DOH monitoring 24 people with flu symptoms amid coronavirus fears

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, January 28, that it is monitoring 24 people with symptoms of respiratory illness, and who all have a history of travel to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The latest figure, given during  DOH press briefing on Tuesday, is up from the 11 reported on Monday, January 27.

The DOH initially had a total of 27 persons under investigation (PUIs), but 3 of them, including the 5-year-old boy in Cebu who was the first case to be monitored, had been discharged from the hospital after they were found to have the regular flu. 

The 24 cases were found in the following regions:

The DOH said the persons under investigation are all foreign visitors. 

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 confirmed cases of the new virus here, and that the people under investigation are isolated in the respective hospitals where they had been  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 the 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.

The Philippines' Bureau of Immigration announced on Tuesday that it will "temporarily suspend" the visa upon arrival (VUA) mechanism for Chinese tourists and businessmen due to the novel coronavirus scare. – Rappler.com