Don’t panic, Palace advises public

March 07, 2020

STAY calm, rely on verified information, and be assured that the Department of Health (DOH) is doing its job even as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is rising, Malacanang advised the public yesterday.

“We call on everyone to be the voice of calm and sobriety. The DOH, which has been following established international protocols, continues to monitor persons under investigation. Teams have been formed to do contact tracing. The Health Department, along with other agencies of the government, likewise provides our people with the latest updates relative to the impact of this global health scare,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“Accordingly, we also ask the public to be scrupulous in reading informative materials and not to share unverified and unofficial information that may only cause undue panic among the population,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government agencies to be “absolutely transparent to the Filipino people” regarding the novel coronavirus, the spokesman said.

“At the very outset of the surge of news reports concerning COVID-19, the President has categorically mandated relevant instrumentalities of the government to be absolutely transparent to the Filipino people as regards this health issue, aware that we have the right to be informed of the conditions surrounding us. Local transmission, if and when it happens in the country, would thus be unequivocally reported to the people,” the presidential spokesperson said.

The Philippines has recorded two more cases of novel coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19), bringing the total number t to six , the DOH announced Friday.

One was a 48-year-old Filipino male with a travel history from Japan and the other, a 62-year-old Filipino male in San Juan City with no travel history abroad but has frequently visited a Muslim prayer hall and has hypertension and diabetes.

Malacañang said the DOH is coordinating with the local government units concerned in identifying people who may have had contact with the two COVID-19 patients, and in strengthening infection prevention and control.

Panelo also said the Office of the President has received news of foreign nationals who purportedly contracted COVID-19 in the Philippines.

He said the DOH “has been in close coordination with their counterparts on these foreigners who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, and two out of the three of them may have possibly contracted the infection in another country. Information on the third foreign national is still being verified by DOH officials.”