DOH: PH still MERS-CoV-free as S. Korean visitors test negative
The Philippines remains free from the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) as a visiting South Korean couple suspected to have contracted the disease test negative.
In an interview, Health Secretary Janette Garin confirmed that the couple went to the Philippines over the weekend but denied reports from South Korean local media which said the two doctors defied quarantine. She said the couple did not exhibit symptoms linked to the disease.
“Yes, the couple was being watched (for MERS-CoV) but they had no travel restrictions. Those were asymptomatic. Ibig sabihin wala po silang nararamdaman … We learned that they came but already left,” Garin said.
She also clarified that while the husband was working in one of the hospitals in South Korea where MERS-CoV patients were confined, both doctors did not have direct contact with any MERS-CoV patient.
“They were never symptomatic. They have already passed the 14-day quarantine period … He is a doctor in one of the hospitals. But he did not have a direct contact with any of the patients,” the health secretary said.
Local media reported that a 72-year-old woman came to see the male orthopedic surgeon on June 2 for a sore back and the surgeon’s wife on June 4 because of high fever. The woman was tested positive for MERS-CoV on Sunday.
The couple from Sunchang, North Jeolla Province left for the Philippines on Saturday and returned to South Korea on Sunday.
According to the Yonhap News Agency, the couple “violently reacted” to the self-quarantine imposed on them because they did not exhibit any symptoms of the deadly disease.
Meanwhile, Garin said DOH was monitoring the couple’s condition closely and reiterated that the Philippines was MERS-CoV-free.
“Nananatili pong MERS-CoV-free ang Pilipinas (The Philippines remains MERS-CoV free),” Garin said.
According to latest reports, seven persons have died from the disease and 95 cases have been confirmed in South Korea. RC