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  • 74 People In Cebu And Dumaguete Came Into Contact With nCoV-Positive Chinese Couple

    Eight of them are being closely monitored after showing flu-like symptoms.
    by Kitty Elicay .
74 People In Cebu And Dumaguete Came Into Contact With nCoV-Positive Chinese Couple
PHOTO BY iStock
  • The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed in a press briefing yesterday, February 3, 2020, that a total of 74 people in Cebu and Dumaguete interacted with the Chinese couple who tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV). Eight of them are being closely monitored after showing signs of coughs and colds, according to Epidemiology Bureau Director Ferchito Avelino.

    The other 66 individuals were advised to go on home quarantine. They were also discouraged from interacting with other people for 14 days.

    The 38-year-old female and 44-year-old male who came from Wuhan, China and who both traveled to the Philippines from Hong Kong became the first two confirmed cases of the 2019 nCoV in the country. They traveled to Cebu and Dumaguete aboard Cebu Pacific Air flights on January 21 and boarded a Philippine Airlines flight to Manila on January 25.

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    In a statement, Cebu Pacific said it is working closely with the DOH and Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) on the necessary actions and are “in the process of contacting passengers seated in the vicinity of the positive nCoV patient and are taking the necessary precautions to inform them so they can have themselves checked in case they show flu-like symptoms.”

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    The aircraft used for both flights have also been pulled out of the line and are undergoing thorough disinfection.

    Philippine Airlines issued a similar statement and said that they have provided the BOQ with the necessary flight manifest and "are also working to trace any onward journeys made by these passengers and crew on other flights, in case there is a need for BOQ to contact other people for precautionary medical observation."

    In a Senate hearing held on Tuesday, February 4, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they have only been able to contact 17% or around 50 of the 331 passengers who may have come in contact with the two nCoV-positive cases.

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    As of this writing, the DOH declared a total of 80 patients under investigation (PUI) in the country, up from the 36 individuals reported on Sunday, February 2. 68 of the PUIs are confined and isolated in various hospitals in the Philippines, while 10 have been discharged but are still being monitored. One person has died — the male patient confirmed with 2019 nCoV.

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    Thirty out of the 80 samples tested negative for 2019 nCoV while two have tested positive. The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is still awaiting results from the remaining 48 samples.

    According to Health Secretary Duque, the sharp increase in cases was “due to the strengthened surveillance system and contact tracing of the Epidemiology Bureau,” Rappler reports. But it is also because the criteria for probing has expanded from individuals coming from Hubei province (where the city of Wuhan, believed to be the epicenter of the virus, is located) to all of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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    President Rodrigo Duterte banned travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau from entering the country last February 2. Airlines such as Cebu Pacific also announced cancellation of all flights between the Philippines and mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and Shenzen) from February 2 to March 29, 2020. Flights between the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Macau, have also been reduced.

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    Worldwide, there are a total of 20,438 confirmed cases and 425 deaths, according to China Xinhua News.

    Practicing proper hygiene and coughing etiquette are still the best ways to prevent the spread of the 2019 nCoV. Click here for ways on how you can protect yourself and your family from the dreaded infection.

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