DOH advises public to defer attending public events amid nCoV outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   February 10, 2020   •   313

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday (February 10) advised the public to refrain from joining public events such as concerts amid the outbreak of 2019 novel Coronavirus-Acute Respiratory Disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

The agency also encourages the public to avoid crowded areas and continue to practice self-protection measures so as not to contract the disease.

The DOH likewise urged organizers of large events and mass gatherings to postpone their schedule to curb the spread of the virus.

 “It’s recommending people that in mass gatherings, na magkaka- dikit-dikit po sila (you are prone to skin contact). Avoid that. Postpone if possible,” appealed DOH Undersecretary Gerard Bayugo.

But yung mga activities na di ma-control (But for inevitable activities), we expect the control infection protocol. That depends on the organizers making sure that the welfare of their participants is given priority,” he added.

The DOH also confirmed that there are, so far, 14 regions in the country reported persons under investigation (PUI) in their respective areas with a total of 314 PUIs across the country.

Of the said number, 183 are Filipinos, 99 are Chinese nationals and the rest are of diverse nationalities.

The Department clarified however that even so that most of the PUIs are Filipinos, none of them is declared positive of 2019nCov-ARD.

As of this writing, there remain three positive cases in the Philippines.

On Saturday (February 8), the DOH announced the discharge of the 38-year-old Chinese national, the first confirmed cases in the Philippines, as she was cleared and has fully recovered.

It is not confirmed, however, if she already left the country for China.

The Department, meanwhile, debunked reports on nCoV’s airborne transmission.

Domingo maintained that it is best to be aware of updates from authorized entities and for the public to be vigilant amid the ongoing outbreak.

“I did ask for information on this on the WHO office and they said that there’s nothing conclusive about it this time,” the official clarified.

“It is still being studied by the World Health Organization but of course precaution is still to be taken but until we are given hard evidence, right now, the WHO has not classified is as an airborne infection,” Domingo concluded. MNP (with inputs from Aiko Miguel)

South Korean president vows to win battle against COVID-19 during visit to Daegu

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

In his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak began, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (February 25) that the government will “win the fight” against the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 893.

About 68 percent of South Korea’s cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Of 60 new cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located.

Last week the government decided to designate Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo County as “special care zones”.

Moon on Tuesday sought to reassure residents that the government was not considering locking down the area. (South Korea’s Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)

(Production: Hyunyoung Yi)

South Korea raises virus alert as more people confirmed infected

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has confirmed 231 new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the total number of infections to 833, and two deaths, which increases the number of deaths in the country to eight, as of 16:00 local time (0700 GMT) in South Korea.

The country raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest “red” level on Sunday as the virus infections soared over the past week.

Under the red alert, the health authorities recommended people with a fever or respiratory symptoms to refrain from attending schools and going to work.

They also asked pregnant women, the elderly and the chronically ill to avoid crowded places.

The South Korean government said they will adjust their epidemic prevention and control system, including stepping up the investigation of patients with mild symptoms and setting up a diagnosis and treatment system for confirmed patients.

As of Monday, more than 32,000 South Koreans have tested for the disease, and about 11,600 test results have not yet been released.

Of the 833 confirmed cases, 681 were residents in Daegu, a city about 300 kilometers southeast of the capital Seoul, and its surrounding North Gyeongsang Province.

The majority of the newly-confirmed cases were linked to religious gatherings of a minor religious group and a hospital in Daegu. The route of infection of the remaining cases remains to be investigated.

There are two severely-ill patients who are under treatment, but four patients were discharged from the hospital on Monday, adding to the previous 18 cured cases.

At a press briefing on Monday, Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Gang-lip told reporters that failure to contain the virus in Daegu would raise the possibility for the virus to spread across the country. He vowed that South Korea would make an all-out effort to prevent the spread.

In order to prevent the community spread outside Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the South Korean government requires all localities to allocate some public hospitals as designated hospitals for epidemic prevention and control by the end of the month and to transfer their ordinary patients to other hospitals as soon as possible.

The country’s education ministry on Sunday ordered all preschools, primary and secondary schools nationwide to delay opening by one week to March 9. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)

Japan screens some 3,700 aboard quarantined cruise ship after Hong Kong COVID-19 case

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

Health screening began on Tuesday (February 4) for some 3,700 passengers and crew aboard a cruise liner held in quarantine at the Japanese port of Yokohama, after a Hong Kong passenger who sailed on the vessel last month tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The 80-year-old man flew to Japan and boarded the ship, the Diamond Princess, run by Carnival Japan Inc, in Yokohama on Jan. 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong on Jan. 25, the company said.

Carnival Japan, a unit of British-American cruise operator Carnival Corp, confirmed that the turnaround of the ship had been delayed by about 24 hours for authorities to review the health of all 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew on board. About half of those on board were Japanese, a company spokeswoman said.

Carnival’s Princess Cruises Japan later said cruises scheduled to depart from Yokohama on Tuesday (February 4) and the western Japanese port of Kobe on Thursday (February 6) would be canceled because of delays related to the coronavirus checks. – Reuters Connect

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Hideto Sakai)

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