The youngest fatality from COVID-19 in the country was a 7-year-old girl from La Union province who tested positive for the new coronavirus, which has infected 2,633 people, 107 of whom died and 51 of whom recovered.
In a statement, San Fabian, Pangasinan Mayor Constante Agbayani said the girl, who lived in Barangay Inmalog Sur, was confined at the La Union Medical Center on March 26 and tested for COVID-19 on
March 31, five days after her death.
Agbayani said the girl died on the same day due to hypovolemic shock caused by acute gastroenteritis and severe dehydration.
Agbayani said the girl was earlier brought to a rural health center due to diarrhea, nausea and fever. She was sent home later.
Local officials are looking into the possibility the girl was infected by two relatives who came from Metro Manila and Nueva Vizcaya, two areas hit by COVID-19.
READ: COVID-19 claims 15th doctor hero
The COVID-19 victim was buried immediately, and disinfection procedures were implemented in her house.
A total lockdown was also imposed in Inmalog Sur and nearby areas. Local officials are doing contact tracing.
Meanwhile, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, checked into a hospital over the weekend, a member of his staff said Thursday. The senator had a mild cough and his family wanted him to receive proper medical attention, the staff member added.
On Monday night, Angara posted a picture of his bearded face on Instagram. He said he was getting well.
“Recovering thanks to your prayers and some good medical attention,” the 47-year-old lawmaker said.
Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Aquilino Pimentel III also tested positive for COVID-19, as did former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The test was over a week ago but the results just came out,” Marcos posted on Twitter. “In the meantime, I’ve been slowly getting better.”
Also on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the country’s ambassador to Lebanon, Bernardita Catalla, died of COVID-19.
“With deep sadness, the DFA announces the untimely demise on 2 April 2020, of Ambassador Bernardita Catalla, Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon, from complications arising from COVID-19,” the DFA said, in a statement.
Catalla, the first Filipino senior career diplomat in active service who died from COVID-19, passed away in a Beirut hospital where she was confined.
The DFA described Catalla as a career diplomat for almost 30 years who has served in key posts like Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta and was passport director, where she delivered frontline service to millions of Filipinos.
The Quezon City government, meanwhile, said the number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 174, with 23 new cases as of 7 p.m. of April 1.
In a statement sent to the media, the city government also reported 27 deaths.
Effective April 6, a private hospital, the Fe del Mundo Hospital, will be an exclusive COVID-19 facility, where patients with COVID-19 symptoms can go, the city said.
In related developments:
• A health expert said COVID-19 infections may subside in June. Amid the continuing rise in the number of cases, Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious disease in San Lazaro Hospital told radio dzMM the rate of infection could slow by May or June.
• The Senate paid tribute to doctors and other health care workers who died while treating COVID-19 patients. Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Resolution No. 351 “honoring and commending the sacrifice, bravery and heroism of the hundreds of doctors, nurses, health care support and essential manpower who have opted to leave the comforts and safety of their homes to serve the sick and those afflicted with the fatal novel coronavirus.” Sotto said, “The supreme sacrifice of our doctors, nurses and other frontliners in order to protect this nation against the COVID-19 pandemic should not be forgotten and deserves the highest commendation.”
• East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) said is working on providing convenient accommodation for its health workers amid the enhanced the Luzon-wide lockdown. The hospital’s chief, Dr. Alfonso Nuñez said that their health workers are still having problems getting home and getting to work, with about 100 to 120 of them opting to stay at the hospital. Nunez said the offer from three hotels and a dormitory for free accommodation would help, but these would not be enough for the hospital’s workforce of more than 2,000 people.
• Some 15,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) sets from the the 1 million PPE worth P1.8 million procured by the government have already arrived in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the PPEs underwent thorough inspection and quality assurance before being distributed through the Office of Civil Defense. The first PPEs were given to East Avenue Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center. The remaining 985,000 sets, Vergeire said, are scheduled to arrive between April 6 and April 24. Each PPE set is complete with coveralls, N95 masks, gloves, head cover, shoe cover, goggles, surgical mask, and surgical gown.
• Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. said Thursday its Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project continues to supply up to 40 percent of the power needs of Luzon to sustain the operations of hospitals and vital facilities. Shell said it was working closely with the Department of Energy to enable critial personnel to ferry to the offshore platform, as well as the needed materials and supplies to safely operate and maintain the facility during the Luzon-wide lockdown. The Malampaya gas project in northwest Palawan supplies natural gas power plants in Batangas with a total capacity of about 3,000 megawatts.
• An international gaming company donated P20 million to four public hospitals through the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). FBM, a global gaming brand involved in video bingo, spin reel games, table games and video poker, said it will donate P5 million each to the Philippine General Hospital, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Recipient hospitals will use the cash to purchase medical equipment needed to combat the pandemic.
READ: COVID-19 Tracker: PHILIPPINES