A Filipino who has not traveled out of the country recently has tested positive for the coronavirus, health officials said on Friday. There are two new cases of coronavirus disease or COVID-19 in the country.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the 62-year-old Filipino man who contracted the disease has no known travel to any country with confirmed coronavirus cases, but he regularly visited a Muslim prayer hall in Barangay Greenhills, San Juan City.
“It can be considered as a local case… The absence of travel is a clear indication that this is a local case,” he said in a media briefing.
Duque was quick to clarify that the new local case cannot be considered the start of the community-based spread of coronavirus in the country.
“There is no transmission to speak of as of yet because we only have one. We’re doing contact tracing to establish whether or not there are other cases or clustering of cases. But now it’s premature to say there is a local transmission,” he said.
The health chief said the man, who is considered to be the fifth confirmed case in the country, had hypertension and diabetes mellitus. He started coughing on February 25 and went to Cardinal Santos Medical Center on March 1. He was then admitted and diagnosed with severe pneumonia. DOH confirmed he was infected with coronavirus on March 5.
The DOH is tracking down the people the two Filipinos came in contact with.
“Samples have already been collected from close contacts. DOH is also in close coordination with the concerned local government units for concerted action on identifying persons who had interaction with the confirmed cases,” Duque said.