Philippines upgrades coronavirus alert to Code Red Sublevel 2
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has upgraded its 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) alert from Code Red Sublevel 1 to Sublevel 2.
The decision was agreed upon by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting in Malacañang Thursday night.
A Code Red Sublevel 2 is hoisted when there is evidence of community transmission and prevalence of cases beyond what the government can address.
The Department of Health (DOH) raised Code Red Sublevel 1 on Saturday after it reported the country’s first case of local transmission of COVID-19 — a 62-year-old man — with no recent travel history contracted the disease. His wife, who is 59 years old, also tested positive for the disease.
The first case of local transmission also prompted the government’s to delcare a state of public health emergency.
To date, the Philippines has 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The World Health Organization now considers COVID-19 a pandemic.
By reversing course and using the charged word “pandemic” that it previously shied away from, the U.N. health agency sought to shock lethargic countries into pulling out all the stops.
“We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief.
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