By Vann Marlo M. Villegas

HEALTH AUTHORITIES reported 12 more novel coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the Philippine total to 64.

The patients, aged 27 to 70, had been confined at the Medical City, Ortigas Hospital and Healthcare Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center inTaguig, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Marikina Valley Medical Center and Bataan St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center, the Health department said in a statement.

Three of the patients had no travel or exposure history, while the rest were being validated, it said.

The agency urged the public to participate in the contact tracing activities conducted by surveillance teams and local government units.

“We continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact-tracing activities,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in the statement.

“For those who are confirmed cases, please let our hospitals take care of you,” he said. “Studies show that chances of recovery are high. Let us take it upon ourselves to protect our family and our community’s health and well-being.”

Meanwhile, three more coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients have died, bringing the total deaths to five, DoH said.

In a statement, the agency said the three patients had pre existing medical conditions and had no travel history.

DoH said patient No. 6, a 59-year-old woman confined at Cardinal Santos Medical Center, had died from acute respiratory distress syndrome on March 11 after experiencing difficulty breathing. She was diabetic and her X-ray result showed “progressive pneumonia.”

Her 62-year-old husband, patient No. 5, died of severe pneumonia on March 12, DoH said. He was also diabetic and hypertensive.

Quezon City declared a state of calamity to allow it to access quick-response funds against the outbreak, Mayor Joy Belmonte said. Metro Manila’s largest city has six confirmed corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives will require staff from its Printing Service to undergo self-quarantine after a worker there tested positive for the novel coronavirus, House Secretary General Jose Luis G. Montales said on Friday.

The Department of Health (DOH) will try to contact people who may have had contact with the patient, he said. It was not clear whether the staff was part of the 52 positive cases reported by DoH.

Mr. Montales said the staff had no travel and exposure history.

Also on Friday, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said work at the Senate would continue, but recommended that hearings be suspended until the one-month lockdown in Metro Manila is lifted.

“The Senate will continue to function and there will be no disruption in our mandate as public officials,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Sotto required department heads to complete pending work, even as the chamber relies on a skeletal workforce. — Charmaine A. Tadalan and Genshen L. Espedido