COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rise to 52

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 12) — The Philippines reported three more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to number of people who have acquired the viral disease to 52.

A 69-year-old Filipino woman from Quezon City, a 26-year-old man from Quezon City and a 79-year-old woman who had traveled to the United Kingdom are the country's newest COVID-19 patients.

The 69-year-old woman and the 26-year-old man both have not recently traveled abroad.

The new COVID-19 patients are admitted at The Medical City in Pasig, Makati Medical Center and Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III appealed to the public to cooperate in tracing people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients.

On Wednesday, a 67-year-old Filipino woman became the second patient to die due to COVID-19 in the country.

Duque said she had hypertension and diabetes, which made her "extremely vulnerable" to COVID-19

She began experiencing symptoms on February 29 and was only admitted nearly a week after on March 5. She was swabbed for testing on March 8, but died on March 11 due to severe pneumonia.

The first death due to COVID-19 is a Chinese man from Wuhan, where the first cases of the viral disease were reported.

Globally, over 126,000 people have contracted the disease with more than 4,600 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University's global tracking of cases.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which is related to the virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, but is not as deadly, with the fatality rate standing at around three percent.

According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of patients only experience “mild illness” and eventually recover. It added that some 14 percent experience severe illness while five percent were critically ill.

The disease is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when people infected with the virus cough or sneeze.

To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.

Commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Those with severe and critical symptoms should call the Health Department at (02) 8-651-7800 local 1149-1150.

The WHO now calls COVID-19 a pandemic, but stressed that this should not cause alarm as it can still be controlled since 90 percent of infections are being reported in only four countries, while outbreaks in China and South Korea are slowing down.