2 foreigners who flew to PH possibly contracted COVID-19 abroad — DOH
MANILA, Philippines — Two of three foreigners who were reported to have tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and flew from the Philippines possibly contracted the fatal disease outside the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
In a press conference, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH is already investigating the cases of three foreign nationals infected by the coronavirus disease who have travel history in the Philippines.
The first case, that of a 38-year-old Taiwanese national, visited the country from Feb. 28 to March 2, and experienced abdominal discomfort and diarrhea on March 2. The subject was later on diagnosed with a sore throat, fever, and malaise (weakness) on March 3.
Duque pointed out the patient flew to Taiwan on March 4 where the latter sought treatment from an outpatient clinic and tested positive for COVID-19.
If the Taiwanese experienced the symptoms on March 2, Duque said this means the patient got infected before going to the Philippines, noting that the incubation period of COVID-19 could run up to 14 days.
“The onset of symptoms on March 2 points to possible infection before the patient traveled to the Philippines,” he said.
In the case of a 44-year-old Japanese man, Duque said the man had traveled to other countries where there was a high incidence of the disease prior to his visit to the Philippines from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28.
“Prior to visiting the Philippines, he traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan,” the country’s top health official said.
The patient stayed at three hotels in Metro Manila but returned to Thailand on Feb. 28 where he experienced symptoms including cough, shortness of breath and fever, Duque said. It was only when the patient flew to Japan on March 4 where he tested positive for the disease.
“He flew back to Japan last March 4 and was tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was admitted and is still in isolation at Aichi Prefecture Hospital,” he said.
Given the travel history, Duque said the 44-year-old Japanese possibly contracted the disease in another country.
“The extensive travel history of the patient suggests possible contraction of the disease in another country,” he said.
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they will conduct contact tracing for the three foreign nationals by teams to identify individuals who interacted with the infected foreigners.
“We mobilized Epidemiological Units for Center for Development Metro Manila para i-lead yung teams para magawa yung (to lead our teams in conducting) contact tracing for all these identified individuals,” she said during the press briefing about COVID-19 updates at DOH main office.
Woman in Australia
The health department is also still confirming the case of an Australian woman, who visited the country from Feb. 13 to March 3, tested positive for the COVID-19, as reported by the New South Wales Government in Australia.
Duque said the patient attended a wedding in Manila and visited Pangasinan, but returned to her home in Sydney, Australia where she was later tested positive for the disease.
DOH is still verifying the information with the International Health Regulation National Focal Point Australia, Duque said.
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