, Qatar bans travelers from PH

A Filipino medical professional at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. Photo: Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News
A Filipino medical professional at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. Photo: Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News

The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday announced that there are four new cases of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines, bringing the total number of cases to 10.

In a statement released on its website, the DOH said case number seven (called “PH7” by the DOH) is a 38-year-old Taiwanese male who came in contact with a compatriot who tested positive in Taiwan. Currently admitted at a private hospital, he has not traveled out of the Philippines, and his symptoms started to appear on March 3.

Case number 8 (or “PH8”) is a 32-year-old Filipino male who traveled to Japan in the last two weeks. Admitted to a private hospital, he began showing symptoms on March 5.

Read: BREAKING: Philippines confirms first local COVID-19 cases in weeks, says Health Dept

An 86-year-old American man (“PH9”) had traveled to the United States and South Korea. The patient, who also suffers from hypertension (or high blood pressure), is currently admitted to a private hospital.

Finally, a 57-year-old Filipino male (“PH10”) reportedly had not traveled outside of the country but is believed to have come in contact with another confirmed patient. The DOH is still investigating if this is the case.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte today said that one patient is a resident of her city, but did not specify which case.

The first three COVID-19 cases in the Philippines were all Chinese nationals, one of whom died, while the two have reportedly recovered and presumably have left the country. The country then went weeks until the next confirmed case, a 48-year-old Filipino lawyer who had traveled to Japan and is reportedly in a stable condition.

The fifth case is a 62-year-old Filipino who used to frequent the Greenhills Masjid in San Juan, while the sixth case is his 59-year-old spouse, whose case was announced by the DOH on Saturday. The former is in critical condition while his wife is stable.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque reminded the public to do their part to stem the virus’s spread.

“I call on the public to continue to be vigilant and practice personal preventive measures such as proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and cough etiquette. In the meantime, let us refrain from visiting public places and/or attending mass gatherings. DOH is exhausting all its efforts to contain the spread COVID-19. I am calling for your cooperation in this trying time, only through [a] concerted effort at the community level will we be able to succeed against the threat of the disease.”

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Doha announced today that Qatar is temporarily banning travelers from 14 countries, including the Philippines, in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Gulf state. The ban also covers those who have traveled to places such as Thailand, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka, and China, where the virus originated. However, Qatar did not include citizens from Singapore, Italy, and Japan, places with far more confirmed cases than the Philippines.

In Hong Kong, a fourth Filipino worker has tested positive of COVID-19, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila confirmed yesterday. The DFA said she is asymptomatic, but is in a hospital along with two other Filipino patients. The first Filipino worker to test positive in Hong Kong has already been discharged.

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