Philippines COVID-19 cases surpass 100

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 14) — The Department of Health has reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19, bringing the country total to 111.

The DOH in a statement on Saturday said information on these new cases is still being validated.

This comes shortly after the agency reported a jump in the number of cases from 64 to 98 in an online briefing on the same day.

Previously, the majority of the 64 cases were confined in hospitals in Metro Manila, prompting the government to restrict travel to and from the region.

The DOH also disclosed that the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City has limited its services since its health personnel were exposed to a COVID-19 patient – an 88-year-old Filipino who died of the disease this week.

The patient, dubbed as PH37, is among the eight COVID-19 deaths in the country.

"PH37 was reported to have no history of travel and close contact to a confirmed patient," DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said, reading a prepared statement.

"Prior to the confirmation of the PH37’s diagnosis, healthcare workers were managing the case as a non-communicable case and were unable to wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE)," she added.

The Philippine Heart Center currently has 13 patients under investigation, including 12 health workers. Its hospital operations are currently limited for in-patient and emergency cases only.

The DOH said the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City also reported several health workers being exposed to COVID-19, but exact figures are still being verified.

Vergeire said the patients who died of the COVID-19 in the country are those considered high risk, including the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 5,400 people, mostly in China, since the outbreak began in Wuhan City in December last year. Over 145,000 people have been infected according to the Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 global tracker.

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 exhibit virus symptoms.