The New Clark City (NCC) Operations Center reported that three (3) male repatriates from the M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined at the New Clark City (NCC) showed signs and symptoms of respiratory illness this February 26. These repatriates are now categorized as Patients Under Investigation (PUI) and were transferred to a referral hospital for isolation and appropriate medical management.

The cases are a 39-year old who experienced cough and a 34 and 27-year old who complained of throat discomfort. All are afebrile, and two have tested negative. Additionally, DOH has just received information that there are two more repatriates who were brought to a referral health facility because of sore throat. Their specimens were collected and sent for testing at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

“While we are still waiting for the other test results, we assure the public that our referral hospitals are well-equipped and prepared to handle COVID-19 cases once they arise. Our health response team at the quarantine facility is being extra cautious to prevent further health risks,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque explained.

Updates on PUIs

DOH reported that as of 12:00 NN, there are now only 30 patients under investigation (PUIs) admitted in various health facilities. A total of 585 patients have already been discharged. To date, 531 PUIs have tested negative for the 2019 novel coronavirus, and 40 cases with pending test results.

“We are observing a steady decrease in the number of PUIs admitted in our health facilities and DOH is bent on sustaining this downward trend. While there is a looming prospect of positive COVID-19 cases among our repatriated kababayans, we call on everyone to continue to be vigilant partners of DOH in keeping the threat of COVID-19 at bay,” Duque said.

Global Situation

DOH also reported that as of February 27, there are a total of 85 confirmed COVID-19 cases among Overseas Filipinos (OF) around the globe. Japan recorded the most OF cases with a total of 80 (70 admitted, 10 discharged), followed by UAE and Hongkong, with two cases each, and Singapore with one case. The most recent case was a 29-year old Filipina who was admitted to a health facility in Hong Kong. The patient is currently in stable condition. 

“COVID-19 continuously affects our kababayans overseas. The Philippine government remains at their service, and would devotedly extend our assistance wherever they are in the world,” the Health Chief remarked.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the COVID-19 has spread in 37 countries outside of China, but has observed a decline in the number of additional cases globally. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus particularly noted that nine countries, including the Philippines, reported no new cases of COVID-19 for more than two weeks.

“While the DOH welcomes this positive development, we cannot be complacent. We must remain steadfast in watching out for the health of the Filipino people, particularly our repatriates in NCC,” Duque concluded.