MANILA (UPDATE) - Three new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were recorded in the Philippines, the health agency said Thursday, bringing the total tally to 52.
The additional cases involved Filipinos aged 69 (female), 26 (male), and 79 (female). The first two are residents of Quezon City, while the residence of the third one is still for validation.
According to data released by the Department of Health, the 79-year-old woman had a travel history to the United Kingdom and her symptoms manifested on March 1.
The first two had no travel history, but they showed symptoms on Feb. 28 and March 8.
The three went to different hospitals.
"The DOH and deployed surveillance teams, in cooperation with concerned Local Government Units, are now conducting extensive information-gathering and contact tracing activities on the new cases," the agency said in a statement.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, according to the statement, reminded "the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities."
"Individuals with history of known exposure to a positive patient and/or travel to areas with local transmission, within and outside the country, presenting with mild symptoms are advised to self-isolate and be home quarantined for 14 days," Duque said.
Those with severe and critical symptoms, on the other hand, need to be immediately admitted to health facilities, he added.
Among the 52 confirmed cases in the country, two have succumbed to the disease, including a Chinese male tourist who was the first coronavirus-related fatality outside of China, and a Filipino woman who had existing medical conditions.
"Our recent mortality have underlying medical conditions, making the patient extremely vulnerable to COVID-19," Duque said.
"So we reiterate that the best way to protect yourself from the disease is to keep yourself healthy and practice general preventive measures: proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and social distancing."
The agency noted that elderly people, with average age of 66 years old, and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are vulnerable to the illness.
Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos abroad who contracted the disease stood at 99 as of Wednesday, according to the agency's tally.
Of those, only 27 are either admitted in hospitals or are isolated, including 10 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, 2 in the United Arab Emirates, 4 in Hong Kong, 5 in Singapore, and 6 from the Grand Princess cruise ship in the United States.
The Philippines is on a state of public health emergency over the disease that originated from China and has spread to over 100 countries, infecting more than 126,000, with deaths of over 4,600.
The World Health Organization declared the disease a pandemic. - - with reports from Raphael Bosano