DOH should watch Kalibo after departure of 500 Wuhan tourists
World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines representative Dr. Rabindara Abeyasinghe and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III insist our country remains free of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, which originated from Wuhan, a city in China.
Both also say the virus is not as deadly as a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) but then again, their assumptions are based on “incomplete details” from Chinese health authorities. Fatalities from nCoV went up from 56 to 80 on Sunday while new infections zoomed to 371 cases in 24 hours. As of this writing, there were 2,761 confirmed cases and a total of 5,794 suspected cases inside China.The virus has caused a scare worldwide, including in Metro Manila. Rumors about confirmed nCoV cases continue to circulate in several areas in Manila and Muntinlupa despite denials from local officials. Also, seven Chinese-Filipino schools in Quezon City and Manila have suspended classes to get “travel information” from their students and staff who went to China for the Chinese New Year. The Department of Health (DOH) has created a task force against nCoV and is closely observing 11 people suspected of contracting the disease, including four in Palawan and three Chinese nationals in Kalibo, Aklan. All have a history of travel to Wuhan.
On Sunday, over 500 Wuhan residents were sent back to China after spending a few days in Kalibo and Boracay. Two air charter companies flew directly to Kalibo from Wuhan six times a week before the Chinese government placed the city on lockdown. This is worrisome as they are all potential carriers.
According to Chinese health authorities, the incubation period for the Wuhan coronavirus is between two days up to two weeks but the average is 10 days. This means that Kalibo and Boracay can be declared safe only after 14 days.
——–The WHO declaration of a global emergency due to nCoV may be imminent. A news agency says an estimated 5 million people left Wuhan City before the lockdown was enforced on Jan. 24. Many may have moved to other areas in China.
Today, almost all Chinese provinces have new confirmed cases except for two, Tibet and Quinghai. While nCoV is not as deadly as SARS, this virus is much faster in spreading.
——–I was looking at a story in Global Times (China’s English daily) about the arrival of 3.16 million face masks in Wuhan City on Sunday. A tweet says the masks were purchased by the Hubei provincial government (Wuhan being the capital city) from Manila import companies and delivered via China cargo. It adds that the importation came at a time when “Manila is in urgent need of medical supplies.” The Wuhan City government has ordered all residents to wear face masks in public, with news anchors on Hubei TV not exempt.
The Taal Volcano eruption already resulted in skyrocketing prices and a shortage of face masks in Metro Manila and affected provinces. Where will we get face masks if the bulk is already in China?
Just asking, DOH and Department of Trade and Industry. INQ
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