(Eagle News) – The total coronavirus cases in the Philippines had risen to 707 with deaths also rising to 45, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Thursday, March 26.
Duque said that there are 71 new cases reported as of 4 p.m. Thursday, adding to the previous day’s number of 636 cases.
There were also seven new deaths reported bringing to 45 the total number of COVID-19 fatalities.
“Kami po ay sadayang nakikiramay sa mga pamilyang naulila ng ating mga yumao nating kababayan,” he said.
He also said that COVID-19 cases are expected to significantly rise in the coming days because more people are now being tested.
The public should not be alarmed, he said, and should see this in a positive light.
Duque said that it is important to identify early on the confirmed cases so they can be immediately isolated and be given proper medical treatment. The early identification of confirmed cases would also enable the government to do immediate contact tracing to prevent the further spread of the virus, he said.
-There should be no stigma attached to infected persons, says Duque-
Duque also reported two additional recovered patients which brings the toral recoveries from COVIDI-19 to 28, from the previous day’s 26.
This means that there should be no stigma attached to COVID-19 infected persons, including those considered under investigation and monitoring, said the health secretary.
“Magandang balita po na marami na po tayong kababayang naka-recover. Ang recoveries pong ito ay palatandaan na hindi dapat haluan ng stigma ang ating mga PUIs (persons under investigation) or PUMs (persons under monitoring), at lalong lalo na ang ating mga frontline health workers,” he said.
This was the first time for Duque to address the public since he underwent self-quarantine after exposure to a COVID-19 case. He, however, had already tested negative for the virus.
“Huwag po kayong magugulat kung ako ang nasa harap nyo,” he said and explained that Health Assistant Secretary Dra. Rosario Vergeire,who had been doing the virtual presser and other briefings for the past few days, needed to rest.
He said he was doing virtual presser while at home.
Duque reminded the public to stay at home and maintain their health by eating the right food and exercising even while at home.
“Palakasin po natin ang ating resistensya para malabanan ng katawan natin ang COVID virus,” he said.
He also called for the cooperation of everybody, and to express their respect and support for all health care workers.
“Ngayon po ang panahon para palaganapin ang pagmamalasakit. Tulong-tulong po tayo,” he said.
Duque said that all health care workers — both regular and volunteers — would receive hazard pay, particularly the COVID-19 special risk allowance.
He said that Philhealth would also shoulder all their medical expenses if they get sick, and would also be given an additional P100,000.
Duque said that the DOH already distributed thousands of personal protective equipment to health care workers on Wednesday, as well as alcohols and disinfectant powders.