Overseas Filipino worker tests positive for coronavirus in Singapore

Masked healthcare worker speaking to a member of the public at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Photo: Facebook
Masked healthcare worker speaking to a member of the public at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Photo: Facebook

A Singapore-based overseas Filipino worker has tested positive for the potentially deadly COVID-19, the Philippine Embassy in the city-state announced today.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the embassy said that the “Filipino is now warded in an isolation room in one of Singapore’s hospitals. Personal details of the patient were not shared by the Ministry of Health in line with its policy of patient confidentiality and privacy.”

The embassy said that it is currently in close coordination with Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH). It assured Filipinos that it “stands ready to provide all consular assistance to the patient as needed. In the meantime, everyone is requested to respect the patient’s privacy.”

The Philippines’ ambassador to Singapore Joseph Yap, told Rappler that the Lion City will shoulder the medical expenses of the Filipino worker, whom he said did not travel to China, the ground zero of the epidemic.

“[T]hey are still investigating his close contacts to find out more about where he could have gotten the virus from,” Yap said. It is likely that the patient was exposed to his fellow Filipinos in Singapore, but Yap said it was “hard to speculate.”

The Philippine Embassy’s confirmation follows news last week that a 34-year-old Filipino had been infected with the coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates, and that a Filipina domestic worker had also been infected in Hong Kong.

Since then, the Department of Foreign Affairs has announced that the number of Filipinos who were infected aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess has risen to 49, eight more than the number announced last week. Two have already recovered, while the rest are being treated in Japanese hospitals. Those who tested negative will be been put on a 14-day quarantine at New Clark City in Tarlac, including those who recovered.

As of Saturday, 130 people are being monitored in the Philippines for possible infection, but the number of confirmed cases in the country still stands at just three, all of whom were Chinese nationals, and one of whom died.


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