MANILA -- Those who have a history of travel to countries with COVID-19, have had direct contact with confirmed cases and show symptoms of the disease will be prioritized for testing to avoid straining state resources, a health official said Friday.
"Those who have the history of travel. Those who have history of direct exposure to a positive case and experience signs and symptoms, they should immediately go to health facility to get themselves tested," said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Those who have not gone to places with localized transmission or had direct contact with confirmed cases, but developed “severe acute respiratory infection or atypical pneumonia,” will be tested, according to the latest Department of Health triage system.
The same goes for patients from households and workplaces with a cluster of influenza-like illnesses.
Metro Manila will be placed on community quarantine from March 15 to April 14 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travel to and from the capital region that is home to some 12 million people will be restricted.
The Philippines has so far confirmed 52 cases of COVID-19 with 68 others considered as PUIs or patients under investigation. Several government officials have gone on voluntary quarantine after being in the same events as confirmed patients.
People should have themselves checked and monitored if they were in contact with a person who was in contact with a confirmed patient, Vergeire said.
If they show no symptoms, they should monitor themselves, practice coughing etiquette and wash their hands frequently. If they develop symptoms, they should stay in their homes, she said.
People should have themselves checked if they doubt their exposure to a positive case and develop symptoms of COVID 19. If they doubt exposure to a positive case and don't have symptoms, they should consult with their doctor to assess their condition.