MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Monday night, January 27, that 3 people are being monitored at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila after showing signs of flu, amid fears of the 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV reaching Philippine shores.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told the Inquirer that two of the 3 Chinese nationals being monitored had a history of travel to Wuhan, China, the city where the outbreak of the new virus began. So far, the disease has stricken over 2,800 and killed over 80. It has spread outside of China, reaching neighboring Asian countries as well as countries in North America, Europe, and Australia.
In addition to the 3, 11 others are “under investigation” by the DOH for possible cases of 2019-nCoV. In a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday, Duque said the persons under investigation (PUIs), whose ages vary, are in the following areas:
- Metro Manila
- Western Visayas
- Eastern Visayas
- Central Visayas
- Northern Mindanao
The DOH said persons under investigation are Chinese, US, German, and Brazilian nationals, among others.
The health department also cautioned the public against believing random messages circulating online and through text about supposed cases of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines. The DOH and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Philippines reiterated that there are so far no cases of the new virus here, and that the people under investigation are isolated in the respective hospitals to which they are admitted.
The DOH on Tuesday, January 28, activated the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in light of the emerging public health thread. This means response to the possible spread of the virus will involve not just DOH but also the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, Civil Aeronautics Board, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. – Rappler.com