At least six foreign nationals who traveled to the Philippines have tested positive for coronavirus or COVID-19 upon returning to their home countries, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday.
The six patients consist of two Japanese, one Taiwanese, one Australian, one Singaporean and one South Korean.
Three of them were reported last week: the New South Wales government said that an Australian woman tested positive for the virus after visiting the Philippines, while the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control announced that a Taiwanese man who traveled to the Philippines with his friends from February 28 to March 3 was confirmed to have the disease. One of the Japanese patients, meanwhile, tested positive for the disease in Japan.
Duque said that the Australian is under home quarantine, and that the Taiwanese had contact with the Philippines’ Patient 7.
The two Japanese, meanwhile, have been admitted to the hospital after spending seven days in the Philippines, while the Singaporean spent three days in the Philippines.
The South Korean spent the most number of days in the Philippines, staying in the country for two months.
During the same hearing, Duque sounded off that such a development is not surprising, and added that the travel ban that the country imposed on China, Macau and Hong Kong delayed transmission for at least a month.
“We were one of the first countries that implement travel restrictions on China, Macau and Hong Kong. It delayed entry of the pandemic for a month, and by our computation, you can only delay its entry for two months at the most,” Duque said.
“Sa atin, isang buwan, until March 5 [happened],” Duque added, referring to the day when the Philippines first registered local transmission of COVID-19.
The Philippines has already declared Code Red as a result of the spike in number of COVID-19 cases, which has already reached 33 as of Wednesday, March 11. — BM, GMA News