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DOH: Still No Confirmed Novel Coronavirus Case In PH; 24 Foreigners Under InvestigationSix of the patients are awaiting confirmatory test results from Australia.by Kitty Elicay .
While there are still no confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed in a press conference that they are closely monitoring 24 persons under investigation (PUI) with a history of travel to Wuhan, China. Eighteen of them are in Metro Manila, while the rest are in Western Visayas (1), Central Visayas (2), MIMAROPA (1), Eastern Visayas (1), and in Northern Mindanao (1).
To date, there are nearly 4,515 confirmed cases of 2019 nCoV globally, with 37 cases reported in 11 countries outside of China. The current death toll is at 106, with a global case fatality rate of 2.9%. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the risk level for the spread of the virus as very high in China and has changed the risk level at regional and global levels from moderate to high.
2019 novel coronavirus updates in the Philippines
In the press conference, the DOH shared their plans for Filipino workers in China, as well as their recommendations for the management of the novel coronavirus situation in the country. Here’s what we know so far:
1. The Philippine government assures support for overseas Filipino workers in China.
Should Filipino workers wish to return to the Philippines, the DOH will ensure comprehensive transport and quarantine plans for them. All returning Filipinos will be quarantined for 14 days, as reports show that symptoms of the 2019 nCoV can manifest between two to 14 days after a person is exposed to it.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
For Filipinos opting to stay in China, the DOH advises them to follow public advisories by local authorities in their locations. DOH will continue to provide support including information sharing and telemedicine service.
“I wish to inform our kababayans that the government will take care of you whether you choose to stay or return home,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. “For those who choose to return, you will be taken care of in a health facility for monitoring and further medical management.”
2. The DOH recommends temporary visa restrictions from any tourists coming from the Hubei Province of China.
There is no order prohibiting Chinese nationals from entering the Philippines, but the Philippines has stopped issuing visas on arrival to Chinese nationals, ABS-CBN reports.
“We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019 nCoV,” said Jaime Morente, the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, in a statement.
3. The use of surgical gloves, N95, and surgical masks are recommended only for health workers in close contact with suspected or infected patients.
The rising number of cases is understandably making the public worried. However, the DOH says the use of regular surgical masks would be adequate for the general public. “Let us reserve the N95 for those who really need it,” said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
“Our advice is if you have signs and symptoms of respiratory infections to wear masks. Normal people going about their normal work don’t need to wear surgical masks or N95 masks,” reminded WHO Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe. “If you are visiting somebody in a healthcare facility where there is a concentration of people with respiratory infections or you’re visiting a crowded place (like a wet market), you may want to wear a mask. But you don’t need to [wear a mask] from morning ‘til evening.”CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
4. The elderly population is the most vulnerable to the 2019 nCoV.
In the press conference, Secretary Duque again reiterated that the elderly is the most vulnerable to the new strain of the coronavirus. In an earlier interview with DZMM, Duque also cited children as vulnerable to the disease.
“Dapat binabantayan [ang] mga matatanda, mga batang-bata dahil sila ang pinakasensitibo dito sa mga sakit na ‘to,” he told DZMM.
He adds, “Mula sa mga naisulat sa atin, ‘yung hirap ng paghinga o kakapusan sa paghinga, posibleng sintomas na rin ito na tutuloy sa pneunomia o sa mabigat na komplikasyon ng severe acute respiratory syndrome na pwedeng makamatay, lalong-lalo na po sa mga matatanda, ‘yung mga may underlying medical problem.”
The DOH urged the public to be constantly vigilant in light of the outbreak. “Let us continue practicing good hygiene, observing proper cough etiquette, maintaining distance from people manifesting flu-like symptoms, cooking food properly, and adopting healthy lifestyles,” said the Health Secretary.
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