105 patients now being probed for novel coronavirus in PH

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is now probing 105 persons for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of noon on Tuesday, February 4. 

This is up from the 80 initially reported by the DOH at the Senate hearing on the government’s response to 2019-nCoV earlier on the same day. 

Most of the patients under investigation are being observed in Metro Manila, where 36 patients are being probed. This includes the Chinese couple from Wuhan, China, who were the first two confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines. One of them eventually died due to severe pneumonia resulting from the virus, which has killed over 400 people and infected over 20,000 people in 25 countries, mostly in China.  (READ: First nCoV-related death outside China as patient dies in PH)

Here is the breakdown of cases per region:

Of the 105, 91 are currently admitted to hospitals while 12 have been discharged but are under strict monitoring. Strict monitoring means that the the DOH’s epidemiology bureau checks up on them daily for symptoms.  

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also told reporters after the Senate hearing on Tuesday that the DOH is verifying a third possible case of 2019-nCoV, but said more details would be revealed on Wednesday, February 5.  

The increase in cases being probed comes as the criteria for probing expanded to persons coming not just from Hubei province but also from all of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. 

Duque also said the increase was “due to the strengthened surveillance system and contact tracing of the Epidemiology Bureau," but the Tuesday Senate hearing revealed lapses in the DOH’s protocols, particularly in contact tracing.

The health chief said that that he would hold officials in the DOH’s epidemiology bureau accountable for their incompetence in dealing with the urgent health crisis. – Rappler.com