Asia - Pacific, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Philippines: No new COVID-19 cases in Bangsamoro region

Region has confirmed 8 cases so far, authorities addressing shortage of ventilators

Pizaro Gozali Idrus   | 16.04.2020
Philippines: No new COVID-19 cases in Bangsamoro region

JAKARTA, Indonesia

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), a self-governing Muslim-majority region of the Philippines, has reported no new coronavirus cases over the past week, its Health Ministry announced on Wednesday.

"The data as of April 14, from the MOH-BARMM shows that last recorded confirmed case was on April 6, a 54-year-old male from Maguindanao," the ministry said in a statement.

The region’s health minister, Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, said that out of the eight patients who tested positive for the virus, six were under treatment while two others had been recovering at home.

Lack of ventilators

The government, meanwhile, through the help of NGOs, has committed to address insufficiency of ventilators in hospitals across the region, according to the statement.

Ventilators are necessary for treating COVID-19 patients who suffer from severe pneumonia or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

In the entire region, Dipatuan said, only three ventilators were available, and being utilized by the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital.

"Only those hospitals with intensive care units (ICU) can have ventilators," he added.

Dipatuan said 15 more ventilators were expected to be installed in different facilities through the help of United Nations Development Programme.

Testing capacity

The government said that it was studying all possibilities of setting up more laboratories to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in the region. In this regard, Dipatuan said, talks with the Ministry of Public Works were ongoing.

So far, the Bangsamoro region has 8,809 Persons Under Monitoring with 7,268 completing their strict home quarantine. Some 264 have been identified as Persons Under Investigation, with only 64 currently undergoing isolation, according to the communique.

Global situation

After originating in Wuhan, China late last year, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions across the world.

While China recovers, the U.S., Italy and Spain remain to be the worst-affected regions.

Over two million people have been infected worldwide, while more than 137,000 have died.

Despite the rising number of cases, most people who get infected suffer only mild symptoms and make a recovery.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo

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