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Stranded and alone, a mother dies in Manila dies of Covid-19 after 5-day wait to go home

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Her tragic death in Manila raises anger of locals who blast the government

MANILA : Many in the Philippines have been shaken by the death of a mother of four who was stranded in Manila for five days waiting for a bus to take her home.

Ms Michelle Silvertino stayed at a footbridge in Pasay City while waiting for a bus to take her to the Bicol region.

Mr Jhimbo Mojica, a pavement clearing operative, came across Ms Silvertino on June 3 while clearing the footbridge of street dwellers.

He said Ms Silvertino told him that her employer had taken her to a bus terminal in Cubao on May 31, thinking she would be able to go home the next day under the general community quarantine.

When she learnt there were no buses, Ms Silvertino said she walked to Pasay City to find a ride. She ended up on the footbridge when she failed to get one.

She was found by the police on June 4 and they took her to a community hall but no one was there. They then took her to the police station but she had a fever, so they took her back to the footbridge.

On June 5, they received a call from a member of the public and went to the footbridge and found Ms Silvertino very ill.

They took her to a hospital and she died that evening. The autopsy report said she died of Covid-19. It is unclear how she was infected.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque told reporters yesterday that Ms Silvertino's death could have been avoided.

"If we could move back time, the village officials should have recognised that she was stranded and was already living on the sidewalk. They should have done something... They should have informed city hall or the Welfare Ministry."

On Twitter, #JusticeforMichelleSivertino trended as several local celebrities, along with netizens, called out the government for what they referred to as its incompetence.

There were nine new deaths and 443 additional infections in the Philippines yesterday. Infections have now increased to 24,175, with the number of deaths at 1,036.

There was no good news in Indonesia as well. Hundreds of children are believed to have died from Covid-19, which means the country possibly has one of the world's highest rates of child deaths from the coronavirus.

Paediatricians and health officials said the suspected high number of child deaths from a disease that mostly kills the elderly was due to underlying factors, in particular malnutrition, anaemia and inadequate child health facilities.

Indonesia recorded 979 new infections and 41 deaths yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 35,295, with total fatalities at 2,000.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, the authorities said yesterday no pilgrims would go for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca over coronavirus fears.

Malaysia yesterday reported 31 new infections with no deaths, raising the total number of cases to 8,369. The total number of fatalities remained at 118. - PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN, REUTERS, AFP

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