MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed all concerned government agencies to be transparent in their efforts to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Saturday.
The President’s order came after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed two new cases of Covid-19 in the country.
“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,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
The latest Covid-19 cases in the country involved a 48-year-old man who had traveled to Japan and a 62-year-old man with no travel history abroad.
The 48-year-old is in stable condition, while the 62-year-old contracted severe pneumonia, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced on Friday.
Panelo said Duterte wants the government to report to the people any local transmission “if and when it happens in the country.”
The DOH, he said, is currently coordinating with concerned local government units (LGUs) to identify persons who had interaction with those who have been infected with Covid-19.
Panelo said LGUs have also been ordered to strengthen their infection prevention and control protocols.
“The DOH, which has been following established international protocols, continues to monitor persons under investigation. Teams have been formed to do contact tracing,” he said.
Panelo ensured that the health department, along with other agencies of the government, is providing the public with the latest updates relative to the impact of Covid-19.
He then urged everyone to be the “voice of calm and sobriety.”
“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,” Panelo said.
He also reminded the people to practice protective measures to guard against Covid-19, such as frequent and proper hand-washing, observing proper cough etiquette, and maintaining distance from individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms.
Apart from the two new cases in the Philippines, the DOH also confirmed that three foreigners had tested positive for Covid-19 after visiting the Philippines. They were from Taiwan, Australia, and Japan.
Panelo said news of foreign nationals purportedly contracting Covid-19 in the Philippines has already reached the Office of the President.
He said the DOH is verifying the reports.
”The Department of Health (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,” Panelo said.
The Philippines now has five cases of Covid-19. The three others were Chinese nationals from Wuhan, China, where Covid-19 originated. Two of them recovered while the other one died. (PNA)