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DOH: Philippines now has sustained COVID-19 community transmission

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday that there was now a sustained community transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines.

"'Yung ibang mga kaso wala na siyang relasyon sa ibang kaso... Kailangan na natin malaman kung saan nanggaling o 'yung index case nitong mga kasong ito," Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview on GMA News TV's Balitanghali.

"Kapag ganito na po ang itsura ng ating sitwasyon ibig sabihin we already have sustained community transmission," she added.

The Philippines had 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday night, and 12 with deaths from the illness.

It was only on March 7 that the DOH confirmed the presence of local transmission in the country, and a few days later its community-wide spread was acknowledged when Code Red Sub-Level 2 was raised over the country.

Working-age group affected

Many of the confirmed cases in the country belonged to the working-age group, according to Vergeire.

"Nakikita na ho natin 'yung pattern ngayon na mula 29 years old hanggnag 59 years old ay medyo marami pong naapektuhan," she said.

Meanwhile, almost 30 to 35 percent of the total cases had mild symptoms while around nine percent were severe and critical.

The government placed the whole Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Public transport facilities were suspended and only health and service workers were required to report for work.

Globally, over 167,000 people had been infected with COVID-19. The disease claimed more than 6,000 lives. Dona Magsino/DVM, GMA News