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NCMF willing to help DOH with contact tracing as COVID-19 patient frequented prayer hall

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) expressed willingness to help the Department of Health (DOH) in tracing people who may have had contact with a COVID-19-positive patient who frequented a prayer hall in San Juan City.

“Kami po ay very much willing. Sa ngayon po ay wala pa po tayong instruction from the DOH. Kami po ay makatutulong talaga,” NCMF director for bureau of eternal relations Jun Alonto Datu Ramos said, according to a report on Dobol B sa News TV aired on GMA News TV on Sunday.

On Friday, the DOH said there were two new cases of COVID-19 in the country. One of them was a 48-year-old Filipino male with a travel history from Japan. The other was a 62-year-old Filipino male in San Juan City with no travel history abroad but has frequently visited a Muslim prayer hall and has hypertension and diabetes.

On Saturday, the DOH confirmed a sixth case of COVID-19. The Health department said the patient is the wife of the fifth case, the male from San Juan City.

Ramos also encouraged fellow Muslims to remain calm and follow the orders of the local government unit in connection with the COVID-19.

“We would like to remind all our Muslim brothers and sisters, maging kalmado po tayo kung ano man ang advisory ng DOH dahil sila po ang nakakaalam,” Ramos said.

“At doon sa nangyari sa Greenhills, kung ano ang utos ng local government ng San Juan, sumunod po tayo,” he added.

On Friday, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora ordered the disinfection and temporary closure of a prayer room in Greenhills Shopping Center that was frequented by the male COVID-19 patient.

A city health official meanwhile urged devotees who had gone to the prayer hall from February 21 to 28 and who had developed symptoms of the virus to go get tested.

"Baka ho merong mga nandito nu'ng February 21 hanggang 28 na nagkalagnat, nagkaubo, nagkasipon. Maaari pong lumapit sa City Health Office para ho ma-swab para malaman baka meron silang coronavirus," she said.

Greenhills Center Management assured the public on Friday that it is taking precautionary measures against COVID-19.

"Greenhills Mall is enacting precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our shoppers, tenants, and employees," it said in a statement.

"The mall management is coordinating and cooperating with the DOH and the City Government of San Juan," it added.

DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday said the Health department has already traced more than 20 individuals who have had contact with the fifth COVID-19 patient and testing has begun.

Meanwhile, officials of the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan on Saturday said patients who came in contact with the fifth case had not displayed symptoms of the virus

The patient was first brought to the said hospital before being transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. 

Following the confirmation of the sixth case, President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to issue a declaration of a public health emergency in the Philippines as the DOH raised the Code Red Sublevel 1 alert. —Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News