Dr Roberto Anastacio
Dr Roberto Anastacio Image Credit: GMA News Online

At least 10 Filipino doctors have died so far since the start of the deadly run of coronavirus in the Philippines, the Department of Health said on Tuesday (April 14, 2020).

The latest health worker to fall from the deadly coronavirus is Dr. Roberto Anastacio, a cardiologist at the University of Santo Tomas and Makati Medical Center, who died due to the respiratory disease last April 10.

The spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus, which currently has no known vaccine, has taken the life 335 people in the Asian country so far, with 20 new deaths on Tuesday.

Dr Anastacio, who once had attended to former President Gloria Arroyo in 2012, served as head of the Cardiac Graphics Section at the Philippine Heart Centre, a heart transplant institute.

He later joined the University of Santo Tomas as member of the faculty and consultant.

Dr Anastacio also worked for Makati Medical Centre for 30 years. "His dedication and legacy will continue to serve as an inspiration among us, and his selfless sacrifice shall not be in vain as we all unite as one in fighting this battle," the hospital stated in a Facebook post.

As of Tuesday morning (April 14, 2020), 5,223 cases were recorded in the Phiippines, with 335 fatalities and 295 recoveries.

A mass testing scheme has been announced while authorities have converted two ships, convention centres and several covered sports arenas into quarantine facilities.

There are conflicting tallies of the number of Filipino doctors who had succumed to COVID-19, with some reports claiming as many as 22 Filipino doctors have already died, but this could not be immediately verified.

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has stressed that they have no reason to hide the case fatalities for coronavirus.

Earlier this month, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which regulates employment of Filipinos overseas, issued a resolution banning the departure of workers in 14 medical professions for foreign employment while the country is fighting the virus and under a nationwide lockdown.

252 health workers who fell ill from COVID-19

ِA government tally shows at least 252 healthcare workers were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, as of April 8, 2020.

Of the number, 152 or 65 percent are doctors while 63 or 25 percent are nurses, Special Assistant to the Health Secretary Beverly Ho said during a virtual press briefing.

Dr. Riel Baclayon wears
Dr. Riel Baclayon, a Filipino doctor at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Photo taken on March 23, 2020. Image Credit: Courtesy Dr. Riel Baclayon