In a Facebook post, the DOH said that it has deployed surveillance teams and they are now conducting extensive information-gathering and contact tracing activities on the new cases.
On March 7, the state health bureau confirmed the country’s first case of local transmission. The DOH also raised its alert level to Code Red sublevel 1 as a “preemptive call to ensure that national and local governments and public and private health care providers can prepare for a possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”
ABS-CBN News reported that the Philippine government will raise the Code Red alert level to sublevel 2 should there be a community-wide transmission of COVID-19. This means that lockdowns can be imposed in certain areas and schools and offices can declare the suspension of classes and work.
According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is a newly-discovered type of coronavirus which began in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It is a part of a large family of coronaviruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. There are several coronaviruses that affect humans and are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to severe diseases like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
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