Philippines reports four new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 10

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 8) — The Health Department reported late Sunday evening four new cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of people in the country who have been infected with the virus to 10.

All four were tested Saturday and their results were released Sunday, the department said. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the four new patients are showing mild coronavirus symptoms. 

Among them is a 38-year-old Taiwanese man with no history of travel outside of the Philippines. He began showing symptoms on March 3 after having contact with another Taiwanese national who visited the Philippines and tested positive for the virus upon return to Taiwan.

Another patient is a 57-year-old Filipino man who also had no history of travel outside of the country. He is said to have had contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, but the Health Department said they are still investigating this.

Another Filipino, a 32-year-old man, also tested positive for the virus. He was screened after a trip to Japan in the past 14 days and after symptoms showed up on March 8.

An 86-year-old American man with hypertension and a travel history to the US and South Korea is also among those who have just tested positive for the new virus. His symptoms appeared on March 1.

The Health Department said all four patients are admitted to private hospitals, but does not specify the hospitals and their locations.

Duque said in a statement that they immediately deployed additional surveillance teams and began contact tracing after they confirmed the first two cases of local transmission of the virus which causes coronavirus disease, officially known as COVID-19.

The Health Department urges all people who will be contacted by surveillance teams to cooperate.

People with fever or respiratory symptoms with a history of travel and exposure to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus are urged to call the Health Department at (02)8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150.

The new cases came just a day after the Health Department announced that local transmission of the virus has been confirmed in the country after a 62-year-old man from Cainta, Rizal with no previous travel history outside of the Philippines tested positive for the virus. His wife later on also tested positive.

Virus sends shockwaves

The Muslim prayer hall in San Juan City frequented by the 62-year-old man considered to be the first case of local coronavirus transmission reopened on Saturday night. Greenhills Shopping Center, the mall which houses it, saw fewer shoppers compared to most Sundays.

Mall management, still reeling from a dramatic 10-hour hostage crisis, says that it is continuously being sanitized, and that temperature checks have been implemented at entrances.

Bonifacio Global City in Taguig was also hit by the coronavirus scare, after an employee working at business consulting firm Deloitte based in the business and shopping district was confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.

BGC management canceled a dog park event scheduled Sunday and also canceled the use of bike lanes on 31st Street.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency upon the recommendation of the Health Department, his spokesperson Salvador Panelo told CNN Philippines on Sunday.

Duque earlier said the declaration will allow for easier access to financial resources to control the spread of the disease in the country.

The Health Department also raised Code Red sublevel 1 — a “preemptive call to ensure that national and local government and public and private health care providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”

Duque said the department will raise the alert to sub-level two once several local transmissions are reported, which will trigger community-wide lockdowns. School and work may also be suspended under this alert level.

As of press time, only Navotas, San Juan, Marikina and the towns of Cainta and Taytay in Rizal have suspended classes in all levels.

Manila Tytana Colleges, Trinity University of Asia, Assumption College and Bagong Lipunan Crame Elementary School and High School have also canceled classes.

The Department of Education suspended all national and regional events involving students from different localities until further notice, but is pushing through with the National Festival of Talents and the National Schools Press Conference as participants at these events are already at the venues.

Two patients who previously tested positive for coronavirus in the Philippines have recovered and have been discharged. One Chinese man, however, has died due to the virus.his story is breaking and will be updated.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Paolo Barcelon contributed to this report.