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5-year-old Chinese boy in Cebu tests negative for novel coronavirus

/ 09:30 PM January 24, 2020
Secretary Francisco Duque III

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. INQUIRER file photo / Ryan Leagogo

MANILA, Philippines — The five-year-old Chinese boy who arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, Hubei province in China has been tested negative for novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed Friday.

The test was conducted by the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, after the boy tested positive for the non-specific pancoronavirus assay in an initial test here in the country.

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After yielding a positive result for the pancoronavirus assay, oropharyngeal and serum specimens from the child were sent to the laboratory in Australia for identification of the specific coronavirus strain.

“This is indeed very welcome news to ease the Filipinos’ growing concern. I assure everyone that your Department of Health will not stop here and is on top of this emerging health event. We will continue to monitor the developing situation and ensure mechanisms to contain the threat of the 2019-nCoV,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

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The boy showed signs of fever, sore throat and cough—among the symptoms of having novel coronavirus—when he arrived in the Philippines with his mother on January 12. His mother did not show any of these signs.

Wuhan has become the epicenter of the virus, which, according to international media, had already killed 26 people and inflicted 830 others in China.

Meanwhile, Duque assured that the Bureau of Quarantine remains on alert and continues to work closely with airlines and airport authorities for stricter border surveillance amid the virus scare.

He said the DOH has also activated its emergency response and continues to strengthen preparedness in the national level, heighten community surveillance, enhance case management and hospital readiness, and intensify information dissemination and community engagement to prevent the spread of the virus here.

He also recommended all travellers with symptoms of fever and cough and with history of travel from Wuhan to immediately proceed to the nearest hospital for medical attention.

DOH facilities are, likewise, equipped and prepared to receive suspected cases of the 2019-nCoV, said Duque. Nevertheless, health workers are advised to observe preventive measures and infection control protocols.

“Let us continue to be vigilant. Always practice hand hygiene, observe proper cough etiquette, avoid close contact with people manifesting flu-like symptoms, avoid contact with farm and wild animals, cook food properly, and adopt healthy lifestyles to mount immunity against infections,” said Duque.

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While the DOH stressed there has been no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the country, it is also monitoring a 36-year-old man who worked in Wuhan and arrived in Tacloban City on January 17.

The man, whose nationality has not been disclosed, is now in isolation in a health facility and is being monitored, according to DOH.

Edited by JPV

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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