MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said they are now looking for more than 1,000 people who might have come into contact with the Philippines’ three confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The Philippines has 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19, all Chinese nationals who traveled from Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease. The first confirmed case was a 38-year-old woman who has since recovered, and then her 44-year-old partner who died due to the disease, and a 60-year-old woman who already recovered and has returned to China.
There are already 455 people contacted for the first case while another 731 are being traced for the third case, bringing the total number of people for contact tracing to 1,186.
“The number of contacts being traced (for the third case) was increased to 731 because the Epidemiology Bureau decided to include all passengers that rode the same fastcraft from Cebu to Tagbilaran,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said during a press conference.
He explained that the fastcraft ferry did not have a proper seating arrangement so the bureau included all passengers in the list of people to be contacted.
Contact tracing refers to the identification of people who might have come into contact with someone infected with a virus such as the COVID-19, which has left more than 1,000 people dead in China.
Of the 455 people who might have interacted with the Chinese couple, 277 have already been interviewed and 44 who showed symptoms of the illness were admitted into hospitals as patients under investigation (PUIs), Domingo said.
Meanwhile, only 246 out of the 731 people that might have interacted with the third case have been traced. A total of 164 have been interviewed and the 15 who showed symptoms of the illness were also admitted to hospitals and admitted as PUIs. The rest were asked to quarantine themselves at home.
Domingo said none of the PUIs refused to be admitted.
He meanwhile urged the public to provide accurate contact details, after the Epidemiology Bureau had trouble tracing people due to wrong information included in the manifesto.
“You don’t know when it will be necessary,” he said.
Because of incomplete details, the bureau is already being assisted by the Philippine National Police in searching for the people who might have come in contact with the three COVID-19 cases.
PATIENTS UNDER INVESTIGATION
With the additional PUIs, there are now 238 people being monitored for COVID-19 admitted in local hospitals. Another 165 patients have already been discharged. Of these, 208 have already tested negative while 197 are waiting for their test results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Majority of the PUIs are Filipinos (240), the rest are foreign nationals who traveled to the Philippines. Of these, 98 are Chinese, 18 are American, four are from Finland, three from Germany and one each from Brazil, United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Taiwan.