Still no confirmed case of novel coronavirus yet in PH – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   January 23, 2020   •   366

Passengers wearing face masks who arrived from Guangzhou, China prepare to exit the airport at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 22 January 2020. According to media reports, at least nine people have died and more than 400 people are confirmed infected by a new respiratory virus which was first detected in Wuhan, China. The virus, called the coronavirus, can be passed between humans and has spread to the USA, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has yet to receive results of the test on a Chinese boy’s blood samples sent to Australia after he was confined for symptoms of the new strain of coronavirus that has killed at least 17 people in China.

Meantime, the DOH stressed that there is no positive case of the so-called 2019 novel coronavirus yet in the Philippines.

Until now wala pa tayong confirmatory test (We don’t have confirmatory test until now),” said DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo.

“The patient is still admitted and has recovered. The patient is having some mild cough but no fever and so far the patient is doing well. But we are not discharging the child,” he said of the Chinese boy.

His family, who arrived in Manila from Hong Kong, also does not show any symptoms of the viral infection.

Wala silang sakit so wala namang (They are not sick so there is no) need for us to do any tests on them or to admit them or to hold them in isolation,” Domingo explained.

“The advice really is for them to continue keeping in touch with us and then we will be monitoring them,” he added.

Meanwhile, the flight attendant who offered herself to self-quarantine after experiencing flu-like symptoms upon arriving from Wuhan, China also tested negative of coronavirus.

According to the DOH, the recent cancellation of flights from Wuhan, China and the order to place the entire city on lockdown is helpful to secure the country from a potential entry of the virus.

Meanwhile, the DOH expressed support should the World Health Organization (WHO) declares global health emergency to curb the spread of the unknown virus.

Domingo also assured that the Department will remain on the frontline in case management and disease control in the Philippines should the international health body declares the outbreak of 2019-nCov a global pandemic.

“We have the infrastructure and we have the system ready. It’s really just a matter of activating it, ever since SARS we already have quick response system in place,” the official explained.

In this case nagkakaroon lang din ng kaunting modification kasi (In this case we are doing some modifications because) from SARS to MERS- COV to the novel Coronavirus for 2019, they are not exactly all the same not even clinically like this one is apparently less infectious,” he added.

Amid the novel coronavirus scare, the DOH reiterates its appeal to the public to always monitor updates from authorized agencies such as the DOH and WHO, especially when it comes to declarations on the still unknown strain of coronavirus so as not to cause panic given that unverified information is easily spread on social media nowadays. MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Use of Favilavir for coronavirus patients in PH should pass regulatory protocol – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The manufacture of the anti-viral drug Favilavir has started in China after the government approved its use for the treatment of patients infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

But the Department of Health (DOH) argued that the Favilavir cannot be used in the Philippines to treat asymptomatic patients under investigation (PUIs) without going through the government’s regulatory guidelines.

According to Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the country has an existing regulatory protocol when it comes to usage of drugs or certain medications.

Likewise, the drug should be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and should receive clearance from the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Until we can have those regulatory clearances (we cannot tell if) this drug can be used here in the Philippines or not,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) still doesn’t have the exact number of Filipinos who would avail the voluntary repatriation from the quarantined Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Yokohama, Japan.

This, despite the go signal for repatriation coming from DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin.

As for the Filipino maid tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, Philippine officials are still waiting for the result of the second confirmatory test to make sure the Filipino is negative or cleared of the virus.

Based on the DOH’s record, suspected cases in the Philippines are now at 566 with the addition of 17 more PUIs. – MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Filipinos aboard quarantined ship in Japan to be repatriated on Feb. 23 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship being quarantined due to cases of coronavirus among its passengers in Yokohama, Japan will be repatriated by the Philippine government on Sunday, February 23, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters in a briefing that the Filipinos will arrive at the Haribon Hangar of Clark Airbase in two planes and will be brought to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Of the 3,711 people onboard the cruise ship, 538 are Filipinos – 531 are crew members while seven are passengers.

The health chief said they need to bring home as soon as possible Filipinos who did not test positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are not showing symptoms of the illness.

However, Filipinos aboard the cruise ship who were found infected with the disease will not be repatriated as they will have to be brought to a hospital to undergo treatment or monitoring.

As of Thursday, the number of Filipinos on the vessel who were found positive for COVID-19 has risen to 44.

Duque said the Philippine government is willing to assist Filipinos who contracted the disease once they have recovered.

He also said that it is not yet known how many Filipinos will return home as some might still decide to stay after disembarking the ship on Wednesday when the two-week quarantine period ended.

The entire cruise ship was placed on quarantine last February 3 after one of its passengers tested positive for the virus.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. earlier ordered for the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the cruise ship.

The DFA said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything will be smooth once the repatriation process begins. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Filipino maid tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong “in good condition”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General’s office confirmed on Thursday (February 20) that the Filipino maid who contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now in stable condition.

Maganda ang kaniyang disposisyon at hindi siya kinakikitaan ng sintomas ng sakit gaya ng sipon, ubo, at lagnat (Her disposition is good and she is not showing signs of illness like cold, cough or fever),” the Consulate General’s office said in a statement.

Siya ay nasa mabuting kalagayan (She is in good condition),” the office confirmed.

The Pinay worker, however, is still not allowed to accept visitors as the results of the series of tests on her samples are still pending.

The Consulate preferred not to disclose the identity of the Filipino helper as requested by the patient herself but the office assured to provide her the necessary assistance on the course of her recovery.

Meanwhile, the Consulate General’s Office reiterates its appeal to the public not to spread fake news on social media so as not to cause panic.

Muli rin pong nanawagan ang Konsulado na iwasan ang pagpapakalat ng mga ‘fake news’ o anumang impormasyon na hindi beripikado (The Consulate Office reiterates our call (on Filipinos) to avoid spreading fake news or any unverified information),” the Consulate General’s office stressed.

Ito po ay upang maiwasan ang alarma at pagaalala lalo na ng ating mga mahal sa buhay (So as not to cause alarm and panic among our relatives),” it added.

Official information and updates regarding the situation of Filipinos in Hong Kong in relation to COVID-19 outbreak may be accessed on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PHLinHK/.  

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