Coronavirus cases in Philippines rise to 140, with 12 deaths

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 29 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the country on Sunday, March 15, bringing the total number of cases to 140.

The DOH also announced that 4 more patients have died from the virus. The death toll now stands at 12.

The 4 latest fatalities are the following:

Earlier on Sunday, the Negros Oriental provincial government said the fatality from the province was a councilor from the municipality of TayasanHe was an immunocompromised patient, having had a kidney transplant before.

The DOH also said in a separate statement on Sunday that 5 confirmed cases who have mild symptoms "are under home quarantine based on the existing decision tool for the diagnosis and management of COVID-19."

The DOH added that only 2 patients have recovered so far, both Chinese tourists from Wuhan who traveled to the Philippines. They were the 1st and 3rd recorded cases in the country.

Meanwhile, at least 4 members of the Duterte Cabinet have tested negative for the virus – Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.

They were among the government officials who went into self-quarantine after exposure to a person who later turned out to have the virus.

With the rising number of coronavirus cases, Metro Manila went into lockdown beginning Sunday. Travel in and out of the capital region is restricted. (READ: Day 1 of Metro Manila lockdown: Different checkpoints, different rules)

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency last March 9. –