The Philippine Department of Health says it did not issue this advisory

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Multiple Facebook posts have shared a purported Philippine Department of Health advisory that states people who have had contact with those infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, will be turned away from doctors’ clinics. The posts claim that the advisory is an official government announcement. The claim is false; the Philippine Department of Health denied issuing the advisory.

The image, carrying the logo and letterhead of the Philippine Department of Health, was published here on Facebook on March 16, 2020.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:

Screenshot of Facebook post

The text in the purported advisory reads: "If you have any of the following solely or in combination:
- Fever
- Cough or Colds
- Headache
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Stomach ache/diarrhea
- History of travel outside the Philippines in the last 14 days or in areas where CoVid19 has been reported or clustered
- Exposure to person with CoVid19
- Exposure to person under evaluation for CoVid19
WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEE YOU AT THIS CLINIC AND INSTEAD PLEASE PROCEED TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FOR PROPER EVALUATION / THIS IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH DOH AND OTHER GOVERNMENT REGULATORY HEALTH DIRECTIVES".

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 8,800 people worldwide and infected almost 210,000 others, as reported here by AFP on March 19.

The image was also shared alongside a similar claim here, here and here on Facebook. 

The claim is false; the Philippine Department of Health published this post on its Facebook page on March 16, 2020, denying it had issued the advisory.

The post states: “The circulating health advisory is not an official DOH issuance.”

Below is a screenshot of the statement, which includes the purported advisory in the misleading posts marked with a red “X”:

Screenshot of DOH post

The post's Tagalog-language caption translates to English as: “Fact Check: The shown Health Advisory is not from the Department of Health. The DOH invites the public to only get their information about COVID-19 from official accounts of the Department”.

The Philippine Department of Health says 17 people have died and 202 others have been infected with COVID-19 as of 4pm on March 18, 2020.

In a response, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered almost half of the country's population to stay home for the next month in an effort to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases, according to this AFP report. 

This March 17, 2020 DOH advisory states people who have interacted within one metre of COVID-19 patients should follow the instructions from Philippine health authorities so they can be referred to designated hospitals. Those who have had contact with a patient beyond a metre have been advised to self-monitor and seek medical help if symptoms appear.