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Philippines Declares ‘State of Public Health Emergency’ After Confirming Local Transmission of COVID-19

Mark Andrew

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  • Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved a proposal to declare a State of Public Health Emergency for the country.
  • The said executive order makes it easier for the government to implement price freeze and to access needed medical supplies.
  • Health officials continue to warn the public about coronavirus prevention as confirmed cases have reached 20.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has recently placed the Philippines under the State of Public Health Emergency, following the recommendation of health officials. The declaration comes shortly after a case of a local coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission has officially been confirmed by authorities.

According to reports, a 62-year-old resident of Cainta, Rizal has contracted the virus despite not having any travel history outside the country. Both the man and his wife, 59, tested positive of the disease.

Salvador Panelo, Spokesperson of the President, said that the executive order means it will be easier for the government to implement price control for basic goods and procurement of necessary medical supplies will be done quicker.

Panelo pointed out:

“The president… has agreed to issue such a declaration after considering all critical factors with the aim of safeguarding the health of the Filipino public.”

Meanwhile, Secretary Francisco Duque III of the Department of Health said such a declaration will allow them to have easier access to needed budget to contain the virus’ spread in the country.

Philippine Republic Act 11332 defines public health emergency as an “occurrence of an imminent threat of an illness or health condition which could pose a high probability of a large number of deaths.”

“Code Red sublevel 1” has also been raised by the Department of Health as “preemptive call to ensure that national and local government and public and private health care providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”

Secretary Duque further emphasized:

“We are continuously reminding everyone to practice personal protective measures,such as hand hygiene, social distancing, and proper cough etiquette.”

The secretary likewise encouraged the public to “avoid unnecessary travel and postpone mass gatherings” to further prevent the virus’ spread in the country.

As of this writing, the Philippines already has 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1 reported death. Classes have been suspended by the local government in several areas.

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