The Manila Health Department (MHD) on Monday denied reports circulating online that there is already a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus at Metropolitan Hospital in Binondo.
At the same time, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno called on the public to avoid sharing unverified information online and offline as this only worsens public anxiety.
In a statement, Manila City Health Officer Dr. Arnold Pangan said the 27-year-old male Chinese national confined at Metropolitan Hospital has been diagnosed with community acquired pneumonia and not novel coronavirus, which has already killed over 50 people in China.
In his report to Moreno, Pangan said the Chinese patient came from Obei, China, and not from Wuhan, the ground zero for the new coronavirus outbreak.
"MHD Surveillance Team, in coordination with DOH (Department of Health) surveillance, and as per investigation, patient has fever and cough but negative on history of travel to Wuhan, China, and no history of exposure to a host or positive case," Pangan said.
The Chinese patient is a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) worker who arrived in the Philippines on January 8, 2020. He was confined on January 25.
"As of the moment, the patient is well and does not have fever," Pangan said.
News of the alleged confirmed new coronavirus case has prompted five schools in Manila to suspend classes for the day.
Moreno urged the public to avoid panicking amid the scare but remain vigilant.
"Hindi ikinikibit-balikat ang sitwasyong ito. Be vigilant. Huwag kayong maiilang. Huwag muna masyadong mag-alala. Tayo po ay makinig sa mga lathalain, panawagan ng mga tamang tao at ahensiya ng gobyerno," he said. —KBK, GMA News