On the latest COVID-19 update

News of foreign nationals purportedly contracting the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines has reached the Office of the President.

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.

The Palace has similarly been informed of the two additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and understands that the DOH is now coordinating with the concerned local government units (LGUs) to identify persons who had interaction with them, as well as to strengthen the infection prevention and control protocols of the aforesaid LGUs.

We call on everyone to be the voice of calm and sobriety. The DOH, which has been following established international protocols, continues to monitor persons under investigation. Teams have been formed to do contact tracing. The Health Department, along with other agencies of the government, likewise provides our people with the latest updates relative to the impact of this global health scare. 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.

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. Local transmission, if and when it happens in the country, would thus be unequivocally reported to the people.

The Office of the President finally wishes to remind the people to practice protective measures to guard themselves against COVID-19, such as frequent and proper hand-washing, observing proper cough etiquette and maintaining distance from individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms, among others. By performing these safeguards, we likewise do our share in our community’s fight against this disease.