DOH: No let up in containing coronavirus despite downtrend in cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 17) — The Department of Health continues its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) despite the apparent slowing down of confirmed cases.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday said 453 patients under investigation have tested negative for COVID-19, while 171 remain in hospitals after showing flu-like symptoms. Twenty-two PUIs are awaiting their test results.

She said local transmission remains possible. Philippines' three confirmed coronavirus cases are all Chinese nationals who arrived in the country from China.

"Kahit nakikita natin ngayon na medyo bumababa ang ating mga kaso, hindi po tayo dapat maging complacent. We should always be ready for that possibility na maaaring magkaroon tayo ng local transmission in the future," she said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Even though we see a decrease in the cases, we shouldn't be complacent. We should be ready for the possibility of a local transmission.]

The police and Health department's efforts to trace the contacts of the three cases continue, authorities said. Of the 280 contacts of the first two cases, 221 have completed the required 14-day home quarantine. 45 people remain admitted in hospitals, they said.

For the third case who went to Cebu City and Tagbilaran, Bohol, contact tracing is still ongoing, the health department added. DOH has only traced 255 out of Chinese woman's 740 contacts.

"We are working with the PNP-CIDG and concerned local government units to expedite our contact tracing for the 3rd confirmed case," the DOH said.. "DOH is keen on ensuring that all those who may have come in contact with this case be immediately assessed and facilitated."