The Philippines on Thursday confirmed its first case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In a press conference, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said a 38-year-old Chinese patient from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, was confirmed to be infected with the virus following a laboratory test in Australia.
The woman arrived in Manila via Hong Kong on Jan. 21. She is now in an undisclosed government hospital.
The patient came in for a checkup on Jan. 25 after experiencing mild cough, Duque said.
“The patient sought consult and was admitted in one of the country’s government hospitals last Jan. 25 after experiencing mild cough. She is currently asymptomatic… which means she has no fever, and no other signs and symptoms suggesting illness at this point,” he said.
Duque said the DOH “continues to guarantee the public that all necessary precautionary measures are being taken to halt the spread of the virus.”
Chito Avelino, director of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said health authorities have begun contact-tracing, or tracking people who may have been exposed to the patient.
The patient was known to have also traveled to the cities of Cebu and Dumaguete.
He said they would trace details of the woman’s flights and track passengers who were seated close to her.
Some 23 other individuals are under investigation for the virus and are still in hospital, while 5 have been discharged but are under strict monitoring, Duque said.
The 2019-nCoV has killed at least 170 and infected nearly 8,000, spreading from its epicenter in Wuhan, China to several countries in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Its symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties, according to the World Health Organization.
To better protect the country from the virus, the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration earlier suspended the issuance of visas upon arrival for Chinese nationals.
Here’s the entire video of the press conference.
This article is taken from ABS-CBN News.