PH peacekeeper will still complete Ebola quarantine – DOH

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino soldier who served a United Nations mission in Liberia is “recovering” after testing positive for malaria – not Ebola – but will still be required to complete a mandatory quarantine as a safety net against the spread of the virus in the country.

“We need to be vigilant in watching (them) so we could totally eradicate Ebola in the Philippines,” said Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin on Sunday, November 16.

The Philippines remains Ebola-free, and government is keep a watch on the status of the 133 UN peacekeepers sent to Caballo Island for a 21-day mandatory quarantine.

Although the Filipino delegate has shown no signs of Ebola infection, Garin he will be brought back to the island, located at the mouth of Manila Bay.

At least 133 United Nations peacekeepers are in Caballo Island, a Philippine Navy outpost, since Wednesday, November 12 for a mandatory quarantine. They served a UN mission in Ebola-hit Liberia.

They initially tested negative for Ebola, based on a screening conducted by the UN health team.

Morale of the quarantined troops remain high, and restrictions on their movements around Caballo have been lifted, AFP Chief of Staff Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang said.

"[Now] they are allowed to roam around the whole island, wala nang restrictrions," Catapang told reporters after their visit to the island. (There are no more restrictions.)

The peacekeepers are all in good health, except for one complaining of a sore throat. Garin said the medical team on the island is taking care of the complaint.

The peacekeepers are also "very much aware" of the symptoms they have to monitor, she said.

"Ang gusto naming i-highlight doon is... there is nothing to worry about Ebola," Catapang said.

(What we want to highlight is there is nothing to worry about Ebola.)

"We are on top of the situation. Our peacekeepers are jolly, they are happy and they are strong, they are doing about their daily activities," he added.

Garin reminded the public against common perception that travelling from an Ebola-hit area would automatically merit one of an infection of the virus.

“And one thing, if the patient does not have symptoms of the infection, he or she should not be feared at. We should not stigmatize or ostracize them,” she said. –Rappler.com