DOH raises code red due to coronavirus threat

By: Katrina Hallare - Inquirer.net - Inquirer.net | March 07,2020 - 05:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said that it was raising code red, sublevel 1 due to the threats brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

In a press conference, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the alert system in COVID-19 was raised after the first case of local transmission was confirmed involving a 59-year-old woman, who is the wife of the 62-year-old who first tested positive for the dreaded virus. 

This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines to six.

“In light of the confirmation of localized transmission in the country and in anticipation of possible sustained community transmission, DOH has raised the COVID-19 Alert System to Code Red sublevel 1,” Duque said.

The health chief added that raising code red is “a preemptive call to ensure that national and local governments and public and private health care providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”

And because of the Code Red alert, the DOH also recommended that to President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of a public health emergency, which will  “facilitate mobilization of resources, ease processes, including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensifying reporting.”

“At this stage of localized transmission, intensified contact tracing and home quarantine of close contacts of confirmed cases, improved hospital preparedness, enhanced Severe Acute Respiratory Illness surveillance, and activation of other laboratories outside of RITM to increase capacity to diagnose are now being implemented,” Duque said.

“This declaration is a signal to all concerned agencies, local government units and health care providers to be ready to implement planned response measures. We are continuously reminding everyone to practice personal protective measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing, and proper cough etiquette,” he reminded.

“Avoid unnecessary travel and postpone mass gatherings, as well. It is our individual responsibility to protect ourselves and the people around us. Only through collective action in our communities will we be able to limit the spread of the virus.”

Edited by MUF

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TAGS: Department of Health, Francisco Duque III, novel coronavirus

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