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Aquino vows to keep Filipinos safe from Ebola

/ 11:04 AM October 13, 2014
 President Benigno Aquino III  INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III on Monday assured the public that government is exerting all efforts to keep Filipinos safe from outbreaks like the Ebola virus.

“I speak for myself and my government when I say that we will continue to exert every effort and undertake all possible initiatives to…keep our countrymen safe and healthy as pandemics threaten to spread,” he said during the 65th Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific.

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“(The) outbreaks of illnesses and diseases like the MERS-Corona virus and Ebola are among the greatest challenges the world faces today,” he said.

Aquino admitted that the Philippines is vulnerable to outbreaks because 10 million Filipinos are working and living abroad.

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He narrated one instance when the Philippines was threatened by the MERS Corona virus after an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who initially tested positive of the virus went home to the country.

“You can imagine how critical the situation seemed: It was necessary to track down every person on that flight, quarantine, and test them at the soonest possible time. Thankfully, the test results came back negative,” he said.

Like the health officials who spoke before him, Aquino called on other nations to work together to be able to contain outbreaks.

He said such events help strengthen the ties of nations and organizations seeking to protect the public.

The WHO describes the Ebola virus as a severe and often fatal illness. There is still no licensed vaccine for the illness although there are ongoing tests for possible cures.

According to the WHO, as of Oct. 10, 2014, the deaths caused by Ebola worldwide have breached the 4,000 mark.

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