DOH reiterates cruise ship now quarantined in Hong Kong clear from nCoV when it docked in Manila
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reiterated Thursday that the cruise ship now quarantined in Hong Kong was clear from the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) when it earlier docked in Manila.
Citing information from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the World Dream cruise ship that docked at Pier 15 at the Port of Manila on January 28 was “clear and safe” from the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).
But the cruise ship, which berthed at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Wednesday, was quarantined along with its more than 3,600 passengers and crew members after some of them reportedly showed symptoms of the infection, including fever.
DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the passengers of the cruise ship were allowed into the country on Jan. 28 as the travel ban from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau has not yet been imposed at that time. The travel ban was announced by Malacanang on February 2.
“They passed through quarantine and nobody had any signs of symptoms, walang (they did not have) fever, walang ubo kaya siguro sila nakapunta at pabalik ay nakasakay rin (they did not have a cough that’s why they were allowed to enter and board the ship and leave),” Domingo said in an interview with reporters.
The BOQ is under the jurisdiction of the DOH.
In an interview with reporters, Health Sec. Francisco Duque said it was not immediately clear if the passengers who arrived in Manila were the same as those now quarantined in Hong Kong, although earlier reports said the passengers of the ship also left on the same day to their port of origin.
Domingo said the DOH would still have to get information from the International Health Regulation (IHR) before taking any action on the matter.
He said the DOH would not speculate on anything as it awaits to receive the report from the IHR.
Domingo however assured that while the World Health Organization (WHO) says it is possible that the virus can be transmitted by asymptomatic people or those not showing symptoms, it is still “very, very unlikely.”
“‘The vast majority of patients na nagkasakit, nahawa sila from symptomatic patients. Very low ang probability [that this can be transmitted by asymptomatic people],” said the health official.
Aside from the World Dream, the Diamond Princess, another cruise ship, is also anchored off the coast of Yokohama in Japan after 10 passengers, including a Filipino, tested positive for the virus and were removed from the ship for medical treatment. The Diamond Princess carries 3,700 passengers and crew.
Edited by MUF
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