2 Filipinos catch coronavirus in Lebanon

MANILA, Philippines – Two Filipinos based in Lebanon tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected Filipinos outside the Philippines to 91.

This was announced by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez during the “Laging Handa” press conference on the 2019-nCoV outbreak at Malacañang on Monday, March 9. 

“We also received information that two Filipinos have also been identified (with 2019-nCoV) in Lebanon,” Meñez said. 

The two Filipinos are currently under quarantine at a hospital in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital. 

Outside the Philippines, a total of 91 Filipinos already tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including the two cases in Lebanon. Meñez said there are still 4 Filipinos in Hong Kong and another 3 in Singapore who have COVID-19, the disease caused by 2019-nCoV. The United Arab Emirates also previously reported two Filipino cases, though both are already in "stable" condition and will soon be released from the hospital, according to Meñez.   

Eighty Filipinos were also infected by 2019-nCoV while aboard the M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had been docked at the port of Yokohama in Japan for days. But 40 of these Filipinos already recovered, with 21 of them finishing their mandatory 14-day home quarantine period after returning to the Philippines. The other 19 Filipino recoveries are still in Japan but the DFA is already arranging their repatriation.

The other 40 Filipino crew members of Diamond Princess who still have COVID-19, however, remain admitted in various health facilities in Japan.  

As of Monday morning, the Philippines itself reported 10 positive cases of COVID-19, including the county’s first local transmission after a 62-year-old Filipino man with no travel history outside the Philippines infected his 59-year-old Filipina wife.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday also declared a state of public health emergency due to coronavirus.

The country’s first 3 coronavirus cases were all Chinese, one of whom died while the other two have already recovered. 

The last 4 positive cases confirmed by the Department of Health – two Filipinos, a Taiwanese male, and an American male – are all currently admitted in various hospitals in Metro Manila. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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