Philippines’ Duterte declares public health emergency to curb COVID-19

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the executive order and declared a state of public health emergency after the country's Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the local COVID-19 transmission in the country, his spokesperson said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told local media in an interview that he will officially announce the executive order in a press conference in the next few hours.

On Saturday, the Philippines raised the COVID-19 alert system to code red sub-level 1 after more cases were detected.

The DOH reported on Sunday four new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 10. Contact tracing is ongoing to determine the people who come in contact with the patients, the DOH said.

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque said on Saturday the move to declare a state of public health emergency "is 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."

Declaring a state of public health emergency will facilitate mobilization of resources, ease processes, including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensifying reporting, Duque added.

"A code red alert means all hospital personnel are required to report for duty in their respective facilities to provide medical services," Philippine Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier said.

Nograles added that the DOH is empowered to require mandatory reporting of "emerging infectious diseases" as well as perform quarantine and isolation.

Source: China ASEAN Business Council