MANILA - The head of the Philippine Pediatric Society has passed away after reportedly battling the novel coronavirus, her sister, television host Ruby Rodriguez said Thursday.
Rodriguez announced the demise of her elder sister, Dr. Sally Gatchalian, on Instagram.
"Say hi to Mom, Dad and Manong Robert. Be at peace, do not worry about us anymore. Have fun in heaven!" Rodriguez wrote.
Gatchalian, who was also an assistant director at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, had tested positive for COVID-19, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines president Dr. Rustico Jiimenez told ABS-CBN News.
The RITM was previously the country's lone testing facility for suspected novel coronavirus cases.
Gatchalian is the 9th Filipino doctor to pass away from the pandemic, Jimenez was quoted as saying in a media report. Health officials did not immediately reply to ABS-CBN's request for confirmation on this information.
Among the physicians who reportedly lost their lives to COVID-19 were cardiologists Raul Jara and Israel Bactol, anesthesiologist Gregory Macasaet, Pampanga provincial health chief Marcelo Jaochico, and Pangasinan's Dr. Henry Fernandez.
The Philippines as of Wednesday confirmed 38 deaths and 26 patients who recovered out of its total 636 cases of the respiratory disease. The tally is expected to spike with the recent arrival of additional test kits, the health department earlier said.
The entire Luzon, home to around half of the Philippines' 100 million people, is under lockdown until April 12 to contain the pandemic.
With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News