The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported three new deaths due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), bringing the country’s death toll to five.

Three new confirmed Covid-19 infections brought the total number of cases to 52.

The three new deaths included Patient Nos. 5 (62) and 6 (59), the couple from Rizal province brought initially to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan and then transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa. Both were diabetics. They developed acute respiratory distress syndrome due to severe pneumonia and died on March 11.

Patient 37, an 88-year-old woman confined at the Philippine Heart Center, had hypertension and expired following acute respiratory failure, the DOH said.

On Thursday, the DOH also confirmed the death of the confirmed Covid-19 patient, Patient 35 (67), the first Filipino fatality. The first Covid-19 death in the Philippines, a Chinese visitor, was recorded last Feb. 1.

Patient 35 had existing medical conditions, namely hypertension and diabetes, the DOH said. “PH35 was admitted together with her husband PH34 who remains confined in Manila Doctors Hospital,” it said.

“Our recent mortality have underlying medical conditions, making the patient extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. So we reiterate that the best way to protect yourself from the disease is to keep yourself healthy and practice general preventive measures: proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and social distancing.” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

The DOH said elderly people (average of 66 years) and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression, are vulnerable to Covid-19.

“We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings,” Duque said.

The three new confirmed Covid-19 cases are as follows:

Patient 50 – Female, 69, Filipino, resident of Quezon City, admitted to The Medical City;

Patient 51 – Male, 26, Filipino, resident of Quezon City, admitted to Makati Medical Center; and

Patient 52 – Female, 79, with travel history to the United Kingdom, admitted to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. (