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DOH – 11 Under Probe for Suspected CoronaVirus in PH

DOH – 11 Under Probe for Suspected CoronaVirus in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27)— While the Philippines remains free of the novel coronavirus, at least 11 individuals are still placed under investigation for suspected infection of the respiratory illness, the country’s top health official said Monday.

“We’re closely monitoring 11 PUIs (patients under investigation), which means they more often than not presented symptoms with fever, cough colds, some shortness of breath, and a travel history in Wuhan,” Health Secretary Franciso Duque III told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

The PUIs have been recorded in different hospitals around the country, particularly in Muntinlupa City, Pasay City, Kalibo in Aklan, Tacloban, El Nido in Palawan, Cebu City, and Camiguin, according to the Health Department’s data.

Duque said the individuals are of international nationalities—including Chinese, Brazilian, American, and German. The list also includes the five-year-old Chinese boy in Cebu, who was already discharged after confirmatory tests said he was negative for the new coronavirus. 

Initial tests for the other PUIs have already been sent to the local Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, with results expected in 24 to 48 hours, Duque added. If the PUIs test positive, their records will then be forwarded to an infectious disease reference laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.

Aside from respiratory and fever symptoms, other cases which can be categorized as PUIs include: individuals who have had direct contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus; individuals who had interactions with health workers of a facility tackling the illness; individuals who have visited the animal market in Wuhan— the Chinese city at the center of the virus’ new strain(2019-nCoV); and individuals who have had contact or eaten animals from the market.

The coronaviruses, believed to be a cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, are a large group of viruses common among animals, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization, however, said the coronavirus is “not as deadly” as SARS—as the latter posted a higher mortality rate.

In advanced cases, the virus can also cause other respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

At least 56 people have been killed by the mysterious respiratory illness in China, CNN reported Monday. Over 2,000 confirmed cases have also been listed.

The outbreak of the coronavirus—which has spread to other regions including the United States and Europe—has prompted several international airports to impose stricter security and monitoring measures.

‘Zero confirmed cases, no to fake news’

Meanwhile, the Manila Health Department stressed there is no confirmed case of coronavirus at the Metropolitan Hospital in Binondo— countering claims circulating online.

In a statement, the city government said the suspected case—a 27-year-old man from Obei, China—showed symptoms but did not list any history of travel to Wuhan, or history of exposure to a positive case.

Duque also appealed to some Filipinos, particularly netizens, to stop spreading false information amid the ongoing coronavirus scare.

“This can cause a lot of anxiety and undue fear. We have to be very careful. Do not absorb all these news just because you find it on social media,” the Health Secretary said.

Source: CNN Philippines