MANILA: Philippines announced two more COVID-19 cases on Friday (Mar 6), bringing the country’s total number of infections up to five, the department of health said.
In a press release, the health department said the fourth case was a 48-year-old Filipino man with a travel history to Japan. The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Japan reached the 1,000 mark on Wednesday, including passengers and crew members who disembarked from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
The man returned to the Philippines on Feb 25 and experienced chills and fever from Mar 3.
He sought medical treatment and was tested positive for the virus on Thursday; his condition is currently stable.
The fifth case in the Philippines is a 62-year-old Filipino man with hypertension and diabetes, and no known travel history outside the country. He experienced cough with phlegm on Feb 25 and went to a hospital on Mar 1.
He was first admitted with severe pneumonia, but later tested positive for the virus on Thursday. He is known to have regularly visited a Muslim prayer hall in Barangay Greenhills, San Juan City, the health department said.
“Contact tracing is being done for the two cases and samples have already been collected from close contacts,” it added.
“These recent developments are significant, but we are prepared to respond to its potential consequences. Our priority is to protect our health workers and the most vulnerable populations,” the country’s secretary of health Francisco Duque said.
"We can still contain the spread of the virus in the country, which is why we are encouraging the public to practice proper handwashing, social distancing, and cough etiquette. We call on the public to be vigilant and continue doing their part in containing the disease."
The Philippines was the first country outside of China to have had a fatality linked to the virus. A 44-year-old man from the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, died after being admitted to a Manila hospital on Jan 25.
He had arrived in the Philippines with a Chinese woman who had also tested positive for the virus.
China reported 30 more deaths from the COVID-19 outbreak on Friday, with fresh infections rising for a second straight day and 16 new cases imported from overseas.
In total 3,042 people have died from the disease in China, and more than 80,500 people have now been infected in mainland China.