According to the Philippine Consulate General, the latest Filipino patient infected with the virus is a Filipina Overseas Filipina Worker (OFW), a household worker in Hong Kong. A team was immediately tasked to check on her condition in the hospital where she is confined.
The OFW reportedly worked for one of the previously confirmed cases of COVID-19. Authorities are now tracing 10 friends she was last in contact with.
"Rest assured that the Philippine government will render all necessary assistance to the Filipino national," said a representative from the Philippine Consulate General.
The news came out on the same day as the Philippine government lifted its travel ban on Hong Kong and Macau to allow migrant workers to return to their jobs. They may do so as long as they sign a written declaration stating that they know and understand the risks they will be facing.
Three out of seven Filipinos in Hong Kong that were quarantined for the virus have been discharged.
Around 240,000 OFWs are based in Hong Kong, which currently has over 61 cases of COVID-19 and one confirmed death.
As of February 17, the Department of Health (DOH) announced in a press statement that the number of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) in the Philippines has gone down to 171.
Despite the rapid spread of the virus around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared COVID-19 as a pandemic as it has not observed the disease's "efficient community transmission" outside China. The risks may be high, but not "high of a pandemic."