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No Pinoy with COVID-19 yet in South Korea, DOH clarifies

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The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday clarified that there is still no confirmed case of Filipinos infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea.

"No, we don't have any Filipino yet positive for COVID-19. We have one in Singapore, we have two in UAE, and we have one in Hong Kong," DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters in Malacañang when asked for confirmation.

In an interview on Unang Balita earlier in the day, Vergeire said there was an initial information received by the DOH regarding an infected Filipino, but added that other details were still pending.

"Mayroon pong ibinibigay sa aming impormasyon kahapon na mayroon ho tayong nag-positive na case sa South Korea pero 'yung buong detalye po ay hindi pa natin nakukuha," she said.

South Korea raised its virus alert to the highest level on Sunday as the number of confirmed cases within its borders reached over 600—the highest outside China, aside from the virus-hit cruise ship docked in Japan.

Consul General Christian De Jesus, in an interview on Balitanghali, also said that the Philippine Embassy in South Korea has not received any reports on Filipinos infected by COVID-19 as of Monday.

"Wala pong official confirmation," he said. "We've contacted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Ministry of Health, hindi po tayo makakuha ng confirmation at wala rin pong impormasyon na mayroong Pilipino na may impeksyon na dahil sa coronavirus."

He said they will be coordinating with the DOH through the Department of Foreign Affairs regarding the matter.

"Dito sa Korea strict ang privacy laws, so hindi basta-basta puwedeng isiwalat ang pangalan, ang lahi, at ang medical condition ng isang tao," De Jesus said.

"Pero sa ganito pong pagkakataon na mayroon nang highest alert sa coronavirus kapag naibigay po ng DOH sa amin 'yung sapat na impormasyon sigurado po na aaksyunan agad 'yan ng Philippine Embassy dito sa Seoul," he added. —Dona Magsino/KBK, GMA News

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