The health ministry of the Philippines said it had confirmed its first case of community transmission for the new coronavirus, prompting officials to call on the president to declare a public health emergency to contain its spread.
The case involves a 62-year-old male Filipino who had not travelled abroad recently. His 59-year-old wife has also been infected, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the country to six, the health ministry said, adding that both are being treated at a government hospital.
The health ministry declared a code red alert which calls on medical professionals to be prepared to report for duty and recommended that President Rodrigo Duterte declare a public health emergency to help with the procurement of critical supplies as well as with quarantine measures.
“This is a pre-emptive call to ensure that national and local governments and public and private healthcare providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque told reporters.