Rising number of suspected nCoV cases now a ‘serious concern’ of Palace

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 04:30 PM January 29, 2020

A bus passenger on Edsa in Quezon City is not taking any chances even with the country still without a confirmed case of the new coronavirus infection. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JAM STA. ROSA

MANILA, Philippines — Several days after the Department of Health said it is monitoring several suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in the country, Malacanang now expressed “serious concern” over the rising number of suspected cases of novel coronavirus in the country, with President Rodrigo Duterte ordering the DOH to study measures on how to contain the disease.

“We’re looking at it with serious concern so the President has instructed the DOH secretary to study and evaluate what better procedure should be taken in order to contain, stop the coming in of this disease in this country,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in an ambush interview.


Panelo however said there is no need to worry and instead advised the public to wear masks and wash their hands should going into crowds become unavoidable.

“I talked with Secretary (Francisco) Duque. He said we don’t have to worry but we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that there may be some virus coming on so we have to protect ourselves by avoiding crowds. If we have to be there we have to wear a mask, we have to wash our hands,” he said.


On the matter of repatriating Filipinos from Wuhan city, where the disease supposedly originated, the Palace said it would be difficult to do so, given the lockdown imposed by China.

READ: Virus death toll in China rises as US, Japan, France prepare evacuation

READ: Plane carrying Japanese evacuees from Wuhan lands in Tokyo

“Now with respect to the travel restrictions and those who want to be repatriated here, we have already said that it might be difficult to repatriate them because we might even be risking them to contamination. So the best thing, I suppose, is to let them stay there and follow protocols in China, whatever protocols they have,” Panelo said.

Over 100 have already died due to the novel coronavirus, while nearly 6,000 patients have already been infected.

Meanwhile, a Chinese national who is under investigation for suspected novel coronavirus died of pneumonia at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

The DOH said the Philippines remains free from novel coronavirus, but 23 persons or PUIs remained under investigation.


The first known case of the suspected 2019-nCoV in the country was recorded in Cebu following the confinement of a 5-year-old Chinese boy from Wuhan City. The boy later on tested negative for the new coronavirus.

Edited by EDV
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TAGS: Department of Health, DoH, Malacañang, novel coronavirus, Palace, President Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo
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