Taguig-based firm says employee tests positive for coronavirus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2020 07:23 AM | Updated as of Mar 07 2020 06:03 PM

MANILA (4th UPDATE) - A financial advisory firm in Taguig City confirmed early Saturday that one of its employees had tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The 48-year-old man, who is experiencing mild respiratory symptoms, is the country's fourth case of the virus, the Department of Health (DOH) said. The Philippines currently has 6 confirmed cases of infection.

The Deloitte employee had traveled to Japan and returned to the Philippines on Feb. 25 onboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 421 from Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

He experienced fever and chills on March 3 and tested positive for the disease 2 days later.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said those who may have come in contact with the patient are being checked for possible infection.

"Nakapasok siya ng isang araw kung saan siya ay nagkaroon ng meeting kasama ang kaopisina niya," she said.

(He was able to work for a day and had a meeting with his officemates.)

The man is confined at the state-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, its director Dr. Celia Carlos said.

In a Facebook post, Deloitte said their employee at its office at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is getting treatment for the disease.

“We can confirm that a colleague in our Deloitte Philippines office has tested positive for COVID-19. The colleague is currently in hospital receiving treatment and further tests, and Deloitte is supporting the colleague and family in every way we can,” Deloitte said.

“The health and safety of our people, our clients and our community is our highest priority, and our immediate response has been to take all necessary actions to manage the situation,” it added.

It said it remains compliant with guidance from the health department on response to COVID-19 cases.

“All necessary actions were promptly taken to inform those who might have come into contact with the colleague for the appropriate checks and provide any possible form of support,” said Deloitte, a management consulting firm with headquarters in the United Kingdom.

“We continue to monitor and manage the COVID-19 situation in order to respond as necessary,” it said.

In a statement, St. Luke's Medical Center- Global City said it was "able to identify, isolate and screen a patient at the isolation room located outside the emergency wing who turned out positive for COVID-19."

It said the DOH transferred the patient to the RITM,where earlier confirmed coronavirus cases had been admitted. 

"Fortunately, the patient was identified right away and exposure was limited as he did not enter the main hospital premises and main emergency room," the hospital said. 

St. Luke's added that it was "equipped to handle and contain such cases." 

"We have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety and care of all our patients and healthcare workers following a protocol set by our infectious disease specialists."

In a statement Saturday, BGC said it was working closely with the management of NEO Buildings, where Deloitte Philippines' offices are located, the Taguig City government, and the DOH "to ensure all protocols are followed to manage the situation." 

"The health and safety of our BGCitizens are our top priority. Frequent sanitation and disinfection of BGC malls and buildings, public transportation utilities, parks and common areas are being conducted, as well as temperature checks in entrances," it said. 

BGC is home to several malls, offices, attractions, sports sites, embassies and upscale residences. 

Responding to the incident, the NEO Property Management said it was taking all necessary and extensive measures to limit the spread of the virus.

The affected building will be closed down starting Saturday for thorough disinfection while other facilities will be sanitized, it said.

"All tenants have been advised to review their staff's travel history and plans, and to monitor the health of those who recently returned from overseas," the NEO Property Management added.

The Taguig City government, meanwhile, called for calm amid the reported case in the area, saying people should get their information "only from reliable channels." 

It reminded residents of precautionary measures to protect themselves from the virus.

"Residents are reminded that the most effective measures against this threat are constant and proper handwashing with soap and water, hand sanitizing with alcohol, covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, and practicing healthy lifestyle habits to enhance the immune system and body resistance," the city government said in a statement. 

They also urged residents to "avoid crowded places and unnecessary travel to countries where COVID-19 local transmission have been confirmed."