Cebu records 1st case of COVID-19


Posted at Mar 18 2020 05:05 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2020 10:35 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Cebu has recorded its first case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

Tagged as PH188 or patient 188, the 65-year-old man is admitted at the Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City, data from the health department's tracking website showed.

DOH Central Visayas director Jaime Bernadas said the patient was already asymptomatic and about to be discharged.

"The bad news is we have already a positive case admitted in one of our hospitals. But the good news is the patient is already recovering. He is about to be discharged. Hopefully he can share his experience with us," he told reporters in a press briefing.

The patient, who has no known recent travel history to coronavirus-stricken areas, was admitted to a hospital on March 6, Bernadas said.

The patient was tested for the disease on March 11 and results validating infection to COVID-19 was released Wednesday, March 18.

After confirming the first case of the new strain of coronavirus in the province, Bernadas urged the public to practice social distancing and hygienic measures.

"The situation is still the same. You still have to follow the same protocol. The same social distance. The same isolation if you have problems. The same containment measures," he said.

The local government of Mandaue City, on its official Facebook page, said the city was observing 37 patients under investigation (PUIs) and 64 persons under monitoring (PUMs).

As authorities scrambled to contain the spread of the virus, Cebu on Monday announced it was sealing off its borders from the rest of the country for 30 days.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia prohibited the entry of travelers from all domestic airports and seaports that started Tuesday, March 17.

The province also implemented a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., while malls, restaurants and bars were ordered to close by 9 p.m.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Philippines has recorded 202 coronavirus infection, with 17 deaths and 7 recoveries.

The novel coronavirus, which has infected nearly 185,000 people worldwide and killed more than 7,500, causes mild symptoms in most people, but can result in pneumonia and in some cases severe illness that can lead to multiple organ failure.