The Department of Health confirmed Wednesday, February 5, a third case of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the country. The patient is a 60-year-old Chinese female from Wuhan, China who arrived in Cebu from Hong Kong on January 20, 2020.
In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said that the Chinese woman immediately went to Bohol from Cebu. On January 22, the patient felt unwell and had herself checked in a private hospital in the island.
The woman’s samples were taken on January 23 and 24. Samples taken on January 24 were sent to the Victorian Infectious Diseases References Laboratory in Australia for testing and came out negative. The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine also tested her January 24 samples and it also came out negative. She was then discharged a week after on January 31 and was able to fly back to China.
“[RITM] decided to run all of the old samples that they had and they found one of her samples from January 23. Ito ‘yung naging positive,” said Undersecretary Domingo.
“The patient was infected but was getting better and nag-negative na siya on the 24th and a week later siya nadischarge,” he added.
Undersecretary Domingo assured the public that the DOH is already getting in touch with the health workers as well as the other individuals who came into contact with the patient, such as hotel staff and airline crew.
As cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) continue to rise in the country, the Civil Aeronautics Board announced on Sunday, February 2, that all Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa Holders coming from China and its Special Administrative Regions (SAR), Hong Kong and Macau, are allowed to return to the Philippines provided that they undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their return to the Philippines.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The mandatory quarantine will apply whether the travelers are coming to the country on a direct flight or a connecting flight. As long as they have been to China within 14 days before arrival, they will need to be quarantined.
According to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), individuals under quarantine will be asked to stay at home for 14 days. Epidemiology specialists will be monitoring their status from arrival and will check on them twice a day through calls, Manila Bulletin reports.
This is in line with the directive issued by the government to ban travelers, regardless of nationality, from entering the country if they are coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. They will also not be allowed entry if they have been to China and its SARs 14 days before coming to the Philippines. Only Filipinos and permanent resident visa holders are exempted from the ban.
Filipinos are likewise prohibited from traveling to China or its SARs.
On February 1, Cebu Pacific Air announced it would be cancelling flights to China from the Philippines starting February 2. Flights to Macau and Taiwan have also been reduced.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines likewise cancelled all of their flights to and from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
As of this writing, there are more than 24,516 confirmed cases of the 2019 nCoV around the world, with the death toll standing at 493. Most of the deaths are in China, with one fatality reported in the Philippines and another one in Hong Kong. 133 persons are under investigation (PUI) in the Philippines.