A man uses a body thermal scanner on a student wearing a protective mask as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus at a school in Manila, Philippines, Friday, January 31, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines has allowed the use of a test kit that could help the country's health authorities detect more cases of the new coronavirus.

Until March 9, there were 20 Covid-19 cases in the Philippine, with one death, reported on February 2 — a 44-year-old Chinese man who visited the country.

The Philippines was the first country outside China to witness a death due to Covid-19 outbreak first reported in Wuhan, China. 

35 cases in the Philippines

As more tests are conducted, officials of the Department of Health (DoH) on Monday reported four more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 24.

On Tuesday, the number went up to 35.

Office employees wearing facemasks walk along a street in Manila. Image Credit: AFP

It was not immediatley clear if the new cases were detected using the kits developed by researchers at the state-funded University of the Philippines (UP).

On March 10, the Philippine Information Agency sent out a tweet stating that the FDA-Philippines had issued a Certificate of Exemption (CoE) for the detection kit developed by the UP National Institute of Health (NIH).

The kit will be used for field testing, coupled with gene sequencing at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).

The PGC is a genomics-focused research unit of the National Science Complex based in UP Diliman campus in Quezon City, Manila.

Meanwhile, classes at all levels had been suspended in Metro Manila, and students are banned from malling or roaming around.

Moreover, several public celebrations and events had already been scrapped or postponed as part of the nationwide drive to curb the transmission of coronavirus.