March 20 ------ The Philippines has recorded 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total up to 217. In a bit of good news, the number of recoveries also rose to eight after one new patient recovered from the disease. The latest recovery is Patient 20, a 48-year-old Filipino male from Cavite with a history of travel to Japan. He has been discharged from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine after testing negative for COVID-19 twice.
The DOH gave scant information on the new cases but issued a correction on the area of residence of Patient 57, the Philippines’ 16th COVID-19 fatality. The department said Patient 57 is a resident of Bulacan and not Pasig City as earlier reported. “While the Case Investigation Form of the patient stated he lived in Pasig City, upon further validation it was found that it is a family member of his who lives there,” they explained. The number of fatalities remained at 17.
Earlier on Thursday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced that he is undergoing self-quarantine and is awaiting the results of his COVID-19 test. The health chief is asymptomatic but decided to get tested because he is asthmatic and hypertensive, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. The entire Luzon remains under an enhanced community quarantine until April 13 as part of government efforts to arrest the spread of COVID-19.